Liz Suman, Playboy
💭 Thoughts on the MetaMansion, imaginary worlds, and gifting Jai Paul silk pajamas.
Thought Enthusiast is an AdHoc Project where we chat with fascinating thought leaders across various facets of music, tech, and culture whose work we admire, simply asking “what’s on your mind?” and “why do you care?” 💭
Liz Suman is a writer, journalist and curator based in Los Angeles, by way of Seattle and New York. She currently leads editorial and Web3 projects for Playboy and is responsible for the visual and editorial storytelling for the brand’s art collections, partnerships and projects. She’s also the curator of Playboy's digital art collections, a founder of the Playboy Rabbitars project, and helped lead Playboy’s foray into the world of Web3 in mid-2021. Previously, Liz served as arts editor and co-executive editor for Playboy magazine. Aside from Playboy, Liz has spent a decade-plus as a journalist writing about art and culture for publications including The Daily Beast, Juxtapoz and The Discovery Channel. When Liz was a child, she never imagined she’d work in the adult industry, or create mythological metaverse worlds for rabbit characters.
🐰 The MetaMansion
At work, I’m creating a MetaMansion with The Sandbox. The MetaMansion is a virtual world inspired by the real Playboy Mansion, but reimagined through a fun, progressive, Web3 lens. Think: interactive quests inspired by Playboy history, avatars of iconic Playboy personalities and thought leaders, digital galleries inspired by Playboy’s art history and more.
The VIPs of the MetaMansion are the Playboy Rabbitars, which are a collection of digital rabbit characters inspired by famous Playboy art, iconography, photography, contributors and celebrities. The origin story for the Rabbitars and MetaMansion is inspired by a rumor that celebrity tunnels once existed beneath the Playboy Mansion. Once we connected the dots between “celebrity tunnels” and a warren for (virtual) rabbits, the rest of the story exploded.
The Mansion is obviously a provocative symbol; it’s been a cool challenge to reimagine and evolve such a singular piece of pop culture in a way that feels faithful to the best parts of the original Mansion while capturing the brand’s “pleasure-for-all ethos” of today. In addition to just creating a fun and relevant social and gaming experience, my ultimate goal has been for the art direction and storytelling to reflect the best parts of Playboy’s history and DNA–creative expression, freedom-of-speech, gender equality, sexual freedom, intellectual curiosity.
(Also, fun fact: I may or may not have written the mythology for the Rabbitars / MetaMansion while microdosing 🍄).
🏴☠️ Imaginary Worlds
There are usually common themes in my professional and personal lives; if I had to pick one for this moment, it’d be “Imaginary Worlds.” For example, I just spent a weekend in a Dolly Parton-themed cabin at the Hicksville Pines Bud & Breakfast in Idyllwild. I also recently acquired a movie theater popcorn machine, a pirate’s treasure chest and a very large lot of odd lamps from a Sony prop house liquidation auction. 💰👑💡
🎁 Gifting Jai Paul silk pajamas
I have a long, recently-revived love for Jai Paul. Both his music and his story are so unique. I recently had the chance to meet him at a show in L.A. (!!!). He rarely performs live, so the opportunity to experience his music and meet him IRL was really special. I brought him a pair of silk Playboy pajamas and was genuinely thrilled to learn of our shared affinity for dad jokes (i.e. my version of flirting).
👾 “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
There’s a really smart Oscar Wilde quote I love that captures how I try to approach my work and life: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” The way we use technology and consume content is inspiring. It’s also fragmented and aggressive and all-consuming. The reminder of the obvious fact that there is only one of me helps me cut through the noise and focus on bringing something original to the table.
⛺️ Camp Decrypt
In November I’m going to Yosemite for Camp Decrypt. It’s a small, immersive four-day “summer camp” for people making moves in tech, art and culture. There are loads of great events out there but the conference circuit can feel oversaturated and impersonal; I’m looking forward to spending QT with a small group of interesting people. I’m also really looking forward to sleeping in a tent!
🕹️ Retro games
Spending a lot of time in virtual worlds has made me crave analog and nostalgia. I don’t know if this counts as “content,” but I’ve been really into retro arcade games lately. We have Playboy-themed pinball machines at work and there’s a great dive bar in L.A. called Blipsy with a killer Ms. Pac-Man situation.
I think Nike’s Swoosh platform / community is a cool example of a brand innovating in a thoughtful (and thoughtfully branded) way, while staying faithful to its roots. I also love Cult Gaia and The Strategist - they’re obviously very different but they both leave me wanting more as a content / commerce consumer–more pen recs, more shell purses, just…more. To me that’s a sign of success regardless of what you’re selling or producing.
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