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Commercial? Yes
Type of site
softcore pin-up photos
Registration Yes
Owner Sean Suhl and Selena Mooney[1]
Launched September 3, 2001
Alexa rank
24,182 (April 2014)[2]

SuicideGirls is a website that features pin-up photography and profiles of alternative female models who are known as the "Suicide Girls". The site functions as an online community with member profiles, member blogs, and the option to join networking groups based upon interests. SuicideGirls also features interviews with people from popular and alternative culture, user-submitted news articles, and an online merchandise store. Access to most of the site requires a paid membership.


The SuicideGirls website and concept were created by the founding partners of parent company SG Services, Inc., Sean Suhl ("Sean") and Selena Mooney ("Missy Suicide") in late 2001, and based in Portland, Oregon.[1] In 2003, the site operations moved to Los Angeles, California. Suhl and Mooney started the site "just to see hot punk rock girls naked." Mooney has also stated that the purpose of the site is to give women control over how their sexuality is depicted. The site is privately co-owned.[3][4]

According to Missy, the term "suicide girl" comes from Chuck Palahniuk's novel Survivor (1999): "It's the same with these suicide girls calling me up."[5]

Website features[edit]

The website features a community created around the pin-up photos of the Suicide Girls. The members and the models all have the option to have a profile, keep journals, upload their own photos and videos, and join public and private groups. The site also features interviews conducted by members and a merchandise shop.


"Irenella", one of the many tattooed and pierced SuicideGirls models in a photograph from the site

The images are collected into "photosets" that contain 40–60 images that take place in the same setting or theme. Each day the site features one "Set of the Day" on the front page. As of March 2015 there were nearly 6.5 million images live on the site. The photographs are intended both as an homage to classic pin-up art and a portrayal of alternative images of beauty. The models create the theme of each of their photosets, and each is designed to showcase how each girl feels most beautiful about themselves.

Actress Paget Brewster has photographed models for the site,[6] as have guitarist Dave Navarro and singer Mike Doughty.[7]

Media coverage and spinoffs[edit]

Sam Doumit signing the Suicide Girls mag/book at San Diego ComicCon 2007.


DVDs have been produced under the name SuicideGirls. SuicideGirls: The First Tour released on August 30, 2005 by Epitaph records and SuicideGirls: The Italian Villa released on October 24, 2006. Both were directed by Mike Marshall. The films aired on the US Cable network Showtime in regular rotations beginning in October 2005 and November 2006 respectively. SuicideGirls: The First Tour chronicles the lives of 10 performers on the first North American Burlesque Tour produced by SuicideGirls, while SuicideGirls: The Italian Villa features interviews and photo shoots of 15 girls from European countries. SuicideGirls: Guide to Living was released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 16, 2010, and featured many SuicideGirls putting various erotic twists on otherwise everyday activities.

The horror film Suicide Girls Must Die!, directed by Sawa Suicide, was released in select theaters on March 12, 2010.[8] The film was released as video on demand on July 16, 2010.[9]


In May 2013, Suicide Girls came to an agreement with Akaneiro: Demon Hunters game developer Spicy Horse to use likenesses of their models in a freemium browser title called BigHead BASH. Players can purchase premium content for 220 in-game tokens each, to unlock 5 characters in total. The models featured are: Bob, Gogo, Milloux, Venom and Radeo.

Burlesque tour[edit]

The SuicideGirls also do burlesque tours, since 2003.[10]


SuicideGirls have published four books.

  • SuicideGirls (2004, Feral House)
  • SuicideGirls: Beauty Redefined (2008, Ammo Books)
  • SuicideGirls: Hard Girls, Soft Light (2013)
  • SuicideGirls: Geekology (2014)

Comic books[edit]

Devil's Due Publishing featured SuicideGirls in Hack/Slash: Annual Vol. 1 in 2008.

IDW Publishing published a four-issue SuicideGirls mini-series in 2011. This mini-series features pin-up drawings from actual SuicideGirls by Cameron Stewart as well as a historic story written by Steve Niles. Shortly after a German addition on the combined mini-series was released.


