Hollywood’s Changed, But Carmen Electra Hasn’t

It’s no secret that the 90s and 2000s are having a comeback. We’re rocking low-rise jeans again, emo music is coming back on the charts, and the women whose bodies and outfits we desperately wanted back then are back and better than ever (oh, and we still totally wanna be them).

Case in point: Carmen Electra. Although, she never really left if you were paying attention. The Baywatch babe launched her OnlyFans channel on her 50th birthday last year, and she’s recently shot campaigns with Skims, Alexander Wang, and most recently: I.AM.GIA.

We sat down with the iconic bombshell (who still looks almost exactly the same as you remember her from Scary Movie), to talk about how the industry has changed, her favorite fashion moments, OnlyFans, and her secret to looking so damn good.

You look absolutely incredible! What’s your secret to aging so well?

Well you know my mom would always keep her face moisturized, like always. But when I was younger I just didn’t want to [moisturize]. I would put on makeup and—I wouldn’t sleep in it yet, that came a little bit later— but I would wash it off with regular soap, whatever soap we had. Probably Dove. In the 90’s especially, I slept with my makeup on. I was wearing lashes and I was going out, hitting the club scene in Hollywood which was so iconic back then. It was wild, and it was fun, in your 20’s it’s a blast. And by the time you get home, you’re exhausted. I started getting little breakouts and I decided to go see a dermatologist and I always loved what [my dermatologist] did to my skin. We’re talking 90’s, so she’d kind of comb this thing that burned like acid but it would make my face so much more youthful than when I went in. And they gave me a bunch of products and that’s when I started to get obsessed with making sure I washed my face before going to bed. I also love a good oxygen facial, it really plumps up your skin. I think [if] you start to do things [like moisturizing] when you’re younger, you don’t have to go invasive. It’s your choice, but don’t just jump. Do your research. I’ve only had breast augmentation. I used to drink sodas like crazy and I completely stopped drinking them. I have cheat days where I eat whatever I want. For example, this morning I wanted an apple pie so, I’m eating a slice of apple pie with whipped cream.

Jewelry @houseofemmanuele, Crystal Top @shopakira, Bow Bottoms @frolovheart, Shoes @pleasershoes

You mention how you were going out in LA in the 90’s. How do you let loose and have fun now?

I would go to a concert in a heartbeat. For some reason lately, my friends have called me just a little too late. And I’m like, “You didn’t call me to let me know Metallica and Pantera were performing?”And they’re like “Well we didn’t think you would wanna go.” And I’m like, “Are you kidding?!” I like a lot of different styles of music and I do happen to like both of those bands a lot. I missed Peaches because I had a job and I’ve always loved Peaches, I performed onstage with her. 

It’s crazy because, to an outsider, it looks like things in your world haven’t changed a ton in the last 20 years. You still look the same, you’re still modeling, you’re doing these collabs, you’re living in LA—which is amazing. But what has changed?

Well I mean there was so much downtime when everyone had to stay in [during COVID]. I had a leak in my house—it rained really hard in my bedroom—so I was really lucky because I got to go to Palm Springs and take two of my best friends. I was there for two months and I kind of tuned out, so that was one of the coolest moments, you know what I mean? It was so hot outside. We were having contests on who could get darker. Of course, on my face, I’m always going to wear an SPF, but on my body, I was wearing that Maui…

Oh, the Maui Babe Browning Lotion?

Yes! But I took care of my face and didn’t put that on my face. It was up to 110 degrees sometimes, so there would be days when we would stay in or walk around, but I just remember dancing in the grass and the flowers and feeling free and doing things that I would do as a kid like—every day I would go around and look for feathers and I was going to make a headdress because I have Cherokee Indian blood so I can do that. But it was so relaxing, it almost felt like going back home to Cincinnati in the summer.

Can you tell us more about your decision to create an OnlyFans page for your 50th birthday?

