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A centerfold spread from a 1962 issue of the physique magazine Champ, showing a male model in a posing strap. In this example, the reader would be required to rotate the magazine to view the photo properly.
"Torpedoes in His Path: Can he, with that load, get through without exploding them?" U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes carries a cabinet on his back, containing Vice President William Wheeler, Secretary of the Treasury John Sherman, and Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz. In the background are James G. Blaine, John Logan, Abram Hewitt and others. Published in Puck Magazine: Centerfold; Vol. 1 No. 1, March 14, 1877

The centerfold or centrefold of a magazine is the inner pages of the middle sheet, usually containing a portrait, such as a pin-up or a nude. The term can also refer to the model featured in the portrait.[1] In saddle-stitched magazines (as opposed to those that are perfect-bound), the centerfold does not have any blank space cutting through the image.

The term was coined by Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine.[2] The success of the 1953 first issue of Playboy has been attributed in large part to its centerfold: a nude of Marilyn Monroe.[3] The advent of monthly centerfolds gave the pin-up a new respectability and helped to sanitize the notion of "sexiness".[4] Being featured as a centerfold could lead to film roles for models, and still occasionally does today.[4]

Early on, Hefner required Playboy centerfolds to be portrayed precisely, telling photographers in a 1956 memo that the "model must be in a natural setting engaged in some activity 'like reading, writing, mixing a drink'...[and]... should have a 'healthy, intelligent, American look—a young lady that looks like she might be a very efficient secretary or an undergrad at Vassar.'"[5] Hefner later said that the ideal centerfold is one in which "a situation is suggested, the presence of someone not in the picture"; the goal was to transform "a straight pinup into an intimate interlude, something personal and special."[5]

Some magazines later adopted the practice of having a centerfold with three or even four-folds, using a longer sheet of paper at that spot and folding the extra length into the magazine. Racier adult magazines used this space to showcase more explicit imagery: "In order to represent breasts, genitals, anus, and face all within the tri-fold frame of the centerfold, models were propped up, legs spread, raised, and then jack-knifed against their bodies, arms plunged between them to spread the labia."[6]

Though the term has become linked in the public consciousness with erotic material or models, many other magazines such as Life, Time and National Geographic have published fold-out spreads on other subjects.


Some magazines will refer to their centerfold models with a specific name, which may be connected to the magazine's brand or theme.
When obtained from one of the more prestigious publications in the field, it can become a semi-formal personal title used in news articles and introductions long after the model's centerfold appearance.[7][8]

Publication Centerfold
Blueboy Man of the Month/Year[9]
Cheri Tart of the Month/Supertart[10]
Duke Duchess[11]
Gallery Girl Next Door[12]
Genesis Playgirls (double centerfold, discontinued)[13]
High Society Society's Child (abandoned name)[14]
Hustler Honey[15]
Knave Maid of the Month[16]
Lui La Fille du Mois[17]
Mandate The Mandate Man (abandoned name)[18]
Mayfair Girl of the Month[19]
Men Only Men Only Girl/Miss (abandoned name)[20]
Penthouse Pet
Playboy Playmate
Playgirl Man of the Month/Year
Playmen La Ragazza del Mese[21]

Some online-only media outlets maintain a monthly designation reminiscent of a print magazine centerfold; for example, the Twistys Treat.[22]

Center spread[edit]

As a layout device, a centerfold is closely related to a center spread, a pictorial spanning the two center pages of a magazine or other publication, taking advantage of the fact that these are printed on a single sheet of paper.[23]


  1. ^ "Centerfold". Merriam-Webster.
  2. ^ "Hugh Hefner Profile". People in the News. CNN. Retrieved July 21, 2008.
  3. ^ "The Playboy FAQ: The First Issue". World of Playboy. Playboy. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ a b Slade, Joseph W. (2001). Pornography and sexual representation: a reference guide. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 581. ISBN 0-313-31520-5.
  5. ^ a b "Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story". n+1. January 13, 2009. Retrieved January 24, 2009.
  6. ^ Kelly Dennis, Art/porn: a history of seeing and touching, Page 97, 2009, ISBN 1847880673
  7. ^ Jordan, Candace (April 10, 2015). "Playboy's Hugh Hefner turns 89: A Grateful Playmate Reminisces". Chicago Tribune Media Group. Archived from the original on December 26, 2015. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  8. ^ Cheung, Kevin (October 6, 2000). "Fresh Digital". The Age. Melbourne, Australia: Fairfax Media. p. 95. Based on the comic book series by Ninja Turtles creators Laird and Eastman (and starring Penthouse Pet Julie Strain), Heavy Metal FAKK 2 is an adventure that offers enough high-tech violence and brazen sexual innuendo to put Lara Croft to shame.
  9. ^ "Vote For The Best Man". Blueboy. Miami, FL. January–February 1979. Each man has appeared in a centerfold spread during the past year, and now it's Readers' Choice as to which one will be the Blueboy Man Of The Year and win $5000!
  10. ^ "Solid Gold Supertart Diane Bentley". Cheri. New York, NY. January 1984.
  11. ^ Davis, Elroy (June 1957). "Duchess Of The Month". Duke. Vol. 1, no. 1. Duke Publishing Co. p. 33.
  12. ^ "Girl Next Door of the Month". Gallery. Vol. 30, no. 8. Montcalm Publishing Corporation. August 2002. p. 30.
  13. ^ "The Playgirls". Genesis. Vol. 3, no. 11. Genesis Publications. June 1976. p. 49.
  14. ^ "Society's Child Sandy". High Society. New York, NY: Drake Publishers. December 1983. p. 40.
  15. ^ Ward, Robert (2012). Renegades: My Wild Trip from Professor to New Journalist with Outrageous Visits from Clint Eastwood, Reggie Jackson, Larry Flynt, and other American Icons. F+W Media. p. 130. ISBN 978-1-4405-3314-3.
  16. ^ "Brigitte Lahaie Maid of the Month". Knave. Vol. 11, no. 5. London: Knave Publications, Inc. Ltd. May 1979.
  17. ^ "La Fille du Mois". Lui Web SARL. Archived from the original on April 5, 2016. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  18. ^ Mandate Calendar 1981, Mavety Media, 1980, A Mandate Man for every month
  19. ^ "Jamie-Lee Girl of the Month". Mayfair. Vol. 28, no. 4. London: Paul Raymond Publications. April 1993. p. 50.
  20. ^ "Men Only Girl: Miss Arabella Hart". Men Only. Vol. 40, no. 1. London: Paul Raymond Publications. 1975.
  21. ^ "Françoise La Ragazza del Mese". Playmen. Rome, Italy: Tattilo Editrice S.p.A. August 1969.
  22. ^ "Treat of the Month". LemmeCheck Adult Network. August 1, 2005. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  23. ^ "Center spread". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Merriam Webster. Retrieved January 18, 2024.