SuicideGirls has published three issues of its magazine. The magazine was published by Aaron Sigmond.


Image removal[edit]

In September 2005, SuicideGirls announced[11] that it had removed a large number of images from its pages, in an effort to collaborate with the U.S. Justice Department standards at the time. The images involved depicted bondage, weapons, or simulated blood. The Justice Department indicated that images of that type might be the subject of obscenity prosecutions. Although SuicideGirls was not mentioned as a target, they removed the images until the furor passed. In January 2007, the images were made visible again.


In 2005, a number of the paid models were reported to have resigned from the site or had their memberships revoked in connection with allegations of censorship and mistreatment of the models by the site's owners.[12] Numerous members have reported that their journals and message board posts were removed because of bullying other members. This practice of deleting either objectionable content, disagreeable content, or membership altogether is referred to by Suicide Girls staffers as "zotting" and is implemented by the site's owners in the event that members are slanderous or abusive to other members.

Exclusivity agreement and lawsuits[edit]

A primary issue is the SuicideGirls modeling contract, which prevents its models (including past models, for a time) from working for competing sites or agencies (specifically those dealing in nude photography or erotica).[13] In response to this, the SuicideGirls website states that only models "who have chosen to be involved in special projects" sign an exclusivity agreement in addition to their standard modeling contract barring them from working with direct competitors for a certain amount of time.[3] However, the standard modeling agreement for SuicideGirls includes a "Non-Competition" clause, barring any model that signs it from modeling for an "SG Competitor" during the one or more years in which the model is under contract with SuicideGirls, plus an additional two years.[14] Many models, however, have received many mainstream modeling jobs from the exposure gained through SuicideGirls.[15]

Many of the former models involved in the 2005 dispute are now involved with the competing sites GodsGirls and Deviant Nation. Deviant Nation was sued in civil court by SuicideGirls. Gods Girls have been sued by SuicideGirls LLC for hiring models who were allegedly still under contract with SuicideGirls and for allegedly violating SuicideGirls trademarks. Several former models were also threatened with legal action.[16][17] In November 2006, SuicideGirls fired one of their main photographers, Philip Warner, (aka Lithium Picnic), for acting as the primary photographer for the website of former SuicideGirl Apnea. The termination was followed in February 2007 by a lawsuit by SuicideGirls against Warner.[18][19][20] According to a press release by Warner and Apnea, as of February 2007, none of SuicideGirls LLC's lawsuits or threatened actions against former models or competing sites has resulted in a victory for the plaintiff, however, the legal expenses in the lawsuits have been costly and time consuming for the defendants.[18] In June 2008, Lithium Picnic and Apnea issued a press release stating "We all sat down together and worked out an agreement that is really fair to everyone... We want to make it clear that we 100% have no hostilities towards SuicideGirls in any way anymore, we all came to a really fair agreement over this dispute, and there were no bad people here, just mistakes and misunderstandings."[21]

Controversy regarding ownership[edit]

Critics have also charged that SuicideGirls has dishonestly claimed to be a women-owned and women-operated business, when it is actually owned by Sean Suhl, who is listed as Company President. According to the Oregon state corporate registry, Sean Suhl is the only authorized representative listed for the company.[22] The "women-owned and women-operated" statement was also repeated in the CSI: NY episode.

The DVD, SuicideGirls: The First Tour, implies ownership, creation, and control by Missy Suicide.[citation needed] No mention of Sean Suhl appears.

