"It was December 2007, and 15 of Goldsboro, North Carolina's most respected businesswomen sat around a conference table, each of them naked from the waist up. "What?" photographer Vanessa Woodlock remembers saying when she was asked to take their semi nude pictures.
Goldsboro may not exactly be Mayberry, but it is a small Bible Belt city, and Andy Griffith himself did teach choir at the local high school after he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. So despite their purpose -- a calendar to benefit the local animal shelter that featured community leaders hiding their naughty bits behind their beloved pets -- these risque photos caused a bit of a stir.
When the Petals & Paws calendar debuted last May, 1,000 of the 3,000 copies were snapped up immediately. At press time the WCHS had grossed $25,500, with sales ongoing both locally and online at www.goldsboro-wchs.org. Along with other fund-raising efforts, the calendar has helped the humane society get three-quarters of the way to its $150,000 goal. The all-volunteer staff is still working to raise the rest of the money, but that didn't stop the new shelter from opening on August 16. Landscaped with crape myrtle trees and outfitted with spacious pens and brightly lit visiting rooms where potential owners can bond with pets, the new Wayne County Animal Adoption and Education Center is a far cry from the depressing pound it once was.
Though it's unlikely they'd ever have to pose half-nude again, you get the sense that the women of Goldsboro would do whatever is necessary to protect their four-legged friends. Said Barkley, who agreed to the project despite worries that her recent heart-surgery scar would show, "I'd have run naked in the streets to give a shelter animal one more day of life so someone could adopt him."
As a plus, most of the models were happy with their photos, and their husbands found the whole thing a hoot. "We probably sold 30 or 40 calendars to friends and relatives," says Bob Crenshaw, co-owner of the local health-food store, whose wife, Susan, is Miss October '09. "When people see the opening shot, where the girls are topless, they all say, 'I wish I'd been there!"
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