Maria Kanellis is an American (of Greek descent) professional wrestler and model, signed to World Wrestling Entertainment performing on its RAW brand in 2004. After Ashley Massaro ‘s return in early 2008, Kanellis engaged in backstage segments where Ashley suggested Maria should be on the cover of Playboy. On the February 18 edition of RAW Maria defeated Beth Phoenix to earn the right to be on the cover of Playboy. Maria had been asked to follow in the footsteps of other WWE Divas and pose for Playboy, but she initially refused because she did not wish to embarrass her sister, who was still in high school at the time. However, she eventually posed for the cover of the April 2008 issue with accompanying nude pictorial. For the pictorial, Maria chose her own wardrobe and had sewn the black hooded jacket she wore in one of the photos.