Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Jake Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Stanton Daily. Posted by Jake Frost
July 1, 1967
Currently Known For:
Actress and Model
Playboy Playmate of the Month February 1990, Home Improvement, Baywatch, and V.I.P
“It’s great to be a blonde. With low expectations, it’s very easy to surprise people.” One of the biggest sex symbols of the 1990s, Pamela Anderson first gained notoriety in February 1990 when she was named Playmate of the Month in Playboy magazine. From there, she launched her acting career on television series like Home Improvement, Baywatch, and V.I.P., and unsuccessfully attempted to boost her fame on the silver screen with flops like Raw Justice in 1994, Barb Wire in 1996, and Blonde and Blonder in 2008. Despite her epic silver screen flops, the 51-year-old Anderson is still one of the most recognized sex symbols in America and has recently set out to prove she’s more than blonde hair and a big bust as an animal rights activist with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). So, how exactly did she get her start as a model and actress nearly three decades ago? It all started with a Jumbotron at a Canadian Football League game.
From Canada’s Centennial Baby to Playmate of the Month
The daughter of a waitress and furnace repairman, Pamela Denise Anderson was born on July 1, 1967 in Ladysmith, British Columbia, Canada on the 100th anniversary of the founding of Canada as a country. Because of this, she found fame long before she could ever walk and talk as local media outlets dubbed her “Canada’s Centennial Baby.” Despite the celebration of her birth, Pamela’s early life was steeped in tragedy as she later revealed that she was molested by a female babysitter as a child, raped by a 25-year-old man when she was 12, and then gang-raped by her boyfriend and six of his friends when she 14 years old.
Keeping the sexual abuse a secret until much later in her life, Pamela pushed forward as if nothing happened and attended Highland Secondary School where she was a star on the girls’ volleyball team. After high school, she moved to Vancouver where she worked as a fitness instructor before catching her first big break in 1989 by pure luck! A longtime football fan, Pamela was cheering on the home team at a BC Lions Canadian Football League game at the BC Place Stadium in Vancouver when she was featured on the Jumbotron wearing a Labatt’s Beer t-shirt. Although the feature was entirely accidental, Pamela’s bright smile and curvaceous figure garnered her widespread attention as Labatt invited her to be their spokesmodel.
While Pamela launched her career with Labatt, her boyfriend created a poster featuring her as the Blue Zone Girl, which caught the attention of Playboy magazine. Appearing on the October 1989 cover of Playboy, Pamela left Canada and moved to Los Angeles to launch her career as a model full time. By February 1990, she was named “Playmate of the Month” and, after her first taste of life in the Playboy Mansion, she opted for breast implant surgery to take her breasts to a 34D. Years later, she went up a size to a 34DD to ensure she had the edge over the rest of Hugh Hefner’s beautiful playmates.
“Everyone was naked in the grotto and the girls were downstairs and they all went upstairs,” Pamela recalled of one of her first visits with Hefner at the Mansion. “I followed them upstairs. I thought, ‘What could be going on up here?’ Seven girls, one at a time with Hef. I stood at the end of the bed watching them and then I realized they were watching me. I thought, ‘This is not a movie. I need to leave…’ I have seen a lot of craziness at the Playboy Mansion. He had a lot of women around. There were these big TV screens with crazy things going on with him and the girls and baby oil. “
Although life at the Playboy Mansion was shocking, Pamela had a special relationship with Hefner, which explains why she’s the most featured model to grace the magazine’s cover over the last two decades. “He was a pioneer,” she said shortly after his death in 2017. “A true gentleman and he was charming. He loved women and he empowered women. He was very forward-thinking and created his own life. Nobody could copy him. It was nothing salacious. I thought it was very innocent.”
Becoming a Baywatch Babe
Amid her success with Playboy magazine, Pamela launched her career as an actress and landed her first minor role as Lisa, the original “Tool Time Girl” on ABC’s comedy series, Home Improvement, starring Tim Allen. She left the show after two seasons when she auditioned for and won the part of C.J. Parker on Baywatch, a role she played for five seasons that earned her international fame. “I was really comfortable in my skin and I didn’t care so much I thought nobody’s perfect and imperfections are sexy,” Pamela said of her experience on Baywatch. “You know, I would’ve been on the beach anyway, so I was shocked that they hired me and paid me. I never thought I was a great-looking person or a great-looking woman.”
Baywatch became Pamela’s most iconic role as she struggled to find another television series or film that offered her staying power. In 1994, she landed her first film role in Raw Justice and went on to play a comic book character in Barb Wire in 1996. Neither were huge success, but little could overshadow Pamela’s sex appeal as she guest-hosted Saturday Night Live and graced a few more Playboy covers before landing the starring role of Vallery Irons in the Sony Pictures Television syndicated series, V.I.P. in 1998.
Wrapping up V.I.P. after four years, Pamela returned to the spotlight in the new millennium with nude photoshoots for Playboy, Stuff, and GQ magazines. She released her first book, Star, followed by Star Struck, the latter of which shared intimate details of her life with rock and roll drummer Tommy Lee. Adding in another high-profile relationship with Kid Rock, Pamela joined the reality television circuit in the mid-2000s with appearances on Big Brother, Dancing with the Stars and Dancing on Ice. However, her most recent projects have taken her far away from the ditzy blonde she’s often played as she focuses more on animal rights and activism.
Beyond the Ditzy Blonde
Although she’s often played the ditzy blonde known more for her oversized bust than her brains, Pamela has worked to rebuild her reputation over the last two decades after becoming a PETA member and outspoken animal rights activist. “Just because I’ve been on Baywatch and in Playboy doesn’t mean I don’t have a heart, soul and brain,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. In fact, she’s using her fame to promote sustainable living on her website, Pammies Life, where she sells vegan boots, promotes her cooking show titled The Sensual Vegan, and showcases her cruelty-free beauty line. “It’s all about bringing back the bombshell,” Pamela says of her beauty line. “Everyone wants natural beauty, but natural beauty still takes an hour and a half, so you might as well have fun with it. I’m not into the grunge, I-don’t-give-a-crap look. I want to look like a woman.”
Apart from her website and animal activism, Pamela isn’t afraid to get politically involved and even wrote a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin in July 2015 to stop the passage of the Winter Bay vessel from carrying 1,700 tons of fin whale meat to Japan. As many imagined, the letter turned heads with rumors running wild that the former Baywatch star had a fling with the Russian leader. “I wrote to him and asked him to stop the importation of seal products… and he did,” Pamela admitted. “He made it actually illegal to import seal products into the country.” As for whether or not she had a relationship him, Pamela coyly replied, “He wanted me to come to his inauguration and give him flowers… I didn’t do that. Obviously, we have been in the same place together sometimes… I had a great relationship with Russia, yes.”
Continuing to work with PETA as well as working to legalize cannabis, the 51-year-old Pamela has quite a lot on her plate these days especially after she was invited to reprise her role as C.J. in the Baywatch remake, which hit theaters in 2017. Although she initially declined saying, “I don’t know if I want to go on Baywatch and be like the old lady working at a counter somewhere,” she had a change of heart and appeared as the “Older C.J.” in the film. The same year, she made a cameo in SPF-18 and returned to television in Sur-Vie but has since spent more time behind the scenes with her latest boyfriend, French professional football star Adil Rami who is 18 years her junior. We certainly know what’s keeping her young!