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Pamela Anderson "Hated the Way She Looked" Before Modeling for Playboy

The actor and model opened up about her "debilitating" shyness prior to her big break.

During her modeling and acting career, Pamela Anderson became known one of the most famous "bombshells" in Hollywood. But, in a new interview, the star just admitted that she actually "hated" how she looked prior to posing for Playboy for the first time in 1989. Anderson recently spoke to Entertainment Tonight Canada about her career, her new Netflix documentary, and her new memoir, and shared how she found her confidence when she was getting her first taste of the spotlight. Read on to see what the 55-year-old celebrity had to say.

READ THIS NEXT: Baywatch Star Slams Critics Who Say She's "Too Old" for Bikini Pics.

Anderson "hated" how she look when she was young.

Pamela Anderson at a screening of "Pamela, a love story" in February 2023
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Netflix

In her interview with ET Canada, Anderson claimed that one of her babysitters had abused her when she was a child, which she also opens up about in her book. She said that after this experience, she "became painfully shy."

She explained, "The shyness was something that was so debilitating. When I was little, I would wear a [hood] over my head and pull the hole closed so I could only see out this much. I hated the way I looked, I hated everything. I was so shy, and I always thought everybody was pretty and I just didn't have that confidence or self-confidence."

Posing for Playboy boosted her confidence.

Hugh Hefner and Pamela Anderson at the 50th Anniversary of Playboy Celebration in 2003
Theo Wargo/WireImage via Getty Images

Anderson said that she that she had been approached by Playboy and turned them down before she eventually made her debut in its pages. When she finally decided to pose for the publication, it changed her life.

"I was in Vancouver and Playboy approached me a few times and I said no," Anderson shared. "Finally I was in a situation and thought 'Why not? Let me try this.' Then I got to LA and I was horrified." She continued, "Then I did my first photo shoot with Playboy… it was the first flash when I opened my eyes and it felt like I was falling off a cliff. It really felt like I was just allowing instead of trying to control. And it was my first feeling of freedom. Then I was off to the races."

Anderson went on to appear on the cover of Playboy 14 times. Her acting career also took off with her role on Home Improvement coming in 1991—two years after her first Playboy cover—and her starring role on Baywatch beginning in 1992.

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Anderson previously said Playboy saved her life.

Pamela Anderson at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival
magicinfoto / Shutterstock

In 2018, Anderson spoke to Us Weekly about the shift she experienced in her life after deciding to pose for Playboy.

"I was molested as a child by a bad female babysitter, who is no longer alive. And my first experiences with men were not consensual," Anderson said.

"I was painfully shy as a child. As a young girl, Playboy empowered me. It really saved my life," she continued. "I felt very trapped inside and needed to free myself. It was a breakthrough for me, and there I met artists and activists and gentleman. It has been a fun and wild life."

She also shared some advice for others. "I encourage everyone to be brave and step outside your comfort zone. It's a springboard into the unknown. And when you can do this, you can really live."

She felt shame about her body.

Pamela Anderson at the amfAR Cannes Gala 2019
Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock

In her Netflix documentary, Pamela, a love story (via E! News), Anderson opens up about the abuse and rape she suffered as a child and how it affected her view of herself, including feeling like she "hated" her own body.

"I had so much shame about my body," she said. "So much shame about what had happened to me."

But, she explained, when she had her first Playboy photoshoot, she felt like she was taking her life back.

"I was like, 'Why am I so freaking paralyzed by this shyness? I'm so sick of all this past that's created this insecurity in me,'" she says in the documentary. "It's like a prison, I have to break out of it. From the first snap of a picture, I felt like I was throwing myself off a bridge and falling in… and just, like, snap. That was the first time I felt like I'd broken free of something."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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