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Adult profile: Lee Sabi, a year in review

William Sparrow
August 26, 2004

2004 has been an exceptional year for Asian women in Playboy Magazine. First Playboy announced that Korean beauty Lee Sabi would be named as a Playmate of the Month for January 2004. Then in May/June of this year the premiere men's magazine unveiled Cyber Girl Kay Sivilay an ethnic Thai, who is still thought to be a contender as a second Asian Playmate of the Month this year. This would be the first time the magazine would choose two Asian women as Playmates in the same year.

Lee Sabi now holds a place in Playboy modeling history that will likely forge her a path like Asian softcore adult icon Sung Hi Lee, who has appeared in no less than 58 Playboy magazines, supplements and special editions, not to mention numerous Playboy videos.

Such a lineage of pedigree that Sabi follows in, and has earned in her own right, is deserving of this brief recap of some of the news coverage she has enjoyed this year, and that is sure to continue for this young star.

March 2004

ICEC debates Lee Sabi's 'Hair Nudes'

Hair or no hair -- that is the question before the Information Communication Ethics Committee (ICEC) as it deliberates whether to allow release of some of Playboy model Lee Sabi's "hair nudes," i.e., photographs that reveal Lee's pubic hair. Korea usually restricts images that reveal pubic hair.

Airpass (www.airpasscorp.com), which has been charged with distribution of Lee's nude photos through mobile and Internet service, recently said, "Last month, we requested to the ICEC that they consider about 60 photographs that reveal pubic hair, and we are still waiting for the result of their deliberations."

An ICEC official said, "A while ago, word went round that a certain entertainer asked the ICEC to decided on whether to allow the release of 'hair nudes,' but in fact, we never got such a request. Lee Sabi's the first to do so."

Meanwhile, Spice TV (www.spicetv.co.kr), which holds the copyrights over Lee's nude photos, said, "For release in foreign markets like the United States, shots revealing pubic hair were unavoidable, and what's more, we judged that there was enough artistic merit in those photos that they'd be OK for release. So we requested [to the ICEC] that they make a judgment." Placing much weight on the ruling, Spice TV said, "Because deliberations have yet to finish, we've delayed supplying American Playboy with the photos. If the committee gives its OK, we can provide not only local service providers but [American] Playboy with the photographs."

On a related note, nude photos of Lee will be released through 16 Internet portal sites, including the Playboy2004 homepage (www.playboy2004.co.kr), Naver, Daum and Yahoo at midnight Monday.



February 2004

Second round of Lee Sabi nude pics to go public

Playboy model Lee Sabi’s second series of nude photographs will make its debut on Friday through mobile phones. The first series of nude images, themed the “four colored nudes,” was released through the "Big Three" Korean telecommunication carriers on Feb. 19. This time, a new series of photos taken at New Port Beach in Los Angeles and Hollywood mansions, themed “Freedom,” will be presented.

Although Lee Sabi’s nudes were thrown to the public in the midst of the Lee Seung-yeon “comfort women nudes” controversy, about 300 thousand people logged on to see Sabi’s nude pictures. This is contradictory to the current situation where Korean celebrities are postponing or even canceling the release of their own nude projects.

Because of this unexpected public reaction, Lee Sabi’s people have produced in Korea an hour long special called “Lee Sabi’s self-camera" to be released in early March together with photos taken in the United States.

January 2004

Oh no! Not Marky Mark!


Lee Sa-bi, who was selected to be Korea's "first" Playboy Playmate model, was apparently the target of a seduction attempt by none other than Hollywood actor and former New Kid on the Block Mark Wahlberg. In an interview with Chosun Daily, Lee confessed that Marky Mark tried to pick her up at a 2001 party in Paris. Ahh, the City of Love.

To read her side of this tale, when she was introduced to Wahlberg at this party, he immediately became interested in her, asking her all sorts of questions about where she was from and so on. Anyway, having been a big fan of New Kids on the Block (hey, nobody's perfect), Lee was glad to have met the guy, and they spent some time together at the party. But when it came time to go home, he asked her if they could meet for lunch the next day. At this point, she came up an excuse why she couldn't, and she never met him again.

Lee goes on to say she learned from a friend that Marky Mark has a thing for Asian women, which might surprise some, because didn't he spend some time in jail for beating the crap out of some poor Vietnamese guy up in Boston? Anyway, she said, he was shorter in real life than she previously imagined, and she didn't find him all that attractive.

Apparently, short guys need not apply.

She also said she received a casting offer in a movie opposite French star Vincent Cassel, but because of home sickness and a lack of confidence in the French language, she simply returned to Korea.

The homecoming of Korean Playboy model Lee Sabi

Photo: Lee Sabi, a Playboy model, smiles at a press conference held at the Westin Chosun Hotel on Wednesday afternoon.

Lee Sabi (whose real name is Lee Eon-jeong), who was chosen as a new nude model for Playboy, returned to Korea after a nude photo session in Los Angeles from Jan. 10 to 21.

Lee said Wednesday at a meeting with reporters, hosted by the cable channel Spice TV, that some Korean reporters have often asked her if she didn’t hesitate to take nude photos. She guessed that she have gotten the question frequently because she is a Korean woman.

“Playboy is not a porn magazine, and if you become a Playboy model, people in the U.S. consider it a kind of honor and envy you,” she said. “I have a lot of things to show you besides my naked body. I’d like to take part in many film works as an actress.”

Spice TV unveiled nude pictures and audio-video formats of Lee on Wednesday, saying that they were not porn photos but photos that show the beauty of a woman’s body. The company said that it selected Lee in order to enhance its image in South Korea before making inroads into the country. ---

Asian Sex Gazette is sure that Lee Sabi will keep our reporters and editors busy in the coming years covering her career as she diversifies from modeling to acting. She is sure to keep a world-wide audience enthralled for some time to come.

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