I did a lot of research on it, made a ton of calls, and asked a lot of questions. I watched a documentary about it and what I learned is you just have to tell [your fans] the truth because you don’t want someone to buy something and then it’s not what they expect. So communicating is a really good thing and they love it when you communicate back to them. They’ll send requests of what they want and now I’m getting even more the hang of it. It’s the soles of the feet [they want]! It’s not just the feet! I did my first livestream for OnlyFans just the other day and it was really fun.

Do you wish something like OnlyFans existed earlier in your career? 

I would say somewhat earlier but I think it would have been such a no-no at that time. And what I like is that things have changed. You can be your own boss without someone saying “You can’t do that, you can’t do this, you can’t wear that.” And that’s really cool because I’ve been through the 90s and 2000s and I would go to the MTV Awards wearing that white Stephen Sprouse dress and it was the most scandalous! I could never understand why people would get super picky about the MTV Movie or Music Awards because it should be fun and out there and fashion-forward and whatever you wanna do!

I feel like so many of those pieces, even that white Stephen Sprouse dress, someone could wear today and it would look totally relevant. I feel like so many of your iconic looks are like that. Do you feel like your style has changed over the years?

In some ways, it’s changed. If I wanna wear something a little controversial, I’m not afraid to wear it. Back then I would be a little nervous and kind of question it. The stylist would be like “This just came off the runway off of Kate Moss’ body and now it’s on you and they’re giving it to you.” And I’m like “Okay, here we go!” And there also was a Stephen Sprouse dress that I wore to the MTV Awards in New York that was black and it had clips so it was open all the way down the side. I couldn’t wear underwear underneath it! And then I started to do more movies and my agents were like “You need to get a stylist and we want to clean your look up.” I always had a wild side and I always liked expressing myself how I wanted to. It’s just being a dancer, you know, I love hot pants! I wore hot pants in the winter sometimes with a coat in the snow!

That sounds like an iconic look.

I just would do things like that. I didn’t care what nature was saying [laughing], Mother Nature or anyone else. But when I did start to get into acting and do some things other than music and Playboy, they wanted me to tone it down. And it was okay with me because I was obsessed with going to fashion week and I would go twice a year. I wouldn’t miss it and that just became really fun just to take it all in, support new designers, and support the designers I loved.

Dress @iamgia Jewelry @lillianshalom @candyicejewelry Shoes @jessicarichofficial
Corset @monicaivena, Jewelry @kallatijewelry

It’s funny because I was going to ask you if there were any outfits you regret or would never wear now but it almost sounds like you regret not being wilder?

No, there’s definitely one! It was for an MTV Rock N’ Jock, but it was disco-themed so they went into the archives. And someone cool probably wore [the outfit originally], but it didn’t fit all the way. It was the pink bell bottoms with fringe and pink heart glasses. And I remember I got worst-dressed on the cover of some magazines and I was like “Oh my God, I work for MTV, this is what they put me in!” I was younger so you have to build a thicker skin.

Jewelry @houseofemmanuele, @heymaeve, Look @solangel

You’ve always had such an iconic look with the smoky eye and voluminous hair. Was that an intentional choice to have a signature beauty look?

When I got my record deal at Paisley Park, Prince would just send me out to do shoots. I’d fly to New York, I’d fly to LA, but I had no idea who I was shooting with. I was shooting with Steven Klein one time. And then later on I’m like, “What! That was Steven Klein?!” He shot so much for Vogue and probably still does. It’s just insane. How did I not know that? But I was so young and I didn’t grow up here or in New York and I came out here to be a dancer, you know what I mean? So my concentration was really on dancing.

I feel like sometimes that works out in your favor because you don’t have time to psych yourself out about working with these huge names?

