Pammy: ‘I want to be taken seriously’
PAMELA Anderson pulls me in close for a warm hug, peck on the cheek and whispers into my ear: "Save Julian."
It is just after 10pm on Thursday and we've just had dinner - with 28 other people - in a private room at Palazzo Versace Gold Coast.
She is guest of honour and making her exit, politely doing rounds with attendees before departing with a quick shimmy to applause.
Earlier, she was an open book in her only Australian interview on this trip.
She was happy to chat whether it was ex-partner and Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee ("the love of my life"), larrikin ex-AFL star and her Ultra Tune TV ad co-star Warwick Capper ("I couldn't understand much of what he was saying...seems a loveable guy"), incarcerated Wikileaks founder Julian Assange ("one of the coolest guys I've ever met") or ongoing debate about appropriateness of Meter Maids ("I don't think of Australia as being (that) uptight").
Anderson, on the Gold Coast to play heroine in the new Ultra Tune ad, admits she had no idea what they were about or what her role would be until it was filmed on Tuesday.
She is happy to hear she's "flipping the script" after Mike Tyson and Charlie Sheen instalments sparked hundreds of Ad Standards complaints due to plotlines of men saving helpless women.
"It should be funny. But I was just thinking 'Australia, I need to get there'. There are things in Australia I want to address."
At 52, the mother of two boys in their 20s - now known as much for her activism as her record 14 Playboy covers and five seasons of Baywatch - just wants to be taken seriously but is happy to use her sex symbol status to pursue her pet causes.
On this trip, along with running on a beach in a figure-hugging wetsuit for Ultra Tune and posing in a swimsuit for lads magazine Maxim, she has implored Prime Minister Scott Morrison to help free Assange who is in a UK prison battling extradition to the US on alleged espionage charges. She has also written to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk requesting Parliament go vegan to help fight climate change and made Ultra Tune pay $5000 to the Australian Koala Foundation as part of her fee.
"I have a platform, why not use it? I have good intentions so that's just part of my personality," she says. "I've been able to use everything I am to get into funny places. I want to be taken seriously but I'm not going to change to do that. I don't have to dress a certain way or be a certain way to be taken seriously," she says.
At last check Parliament House still served meat but Mr Morrison has responded formally in writing, taking her more seriously than the last time she made pleas on Assange's behalf. A year ago Mr Morrison joked on radio he had plenty of mates vying to be special envoy to "sort the issue out with Pamela".
Then-Federal Minister for Women Kelly O'Dwyer apologised, but Anderson says: "Other people were more upset than me about it. Everyone needs to find a number one cause they resonate with. If we all have a cause maybe we'll get something done."
She says she is "praying" Mr Morrison will lift diplomatic pressure but has "a funny feeling Trump is going to do the right thing".
"An American president may grant a pardon before a trial or conviction. This could be his defining moment to help with freedom of press, freedom of speech. He doesn't seem to like fake news. I think Julian is one of the coolest people I've ever met and I've met a lot of cool people.
"My friend is rotting, dying in prison, walking in circles trying to stay alive. It's frustrating, I'm not a political person. But somehow I've ended up outspoken about many things but everything from me comes from kindness and love and trying to do the right thing, be on the right side of history and trying to make the world a better place to be for my children and grandchildren," she says.
On her personal life, she has recently moved back to home to Vancouver Island home in Canada after a relationship break up in France: "It's nice I'm home and closer to my parents as they are their 70s - I'm building a compound next to my house and my evil plan is to get them to move onto the property."
She still has a strong connection with Tommy Lee: "We're always going to be in each other's life, I think he's the greatest guy in the world, the father of my kids."
Anderson says both her and Tommy Lee are old-school romantics, and so are her sons: "They are very romantic. Just live a romantic life, be engaged in the world, go to museums, read a book. People ask me how do I become an activist, I say read a book, engage.
"I always say to my kids 'Fill your pockets with interesting things, learn something new every day' and I tell young people that too - you will never be boring if you're learning something new every day. Read and it will be make you a more interesting sexy person."
She acknowledges her "sliding doors" moment when she went from relative obscurity to becoming a global icon started when spotted on a big screen at a football game in Canada wearing a beer t-shirt: "They asked me to do a commercial, then Playboy came around. Everything just happened. And I can't believe I'm still running around working and being able to do what I do.
"I would have been just fine without it. I wasn't looking for it, it was not my goal, I was just going day to day and just knew that I needed to just let life kind of happen and take the opportunities and make the most of them.
"I was actually shy," she laughs, adding: "But Playboy solved that."