Patti Davis: My Body, Then and Now

When Patti Davis posed nude for Playboy in 1994, she was twice as old as the typical Playmate. Now 58, she’s posing for us—and telling the naked truth about her motives

By Patti Davis
patti davis naked image more
Patti Davis bares all to prove a fitness regimen works at any age.
Photograph: Eric Ray Davidson

Despite all the criticism I got, which was plenty, I’m still proud of that shoot. At 42, I was older than the typical Playboy fantasy woman, but the photos showed that my own years-long fantasy had become a reality. And I had made that happen.

WORKING out has remained a priority for me. It’s as natural as washing my face or brushing my teeth. My body is the house I live in, and I’ve never stopped trying to make it better. I don’t understand the common attitude that after 40, you might as well just accept that your body is going to sag and fold and expand in unflattering ways. Really? Our muscles are actually pretty democratic; if we work them, they’ll respond. I also don’t understand the attitude that who you are on the inside is all that matters. Obviously our interior landscape is profoundly important, but we are integrated beings; we don’t have to make a choice between interior and exterior. One has a lot to do with the other.

I recently turned 58. My kickboxing teacher, who has known me for almost 20 years, recently commented, sort of in passing, that my body is in better shape now than when I posed for Playboy. I heard him, but I was concentrating on my spin kicks, so I put it on the back burner of my mind. That night, I stood in front of the mirror and thought, He’s right. My muscles are leaner, longer, more defined now, and I felt again a sense of victory over the years of abuse I’d subjected myself to, and also over the huge amount of time I’d wasted on addiction. With every workout, I feel as if I’m winning back lost time.

Of course, there isn’t a gym in the universe that can completely stop the clock. Time has etched itself on my body in ways that I dislike. The texture of my skin is different; I can detect a bit of crinkliness here and there. And I’m quite upset with my elbows. If you took a close-up photo of them, you’d think, Wow, very old person. There is actually a plastic surgery procedure for tightening the skin on the elbows, but that seems a bit excessive to me, not to mention costly.

Speaking of plastic surgery, let me answer the question that inevitably comes up: I have had nothing surgical done below the neck, but I did have a face-lift at 50. And frankly, the minute something in that zone starts drooping, I’m going to have it hoisted back up. There is just no reason to not like your face in the mirror. You see it first thing in the morning, and brushing your teeth in the dark is silly.

There is another quote of Jeanette Winterson’s that I like: “What you risk reveals what you value.”

I risked everything in my teens and twenties. I risked my health and even my life. I got both back through determination and hard work. I’ve now learned to respect time as the precious commodity that it is, and I’ve learned to respect my body. I’ve learned to stand in front of the mirror and look at the strength reflected there—the hours of training, the miles of running, the years of distance between the strong woman I am now and the wasted girl I once was. We do, after all, have a relationship with ourselves in the mirror.

It’s sometimes a delicate dance for all of us. Most of the time, though, I get it right… as long as I don’t focus on my elbows.

Patti Davis is the author of eight books, including The Long Goodbye and The Lives Our Mothers Leave Us, as well as numerous magazine articles. She lives in Los Angeles.

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First Published May 17, 2011

Share Your Thoughts!


stefan Geroge08.23.2011

She looks awesome! We should all be so lucky to look like that at almost 60...!...M­ost women with negative comments are just jealous! We came into this world naked. There's nothing wrong with the naked human body. It's a beautiful thing.. You go girl...Sho­w it all.....

stefan Geroge08.23.2011

She looks awesome! We should all be so lucky to look like that at almost 60...!...M­ost women with negative comments are just jealous! We came into this world naked. There's nothing wrong with the naked human body. It's a beautiful thing.. You go girl...Sho­w it all.....

oclocal 06.23.2011

Wow! I honestly think this is one of the best articles I've ever read in MORE. Thank you for publishing such an inspiring story!


What an inspiration! Like Patti, I spent my late teens and early twenties trying to kill myself with anorexia, and now, in my (late!) 40s I am really starting to put positive effort into my body (and soul) through healthy lifestyle and, particularly, working out. I am actually starting to like what I see - and I realize what a life accomplishment that is for me. Keep going, Patti; I hope I am where you are when I get to 58 - and I can't wait to find out!

Dan Riley06.05.2011

D Bond06.01.2011

OK article; OK Pic.
Nice quote and hopefully if you've read it and/or have book around (or maybe a good copy editor) we'd confirm that it's Jeanette, the most wonderful English writer of eons...

Stella 05.25.2011

Many would like to be able to do the same, few would dare!

Thomas Hofer05.23.2011

For her age, Patti looks absolutely great. And you can tell she is no prude.

Edward Bland05.23.2011

Patti looks damn sexy for 58. I made a photocopy of Patti naked body for my friend; he's married but also agreed Patti still looks attractive at 58. Just wished more women take of their bodies. I wonder is Patti Davis looking for a younger playmate for some fun on a regular basis? If so, tell her to come to New Brunswick NJ. I hope Patti runs for policital office.


First of all, she looks amazing. Her butt is nicer than 3/4 of the 25 year olds. I love hot older woman. I would love to Tap her right now. I hope she does some videos like MILF hunter etc. I just wacked to her ten times!

Hans Hildebrand05.22.2011

I think Patti looks great! I am a 61 year old retired musician and stay young by seeing great looking women like Patti! Thanks for a great website.

