Lorraine Nicholson Was 'Constantly Vigilant' at Playboy Mansion Growing Up: 'Not Intended for Children'

Lorraine Nicholson, Jack Nicholson and Rebecca Broussard's daughter, offered a look at some of her childhood experiences at the famous mansion in a new essay

<p>Jon Kopaloff/WireImage; HECTOR MATA/AFP via Getty Images</p> Lorraine Nicholson; Playboy Mansion

Jon Kopaloff/WireImage; HECTOR MATA/AFP via Getty Images

Lorraine Nicholson; Playboy Mansion

For Lorraine Nicholson, visiting the the Playboy Mansion as a child was like a fantasy in many ways, but there was always the possibility of seeing something she shouldn't.

In a recent essay for Vanity Fair, the 33-year-old writer-director and daughter of actor Jack Nicholson and model Rebecca Broussard offered a behind-the-scenes look at her experience at the famous mansion in Los Angeles.

Lorraine frequently visited the extravagant Mansion, once owned by the late Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner, throughout her childhood. But being a child at the Mansion, she said, was like “a streaker at Disneyland."

“You were ruining the magic,” Lorraine wrote in the piece.

Related: Everything Playboy Bunnies Have Said About Having Bad Sex with Hugh Hefner: 'It Was Hell'

<p>Paul Harris/Getty Images</p> Playboy mansion

Paul Harris/Getty Images

Playboy mansion

Lorraine would visit the Mansion with her nanny, Cis, who had previously worked as Hefner’s social secretary. And while she could order whatever she wanted to eat during visits, she said she "only ever ordered mashed potatoes and peas."

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Playmate Kimberley Conrad, who was married to Hefner from 1989 to 2010, would typically watch the kids at the Mansion using a security camera, Lorraine said. She and Hefner share two sons together, Marston and Cooper.

<p>Emma McIntyre/Getty Images</p> Lorraine Nicholson

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Lorraine Nicholson

As they grew older, Lorraine said, “the boys did begin to get curious, and they would sneak off — in search of what I was too afraid to ask.”

“I knew the Mansion was not intended for children, but I asked no questions. I could not have been less curious about sex or sexuality,” the filmmaker recalled. “I was constantly vigilant, in terror of being exposed to something I wasn’t supposed to see.”

"I never picked up an issue of Playboy, though they were left in every room. I never once questioned the original purpose of the mirrored furniture-less room in the game house — or why every bathroom had its own selection of Vaseline and tissues," she added.

Related: Crystal Hefner Reveals She Was Never 'In Love' with Hugh — and Details Playboy Mansion Life in Book (Exclusive)

Lorraine noted that she “rarely stayed at the Mansion after dark,” but noted it was “not because anything nefarious was going on, but because it was boring.”

“The adults would jockey to sit next to Hef,” she wrote. “The kids were pretty much ignored because we had no opinions on censorship or the hypocrisy of American sexuality.”

Still, Lorraine said she “had a quiet reverence for the magic” of the Mansion when she was a child, even comparing it the "magical" worlds she saw in Disney movies.

<p>Michael Tran/FilmMagic</p> Playboy Mansion

Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Playboy Mansion

However, not everybody has had such positive things to say about life at the Playboy mansion.

In Crystal Hefner’s memoir Only Say Good Things: Surviving Playboy and Finding Myself, Hefner’s widow said that  first crossed the threshold as a 21-year-old aspiring model and psychology major, the mansion was rundown, and a little tacky.

“It was like a time capsule from the ‘70s,” Crystal wrote. “Like Hef had pushed pause at the height of his heyday and never unfrozen it.”

At first, it didn’t seem so bad to be living in a mansion. “This was a beautiful English Tudor home — and my family is from England — on five acres in the middle of LA,” she previously told PEOPLE. “But over time, I saw that this place doesn’t really get cleaned that well and there’s mold. It just felt rundown and gross after a while.”

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