Taylor Corley (left) and a friend at a Mississippi State event.
When it came out that Atlanta native Taylor Corley had posed in Playboy before becoming a Mississippi State cheerleader, the freshman suddenly started getting a lot of attention in Starkville and online. SB Nation Atlanta's Steven Godfrey talked with her about the controversy.
At the moment, Mississippi State University freshman Taylor Corley has 582 unanswered, unviewed friend requests on Facebook.
"Those are just the ones I haven't looked at yet. They're usually normal-looking guys who are a little older than me, but I get the occasional old man, and a lot of girls. It's widespread," Corley said.
It's highly likely that those 582 future Internet "friends" aren't exactly looking for Corley, a 19-year-old nursing major from John's Creek, Ga., and a member of the Mississippi State cheerleading squad, but for Taylor Stone, the alias Corley used in March of last year when she posed for Playboy.
"Me and my best friend from back home found out about the casting call in Atlanta. We were bored one day, so we said, ‘Hey, let's go and try it.' It was a joke, I didn't think anything of it."
Playboy clearly did, as representatives called Corley immediately after the Atlanta casting call and offered to fly her to Chicago to pose for a special edition. Corley would end up featured in four different Playboy special edition magazines, including the cover of the November 2010 edition of "Playboy's Nudes."
But in the time between Corley's shoot and the actual publication of the pictures, the lifelong cheerleader accepted a scholarship offer from Mississippi State.
"The entire reason why I came here [Mississippi State] was for cheerleading. I was on an All-Star squad in Atlanta, and they recruited me from my gym," Corley said.
Corley admits that she did not inform her recruiters about Playboy, and her fellow cheerleaders didn't know when she joined the squad this past fall.
"The Playboy thing had already happened, then I found out I was going to come to State. The entire process, the audition and going to Chicago happened before I realized I was coming to State," Corley said.
Certainly the adjustment to Starkville, Miss., and the Mississippi State University campus would be an adjustment for any freshman hailing from a major metro area, but Corley's transition has been compounded by attention from her Playboy shoot.
"This is a very conservative place. I grew up in a big city where everything kind of flies," Corley said.
"It was a huge culture shock. I didn't realize Starkville was this small. Everyone knows everything about everyone here. I came from a huge city, I was just in a completely different world, it was a very big change for me."
Corley, at the advice of Playboy officials, used the alias "Taylor Stone," but began receiving unsolicited emails and Facebook messages in November after she appeared on the cover of "Nudes."
"I didn't think people were going to find out, because I didn't think I was going to end up on the cover. I didn't think it would end up being all over campus.
Most of the negative comments about Corley have been posted online, but not sent directly to her, she said.
"Of course some girls are bitchy and they think I might be trashy for posing, but most of the girls here who are saying that have never even met me."
"My family supported my decision," said Corley, who said she notified her mother before she attended the Atlanta casting call and before she accepted the offer to pose.
"My mom and I talked about, and she told me, ‘This is going to stay with you, in your future.' I realized going into this, it's Playboy, that people are going to label me as the ‘girl from Playboy.' But I don't regret it at all ... I would do it again."
But could Corley do it again? On Tuesday Mississippi State vice president of student affairs Dr. Bill Kibler released a statement saying that the university did not pursue action because the photos were taken before Corley was a student or a cheerleader at MSU.
"The university did not pursue any action when this came to our attention last fall," Kibler said in the statement.
"If I was going to do something else, I would have to notify our spirit coordinator, and I would not be able to affiliate MSU with Playboy, and I would not be able to do that as a cheerleader."
Corley did acknowledge her detractors, who say that cheerleaders are public representatives of a university and that Corley should be removed from the MSU squad, regardless of the timeline of her shoot.
"Honestly, I don't really know how to answer that question. I understand that people aren't going to agree with what I've done, but that's my personal life. I love cheering, I've had a great experience here doing that."
Corley said she does not plan on staying enrolled at Mississippi State for four years of undergraduate studies, and might consider studying broadcasting.
"It really has nothing to do with this, I just have other plans, and this is... being here is not one of them. I do like Starkville, and cheer has been amazing. I love it, but I will not be here all four years," said Corley.