Pamela Anderson: Actress, Activist, Animal Lover
Pamela Anderson: Actress, Activist, Animal Lover
Photographs by Christopher Ameruoso|
You could forgive a person for assuming that Pamela Anderson is in fact the camp Hollywood dramatic figure she has perfected—a buxom blonde known for her sizeable assets (her new FOX TV series is called Stacked) and tumultuous relationships. Considered by many a modern-day Marilyn Monroe, she has made a career out of playing the self-deprecating blonde bombshell. Her many roles (as bathing suit-clad lifeguard in the internationally popular TV series Baywatch; Lisa, the ‘Tool Time’ girl in the series Home Improvement; biker babe in the 1996 film Barb Wire; Vallery Irons in V.I.P.) and record eleven layboycovers under her belt (or lack thereof), have made her one of the most recognizable women in the world.
But dig a little deeper and it becomes harder to pigeonhole her. The actress, author (her 2004 novel Star made it onto the New York Timesbestseller list and its sequel Starstruckis to be released this summer) and animated feature model (“Stripperella”) also inhabits other, less sensational roles. Pamela Anderson is a devoted mother of two young boys (whom she has said lead her to retire by 9 P.M. most evenings), PETA spokesperson, AIDS activist and doting dog guardian.
Here, a surprisingly smart and soulful Pamela catches up with Modern Dog to tell us about her new puppy and her new projects.
“I have two dogs right now, Star [a Golden Retriever] and Luca Pizzaroni Pasquini, the Chihuahua,” says Pamela. “He’s named after a famous photographer that I love andmy favourite coffee machine.”
When asked if she has ever had such a tiny dog before, Pamela, ever the animal activist, appropriately recounts a rescue story. “I’ve rescued small dogs before. I brought a friend to rescue a dog at Pug Rescue. Of course, I see this dog that had a hernia and one eye missing and it ended up my friend didn’t get a dog—but I rescued Foo. I knew I was going home with him. I knew it! Now Foo lives with Natalie Raitano,” [one of Pamela’s co-stars on V.I.P.]. Though vastly different in stature, both Star and Luca are Hollywood dogs through and through. “I can’t really compare the two. They’re both beautiful; they’re both great. My big dog Star is 15 years old. He’s just been my pal. [Luca] is a cute little monkey; I’m just getting used to him. Dogs are like babies. Star used to sit with me on the Baywatchset; he’s been in a lot of Baywatch episodes. He used to sit in my director’s chair. Now this little guy Luca comes to Stacked with me.
They’re used to sets. Star grew up on frozen bagels; he would steal all the bagels off the craft service tables.
“Star’s like a person; he’s my partner in crime. He’s been with me longer than anybody. He’s been with me for 15 years. I can see how long I’ve been in L.A. and Hollywood when I look at Star. I had him since the time he could fit in my hands; he was smaller than Luca. I look at Star and I can see my whole life pass before me, I can remember when he was 3 months, 6 months, ... and whatever I was doing in my career I can kind of judge from the pictures and the memories that I have with Star. He’s been through everything with me. He’s old for a big dog but he’s very healthy, he’s like a puppy. He has a great spirit and he’s in the water every day, he’s on the beach as much as possible. I think that’s what keeps him young, that and his healthy diet. I’m very fortunate that he’s still around. [All] his siblings are gone. [Just] he and his mother are still alive out of the whole litter. That’s amazing.”
With the media reporting lately on the so-called trend of celebrities getting small dogs, we thought we’d ask Pamela why she thinks so many stars are now seen toting around petite poochesand what led her to get a little dog herself.
"Luca says, ‘I am not an accessory.’ You won’t see Luca dragged down a red carpet, that’s for sure. Normally Luca is naked (he prefers it that way) ... but he borrowed my Hermès bracelet for the shoot and I borrowed his leash. He’s never even used it! ... White dogs seem to have very sensitive skin ... so collars are uncomfortable. He’s always been watched carefully—he is never outside in the yard by himself when he goes to the bathroom. He’s so little! I’m afraid a bird might swoop down and pick him up. I once rescued a Maltese that was abducted by an owl—he slipped out of his collar and fell who knows how far. I found him on the side of the road, limping and a mess. I brought him to a groomer’s and it turned out that the groomer was the same one that his owners took him to. They saw the owl swoop him up and take him away. So don’t allow small dogs out in the yard by themselves.”
Pam also has a new pet product line in her name. “I’m trying to [have a hand in the design]. I’m licensing my name to a lot of different products, and I’m trying to do a little bit of everything and obviously one of my passions is animals. I’m not really big on dressing up your animal, but when Luca was little he was cold so I tried putting a T-shirt on him and thought: ‘You know, I just can’t do this.’ I’d rather be naked, and I rather him be naked. He’s wearing a Hermès collar right now, so I don’t think he minds too much. Other than that he’s naked all the time.”
Pamela’s most important role is that of mother to Brandon, age 9, and Dylan, 7. She is a dedicated, hands-on mom, engrossed in the business of raising her children. Having animals as part of the family has helped to teach her boys about respect and responsibility. “Animals are just like children— [but] I think that sometimes they get neglected. My children have grown up around rescued animals and they know how to be gentle and they know how to be responsible. I get them involved in feeding and taking care of the animals’ needs.
“I think it’s great to have pets, so the boys don’t think that they are the centre of the universe. We have Luca and we have Star and we had other animals too. I think it’s good to let them know that animals are important in the household too, so [the boys] share the responsibilities. I think it teaches kids to be kind, and that’s the most important thing, and that’s really been helpful. You know sometimes when children haven’t had pets and [then] they get them for the first time, they think that they are toys or games. You hear horror stories all the time about kids growing up and what they have done to their animals. I’m so glad that I have ‘conscience kids.’”
The boys certainly have a role model in Pamela who, despite her many projects and busy schedule, is a dedicated spokesperson for the underprivileged, raising awareness about numerous causes. “I just love the charity stuff that I do. It’s not to be cliché or anything, I just think it’s good to be working with MAC the VIVA Glam V campaign and the AIDS foundation and working with people living with AIDS. I have Hepatitis C so telling everyone to get tested so we don’t pass it on, [that’s just natural]—there’s no cure for it! One thing that I love about MAC and their AIDS Foundation is they don’t put money into research, so we’re not doing useless, cruel animal testing. I was very careful to choose a company like MAC because the money won’t go into useless research as their products are not tested on animals. I think that we have to be conscientious about the decisions we make and everything we do. People ask, ‘What are you contributing to the planet?’ I say, I’m raising two conscientious kids. Just be good to everybody, be good to animals, be good to people—people that are good animals are good to people. People that are harmful to animals are probably horrible to people.”
Sounds about right to us.