Pamela Anderson is having an incredible year with the release of a book and documentary, a food show in the works and a whole new generation of fans. And the Pam-aissance has just begun.


When Pamela Anderson pops onto my screen in July, she’s a bit stressed. “I think I wrecked my sourdough!” she exclaims, covering her face with doughy hands. I look at the clock: It’s 8 a.m. in her hometown of Ladysmith, B.C. “You’re baking bread this early in the morning?” I ask incredulously. She waves me off with a grin. “I let it rise overnight and put it in the oven earlier today.” It turns out that Anderson has already been up for hours because of her dogs. What can she say? “I’m in bread mode,” she laughs, her signature platinum-blond hair dusting the shoulders of her white T-shirt. And these days she has a lot to laugh about.

fashion october 2023
Jacket, $1,700, and skirt, $935, Sportmax. Earrings, $9,000, Tiffany & Co.

At 56, Anderson is having a renaissance — or “Pam- aissance,” as the internet has coined it. It started in early 2023, when she released her Netflix documentary, Pamela: A Love Story [this interview occurred before the SAG- AFTRA actors’ strike], accompanying memoir, Love, Pamela, and digital newsletter. The buzz got bigger when her name started to swirl around casting rumours about season three of The White Lotus. Then, when she started re-emerging on red carpets, the fanfare turned into a communal trip down memory lane.

Tutorials on how to achieve her messy bun from the ’90s trended. Thin eyebrows and smoky eyes were seen all over content creators’ feeds. And #pamelaandersonstyle has hit 320.4 million views (and counting!) on TikTok. “I think it’s funny,” she shares, revealing that her sons, Brandon Thomas and Dylan Jagger Lee, first brought the trend to her attention. “When you start hearing that your image is on different mood boards, it’s pretty surreal. But it also shows that I marched to the beat of my own drum.”

Today, the Anderson I’m seeing is still her own drummer, but this time she’s playing a different rhythm. She appears weightless — as if a giant designer backpack has been lifted off her shoulders. She giggles frequently, tossing her beachy waves back with reckless abandon. She moves restlessly, her body bursting with energy. And, overall, Anderson exudes an indescribable ethereal essence that makes me think she would be perfectly at home in an enchanted forest. And, in a way, she is, having moved back to her family home on Vancouver Island. Perhaps it’s the distance from L.A. or the wisdom that comes with age, but this new Pamela Anderson speaks confidently. Unlike her younger self, she is telling her own story — and it’s beautiful to behold.

“I’ve always kind of known that things would get better when I was older; I just didn’t know when that time was coming,” Anderson reflects. “It’s nice to be seen. It’s not something I’ve ever really experienced.” Anderson, who grew up in Canada, admits she wasn’t the “pretty princess” her mother probably wanted. While her mom was rocking a bouffant updo and gingham pants, Anderson was “eating” mud pies. That’s not to say that her parents didn’t influence her. Anderson recalls her mother telling her: “There’s no such thing as natural beauty — it takes at least an hour in front of a mirror. And you are more powerful if you are pretty.” When asked how this might have affected her, Anderson reflects on the implications of it but can’t quite put them into words.


Then, in 1989, Anderson proved that Jumbotrons can be used for more than just uncomfortable close-ups. She credits her neighbours at the time, who were Labatt’s Beer reps, for giving her tickets to a B.C. football game. Once they saw the crowd’s reaction to Anderson up on the screen, wearing her branded crop top, the brewery asked her to star in its next ad campaign, and it was shortly after that that Playboy called about its October ’89 cover.

But there was an issue with her hair. You see, it wasn’t Anderson’s intention to be blond. While on her way to the Playboy Mansion, she used too much Sun-In on her naturally brown hair and the result was that her tresses turned the colour of “a manila envelope,” she laughs. Playboy quickly swooped in, and the blond bombshell was born. “The transformation happened both slowly and quickly,” Anderson begins. “You’re in Playboy, people are doing your hair and makeup and you just turn into this different person. It gave me the confidence to play almost a character on-set.”

Don’t get her wrong: She describes her first Playboy shoot as an empowering and life-changing experience. “I never really felt in charge of myself or the things that had happened to me in my life,” she says, possibly alluding to the sexual assault she experienced at a young age. “I just wanted to break free of this painful shyness I had. And I thought the only way to do that was to basically jump off a bridge and go crazy.” 

Enter the Baywatch era, when Anderson became one of the most famous women in the world, the highest-paid actor on the most-watched television show and a bona fide fashion icon. Minimalism was not in this star’s vocabulary. Sans stylist, Anderson wore sheer lace, leather pants, organ-defying corsets, blinding sequins and, of course, furry hats — all of which are currently being stored in a warehouse that sounds as if it could rival Barbie’s Dreamhouse. “I just wanted to have fun and wear things that I liked,” she explains rather nonchalantly, glossing over how incredibly cool and frankly bold it was to wear what she did. “Those outfits were just me being ridiculous and entertaining myself.” 