No, I did. I psyched myself out a lot. People would always wonder, “Who are you? Are you famous? Are you an actress? Are you a model? What do you do?” And I’d say I was a dancer and people would say, “You need a manager” or “You need an agent,” or “I know the perfect person.” and I would meet with them and they would send me to auditions. So I would go in—I didn’t have an acting coach at the time—and I would go in and see that the girls were so beautiful and I would feel very shy and just walk out. And so that person that was trying to help me at the time worked with Pam [Anderson] and Jenny McCarthy and told me, “You’re never going to make it. They really try, they go in and audition and they try.” I was pissed off, but over time I did meet a couple of really nice people that understood and they wouldn’t be mad at me if I didn’t go. And I remember I had gotten an audition for Singled Out for MTV and I had a feeling I might get it and I just told myself, “Go in and be your funny self when you’re hanging out with your friends. Just go for it, be as wild as you wanna be.” And they would always say, “Can you take the lashes off and just be a little bit more natural and come back again?” And I remember going back and going back and I didn’t understand (coming from the world that I came from) why I couldn’t wear false lashes—and now everybody wears them! So I kind of had a specific look where people would be like “Wow, your eyes!”

You were doing it before everyone else was!

I was very inspired by Ann Margaret and Priscilla Presley. And in this shoot for Galore, we go through so many different eras and decades. I love working with Jacob, this is the third time I think I’ve worked with him, and it was really fun. We have a dark-haired moment where the curls are kind of going up almost like a bee-hive, and then a sort of ’80s moment with a cherry and looking through the blinds as if I was home and pulled the blinds to the side. And one that may have been more 90s on a bed. A lot of props and a lot of looks that I’ve never done before. So it was really, really fun. 

Top @agentprovocateur, Jewelry @houseofemmanuele @candyicejewelry, Shoes @billinishoes

I can’t wait to see the photos! You mentioned in an interview with E! that the young guys come for you! Do you prefer younger or older men?

I don’t prefer either, but that’s just what started happening. It seems like sometimes young guys will be into a woman who’s a little bit older than them, you know? I haven’t been dating. When I meet the right person who really just does it for me, then I will. You know what I mean? But I’ve gone on a couple of blind dates and that was weird [laughing].

Studies show that unmarried and childless women are the happiest subgroup in the population, does that stat surprise you?

It doesn’t surprise me because I have friends who are stressed all the time because they’re working and they have kids. I was never against [having kids], it’s just I come from such a big family and my mom always said, “Don’t get pregnant until you’re a little bit older. Just wait so you can have a career.” And she made me think about my career all the time. There’s been parts of my life where I’ve thought about it because I do love kids, but I guess there’s a difference [between] raising them [and] babysitting. And then also my nieces have kids so I can go home and be with my family and I love all the little ones—there are so many little cuties.

I bet you’re a really cool aunt.

Oh, I am, for sure. But they are my cool nieces and nephews! 

I feel like many women whose careers are related to their looks are told that they “can’t do this forever.” But you’ve clearly been doing this for quite some time and are still killing it. Did you ever have fears about aging related to your career or lifestyle? 


Maybe that’s the secret!

No one ever gave me a hard time. I’ve always been able to flip around and do so many different things. Like Alexander Wang shooting that campaign during Christmas and then you know, some of these great fashion-forward magazines that I love because I get to completely be a different person [in the photos] and I love that! There were a lot of years where everyone wanted to take you down. You know. “We’re going to do a shoot and it’s going to be the make-under” I haven’t had that in a long time! [Now] everyone’s like, “We want to see that Carmen in the 90s with the lashes.” And I’m like, “You do? Great! Let’s go!” I.AM.GIA was the same in that sense. The jeans, the faux fur little skirt and jacket, those were things that I totally would’ve worn or I’ve probably worn something very similar to because they’d pull it out and I’d be like, “Yeah, I kinda remember that!” I’m looking forward to my billboard on Sunset [Blvd]! It will be my first! The first one that I know about. For Alexander Wang, I had a billboard in Miami but as far as Sunset, I don’t think that I have and I’m really excited. So if that happens I’ll go take a picture in front of it and post it. 

Photography and creative direction: Jacob DeKat

Stylist: Bianca Agrusa

Make Up: Michael Anthony

Hair: Ricky Fraser 

Manicure: Merrick Fisher at Opus Beauty using Dior Vernis

Location: Cherry Soda Studios

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