Barbi Benton has had a career that spanned multiple fields. From modeling to singing to acting, she tried her hands at all these things. And on top of it all, the former Playboy playmate is also an interior designer.

Benton is responsible for the unique and lavish design in her Colorado home. In the past, she had even messed around with the guest house at the Playboy Mansion. She spoke about how she got started with interior designing when talking with Wallpaper.

I had done some houses in LA but really only for boyfriends when there had been an earthquake and they had to redo everything in a hurry. And when I was with Hugh Hefner, he let me do the guest house at the Playboy Mansion.

Benton also shared that she and her husband, George Gradow, didn’t initially didn’t plan on letting her do the interior designing. They wanted to hire a professional interior designer but gave up on the idea after learning just the fee to hire the professional was $75,000.

In the end, Benton took on the task of designing their home upon herself. She included various custom furniture and an entire pyrite mines’ contents to create a unique look in her home.

From Vet to Model

Benton is most known for her modeling career. But initially, she had no plans on choosing such a career path and wanted to be a veterinarian.

Born to a gynecologist father and an investment counselor mom, Benton wanted to be a vet and help animals. She enrolled at UCLA to learn to be a vet but gave up midway after realizing she couldn’t stand the sight of blood.

Benton signed with a commercial agency as a model and shot several TV commercials before eventually becoming a Playboy model.

Studies & Hugh Hefner

Benton was 16 years old when she started modeling. She was also continuing her studies at UCLA. And it was her studies that eventually led to her nine-year relationship with Hugh Hefner.

The former Playboy playmate landed a role as an extra on Hefner’s TV show Playboy After Dark. She was studying in-between takes when she caught his eyes.

He came up to ask me what I was so diligently working on. I told him I was studying for school. He liked the fact that I was a co-ed and that I went to UCLA. We were talking about my schooling and what I was studying, and he asked me if I would go out with him.

The two started dating, and their relationship eventually led to the iconic Playboy mansion. Benton was the one to stumble upon the property and convinced Hefner to purchase it. The couple moved into the house and spent nine years together in it.

Barbi Benton with Hugh Hefner

Barbi Benton with Hugh Hefner (Image:

During that time, Hefner proposed to Benton three times, and she rejected him on all three occasions. The media mogul popped the question to his longtime girlfriend for a fourth time, this time after she was already married.

Benton tied the knot with George Gradow on October 14, 1979. The pair now have two children together — son Alexander Benton Gradow and daughter Ariana Gradow.

Hefner passed away at his home on September 27, 2017. The reason for his death was reported to be natural causes.