Jacket, $5,695, top, $2,470, and pants, $2,470, Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello. Shoes, $860, The Attico. Necklace, $8,700, Tiffany & Co.
Jacket, $3,115, and boots, $1,660, Stella McCartney. Bodysuit, $2,890, Alaïa at Holt Renfrew. Gloves, price upon request, Lillian Shalom.

Nowadays, she takes the red carpet a little more seriously. Well, one of her sons does anyway. When it came time for the premiere of Pamela: A Love Story, Brandon, who serves as one of the documentary’s producers, “insisted that I have somebody help me with my wardrobe because he wasn’t sure what I was going to show up in,” Anderson laughs, like a mom who’s used to being occasionally burned by her offspring. She now works with Rebecca Ramsey, who has taken Anderson’s over-the-top style and turned it into a lesson in quiet luxury, with cream suits, cozy sweaters and little black dresses. (See Anderson’s starring role in Aritzia’s Babaton Fall 2023 campaign.)

And just as she has swapped out her iconic Baywatch swimsuit for a minimalist red dress, Anderson is taking back control of her narrative, also with the help of her sons. “They were like: ‘Mom, nobody knows who you really are. It’s just this cartoon character that’s out there,’” she shares. “And that’s what I feel like I’ve done my whole life — play these different roles.” 

Some of them are true to who she is: a mother, a writer, an activist. Others were unwillingly thrust upon her, like being one-half of a tabloid couple and the involuntary star of a stolen sex tape. But the latter made her a national punching bag at a time when the media was already reducing her to a big-breasted caricature. Tim Allen allegedly flashed her on the set of Home Improvement as a joke. Late-night hosts used her breasts as the punchline in countless opening monologues. And a lawyer even told Anderson that she had no right to privacy because she had appeared in Playboy

Now, it’s easy (and more than deserved) to point fingers at the media, but Anderson isn’t eager to rehash the past. As she writes in Love, Pamela, “there is no woe-is-me in this book.” Instead, we chat about the idea that women are somewhat conditioned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. “Sometimes you’re just in so much shock over what someone has said that you kind of ride it out,” Anderson agrees. “You’re just looking at this person and thinking ‘Well, they’re a pretty wounded soul to have that in them.’”

Jacket, $3,115, and boots, $1,660, Stella McCartney. Bodysuit, $2,890, Alaïa at Holt Renfrew. Gloves, price upon request, Lillian Shalom.
Dress, $2,500, MAR by Maria Karimi. Top, $560, Dion Lee at Ssense.

Tired of only fielding questions about her boobs and her boyfriends, she decided to redirect the attention to something more meaningful — like animal rights — and has been doing so ever since. “I like to get my hands dirty,” Anderson says. “Hashtags are great, but I think physically doing things is so much stronger.” Through the Pamela Anderson Foundation — her non-profit that fights to protect human, animal and environmental rights — Anderson has been doing just that. She has planted trees around the world, spoken everywhere from Oxford University to the Kremlin in Russia and starred in a variety of PETA campaigns. “I like to be the bridge between hardcore activists and others as activism has become like a dirty word,” she says. “I don’t want to tell someone to be vegan. Instead, I’ll celebrate vegetables.”

 This is exactly what she plans to do with her new series for Food Network Canada, Pamela’s Cooking With Love (premiering in 2024), where we’ll see her teaming up with top chefs as they prepare plant-based meals and menus. You’ll also see her in season two of Pamela’s Garden of Eden, which follows the star as she continues to renovate her B.C. property. “During the first season, I wasn’t in a good place,” Anderson admits. But now, she’s in a “love affair” with herself. 

“I’ve had a lot of love in my life, and I don’t think I’m going to be alone for the rest of it,” she declares. “For me, this is a period to get to know who I am. It’s a powerful time, and I feel really good in my own skin.”

 As we finish our video call, I wish Anderson luck with her bread baking. She tried a new kneading technique and is eagerly awaiting the results — hence the initial stress. But somewhere between chatting about her mom and her favourite romcom (it’s Amélie, in case you’re wondering), her anxiety subsided and she’s feeling more raw. Like the dough that’s currently sitting in Anderson’s oven, she’s bubbly, a bit mushy (she prefers “romantic”) and most definitely on the rise once again. After all, good things come to those who wait.

HAIR Christopher Deagle for Nobasura/Hair Rituel by Sisley. MAKEUP Rio Translado using MAC. 
FASHION ASSISTANTS Alexis Khan-Anselmo, Rosemary Fisher-Lang and Kasha Marciniak. PHOTO ASSISTANTS Bree Avery and Natasha Habedus Katedralis. LIGHTING Alex Guiry. DIGITAL TECHNICIAN Kyle Gibson.