“It Feels Good To Be Seen”: Pamela Anderson On Kicking Off Her Modelling Career In Her Fifties

Photo by Christophe Clovis

“I’m not what people may have written me off as,” Pamela Anderson tells Vogue.

“It’s surreal, and interesting to be accepted, rooted for, and celebrated,” Pamela Anderson tells Vogue of the positive reception she’s received of late, following the release of her heartfelt memoir and Netflix documentary, Pamela, A Love Story. “It took awhile—not that it was ever my intention to be understood – but it feels good to be seen, and that I’m not what people may have written me off as—I was always doing my best, like all of us are.”

Pamela Anderson gained international recognition in the ’90s following her role as CJ Parker on the television series Baywatch and her personal life, in particular her marriage to ex-husband Tommy Lee, was well documented. Fast forward to today and Anderson, at 55-years-old, has moved into the fashion world, working with numerous influential fashion houses and signing a contract with one of the world’s top modelling agencies, The Society Management.

Last December, Anderson caused a stir when she attended the Jacquemus spring/summer 2023 show at Le Bourget outside Paris wearing a head-to-toe look by the brand. Shortly after, she was revealed as the face of the Joyeux Noël campaign in a cream-white and ecru ensemble complete with a dramatic hat (not dissimilar to the iconic Ivy Supersonic hat that she wore at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1999). “Simon [Porte Jacquemus] is such a sweet man, and he took great care of me – I was honoured,” she says of working with the creative director. “We reminisced about some looks from my past and he was in actual shock that all those ‘memorable’ moments were designed by me—spontaneously out of a drawer, with a glass of champagne in hand.”

Pamela opened the Boss spring/summer 2023 show in Miami Pamela Anderson modeling in her 50s
Pamela opened the Boss spring/summer 2023 show in Miami. Jason Koerner/Getty Images

Earlier this year, the star was called upon by another fashion house, Boss. But this time, she was asked to open its Miami show among the likes of Naomi Campbell and Precious Lee, as well as her two sons, Brandon Thomas and Dylan Jagger. “Walking on the water and glass felt dangerous, and I loved it,” she says of her debut runway experience. “I felt like I was leading all these beautiful people through a storm, which was a little intimidating, and, of course, the legendary Naomi closed the show.”

When asked what her earliest memory of fashion was, Anderson noted her grandmother as being a very “chic woman” that inspired her. “She wore slim pants and sleeveless tops that matched a simple bouffant, red lips, and ballet flats,” she recounts. “I was a ‘tomboy’ and was always on the beach in the rain, snow or sunshine on Vancouver Island, but my grandmother intrigued me with her style.” She also notes her parents as having unique rockabilly style—“It had some influence on me, but when I left home I flew straight to LA and landed on Pride day wearing spandex and leg warmers as if it was straight out of Xanadu (a film from the ’80s), and I fit right in.”

Pamela Anderson In a red Dsquared2 dress for the Fashion Cares event in 2006
In a red Dsquared2 dress for the Fashion Cares event in 2006, where she was the host. George Pimentel/Getty Images

What are Anderson’s most memorable style moments from over the years? “I have seen a few that make me smile, but I always felt in the moment what I had put together was a miss—I thought nothing fit me perfectly back then,” she asserts while thinking back. “But I loved the red dress by the Dsquared2 boys; the Versace with pins look when I was leaving Sanctuary, (a club where I was part owner). Some of the crocheted looks with Bob [Kid Rock] were pretty wild; the latex dresses that I wore out with Tommy [Lee]; and the denim mini skirt look that I wore to the Oscars Vanity Fair after-party (in 2001) with David Lachapelle straight after a photoshoot—that’s where we were rumoured to have been banned for dressing inappropriately.”

Pamela Anderson wearing a denim mini dress to the Vanity Fair Oscars after party in 2001.
Pamela Anderson wearing a denim mini dress to the Vanity Fair Oscars after party in 2001. Evan Agostini/Getty Images

Today, Anderson describes her personal style as “creamy dreamy”, and notes Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsens’ brand The Row as her go-to. “It’s like [the designers] live inside my head – my sons even called me once from one of their stores saying ‘this looks like your house and your closet!” she recalls. “I love it all, but I’m careful with what I purchase these days, as I have too many clothes and even though I have downsized and given much away, I still have an entire closet of memories with some pieces that I feel better wearing now than I did back then.”

Pamela anderson modeling in her fifties
Courtesy of Frankies Bikinis
Pamela anderson modeling in her fifties
Courtesy of Frankies Bikinis

What’s next for Anderson? “I have a few things I want to do and the first one has to be the bathing suit line with Frankies Bikinis,” she says. “I had so many strange offers in the past and I’m glad I never gave in to them, because, as you can imagine, people who wanted to work with me back then only saw me a certain way. I feel seen as a woman now, who found her own path with joy, even through challenging times—now is the time to shine with meaning and depth.” As far as her fashion journey is concerned, this is only the beginning, and we can’t wait to see what Pamela does next.

This article was originally published on British Vogue.

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