Pamela Anderson flies in to show us how to tango

Former ‘Baywatch’ sex symbol: Investing passions in anti-fur trade campaign, Israel “a progressive, wonderful example to rest of the world.”

November 8, 2010 06:50
4 minute read.
Pamela Anderson in Israel.

Pamela Anderson 311. (photo credit: Rami Zarnegar)

Calling Israel “a progressive, wonderful example to the rest of the world” for not maintaining any fur farms, actress Pamela Anderson made her local debut on Sunday, a day ahead of her guest appearance on the Channel 2 reality show Dancing With the Stars.

Appearing at a press conference at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv with the producer of the show, Asaf Gil, Ilan Devries, the vice president of Reshet, and her dance partner, Australian dance professional Damian Whitewood, the ardent animal rights activist said she was planning to meet with MKs about a bill to ban fur imports to Israel presented by Kadima MK Ronit Tirosh and currently being discussed in the Knesset Education Committee.

Pamela Anderson to show Israel how to tango
Same-sex partners perform on ‘Dancing with the Stars’

“I won’t have time to go to them because of my schedule with the show, but there’s a plan for them to come my hotel on Tuesday,” said Anderson. “Any chance I get, I’ll speak about the issue. It’s almost 2011. We have so many alternatives to things to enable [us] to be more compassionate in our choices.”

Anderson confirmed that she had sent a letter last week to Religious Services Minister Ya’acov Margi (Shas) calling on him to back the bill to ban fur. She linked to a PETA video, writing that even a few seconds’ viewing would be enough for Margi to recognize that the way the animals suffer and die in the fur trade violates Jewish principles, which prohibit unnecessary suffering to animals.

Anderson, who competed last year on the US version of Dancing With the Stars, said she had received no pressure from anti-Israel groups to delay her visit.

“I’ve always wanted to come here,” she said. “My good friend David Chappelle was just here – his exhibit is still up at the [Tel Aviv] Museum of Contemporary Art – and he had the most fantastic time.

“We don’t get to hear about all the wonderful things in Israel, and just looking out my window here at the hotel and seeing the beautiful beach, my goodness, it’s gorgeous! I’m sure I’ll be going back with raving reviews.”

The 43-year-old Anderson, who will be dancing with Whitewood on Monday and Tuesday nights’ episodes, will also be giving reviews of her own – of the other contestants, including Aki Avni and Gili Shem Tov, who has made Dancing with the Stars history by competing with another woman, professional dancer Dorit Millman.

“I’ll probably just smile and nod and leave the judging to Damian,” said Anderson, saying that after competing last year, she respects the dancers too much to criticize them.

“There’s less pressure making the final basket in a basketball game in the final seconds than there is to be a contestant on Dancing With the Stars,” she said.

Reshet’s Devries said that the theme of the two shows Anderson will be appearing on will be “sensual dance” – the rumba and the tango – a fitting match-up for the actress who rose to fame as a buxom lifeguard on the hit TV show Baywatch and has appeared unclad numerous times in Playboy.

But rather than propel her sex symbol image, when she was asked to compete on Dancing with the Stars in the US last year, she took the task seriously.

“I always wanted to learn how to dance and I thought it wouldn’t happen unless I put a lot of pressure on myself, so I just dove in. And I met Damian, and he’s taught me everything I know,” she said, referring to her partner on the American show and on the Israeli show.

Anderson, who until recently was likely to be remembered for her X-rated Internet romps with then-husband Tommy Lee, is intent on reshaping her image, focusing both on dancing and her involvement in animal rights issues.

“I’d like to be remembered for being a good mom,” she said in response to a question. “And all the work I do for animal rights.

“A lot of my career has been frivolous and silly, and to be able to incorporate my beliefs and passions into the very important issue has been inspiring and keeps me going... And now, I’ve learned how to dance as well.”

While praising Israel for breaking the gender barrier with Dancing with the Stars’ first same-sex partners, Anderson answered in the negative when asked whether she would follow suit.

“I’ll be sticking with Damian,” she laughed.

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