Former airman who posed for Playboy bares it all to help wounded troops
By LEO SHANE III | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 6, 2007
WASHINGTON — An Air Force staff sergeant discharged for posing in Playboy is baring it all again, this time to help the services.
Michelle Manhart, a former military training instructor at Lackland Air Force Base, will be the cover girl for next year’s Operation Calendar, a project designed to raise money for charities assisting wounded troops.
“It’s very humbling for me to have that chance and ability to help people,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of people calling with requests and offers, but I found this really intriguing because these people really care about helping those troops.”
This is the third year the calendar has been produced. Proceeds from the sale are divided among several military charities, all with a focus on troops injured overseas.
Manhart and 11 other bombshells signed up to have body paint artist Filippo Ioco draw intricate outfits on their “human canvases,” in the organizers’ words. Manhart was under the artist’s brush for several hours before the photo shoots, getting her pink paint bikini perfected.
San Diego model Manuela Mezzadri, who started the project, called Manhart an obvious choice for the calendar’s cover.
“The fact that she has a military past and is a beautiful woman — who else better than her knows the needs of the military and of wounded troops?” she said.
Manhart served 13 years in the Air Force before appearing nude in Playboy’s February issue.
Shortly after it hit store shelves, she was discharged for improper use of her uniform — several of the shots featured parts of the standard service dress. Since then, she has appeared nude again in a series of ads produced by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Manhart lives in Texas with her husband and two children, and said she is in discussions to appear in several films and be a reality show regular this fall.
For more information on the project, or to order a 2008 calendar, visit www.operationcalendar.org.