Criticism by models[edit]

A number of former models accuse SuicideGirls of failing to remain true to their signature feminist-friendly marketing. Many models, initially lured by suggestions of alternative sexual expression, are now concerned by what they consider contradictions to the professed ideas of empowerment.[23]

In a feature piece released in 2005, the alternative weekly The Boston Phoenix reported on former models' dissatisfaction with company practices. Models interviewed referred to SuicideGirls president Sean Suhl as "verbally abusive" and an "active misogynist", and described the website as a "slap in the face to feminism".[24]

In a transcript of a SuicideGirls hearing with rival site Godsgirls, Suhl's attorney refers to models facing inconvenience in attending a postponed audit as not "Nobel peace prize-traveling women from around the world" but rather "strippers and nude models." To this he adds, "Not being prejudiced. Just being honest".[25]

Other allegations surrounding the SuicideGirls' administration have appeared in a number of established publications, including New York Press and Wired magazine.[26]

According to statistics released by the website, in July 2005 one model left, followed by 11 in August, 25 in September, and 11 in October. According to former models interviewed in a feature piece by Silicon Valley's magazine Metro Active, this was, in their opinion, due to the general homogenization of the site, "a process that alternative subcultures are unfortunately used to".[27]

Job loss[edit]

Olivia Black, a recent addition to the crew of Las Vegas' Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, and thus the History Channel TV series Pawn Stars, was fired from the show on December 19, 2012 when her previous background as a SuicideGirl was revealed. She was, however, not fired from the shop and still works there, albeit off camera.[28][29]


  1. ^ a b Koht, Peter. "Obscene But Not Heard", Metroactive, January 4, 2006
  2. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  3. ^ a b SuicideGirls. "The Trash Can". Retrieved 2007-01-14. 
  4. ^ "About SuicideGirls",
  5. ^ Missy Suicide: SuicideGirls Feral House, 2004 ISBN 1-932595-03-1 S. 8
  6. ^ Tucker, Ken (2006-11-17). "Paget Brewster". Entertainment Weekly. 
  7. ^ "Pictures of hot pinup girls, naked gothic girls, pics of sexy emo girls, nude punk rock women". Suicide Girls. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  8. ^ Suicide Girls Must Die! in Theaters on March 12th
  9. ^ Suicide Girls Must Die on VOD
  10. ^ "Suicide Girls’ Blackheart Burlesque Tour Returned to LA for Another Bangerz Night Out!". 2014-12-06. Retrieved 2014-12-06. 
  11. ^ SuicideGirls. "SG Removing Pictures, You Can Thank Bush". Retrieved 2007-01-14. 
  12. ^ "SuicideGirls Gone AWOL" by Randy Dotinga, Wired September 28, 2005.
  13. ^ "Suicide Defense" by Ian Demsky, Willamette Week, January 11, 2006.
  14. ^ SuicideGirls. "Model_Agreement" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-01-14. 
  15. ^ SuicideGirls. "model testimonial". Retrieved 2007-04-19. 
  16. ^ Willamette Week Online. "Suicide Defense". Retrieved 2007-01-14. 
  17. ^ "Suicide Girls Gone Mad" by Esther Haynes, Jane
  18. ^ a b "Lithium Picnic Legal Fund" by Apneatic, Lithium Picnic LiveJournal Community, February 13, 2007.
  19. ^ "SuicideGirls vs. Lithium Picnic", Fleshbot, February 16, 2007.
  20. ^ "SuicideGirls Sues Lithium Picnic Photographer Philip Warner" by Justin Bourne, AVN Online, June 15, 2007.
  21. ^ "LITHIUM PICNIC studio". Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  22. ^ "Business Registry Business Name Search".
  23. ^ Suicide Girls' exodus – The F-Word
  24. ^ Fulton, Deidre. "SuicideGirls revolt: Close to 40 of the punk-rock-porn models walk off the site The Boston Phoenix (October 7–13, 2005)
  25. ^[dead link]
  26. ^ Randy Dotinga. "SuicideGirls Gone AWOL". Retrieved 2013-06-23. 
  27. ^ Koht, Peter. "Obscene But Not Heard" MetroActive (January 24, 2006)
  28. ^ "'Pawn Stars' shop girl Olivia Black fired after her porn site past is revealed". Fox News. December 20, 2012.
  29. ^ "Olivia Black: 'Pawn Stars' Reality Starlet Fired For Nude Photos From Her Past As A Porn Star". International Business Times. December 20, 2012.

External links[edit]