Superhero of sex: Pamela Anderson, the voice behind cartoon crime fighter Stripperella, is watching out for gay rights, animal rights, and good lovin’ for all – Television – Interview

Michele Fleury

In early June, I found myself on assignment for The Advocate at the Playboy Mansion, at a party celebrating TNN’s relaunch as Spike TV, a network for men. After rubbing elbows with celebrities, Hollywood bigwigs, wanna-be Hollywood bigwigs, Playmates, and of course Hef himself, my friend Tasha and I perched on the far side of the lawn, failing to notice that Pamela Anderson and friends were standing about five feet to our right.

Suddenly I was being pulled, tugged, and yanked: Tasha–apparently a closet Baywatch and VIP fan–was after my digital camera to get a photo with Pam. As politely as possible, she tapped Miss Anderson on the shoulder, leaned in, and said, “I’m sorry to bother you, but we’re gay, and the gay community loves you, and I was wondering if we could ask for a photo.”

To our surprise, Pamela spent the next 20 minutes talking with us about our lives and the atoning influence her gay friends have had on her life. She was forthright, intelligent, compassionate, and genuine. She left us stunned at her candor–and more than a little curious to see Stripperella, her new sex-friendly animated series on Spike TV, a.k.a. the New TNN.

Inspired, I set up a formal Advocate interview for out’ Sex Issue. What better occasion to invite the woman whom many consider the world’s most famous sex symbol to continue our conversation about liberty, justice, and Lucite heels for all?

So tell me about Stripperella. I know there’s a gay character on it–Leonard.

That’s right! The bartender. He’s so cute–it’s a funny kind of voice.

He’s the only one who suspects the stripper Erotica is also the superhero Stripperella, correct?

Right. Like, How come Stripperello and Erotica are never in the same place in the same time? [Laughs] The gay character is the only one who gets me, period. That’s how it usually goes anyway. In real life as well.

You told me that your best friend is a gay man, right?

I have many gay friends. Dan Mathews [a vice president] from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals; [photographer] David LaChapelle; my hairdresser Kenny from VIP … tons of gay friends. I love phone calls [with them]. I say, “Can you call me? I need more material.” They have the best one-liners.

Have your gay male friends helped you navigate in a boy’s world?

It’s funny. I came from a very small town on Vancouver Island, and I didn’t even understand that gay people really existed. I came to L.A. for the first time–it was my first plane ride–and it happened to be gay pride week, with the parade and everything. And so I’m walking through this and I’m calling my friends, going, “You are not going to believe this. First of all, there really are gay people. Second, they go around in pink shorts, holding hands with no shirts on. And everyone’s really happy!” I thought that’s what happened every day. [Laughs]

Oh, my God.

Looking back, I think, You know what? In our school we did have a couple of friends who were gay. I just feel that everybody needs to be who they are. I like being able to be a flee spirit, and I can’t imagine any more obstacles in my own life. It’s already hard enough in high school–people are just mean, period. The straggles I’ve heard from my friends in the gay community are just scary. It’s scary, and it’s too bad.

It’s ironic. Straight men should thank gay men working behind the scenes, doing hair and makeup, creating amazing images of women.

They’re creating eye candy for straight men. I always say I feel like I’m a gay ‘man trapped in this body.

And in Lucite heels?

That’s Stripperella–she steps into a Lucite heel and [becomes] Stripperella forever, instead of Cinderella. The glass slipper is Lucite. [Laughs]

That’s so gay, right?

That’s how they’re going to promote the show: There’s going to be a narration of the Cinderella-Stripperella story–

And Queen Clitoris is your nemesis?

Yes. But I’m determined to lick her. [Both laugh] The jokes are really cute and silly. A lot of innuendos.

Reading about it, I was like, I cannot believe they’re doing this show! This is hilarious.

I’m laughing that it’s going to be on the air. Thank God for Stan Lee [creator of Stripperella as well as Spider-Man and other comic book characters] lending some kind of credibility to this; now I can just have fun.

Tell me about your trip to the GLAAD Awards this year.

It was great. It was very sad because they were talking about trans-gendered [murder victim] Gwen [Araujo]. Her mom came up to me and said she wanted to thank me because [Gwen] really wanted to look like me. It was heartbreaking. I can’t even imagine so much hatred in anybody.

Where do you think that comes from? I know a lot of it is based on straight men’s fear of gay sex–which is interesting, because they love lesbian sex so much.

I think people are just afraid of what they don’t know. One of my [monthly column] articles coming up in Jane is going to be about the Gwen situation and human rights and gay rights.

You’re so out there for gays, I have to know, when you go to gay clubs, do the lesbians hit on you?

Not so much hit on me, because I’m usually with somebody. But if I go to a strip club, I get all the lap dances. [Both laugh]

That’s awesome.

But I think women, gay or straight, always appreciate women. I really do. I think it’s more and more a girl’s girl environment. Like, if you’re not a girl’s girl, that’s so ’99. I love that in my lifetime and in my career I’ve had a really good cheering squad from women. And men don’t want to believe that. They’re always saying, “Eighteen- to 35-year-old men who are too drunk to turn the TV channel the day after football are the people that watch you.” [Laughs] And then they do all the research, and they realize it’s not just prisoners and firemen.

So I have to ask you, what woman would you switch teams for?

Who would I switch teams for? A strange thing is that I’ve never been with a woman. I’ve had a lot of opportunities. I think I need penetration. [Both laugh[ I guess that could be worked out. [Pauses] My dad just walked by.

Oh, great. Hi, Dad!

My mom and dad are visiting, and my mom said to me [during one on-camera interview] that with the men around me at the moment, she goes, “You know what I wish you were? I wish you were gay.” I’m like, “That’s really nice of you. That’s very New Age of you, Mom.” And then, of course, on Access Hollywood, it was like, “Pamela’s new show. And Pamela’s mom wishes she were gay.” [Laughs]

Maybe she can call my mom.

Oh, yeah, I know. Really.

What else are you working on?

On my birthday, I’m launching I’m going to have a lot of stuff on there from PETA.

You’re a big PETA supporter.

I’m always doing fund-raisers. I travel around the world with Dan [Mathews. We just keep stirring the pot every time we go anywhere. As soon as I started Baywatch, I called PETA and was like, “Please–if I do one more interview about myself, I’m going to get sick. What information do you need out there? Because people are writing down what I say.”

I think people use Hollywood as a distraction because they don’t want to think about that stuff.

Right. Like my brother. He’s got a good heart, but he’s like, “I am happy not knowing about these animals that are being abused, or gay rights.”

That’s what we’re all up against.

Yeah. Well, we all do the best we can. It’s so upsetting, the closed-mindedness of people.

I know readers will be sad–they’ll be like, “She’s never been with a woman.” I’m sure that’s the one tidbit they’ll take.

I’m just waiting for the right one. [Laughs]

Tell them that, and you’ll get more fan mail than ever. You’ll be like, “Stop! I never really meant it!”

[Laughs] That’ll be great.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Liberation Publications, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

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