Amid the 1990s and Y2K revival, it’s interesting to note how influential Pamela Anderson’s allure was and remains …
It seems our fascination with the 1990s – from fashion to music – includes people. Prepare to hear a whole lot more about Pamela Anderson this week as Netflix launches a new documentary on the 55-year-old blonde bombshell.
This follows last year’s miniseries Pam & Tommy, on Disney+, which divided opinion and recounted her tumultuous relationship with Mötley Crüe rockstar Tommy Lee. Actress Lily James portrayed Pamela with uncanny success, nailing her iconic looks from the razor thin brows and frosted lips to peroxide hair and impressive curves.
Directed by Ryan White, and produced by Jessica Hargrave, Julia Nottingham and Brandon Thomas Lee (yes, that’s one of her sons), Pamela: A Love Story is told via a series of candid video diaries. The Netflix deal follows the Prince Harry model and is released in tandem with a memoir, called Love, Pamela, which was published by Headline on January 24. The duo make for fascinating reading and viewing perhaps explaining why she has accrued so many disparate friendships.
Irish milliner Philip Treacy has said she’s one of his favourite clients, and she bonded with the late Dame Vivienne Westwood, later starring in two of Westwood’s campaigns. It seems an unlikely pairing but Vivienne and Pamela shared a love of activism (Pamela is a noted PETA supporter) and literature. “We send each other books,” Westwood once told The Sunday Times. Titles the two have swapped notes on include Anatole France’s The Gods Will Have Blood, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, and assorted political memoirs including one on Senator Edward Kennedy.
Anderson has also been the inspiration and muse of artists and photographers such as David Lachapelle, Richard Prince and Jeff Koons, which belies a relatively low-key childhood and adolescence.
Growing up on Vancouver Island, the daughter of young, wild, and unwittingly stylish parents, Pamela developed a love for nature, populating her world with misfits, apparitional friends, and injured animals.
Discovered in the stands during a Canadian football game, Pamela was quickly propelled into superstardom, becoming Playboy‘s favourite cover girl and a frequent fixture at the notorious Playboy mansion.
As her star rose, via her role as Casey Jean Parker on Baywatch, she found herself a target and victim of tabloid fodder. However, the Pamela Anderson we think we know was created through coincidence rather than careful cultivation. In her story, she recounts a small town girl getting tangled up in her own dreams. She has married five times – twice to Rick Salomon in addition to Tommy Lee and most recently Dan Hayhurst. Who can forget her brief marriage to Kid Rock – the ceremony for which was in St Tropez when the bride wore a white bikini?
Even though she has been unable to leave that notorious sex tape in the past, (and is clearly traumatised by this), Pamela has consistently forged ahead, moving between homes (or trailer parks, depending on what you believe) in LA and Vancouver. Most recently she starred as Roxie in Chicago on Broadway. Not forgetting, of course, her infamous friendship and support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
One constant in her life is her devotion to her two children as well as a love of art, literature and activism. The Pamela we meet on Netflix might not be the one we’re expecting but her appeal is no less diminished. She’s fun and funny. Expect an uptick in red bikinis and balletcore.
Need to Know: Pamela, A Love Story launches on Netflix Ireland on January 31. Photography throughout courtesy of Netflix.