Classic Beauty Claire Sinclair Named Playmate of the Year

May 6 was a big night for pinup model Claire Sinclair – she was named Playboy magazine’s “Playmate Of The Year” for 2010, and celebrated at Moon Nightclub in the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Magazine boss Hugh Hefner and fiancee Crystal Harris were on hand to present the honor to Claire, along with $100,000 and a brand new Harley Davidson motorcycle.

The 19-year-old Los Angeles native’s look is a clear throwback to the early days of the magazine in the 1950s (which is fitting since her idol is classic pinup model Bettie Page). Hefner said Sinclair’s style reminded him of the popular 1950s pinup model, who was also Playboy Magazine’s Miss January cover model in 1955. ”What I love about Sinclair is that she has this wonderful, classic, pinup look about her, there’s a whole lot of Bettie Page going on here.”

TV audiences will be seeing a lot more of the model soon – she’s set to star in a new reality show on E! called “The Bunny House,” which is a spinoff of hit series “The Girls Next Door.” According to Playboy, her other ambition is to own a teen nightclub.

Reigning PMOY (and recent “Celebrity Apprentice” castoff) Hope Dworaczyk and 2008 PMOY Jayde Nicole were also at the party to help pass the torch.

For Sinclair, the idea of being named the 2011 Playmate of the Year is still a bit surreal. ”This is beyond any dream I could have imagined. Just 23 months ago, I was a high school student in East Los Angeles.”

The 52nd Playmate of the Year, whose real name is Clarissa Irene Riccio, has modeled since the age of 14. A Playboy pinup artist who painted a portrait of Sinclair introduced Sinclair to Hefner at the Playboy Mansion. Sinclair was eventually chosen as the cover girl for Playboy’s October 2010 issue.

She’s already taken full advantage of the exposure, appearing on reality television shows “The Girls Next Door” and “Holly’s World,” guest-starring in the MGM Grand’s “Crazy Horse” French cabaret show, and serving as the official spokesmodel for Bettie Page Clothing.

“I feel like when you’re Playmate of the Month, you have a month to strike,” said Sinclair. “This just extends it for a year and it’s just a blessing in itself.”

Unfortunately, the California native wasn’t old enough to officially celebrate at the nightclub she was honored at. As for Sinclair’s celebratory plans following her acceptance speech, they weren’t as exciting as one would imagine for a Playmate of the Year honoree.

“Tonight I’m going to go out to the movies with my friends because I’m under 21, so there’s not going to be any hardcore clubbing,” said Sinclair. “We’re just going to have a nice little gathering.”

As reported by and

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