Holly Madison Claims Women Felt Pressure to Sleep with Hugh Hefner to Be Playmate of the Year

"I think a lot of people felt like they had to," Holly Madison says in PEOPLE's exclusive look at Secrets of Playboy

Holly Madison is opening up about the alleged pressures women at Playboy felt in order to become a candidate for the coveted Playmate of the Year title.

In PEOPLE's exclusive look at Secrets of Playboy, Madison claims some of the women believed they needed to be physically intimate with Playboy creator Hugh Hefner in order to nab the position.

"When I first arrived, it seemed like most of the women who were coming through and testing for Playmate felt like they had to sleep with him to get Playmate of the Year," says Madison, 42.

"Not every single one of them did. There were a few exceptions," she continues. "But I think a lot of people felt like they had to."

Elsewhere in the clip, former Director of Playmate Promotions Miki Garcia shares the perks to a woman earning the Playmate of the Year title.

"You got more fame, you got more money, you got more power," she says. "Who didn't want that?"

Holly Madison

Garcia, 75, then recalls her own experience vying for the widely desired role. Upon doing so, she backed up Madison's claims about the expectations of becoming Playmate of the Year.

"After they promised me Playmate of the Year, Marilyn called me and she said that Hefner wanted to meet me. I was worried," she admits. "I had been asked to go to the mansion. I avoided it. But I really had no more excuses, so I went with her. I was extremely nervous because I just simply knew that if I didn't go to bed with him, I wasn't going to get Playmate of the Year."

Adds Garcia, "I had that [feeling] in my gut. I wasn't for sure. I just thought if he asks and I say no, there goes that money out the door and everything I worked for, right? What a joke. It comes to that."

Secrets of Playboy premiered on A&E last month. The docuseries takes a closer look at the hidden realities behind the Playboy world, featuring archival footage and interviews with individuals with ties to it all.

Madison, for her part, was never technically a Playmate but she dated Hefner from 2001 to 2008. She also appeared on The Girls Next Door, which followed the daily lives of Hefner's girlfriends as they lived in the iconic Playboy Mansion.

Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner
J. Merritt/FilmMagic

Since leaving the mansion, Madison has been very vocal about her experience of living in the mansion and dating Hefner before his 2017 death — and she's continued to do so in A&E's new series.

Recently, Playboy condemned Hefner's alleged actions and declared its commitment to creating "positive change" under its current leadership. (The PLBY Group team is no longer associated with the Hefner family and now has more than 80 percent female on staff.)

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"First and foremost, we want to say: we trust and validate women and their stories, and we strongly support the individuals who have come forward to share their experiences," the statement read. "As a brand with sex positivity at its core, we believe safety, security and accountability are paramount, and anything less is inexcusable."

The company added, "Today's Playboy is not Hugh Hefner's Playboy."

Secrets of Playboy airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on A&E.

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