Pamela Anderson on Playboy, the ’90s and her latest indie film role

Pamela Anderson in her new film, The People Garden

Not much can be said about the ‘90s without talking about Pamela Anderson. And since we talk about the ‘90s all the time, here we are. The decade’s biggest bombshell has been experiencing a renaissance as of late, starring in Playboy’s final nude issue last year and co-starring in The People Garden, a new indie flick opening this week at TIFF. The film follows Sweetpea (Dree Hemingway) who travels to Japan to break up with her rockstar boyfriend while he’s filming a music video with Signe (Anderson), a faded ‘90s icon. The parallels between Signe and Anderson are obvious, but also not obvious at all—at 48, Anderson’s as in control as ever. Here, she drops wisdom on today’s Hollywood stars and reminds us why we were into her in the first place.

How did you get involved with the film?
An incredible casting director Heidi Levit called me and let me know that Nadia Litz’s award winning screenplay was being made into a film, finally. They wanted me to play a “past her prime” sex symbol/muse—slightly overdramatic, a little Sunset Boulevard. I have been curious lately about pushing the envelope with ageing and the dynamic we deal with as women in this industry. They shot me in very harsh light and made me look as bad as possible. It was interesting. But rewarding to not be self aware or obsessed with trying to look 20 when I’m not.

Your character Signe feels very much like a caricature—do you relate to her?
I feel she is in a bubble— memories of a life that isnt anymore. She is an artistic character. Flying in the rain was my favorite part.

How do you reconcile your turn to art-house films with your return to Playboy?
I love art house and I love that people can see the departure from my “more real” Playboy life. Which is funny. It almost seems backwards.

I love what you said in the Times about a new generation looking at you differently—do you think a big part of that is ’90s nostalgia? 
There is still mystery surrounding my generation. I think that it’s intriguing to not know everything about an artist. These days, it feels like overload. I’ve given up on any personalized social media. I have no desire to keep up with the Joneses (Kardashians?).

And speaking of nostalgia, how did it feel on the Baywatch set?
They were so kind. And Dwayne (The Rock) and I have met before. The producers really went to bat for me. And, I felt appreciated and respected. I miss it so much. I love action and being outdoors. It was just a cameo. Let’s hope they make more.

What do you remember most about the ’90s? 
Whirlwind. Playboy parties. Rock stars. Having children. Just a wild time. I miss those days. And I’m sad that Playboy as it was is over.

What’s different about coming up today, specifically as a woman, versus when you did in the ’80s and ’90s?
I don’t like it at all.

Do you see yourself in any of today’s young stars?
Absolutely not. Even my children look at this business in a new way. I never wanted it that bad. And I can’t waste my time on trying to get people to love me. It’s an epidemic of insecurity.

More Celebrity