Pamela Anderson, as told to Melissa Leong, Weekend Post
When I was little, I was always an activist. I used to roll nickels and quarters and pennies, whatever I had and give them to animal shelters. I did lemonade stands.
My dad wasn’t really a big hunter but we lived off venison and moose meat. I remember not liking the taste of it. In Ladysmith, B.C., it seemed to be part of the lifestyle. My dad didn’t like to hunt but he tells me now that it was something that everybody did.
One time, my dad told me, “Don’t go in the pump house.” So of course, the first thing that I did was gather my girlfriends and go straight for the pump house. I opened up the door and there was a dead deer hanging upside down with no head, dripping into a bucket of blood. I went into hysterics and I wouldn’t calm down until my dad convinced me that he would never ever hunt again, and his friends, too. That’s when I realized that I should speak my mind.
When I was on Baywatch, my first experience with any kind of notoriety, I would get a lot of questions about my boyfriend, my boobs, really ridiculous things. I thought, “I have a vehicle here that I can use for something really important.” I contacted PETA. I wrote them a handwritten note that said, “Please give me any information that I can talk about because I’m so sick of talking about myself.” They put me in their campaign: “I’d rather go naked than wear fur.” Dan Mathews [of PETA] and I became best friends. We’ve travelled all over the world together. We’ve changed animal welfare laws as far as Austria to Australia. I’ve worked with politicians, and to see the difference that we’ve made in the 17 years I’ve been working with them, it’s fuelled the fire. Just makes you want to do more and more.
I was in a butcher block ad that said, “All animals have the same parts.” [Montreal] looked at it [as sexist] because I was in a bikini. That was really funny because I know Montreal is known for its exotic dancing and Canada is known for its progressive attitude. I don’t know what the real issues were.
I wrote to the owner of the restaurant [where PETA launched the ad] to ask him to remove foie gras from the menu and he said “No, forget it.” They stick tubes down the goose’s neck and they force-feed them. It’s horrible. If people could see what animals go through before it gets to their plate with a flower on it, they wouldn’t eat it.
I just decided one day that I needed to do some one-on-one work. I wanted to work with the barn owls. I wanted to clean up the possums and feed the crows and really learn about the wildlife here. A lady came to the California Wildlife Center here in Malibu and she saw me scrubbing poop out of cages with my hair in a ponytail, getting soaking wet. She said, “I’m really proud of all of the work that you’ve done for animals but to see you here makes me even more proud.” I go weekly and I spend as many hours as I can there. It just feels good to do laundry, fold towels, make meals. I told Damien [Whitewood from Dancing with the Stars] that we have to go do an hour at the wildlife centre before we dance. He probably thought, “I can’t believe this. This is not what I pictured,” as he was scrubbing away.
I brought my kids up there. The world is a crazy place. We need to teach charity to our children. Dylan is 12 and Brandon is 14. I remember at career day, they would say my dad is a rock star and mommy rescues animals.
I feel that at this point in my career, I don’t want to do another television show. I don’t want to do a film. I’m really enjoying what I do now. I have two homes in Malibu, a home in Canada that I’m building, and I just love pouring my heart out into this part of my life. Being halfway through my life, I think we start feeling less invincible and we start thinking more about the important things. I’ve always been involved and now I feel like this is where I should be headed, more so than wearing bikinis.