Numéro - Pamela Anderson's exclusive interview

Icon of the cult 90s series Baywatch, Pamela Anderson is now using her celebrity to defend the planet and the animal kingdom. Numéro met up with her.

Through her foundation, which she launched at Cannes last year, Pamela Anderson is using her provocative charms to approach those in power and advance the causes she holds dear. She’s also just unveiled an astonishing collection of veggie shoes realized in partnership with French designer Amélie Pichard. Numéro talked to her about love, passion and activism.

Numéro: When did you decide to create the Pamela Anderson Foundation?

Pamela Anderson: I started preparing my foundation over ten years ago, but it’s become very active in the last two years, as I’ve begun to devote more time to what’s important for the planet, for vulnerable people and for animals. I’m a great connector and producer, and I seem to fall into the right hands always. Even if I’m a little bizarre. [Laughs.] I’m not afraid to take this into zones where no one has gone before. The aim is to support activists, people who have a cause. There’s also a tenure programme, which is artist driven. As for me, I’m travelling the world on my own dime, speaking to people who I know make a difference and who are able to make big, real, impactful choices. I won’t just sit around waiting for others to act.

What exactly are the foundation’s goals, and how do you intend to go about achieving them?

My foundation is evolving, and I’m evolving as an activist. I have intelligent, educated friends. I learn every day. My priority with the foundation is to get resources out to the people who are doing the hard work. The front lines. I recently became chair of the board of directors of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. It’s something I take extremely seriously. I think the Sea Shepherds are one of our saving graces. And I really encourage everyone to get on board.

You’re known for writing letters to politicians – Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama, the Danish Prime Minister and so on. What kind of reaction do you get?

I write every day. I write letters consistently to world leaders, activists, friends, lovers. People I admire. Letters are a lost art. It’s important to continue the fight on all levels. This is an effective way for me. And I can tell you that everyone always responds.

You also recently went to Russia to meet their minister for natural resources.

I’m just back from the Kremlin. Russia is my friend. I’ve had great success there. We’re working together on legislation to protect endangered species. Not only in Russia, but from other parts of the world too. Specifically to ban importation of any endangered species. They are doers, and I respect that.

You wrote on the foundation’s website that it “must be outspoken and brave ... in a provocative way.” What kind of provocation are we talking about here?

I believe that being provocative is the key to my success in every aspect of my life. I’m a pusher, a squeezer, I’m relentless with love, with science, with all that I am and all those I know. Yet I’m not ambitious or calculating. I listen – I take it all in. I resonate with almost everything. It’s a love affair with the planet and all its beings. Women are good at this. I was raised by amazing women. They taught me to use all I am to get the results I desire, but in a compassionate way that’s both humble and excitingly surprising.

I believe that you’ve also founded your own environmentally friendly companies.

I have a few. There’s, which makes vegan footwear and other products out of recycled electronics and other materials: snow to surf, boots, beanies, blankets. It’s a sensual, cozy lifestyle brand. I have another vegan shoe company I’m involved with, in collaboration with Amélie Pichard. I also have a beauty-water company I’m part of. We are changing the recyclable bottles to a better, more earth-friendly biodegradable package. It’s evolving as I get involved.I have integrity as a brand. I’ve self funded both shoe companies. I can’t wait for others to catch up. Luckily, I think the time is now. We are getting an incredible response – vegan luxury brands!

What exactly does “vegan” imply for a shoe?

Vegan means absolutely no animal products – no animal skins, parts, or anything that might harm animals. It’s the only choice now. There’s no need for animals to be slaughtered for fashion or for food, or to be used for entertainment. It’s time to let those dark ages go. Never go to a sea aquarium, don’t go to zoos, stop eating meat, chicken, fish or any dairy products – you can save the world this way!

How would you describe your collection with Amélie Pichard?

The Amélie collection is very 90s inspired. But also inspired by our mutual lifestyles – beach resorts, boats, parties – a sexy compassionate artistic life. Amélie has used me as her muse in other collections, but this time it was a collaboration. It was very exciting for me. Every “celebrity” seems to have a clothing line, it’s kind of goofy, but I hope this isn’t comparable. I funded this so that people can have more non-animal pieces in their wardrobe. I also believe in supporting artists like Amélie, so this project has many benefits. 

