Before I start telling my story, can we all take a moment to appreciate the irony of the fact that I managed to make it all the way to the Playboy Mansion with only one boob? Some girls spend thousands on plastic surgery to get there—but me, I don’t even need to have a complete rack!
Okay…who am I kidding? When this is all said and done, I’ll have spent thousands on plastic surgery, too.
Onto the story:
As I mentioned in my teaser post, I received an email a few weeks ago from a young woman named Trisha who had gotten my contact info from my genetic counselor at UCLA. Trisha is 27, BRCA2+, a volunteer at the Revlon UCLA Breast Center, and a girlfriend of Hugh Hefner’s.
Um…wow! In her first email, when she mentioned she lived in the Playboy Mansion, I thought it was a joke. I really thought that someone was screwing with me. So I looked her up…and found the Twitter account of a girl named Trisha Frick who lives at the Playboy Mansion. I then emailed my genetic counselor, who confirmed that she had given my contact info to her.
“SHE’S REAL!” I squealed to myself when I saw the confirmation email. I was pretty excited.
But then I had to stop myself and take a step back. Yes, it was awesome that someone who lived in the freaking PLAYBOY MANSION wanted to talk to me. But she didn’t want to talk to me about that—she wanted to talk to me about my experience with a prophylactic mastectomy. Even though she was totally beautiful and lived in a kick ass house and went to awesome parties, she was also very much like me: a girl with a BRCA mutation who was trying to make sense of her high risk of breast cancer and figure out the right plan for her!
I emailed her back, trying not to sound too giddy or star-struck, and we soon started exchanging emails about our experiences with breast cancer and the BRCA mutation. After a few messages, we decided to meet up. And much to my delight, Trisha invited me to visit her at the Playboy Mansion for Sunday Funday!
Dear readers, please take this gem of wisdom to heart: if you ever find yourself in the fortuitous position of going to the Playboy Mansion, check your GPS twice. Please.
I left my boyfriend’s house in Glendora at 12:45 pm with the goal of being at the Playboy Mansion by 1:30 pm. Using the street address Trisha had emailed me, I plotted a route on my iPhone’s GPS and took off.
35 minutes later, I exited the freeway in an extremely seedy looking part of Eagle Rock. It really didn’t seem like the kind of place the Playboy Mansion would be located. For those of you who are familiar with the USC area, it looked like Vermont Avenue, with little taco stands and barbershops and cop cars everywhere.
After driving past the red destination marker on the iPhone map and still not seeing a luxurious mansion, I called Trisha. Trisha had never even heard of Eagle Rock.
…I was temporarily lost.
Trisha did mention that the Playboy Mansion is around UCLA. Hahaha, yep, I know where that is! Just for kicks, I manually entered the Mansion’s street address into my phone instead of clicking on the address through an email. And sure enough, a location in Holmby Hills near UCLA showed up.
I’m not sure why my iPhone’s navigation was being so rude, but it didn’t deter me from reaching my goal. I managed to arrive at the Mansion around 2:15 pm.
My first reaction upon seeing the Mansion as I drove up the steep driveway? “HOLY SHIT.”
Most of you know that I am obsessed with castles. The Playboy Mansion looks like a European castle. It was love at first sight.
I parked behind a group of other cars and a valet took my keys. I stared around at my surroundings for a moment, dumbstruck and trying to take it all in, and then Trisha came to retrieve me.
It was really nice to meet Trisha in person. She is so sweet and so pretty, and I felt quite comfortable around her. She immediately took me out to the pool to meet some of her friends and Hugh Hefner.
Yep, I met Hef. And he was very kind and welcoming…he even posed for a photo with us! You gotta love his swag.
Trisha brought me over to a lady who handled logistics to sign in and order food. There was a set lunch menu with quite a few yummy-sounding options. I ordered the grilled cheese and a salad.
We then embarked on the grand tour. If you ever get the opportunity to take the grand tour of the Playboy Mansion, I highly suggest it.
First there’s the zoo! There are koi fish, peacocks, parrots, bunnies, and three species of monkeys…three! It’s insane. Just insane. That’s all I can really say.
Then there’s the game house. The game room itself has a pool table and tons of pinball machines and arcade games. Then there are a few small rooms and bathrooms off to the side, including a room with a very VERY squishy floor. (I wonder what they use that for? 😉 )
From there we saw another small house that was more like a green house than anything. I guess the proper term would be “aviary” because there were birds galore in there. My favorite was the toucan.
As we walked along the grounds, I also saw the tennis courts and a few different statues and busts that looked Grecian. The flowers in the garden were beautiful. Whoever takes care of the grounds does a wonderful job.
