Karen McDougal is a prominent American model and actress, recognized for her appearances in Playboy magazine, including Playmate of the Month in December 1997 and Playmate of the Year in 1998. McDougal started her career as a model after winning a swimsuit competition. Her success in Playboy led her to explore a variety of opportunities in mainstream media, such as modeling for other magazines, appearing in TV commercials, and trying her hand at acting. Despite mixed results, McDougal became a successful fitness model, making several appearances in Men’s Fitness magazine. Besides, she gained media attention due to her alleged 9-month-long affair with former US President Donald Trump.
Apart from her modeling and acting career, Karen McDougal is a fitness enthusiast, owing to her early exposure to ballet and high school sports. Karen is the first woman to get featured on the cover of “Men’s Fitness” magazine in 1999. In 2000, she made her theatrical film debut in Charlie’s Angels. However, her role in the movie was uncredited. She made her credited theatrical film debut in Grind in 2003. She made her TV show debut in 1998, in an episode of the TV series The Magic Hour. She is also a collector of motorcycles and cars. Despite her media presence, McDougal has kept her personal life private, except for the revelation of her affair with Donald Trump from 2006 to 2007, which brought her into the national spotlight and raised questions about its cover-up before the 2016 US Presidential Election.
Where is Karen McDougal from?
Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, was born on March 23, 1971. She is from Merrillville, Indiana, USA. As of 2023, she is 52 years old and her zodiac sign is Aries. She was raised by her mother, Carol McDougal, who remarried when Karen was nine years old. The family then moved to Sawyer, Michigan, where Karen stayed until college. She has three brothers – Bob, Dave, and Jeff, and a younger sister named Tina. Karen’s ethnicity is mixed, as she is of Cherokee Indian and Irish descent, while her nationality is American. During her childhood, she was interested in ballet and tap dance and aspired to become a ballerina. She was also an active participant in sports during her school days, playing softball, volleyball, and color guard, and was a cheerleader as well. Her high school nickname was “Barbie” due to her wholesome sweetness.
After finishing high school in 1989, Karen attended Ferris State University at Big Rapids, Michigan, where she studied Elementary Education. After two years of college, Karen moved to a Detroit suburb where she taught pre-kindergarten for some time before being urged to try out for a swimsuit competition. Although her professional goal was to open a learning center for children, she put her plans on hold and shifted her focus to modeling and acting.
Karen McDougal Career Overview
- Karen McDougal started her modeling career as a promotional model at a Harley-Davidson bike show in Detroit. In 1997, she won a local swimsuit competition promoted by Venus Swimwear in Michigan, which caught the eye of Playboy photographer David Mecey. After a successful test shoot at Playboy Studio West, she was chosen as Miss December 1997 and later crowned Playmate of the Year in 1998. Her winter-themed pictorial, shot by photographers Richard Fegley and Stephen Wayda, was set in snowy fields near Park City, Utah, and her “Playmate Profile” video was featured on Playboy TV soon after her magazine debut.
- McDougal was named Playmate of the Year (PMOY) of 1998 by Hugh Hefner and fans at a luncheon at the Playboy Mansion in May 1998. As a result, she was awarded $100,000 and a special edition silver Shelby Series 1 convertible with a customized Michigan license plate “PMOY 98”. Her PMOY pictorial was featured in the July 1998 issue of Playboy, where she also appeared on the cover, with a tropical theme and its outdoor portion shot in Saint Lucia. McDougal’s Playmate of the Year “Video Centerfold” included a Pop-up Video parody segment and an interview where she talked about her physical imperfections, including her “funny” smile, crooked pinkies, and “ugly feet”. She also demonstrated her signature pose, a straddle split, on “The Magic Hour” to promote her PMOY issue. In an online chat in 2002, she expressed interest in posing nude for Playboy again if offered.
- Karen made history in March 1999 when she became the first woman to grace the cover of “Men’s Fitness” magazine. Following this, she expanded her modeling career into fitness by appearing in various fitness and bodybuilding magazines, including “Muscle & Fitness”, “Physical”, and “Iron Man”. McDougal was featured on the cover of the October 2005 and June 2007 issues of “Iron Man” and returned as “Hardbody” of the month in the November 2009 issue.
