In Her New TV Show, Pamela Anderson Is Ready To Share Herself With The World — On Her Terms

Photo: Taylor Hill/WireImage.
Pamela Anderson has been a household name for the past three decades, the length of her career in the Hollywood spotlight. But for much of that time, the Pamela we’ve come to know, love, root for, chastise, and overly critique, was unrecognisable to the woman herself. In large part, because her story was being dictated by everyone except the person that truly mattered: herself. 
Over the last several years, Anderson has worked hard to find her way back to her authentic self, most recently releasing both her memoir, Love, Pamela: A Memoir of Prose, Poetry and Truth, and her documentary, Pamela, A Love Story, earlier this year. In her upcoming series, Pamela’s Cooking with Love and Pamela’s Garden of Eden , the OG Baywatch star breaks through the stereotypes and continues taking control of how she’s portrayed. “I'm very fortunate to have a TV show about recreating and retaking the narrative and my power back, doing things in real-time with my family,” Anderson tells Refinery29. 
Both series, which will premiere in early 2024, find Anderson where she’s most comfortable — at her family home in Canada on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island. Featuring a bevy of celebrity chefs like David Zilber and Top Chef’s Melissa King, Pamela’s Cooking with Love has Anderson cooking delicious plant-based meals (think mushroom congee and savoury galettes) in her kitchen for family and friends. Similarly, the second season of Pamela’s Garden of Eden follows Anderson and her sons, Dylan and Brandon, as they continue renovating Anderson’s family estate without the help of interior designers or contractors. Instead, it’s Anderson, outfitted in all-white coveralls, decorating, painting, and gardening in the muck.
For the actress, this is just what she needs. “A homecoming is so therapeutic,” Anderson says. “When I left [Canada], it was my first plane ride; I landed in LA and my life just took off without me.” With her return home, Anderson says she’s come full circle. “I have all these great memories and these things that I have done, but really who I am is a small-town girl; I am enjoying having that kind of experience, but also remembering who I am and where I'm happiest and having my feet firmly planted on the ground or in the ocean.”
It wasn’t necessarily an easy path to get here. As anyone who tuned in to pop culture in the late 1990s can attest, Anderson — alongside other starlets like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton — was mistreated by the press and the public for years and characterised as a sexual object and “dumb blonde,” especially when it came to her relationship with former husband and Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee and the release of their sex tape in 1996, which was released without consent.
Despite the fact that tape was released in the 90s and we should know better by now, the mistreatment of Anderson continued in 2022 when Hulu released Pam & Tommy, a limited series about this difficult period of her life that was, again, unsanctioned and without the support of Anderson. This continual exploitation and dramatisation of Anderson is part of what makes Pamela’s Cooking with Love and Pamela’s Garden of Eden so important, and so much fun to watch, as we see Anderson completely in her element, and most importantly, happy. 
Some might not find this series super exciting. Compared to the glitz, and glam, and sex appeal of her previous work shows like Baywatch, Pamela’s Cooking with Love and Pamela’s Garden of Eden are understated, featuring the star bare-faced, in mud boots, going about her day-to-day life. But Anderson wouldn’t have it any other way.
When I went to Los Angeles, I was fantasising about: What is a [Playboy] Playmate’s life like? What's the wife of a rock star?,” Anderson says. “And now I'm trying to peel back the layers and go: Who am I? What do I like to do? What do I like to wear? What's most comfortable in the garden?
“When you do peel back the layers [to yourself], are you okay with what's underneath there?” Anderson adds. “That's part of the reason why I'm experimenting with a lot of things in my life. It's not easy; it's a practice. And I'm slowly getting there, and I feel better every day.”
It can be vulnerable for survivors like Anderson to crack themselves open and take themselves to tough places after decades of compartmentalising, but it’s also necessary because, as Anderson says, ignoring this history means the trauma can “[rear] its ugly head” in different ways if you don’t face it. 
It's important for anybody to tell their story,” Anderson says. “It's very freeing because I feel like there's so much we keep inside; especially with the public image of a famous person, it's kind of cruel what comes along with it.” This can be especially true, she says, for women in the industry. 
Also empowering? Embracing your natural beauty, something else Anderson has done of late. In early October, Anderson made a splash at Paris Fashion Week when she attended shows like Vivienne Westwood and Isabel Marant completely au naturel, embracing her skin and going sans makeup barefaced. The response was swift and ecstatic, with both celebrities and fans sharing their awe for the actress.
It’s a response Anderson wasn’t anticipating when she washed her hair the night before, slept on it, and threw some rosehip oil (something she harvests and makes herself from her home) on her face before heading out the door the next morning. In fact, she wasn’t sure anyone would really notice. “It was just something I was truly doing for myself,” she says. “I really felt that this was the time to stop and just be okay in my own skin, and what better place to do something like that [than in Paris]. … I'd rather take 5 minutes to get ready than 3 hours. And I already got the great clothes. It's just my face sticking out. What could go wrong?”
To be clear, everyone from her publicist to her kids were against it, but for Anderson it was a no-brainer, especially considering she’s been sitting in hours of glam for most of her 35-year career. “It really is freeing to be able to embrace yourself,” Anderson says. “We're all so accustomed to wearing makeup or hiding behind filters and all sorts of stuff on social media, and I just wanted to kind of do it for the girls.”
With two new TV shows, a hit memoir still selling, and a resurgence as fashion’s “It” woman du jour (Anderson was also recently the face of Aritzia’s Fall 2023 line), the entrepreneur’s plate is pretty full at the moment, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see more from her down the line. “There’s a lot of things I can’t bring up yet, but there’s a lot of things in the works,” Anderson says. This includes releasing a rosé brand with her kids. There’s also potentially more of Anderson on our screens in the non-reality variety. “I'm in a really good place where I'm not distracted by anything — especially men — so I can do anything,” Anderson says.
As for if those future plans might include any beauty products, say, an eco-friendly, sustainable packaging, all-natural Pamela Anderson skincare line in line with her own, long-held values? Anderson isn’t 100% sure. “People have talked to me a little bit about it, but I'm just trying to find the right kind of products; without it, I don't know if I want to do it,” she says. “It has to have integrity.” But with a large shift to sustainable packaging in the beauty industry over the past several years, “maybe it's the right time,” she muses. “I have a lot of people say, ‘I wish I could just bottle you up and sell you,’” Anderson says. 
But for now, she’s just focusing on being Pamela, something her family supports wholeheartedly. “[My kids] said ‘Mom, you just gotta keep being you, we'll handle the business.”
One thing fans can definitely count on though is Anderson is just getting started.
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