Near the pool is a building with bathrooms, a gym, lockers, and a sauna. Outside of that building, directly next to the pool, is the bar. The bartender whipped me up some kind of fruity rum drink—delicious!
For a while we relaxed by the pool as I snacked. The grilled cheese was petite and well-made—it really hit the spot! It was a good time for me to talk to Trisha and meet some of her friends. All of the girls I met were very kind and interesting. When Trisha and I explained how we knew each other, they were genuinely curious to know more about the BRCA genes and the mastectomy. I even passed out a few blog business cards!
After I was done eating we got ready to swim. We ordered a few beers (Heineken for me) and headed into the grotto. It was awesome. Seriously, if I’m ever rich and decide to build a pool at my house, there will definitely be a grotto!
Half of the grotto is a hot tub, and the other half is normal temperature. There are two large cushioned areas outside of the water, and there’s a speaker system. In between some of the rocks on the ceiling are stained glass decorations.
The water was very pleasant. I really like the idea of a grotto; you can enjoy the water without being exposed to the sun. Now that I’m trying to prevent cancer in all forms, I worry about that stuff!
After spending half an hour in the grotto, we got out and changed back into our clothes. Then Trisha and I took her dog Denny for a walk around the neighborhood and down to the park. Denny is soooooo cute. He’s a Husky/Shar-Pei mix. During our walk, Trisha let me interview her for the blog. We talked for over 25 minutes, all about the BRCA mutation and her mastectomy plans. I’m really excited to transcribe the interview from my phone for you to read!
Dinner was around 5 pm. It was buffet-style. I was quite pleased with the selection of vegetarian-friendly items, especially the entire platter of sliced tomatoes! The food was delicious. The dining room seemed to me to be crowded; there were quite a few girls there (some who lived in the Mansion, others who were visited like me) and some older individuals who were friends of Hef’s. Bandleader Ray Anthony was there, and apparently he is 90 years old but he didn’t look a day over 75! (I think that’s a compliment, right?)
Another one of Hef’s friends was passing around a riddle for people to solve. I don’t know how I did it, but after looking at just the first two lines I was able to solve it. He seemed quite amazed that I guessed it and asked me what my IQ was! Ha. He even told Hef’s brother that I was the only one who answered it correctly! I guess all of that Jeopardy pays off?
Hef came into the dining room around 6:15 pm and took a few pictures with Trisha and the other girls. Then he announced that it was time for the movie. The last part of the Sunday Funday festivities each Sunday is a movie; on this particular occasion, they were screening the new Snow White and the Huntsman with Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart.
I decided not to stay for the movie, so Trisha walked me back out to the valet to get my car. We exchanged hugs and goodbyes and she promised to keep me posted about her decision regarding a prophylactic mastectomy.
All in all, it was a fabulous day. I am so grateful that Trisha invited me, and I’m also really happy to have met her. I admire her confidence and respect her decision to pursue a prophylactic mastectomy, and I’m excited to post my interview with her because I hope that other BRCA+ and high-risk women will gain some insight from what she has to say.
Check back in a few days to read the interview!
The Playboy Mansion looks wonderful on you! Can’t wait to read your interview with Trisha.
Rachel, this is awesome! What an amazing experience!! (And oh, the irony!) Looking forward to the next installment.
Dang straight you do! I emailed Erin and I asked her some info. about the UCLA Revlon thing. Do you volunteer at that? We should chat more about that….!
No I don’t volunteer at that…Trisha does, and I really wish I did! It sounds awesome. I was thinking about it, but since I’ve recently started working full-time and just accepted a permanent job offer, I’m not sure I’d be able to work it into my schedule. =(
Where in LA do you live, Heather?
Congrats on the job! I need a job desperately….with a CAPITAL D! Let me email you privately – or will you email me? I’m a spazz with personal info. on the internet (HAH!) but I am so happy to have found your blog and I can’t even remember how I stumbled upon it….:) You’re ahead of me on the PBM road and while our genetic conditions aren’t the same your story really is helping me.
Wow, that’s definitely a chapter out of your book, what a wonderful energy you have and what a treat to connect with another young woman in need of support and to be rewarded with such an insight into a world few from the ordinary world ever enter. You are an inspiration and just as beautiful as the girls in that household, inside and out.
Thank you, Claire!
What an amazing experience!! The Mansion is A-Mazing. And of all the things there, the thing I miss the most – the food!! haha Its really nice that you are able to help out – and help make one of Hef’s girlfriends plastic!
Omg yes the food was excellent!
If you ever go back, they specialize in a drink called the Bikini Dropper. You should order one. They taste SO good!! You can’t taste the alcohol, which is the point, girls drink so much and pretty soon, they drop their bikini’s!! haha
I can’t wait for the rest of this story!!!