Bare skin rug: Edmonton man loses Burt Reynolds wager, wins Movember

A naked Burt Reynolds, with a cigar precariously burning from the edge of his mustachioed smile, poses for the camera.

'I was mostly just shocked that somebody would be willing to take a picture of me in that light'

Pierce Brindza staged this recreation of Burt Reynolds' Cosmo centrefold to raise money for Movember. (Lindsey Locke)

A naked Burt Reynolds, with a cigar precariously burning from the edge of his moustachioed smile, poses for the camera.

In 1972, Cosmopolitan Magazine published the iconic image of the hairy heartthrob stretched out across a full three full pages of its centrefold.

The revealing image was a hit at the time, and it's having a similar effect for an Edmonton man with a certain resemblance to the Hollywood star.

Pierce Brindza has recreated the photograph to a tee, including a plush bear skin rug, thick mustache, complete nudity and a general lack of "manscaping."

Brindza, a 25-year-old sales associate, did it to give his Movember campaign a boost.

"I always thought that humour was the best way to reach people and I didn't want to have grown a moustache for nothing," Brindza said in an interview with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.

"It was just a random thing. Somebody had mentioned that my moustache looked like Burt Reynolds on a bear skin rug so I thought, you know what, I'm going to recreate that photograph."

Brindza's fundraising efforts for the men's health project had been sluggish. He'd only raised $50 by the final day of his campaign, and was feeling desperate.

In a last-ditch effort to garner donations, he sent out an office-wide email, a message that would raise the eyebrows of any HR department.

"I sent out an email to my colleagues at Sherwood Dodge with this ridiculous blurb," he said.

"It said, 'Hey, if you guys help me reach my fundraising goal by the end of the day, I will recreate this photo of Burt Reynolds no matter how much you tell me not to.' "
Burt Reynolds became the first man to pose naked for a magazine when he shot a centrefold for Cosmopolitan in 1972. (Cosmopolitan Magazine )
 The proposition won over his co-workers, and he soon lost the wager.

In a single day, $450 in donations flooded into his Movember account, and he was committed.

"The feedback was obviously just great, people were excited to see the photograph," said Brindza.

"And I figured if that's their reason for donating, you know there are more important reasons for donating, but at least the money is coming in."

'It was a hilarious experience'

Brindza started shopping around the for the right photographer for the job.

He found a complete stranger willing to take the picture free of charge,and a friend, with a connection to a taxidermy fanatic in Camrose found him the perfect animal hide.

Within a few days, Brindza was baring it all on a bear skin rug.

"I'm always willing to do something goofy for a laugh so for me it wasn't that big of deal," said Brindza.

"I was a little uncomfortable, a little bit nervous, but when I was getting the photograph taken I was mostly just shocked that somebody would be willing to take a picture of me in that light.

"I'm not as quite as handsome or as able-bodied as Burt Reynolds so I thought that was a huge favour."

He staged the photograph on the floor of his basement suite, with the help of local photographer Lindsey Locke.

"I positioned myself on the floor on the bearskin rug and it was a hilarious experience, but one definitely worth having," said Brindza.

"This was a stranger. My first introduction with her was this photograph."

Years after taking part in the naked photo shoot, Reynolds expressed embarrassment over bearing it all in that Cosmo centrefold.

But Brindza has no regrets.

He hopes the photograph will encourage even more people to donate to his campaign.

"Any feeling of uncomfortableness were overwhelmed by gratitude and the thought that this might actually be something that can get some attention and raise some serious funds.

"What better thing to do than make people laugh and raise money for a good cause while I'm at it."


Wallis Snowdon is a journalist with CBC Edmonton focused on bringing stories to the website and the airwaves. She loves helping people tell their stories on issues ranging from health care to the courts. Originally from New Brunswick, Wallis has reported in communities across Canada, from Halifax to Fort McMurray. She previously worked as a digital and current affairs producer with CBC Radio in Edmonton. Wallis has a bachelor of journalism (honours) from the University of King's College in Halifax, N.S. Share your stories with Wallis at wallis.snowdon@cbc.ca.

With files from Tanara McLean