Lisa Burton05.22.2011

I find it somewhat amusing that 90% of the comments are positive, then you find the "player haters" dispersed hither and yon throughout the comments. My father used to say, "If you can't say anything nice, keep it to yourself, can it or just plain shut it..." Who cares if she screwed her way up the ladder? She made it to the top, didn't she? And as far as Nancy Reagan is concerned, former First Lady will be 90 years old on July 6th (Happy Birthday! You GO girl!), and I'm sure she's "seen it all" (no pun intended!). I'm sure she loves and respects Patti for her heart, accomplishments AND THE BRAINS SHE USED TO GET HER TO THE TOP.
As far as Ms. Davis doing it for "shock value", maybe they would be shocked in a country like Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, but here in the United States?? Are you freaking kidding me right now? I hardly find a beautiful derriere "shocking"; and at first glance of the article you already know what it's about, as the title is pretty self explanatory: "Patti Davis: My Body, Then and Now". So, Freak boy, you knew what it was about, yet you looked and read on anyways THEN decided to disapprove...? Another fine quality in America: FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. I agree with the rest in it being a great story, and, more to the point the photo being very tastefully done! To the spinsters I say, "don't player hate, PARTICIPATE"! BRAVO to you Ms. Davis for being such a great inspiration; it clearly lets people know that they shouldn't be afraid of who they are and that they should EMBRACE IT.
And, to all of you I say, "Have a beautiful day, beautiful YOU!" xox

Riley Powell05.21.2011

Dolly Gatti! No one saw stradlin' Madeline Albright naked??? All of the men who had a position to help her screw her way up the ladder saw her naked!

Dolly Gatti05.20.2011

Correction. Nancy Reagan's maiden name is Robbins. She is from the New Jersey Robbins family. After her mother divorced Mr. Robbins, she married Dr. Davis, and Nancy took her stepfathers name. Davis is not her biological name. Patti Davis (should be Robbins if she wanted to use a real family name) is just trying to shock people, basically her only talent. Couldnt she have waited for her Mother to pass on before she posed in the buff? Her mother is old and frail and now has to see this?? When will women realize they should be loved and respected for their brains, their heart and their accomplishments not their butt or their boobs? No one saw Mother Theresa naked and she was a much more outstanding lady than Patti. True for Madam Curie, Geraldine Ferraro, Madeline Albright. Women dont have to get naked to get respect. Patti is a sick puppy.

Alexandru Petru05.20.2011

Ok, now I wish I will have a wife that maintains her body like Patti!

Jamie Miles05.20.2011

You go girl!!!

Morgan Roberts05.20.2011

Ms. Davis is a beautiful and sexy woman. I recall her in Playboy and thought she was gorgeous then and age has certainly not diminished her appeal. Thank you Ms. Davis.

Linda spring05.20.2011

Great and beautiful picture. I like dating men who are younger than me.I prefer to the dating site:Cougarchats. C O M as It is totally free for women. I can send emails or chat younger men whom I am interested.

Pradeep Chandak05.20.2011

Guys, be real. Does it make your ... hair rise? She may be proud of posing 'nude' but it is more for the shock value. Pleaser spare us next time you get this 7 [or, 16] year itch.

doedill seven05.19.2011

that hair needs to be pulled back to show the full breast. otherwise, nothing great...

cheryl savage05.19.2011

It doesn't matter if she is Ronald Reagan's daughter. (He was an awesome president by the way)She is 58 frickin yrs old and she looks awesome. Wake up AMERICA! This is what you shoud look like at 20, 30, 40 or 50 but this country is Obese, not just overweight and out of shape...OBESE.Patti looks great and she deserves to have recognition for looking so great. Most 20 some year olds would envy this body! I am wondering why she doesen't use the Reagan name. She should be proud of her father and her body!

Great Story and Classy picture. Bravo Ms.Davis Bravo!!

Olivia 05.19.2011

I think it's great when anyone continues to improve upon who they are, and realize that this is a lifelong process. Some people cheat themselves out of continuing to moving forward, by convincing themselves that they are "old", rather than "older", and they stop growing. I'm fortunate that I don't look or feel my age, and so far have been blessed by not having to take perscription drugs for any reason; I'm praying that I never do. As soon as I drop 20 pounds, I'll feel like posing naked too. I stopped aging around 37, but my birth certificate says I'm almost 62! Our bodies are amazing, as long as we keep moving.

gs 05.19.2011

great body. good for you.
but you would not be in playboy or anywhere near unless your daddy.
go to hes grave one extra time ansd say a prayer for what you have got from him.

rand werbitt05.19.2011

Oh, come on. Let's can the yaya sisterhood prattle for a moment and just admit that this is a messed up woman. Be honest and stop praising every asinine thing a woman does instead of calling it "brave" and "ground breaking". Oh, puhleesse!

Ann Baird05.18.2011

No matter what flaws someone has, the most beautiful thing a woman can be is strong and self-assured. This story inspired me to continue with my workout plan even though I know I will never be perfect--at least I can be strong and healthy!

Susan Toepfer05.18.2011

I wouldn't worry about the elbows.

Daniela Jelaska05.18.2011

What an inspiring story. Thanks for sharing it with the More community, Patti!


I am in awe of someone who is so assured. I barely like to look in the mirror before I get in the shower. But reading this inspired me to learn to embrace my body (like my husband does!) at four months shy of 40. Bravo, Patti!

Nanette Varian05.18.2011

Good for you, Patti. You look mah-velous!

Very brave of her!

Happy Gilmore05.18.2011

A great piece about a strong woman being proud of herself and her body. Congrats.

Susan Avery05.18.2011

This is a great read. Very inspiring.

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