I’m a pusher, a squeezer, I’m relentless with love, with science, with all that I am and all those I know. 

Your two sons are also activists I believe.

Both my boys have been very active their entire lives. They’ve given clean-water filters on surf trips with the charity Waves for Water. They’ve been to the Faroe Islands to raise awareness of the horrible slaughter of innocent pilot-whale families as a blood sport. I also have an adopted third son who is always with us. I’m so proud of him. He’s off on a mission to protect dolphins with one of the Sea Shepherd boats right now, as a volunteer. Both my boys have done internships in fashion and music. They’ve volunteered at wildlife centers with me cleaning cages, and feeding squirrels and hawks. It’s in them. And having infuences like Vivienne and my wild artist friends – David Lachapelle, Christian Rosa, Sam Simon – has given them a colourful taste of life. They’re creative academics, smart artists. I’m excited to see where life takes them.

What were your parents like?

My dad was a “bad boy,” my mom was bouncy blonde full of life, quick- witted and sarcastic. We had a joyful life. They were 18 and 19 when they had me, and are still together, more in love than ever. They’re voracious readers, but simple people.

What influence would you say they had on you?

Along with my grandparents, they taught me to be a good person, to protect the earth and have fun doing it. And that’s just what I am doing!

Where did your love for animals come from?

I’ve protected animals since I was very young. My father was a hunter, and I made him stop. I realized early on that information and words are very powerful. If it comes from your heart, it’s the most powerful, and that’s how you can make the most change.

Do you have animals at home?

I have two dogs right now. But that changes. We foster animals too.

Your private life has been constantly exposed in the tabloids, but I don’t think you could say we know the “true” Pamela Anderson. Are you a romantic, for instance?

I’m always in love, I’m always broken hearted. I don’t feel like a victim. Searching is the fun part – the dance, the mystery.

How would you define love?

For me love means loving without attachment – supporting each other’s dreams, selflessly, without ego. It’s difficult, it’s painful at times and it drives us mad. But that’s the blessing of being human. We don’t own anyone. I’m a wildflower, everyone knows that. I’m hard to tame. But I’m loyal and old-fashioned too. 

Is there a love of your life?

I’m not sure there’s a man who embodies that role for me yet. But my boys are my loves. My family too, and my dogs

What do you seek in a relationship? Are you still attracted by bad guys?

Everyone is good and bad. The bad is usually a shield for insecurity. Once there’s safety, the bad melts away. Then you just have to hope it’s still interesting. Love is not skin deep.

What would you say was the most romantic moment of your life?

My life is filled with romance. I romance myself. I love flowers and I don’t wait for others to shower me with affection. It’s okay to be alone. I write very romantic tales. I fantasize. I wonder who can handle me, then someone appears and says, “I can!” Even if it’s in a dream!

Right now you’re on the cover of the very last nude issue of Playboy [the January/February 2016 issue]. You and Playboy go back a long way. How important would you say Hugh Hefner and his magazine have been in your life? 

Mr. Hefner has been everything to me – I’m part of the Playboy DNA. This is my 15th American cover, and I’ve done hundreds worldwide. My very first cover was 26 years ago. It’s really hard to believe that so much time has passed.

And what about Baywatch, the series that made you a household star? What are your memories 20 years on?

Baywatch was my favourite job ever! Being on the beach every day with my dog, enjoying the sand and the ocean. I would have been there anyway. So to get paid too? I couldn’t believe my luck!

What happened to your famous red Baywatch bathing suit? Did you really sell it at auction to raise money for your foundation? 

I’m selling everything for my foundation! I don’t need a storage unit of things I’ll hardly wear or use. Time is of the essence. There are too many important organizations to support now. I think everyone should do it: eBay has a way for you to sell things and give to charity. And it’s recycling. I’m not a big consumer – I have too much already.

Interview by Thibaut Wychowanok - Photos by Vijat Mohindra