- In 2002, a Playboy Collectors’ Figure Series doll was created based on McDougal’s likeness, with the company emphasizing that it was an accurate representation of her physique. Although it was originally supposed to be the first figure in the series, it was delayed due to redesigns. In 2003, McDougal collaborated with fantasy sculptor Bill Toma to create a limited edition bronze statuette called “Warrior Princess”. McDougal posed for Toma during the creative process, and her signature appears on the pedestal of each statuette. McDougal participated in the 50th Anniversary celebrations of Playboy in 2004, with events held in Las Vegas, New York, and Moscow. She also appeared in the 2005 Playmates at Play at the Playboy Mansion swimsuit calendar as the July calendar girl, which was shot on the grounds of the Playboy Mansion in 2004.
- In 2004, McDougal appeared in a photo spread for the Italian edition of Vogue, shot in Las Vegas with fellow Playmates Pamela Anderson, Audra Lynn, and Tishara Cousino. Her first published nudes since her contract with Playboy expired were included in the spread. In addition to her modeling work, McDougal has also appeared in various pin-up posters, calendars, magazine covers, advertising campaigns, promotional events, clothing, swimwear, and lingerie catalogs. She was part of a trio of Playmates that appeared in the “Celebrity Playmate Gift Guide” pictorial of Splat, a magazine for paintball enthusiasts, in November 2006, which showcased new paintball products for the 2006 holiday season.
- Former Playmate Karen McDougal is no stranger to the world of entertainment, having appeared in a range of TV shows, movies, and commercials. One of her most memorable appearances was in a series of XFL commercials in 2001, where she played a cheerleader. However, these commercials were controversial due to their risqué nature and were quietly withdrawn before the launch of the inaugural (and final) XFL season. Nonetheless, the footage was repurposed later in the season as a publicity stunt for a halftime telecast. In 2001, she made her feature film debut in “The Arena”, a direct-to-video movie produced by Roger Corman and directed by Timur Bekmambetov. The entire production was shot in Russia. McDougal played Jessemina, a slave girl who is forced into fighting as a female gladiator in an Ancient Roman colony by its corrupt governor. This role gave McDougal the chance to demonstrate her physical abilities in the movie’s sword fighting sequences, as well as act in a dramatic role. Although the movie was not well received, it has since gained a cult following.
- In 2002, she participated in a search for the new host succeeding Brooke Burke for “Wild On!”, known as “Wild Off!”. The contest took place at The Palms in Las Vegas, where each contestant was given a “wild” challenge to complete. Her challenge was to dress up as Cleopatra and roam the casino at Caesars Palace in the arms of an actor dressed up as Julius Caesar for a day. Despite completing her challenge and being considered an early favorite by fellow contestants, McDougal did not advance to the final round of five contestants, with Cindy Taylor being the eventual winner.
- McDougal, in 2004, advanced to the “WWE Diva Search” as one of 28 finalists, after winning a local tryout in Los Angeles. Clad in a black bikini, she survived two rounds of elimination during the program, only to be eliminated by the judges in the last round at the end, just prior to the selection of the final 10 contestants eligible for online voting.
- In addition to her various roles in movies and TV shows, McDougal has also made appearances in other types of media. She was featured as an interviewee in the “E! True Hollywood Story” episode about Hugh Hefner, which focused on her experiences at the Playboy Mansion during her time as Miss December 1997. McDougal also appeared as a fitness model in a training DVD alongside Hollywood fitness trainer Valerie Waters.
- McDougal has also had various guest hosting and cameo roles on TV programs, including “Wild On!” on E! and “VIP Access” on Showtime. She has also appeared in movies such as “Joe Dirt”, “Charlie’s Angels”, and “The Girl Next Door”, and made appearances in music videos with singer David Lee Roth. Overall, McDougal has had a diverse and varied career in the entertainment industry.
- McDougal became a co-owner of Pharmore Alternatives, a company that specializes in selling a range of health and wellness supplements in 2010. In January 2011, she attended the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo to promote the products offered by the company.
