MJF alum Nicole Theodore helps to push Playboy’s progressive, feminist edge

Written by Frannie Comstock, CAS communications intern

You wouldn't expect working for Playboy and being a feminist to go together, but somehow, Nicole Theodore makes it work.

photo of Nicole TheodoreTheodore is currently an associate editor at Playboy Enterprises. A proud feminist and 2014 Miami alum with degrees in journalism and psychology, she has written pieces for Playboy's online magazine, such as "Where to Shop for Female-Founded Businesses to Support 'A Day Without Women'" and "Even If We Intervene, Fake News Has Obliterated Our Sense of Sympathy." She has also been featured in the early 2017 article, "10 Feminists on Why They Work for Playboy."

Surprisingly, for someone with such resolute viewpoints, Theodore didn't enter Miami with a solid path in mind — she actually started as a pre-med major.

"It's kinda funny — I actually wrote about this in The Miami Student my fifth year, how failing at pre-med at Miami really led me to pursue my passion of journalism," said Theodore. "I did a little bit of everything — I always knew I loved journalism, but I just didn't know what type. I always had all these interests in things like fashion magazines, but there was also this side of me that loved news and reporting."

Theodore dipped her toes in virtually every aspect of undergraduate journalism one can experience at Miami. Working at The Miami Student, UP Fashion Magazine, and Miami Quarterly, she was a journalistic triple-threat.

"One of my favorite things about Miami is the amount of groups and organizations you can join, which really goes hand in hand with what you're learning in classes," she said.

Theodore added she wouldn't be the journalist she is today without Miami's student publications. "They let me try new things, they let me mess up, they gave me bylines that got me internships. It was just really valuable skill sets that I honestly still use today in my job."

In addition to her work at student publications, Theodore also participated in the Kosovo Summer Program, an 8-week study abroad course that allows students not only to take classes, but also to intern at local newspapers to get hands-on journalistic experience.

MJF instructor Ed Arnone, who heads the Kosovo program, said that Theodore was the strongest student in her group that year.

"She's the kind of student who you always hope to have," he said, adding that Theodore wrote several impressive articles, including a profile on a female beekeeper that touched on women’s rights issues in the southeastern European republic.

Theodore has certainly continued to champion and create feminist media. She is proud to work at Playboy, stressing that her employer is much more progressive than some might give it credit for.

"When we did [the "10 Feminists"] piece, there were a lot of comments like 'stick to boobs, stick to nudes,'" said Theodore. "It's funny, because these are people saying this about one of the most liberal publications. I mean, this is a publication that was publishing Martin Luther King Jr., a full interview, 2000 words, in the 60s! This was a publication that was publishing feminist essays, publishing stories about marijuana, and pushing the boundaries of sex."

Theodore is living proof that sometimes it just takes a little bit of time to figure out your calling. Her advice to current students? "Sometimes you're going to mess up, but it can lead to things more fruitful and successful than you thought."