He swivels his head and looks into the camera as -- click -- the photo is taken. This is the money shot: the one Daniel Nardicio is tweeting about right now; the one Levi's manager Tank Jones will gush about to Us Weekly; and the one Gawker and Life & Style and a cajillion other gossip outlets will mention as proof positive that, in the words of Tank Jones, "You'll see what you need to see in these photos."
But the truth is, for all the public frenzy over rumors that Levi would go full frontal for Playgirl, the outdoorsy Alaskan-kid-turned-sex-symbol was never actually interested in going "full monty." It was hard enough reassuring him his fake-tan lines weren't too extreme; and that he didn't look fat while seated with his shirt off (actually, he's gorgeous). We're settling for ass shots, torso pictures, sultry portraits, and Austin Powers-like draping of props over what usually comprise key ingredients of Playgirl photo shoots.
It's not a new concept. Most celebrities who "take it off" for Playgirl limit their exposure. David Duchovny wouldn't go past tighty whities and carefully placed tea cups, of all things; Scott Bakula went topless but revealed little; and country music singer Darryl Worley showed everything but. This is why Playgirl clings to a stable of extremely talented photographers who can make a sheltered kid from Alaska comfortable enough to stand naked in front of a camera crew from "Entertainment Tonight," several stylists, a photographer, and a half-dozen people from Playgirl's staff. It's a bummer the world won't get to see Levi's johnson; but the images you will see should satiate several primal urges.
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[Originally published on FishbowlNY.]