- Apart from this, Karen McDougal has also filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News on December 5, 2019, claiming that Tucker Carlson defamed her by suggesting that she had extorted money from Donald Trump. However, in September 2020, a Manhattan U.S. District Court judge dismissed the case, stating that Carlson’s statements were opinion commentary and rhetorical hyperbole and were not actionable as defamation. Fox News hailed the dismissal as a victory for the First Amendment.
How much is Karen McDougal’s net worth?
Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, has accumulated a net worth of $2 million through her successful career in modeling and acting. Her modeling career has been quite extensive, and she has earned a significant amount of money from her work in this industry. Her fees for modeling on the cover and in magazines are quite high, which has helped her in increasing her net worth. Apart from modeling, Karen has also earned a good amount of money through her acting career. She charges a substantial amount of money for commercial and acting work, which has added to her net worth. With her talent and beauty, she is making thousands of dollars every year through her acting career. She has appeared in the print ads for the following brands: Patrón Tequila (1999-2000) and Corona Beer (2003).
Over the years, Karen McDougal’s net worth has grown significantly. In 2018, her net worth was $1.5 million, which increased to $2 million in 2023. This indicates that she has been able to increase her earnings every year through her hard work and dedication in the modeling and acting industry. She has proven to be a successful model and actress, which has helped her to grow her net worth consistently over the years.
Who is Karen McDougal’s husband?
Karen McDougal is currently assumed to be single and unmarried. So, she does have a husband as of now. She has not been dating anyone recently and is leading a happy and peaceful life without any disruptions. In the past, she has been known to have had romantic relationships with some well-known personalities. One of them was R.J. Williams, an American actor, with whom she was romantically involved for a while. However, the relationship did not last, and they eventually parted ways. Karen also briefly dated Bruce Willis in 2007, but their relationship ended after a few months.
Although she has not made any public statements about her current personal life, it seems that she is content with her single life and is enjoying her independence. She is fully focused on her career rather than being in a relationship. As of 2007, Karen McDougal resided in Los Angeles and Phoenix, Arizona. She divides her time between her two residences in Los Angeles and Arizona in the United States.
Karen McDougal’s Affair with Donald Trump
Karen McDougal allegedly had an affair with Donald Trump from 2006 to 2007, while he was married to Melania Trump. The news of her alleged affair with him sparked various controversies during the 2016 United States presidential election. The Wall Street Journal reported in November 2016 that AMI, the owner of the National Enquirer, had paid McDougal $150,000 for exclusive rights to her story, but never published it. McDougal later met with investigative reporters from ABC News, which prompted AMI to offer to buy the rights to McDougal’s story for $150,000 on August 5, 2016. In February 2018, The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow wrote about the affair and AMI’s purchase of the story, largely corroborating the 2016 Wall Street Journal report, except that the affair had gone on for nine months. McDougal declined to discuss details of the alleged affair due to her agreement with AMI but she told Farrow that she regretted signing that agreement. In March 2018, McDougal filed a lawsuit against AMI, aiming to invalidate the non-disclosure agreement. On April 19, 2018, AMI settled with McDougal, which allowed her to speak about the alleged affair. In July 2018, The New York Times reported that two months before the 2016 presidential election, Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, had secretly recorded a conversation between him and Trump regarding paying McDougal. Cohen pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance laws, admitting to paying hush money of $130,000 and $150,000 “at the direction of a candidate for federal office” to two women who alleged affairs with that candidate.
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How tall is Karen McDougal?
Karen McDougal possesses a stunning hourglass figure and stands tall at 5 feet 8 inches (1.73 m). She weighs approximately 57 kg (125.5 lbs) and has a body measurement of 36-24-35 inches. Additionally, she has alluring blue eyes and blonde hair, with a shoe size of 7.5 US and a bra size of 34C. Her unique features include a straddle split and her striking blue eyes. Karen is passionate about fitness and adheres to a strict workout regimen and clean diet. She goes to the gym 5 to 6 days a week and concentrates primarily on strength training, incorporating some cardio exercises into her routine.
Karen McDougal has two tattoos: one of a cat on the second toe of her right foot, in honor of her cats, and the other of a cross behind her right ear, as a reminder of her spirituality. She is an advocate of breast cancer awareness due to her family’s history of the disease. Karen underwent a breast augmentation procedure but later had her implants removed after experiencing health issues, including vision loss, blackouts, and severe migraines for around a year.