Best known for her ongoing association with Playboy -- as a centerfold and as one of Hugh Hefner's paramours -- Holly Madison enjoyed a childhood that witnessed her family moving between Astoria, OR, and a rural island off the coast of Alaska; the clan eventually settled in Oregon, and Madison enrolled in Portland State University, where she majored in psychology and theater. Halfway through school, however, she gravitated to Southern California (where she found the climate more appealing) and transferred to L.A.'s Loyola Marymount University, working as a Hooters waitress and a Hawaiian Tropics model on the side. A friend of Hugh Hefner's soon spotted Madison posing in a Tropics photo session, which prompted Hefner to place her on the guest list for the annual Midsummer Night's Dream party; eventually, Hefner asked her out on a date and made her his "Number One Girl." As such, Madison moved into the famous Playboy mansion and received prominent billing on the popular E! network reality series The Girls Next Door (2005) -- a candid, behind-the-scenes view of mansion life. In terms of big-screen work, Madison also landed a small role in Scary Movie 4. After she and Hefner split, she continued her work on reality TV shows, with her own spin-off on E!, Holly's World, and a stint on Dancing with the Stars. She later took up residence in Las Vegas as the headliner for Peepshow, a burlesque show, where she performed for almost three years. In 2015, she appeared in the TV movie Sharknado 3.
Biography by Nathan Southern
- Family moved from Oregon to Prince of Wales Island in Alaska shortly after she was born.
- While working as a Hawaiian Tropic girl, a friend of Hugh Hefner's saw her and invited her to the Midsummer Night's Dream party at the Playboy Mansion.
- Became Hefner's number-one girlfriend in February 2002, and began appearing on E!'s The Girls Next Door in 2005.
- Appeared in the 2003 music video for Nelly and Justin Timberlake's "Work It" and Weezer's 2005 video for "Beverly Hills."
- Posed for a PETA anti-fur ad in 2007.
- Replaced an injured Jewel during season 8 of Dancing with the Stars.