Hugh Hefner told Jenny McCarthy she looked like she'd ''hit a deer with her car'' when she was auditioning for her first Playboy centrefold.

The 44-year-old star endured a lengthy audition process before she landed the chance to strip off for the publication - which was founded by the businessman, who died from ''natural causes'' aged 91 last month - and she had to go home and practice trying to look ''sexy''.

She said: ''When I was trying out to be centrefold they actually give the girls five days of a test.

''So you shoot one position for five days. Eight hours a day for five days.

''On day four, the producer said, 'Come meet with me.' Hef was on the phone and Hef said, 'Um, you've got one more chance, go home and practice, because your face looks like you've just hit a deer with your car. You look so horrified.' ''

After trying out several poses in the mirror, the blonde beauty had to resort to a smile because she couldn't find the perfect look.

Speaking on 'Watch What Happens Live with Any Cohen', she added: ''So I went home that night and kept trying to find sexy. I came back and said, 'Listen, all you're going to get is a smile.' And they got it.''

Jenny - who started her career as a nude model in Playboy magazine in 1993, and went on to be a Playmate of the Year - was among the stars who led tributes to Hugh following his passing last month.

She tweeted a picture of her Playboy cover and wrote: ''RIP #Hef Thank you for being a revolutionary and changing so many people's lives, especially mine. I hope I made you proud. #PMOY 94 (sic)