Over her three-year career as a Playboy Bunny, Danielle Lupo has been lucky enough to have travelled the world, posed for various international Playboy magazines and landed a job at the luxe yet short-lived New York Playboy Club.
But that’s not her whole story by any means.
On mornings after a night of serving up “a whole lot of warm Bunny hugs, laughs and smiles” in her custom-made corset, ears and tail, the 25-year-old would slip on a pair of blue medical scrubs in readiness for her shift as a Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT).
Danielle tells Yahoo Lifestyle that her surprise ‘double life’ tends to baffle most people, from her Playboy Club patrons, patients and even her fellow healthcare workers.
Eyebrows raise even further when Danielle reveals that, after a decade working in healthcare, she hopes to become a doctor one day.
Below, the pre-med student and Playboy Czechslovakia May 2018 covergirl shares how she navigates her contrasting careers, why she uses different names for different roles and how she reacts to remarks like, “Wow, you’re actually smart!”
When and how did your Playboy Bunny career take off?
“I actually had the opportunity and honour to shoot for multiple Playboy International issues starting in 2017 and ended up making it into almost 10 different countries.
“When news broke that a New York Playboy Club was opening [in late 2018], I was welcomed in with open arms to represent the Playboy family as their one and only internationally-known Playmate at the club.”
In a similar vein, when and how did your healthcare career take off?
“My healthcare career actually started in high school, believe it or not. I started as a dental assistant and progressed into cardiology and am now pre-med.
“I’ve actually been through many transitions and obstacles in my life and career due to two separate horrific car accidents which forced me to drop out of work and college twice.
“Those accidents actually inspired me to get back up again. I promised myself that if I pull through this, I would become the hero that I needed for other people.”
What does a day in the life of a Certified Cardiographic Technician look like?
“From communicating with and being there for my patients, to fulfilling orders from the doctors and going over my patient’s test results with my colleagues, you can say I pretty much do it all as a CCT!
“Working in a hospital, you always need to be alert, on the ball and ready for anything.”
You use different names at each workplace, why is that?
“For my ‘Playmate of the Month’ spread for Playboy Czechoslovakia, I really just wanted to leave my last name out for the sake of protecting my family and my career in healthcare.
“Also, at the Playboy Club, we went by our first names only, for example, ‘Bunny Danielle’.
“I try my best to keep my image super clean, tasteful and classy, as the hospitals and schools that I’m associated with are extremely conservative. When the day comes that I get to put ‘Dr’ next to my name, I want my future patients to be able to look me up in confidence.”
What reaction do you get when you tell people about your dual careers?
“One of the most frequent comments I get is, ‘Oh wow, you’re actually smart too!’ and while that may seem super insulting and condescending, I try to take everything with a grain of salt. I believe it’s a compliment, that my beauty and brains are so admirable and even shocking to point that leaves people tongue-tied.
“A lot of the people I meet may be taken aback by my looks, especially when I’m working as a healthcare professional. Some are are no doubt baffled that women can be brainy and beautiful!”
Have you ever felt the need to ‘prove’ yourself?
“Yes! One of my favourite aspects of being both an honorary Playboy Bunny and a respected healthcare worker is being able to prove myself, that I can do it all and have the best of both worlds.
“Some of my coworkers are extremely impressed by my multi-faceted background and some just simply don’t understand, and that’s okay. I definitely don’t expect a pat on the back or for everyone to understand, support or agree with all of the decisions I’ve made in my life.
“Most of my coworkers are a bit older and [...] find it hard to respect and trust me as a colleague because I happen to be a young, pretty blonde fresh out of school. It’s been tough having to work twice as hard to prove myself and beat that stereotype and stigma.”
What are the biggest differences — and similarities — between your two jobs?
“The biggest difference when it comes to my two worlds would have to be the life and death factor of healthcare.
“There’s such a pressure on us healthcare workers, personally and professionally, that we must constantly hold ourselves responsible to.
“But similarly, both jobs require impeccable people skills... No matter what is going on in my environment, I must always have a calm, friendly and reassuring smile on my face along with a positive and optimistic attitude to go with it, even if on the inside I feel differently.”
What inspired you to start your Pre-Med studies?
“My patients inspire me. The trust and faith that they put in me motivates me to keep learning and educating myself.
“Since I was little I’ve been taught to always help others and I was always so curious about how everything worked including the human brain and body. I have a feeling that even when I achieve the doctoral level, I will still continue to keep learning and educating myself and maybe even others.”
Do you think you might have to give up your Playboy work at some point?
“I believe and am aware that there may come a day, perhaps even sooner than I think, that I start focusing solely on my family life, patients and practice.
“But as far as today goes, I thoroughly enjoy my ‘double lives’ so much and I am always on call, 24/7, for both my patients and Playboy family!”