I first noticed Carrie Stevens, the Playboy Playmate/model/actress/businesswoman/rock music historian, on the Internet Movie Database. I was captivated by her beauty, especially her eyes. I knew that someday she would make for an interesting interview subject. When I ordered her autograph, I knew I had to contact her for an interview, and we spoke on July 5th. A great beauty, Ms. Stevens is so much more than her looks, though. She’s led a fascinating life that has taken her down many different roads, from modeling to acting to cooking, and I hope you all enjoy getting to know her better.
It’s time to Flashback again. Say hello to Carrie Stevens!
Johnny: First off, as with all my interview subjects, I thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to speak to me.
Carrie: You’re welcome.
Johnny: Alright. I always start my interviews off with these two questions. Number one: What were your pop-cultural likes growing up, like favorite movies and music?
Carrie: What age do you want me to start at?
Johnny: We’ll say teenager.
Carrie: At 15 was about the time I started to get into rock-n-roll. My first concert was Journey, and my 2nd concert, in 1984, was Van Halen. That’s when I started watching David Lee Roth, and it was all over from then on. I was a die-hard Van Halen fan and a rocker chick. I used to sign all my yearbooks with the VH Van Halen symbol and “Van Halen Rules The World”, and I had posters of David Lee Roth and the band all over my walls as a teenager. I credit the song “I’ll Wait” on the Van Halen 1984 album for inspiring me to become a model. I was mesmerized by that album and those lyrics “I see you smile in the pages of a magazine, you know what that does to me”. That’s what made me aspire to be in the pages of magazines and I did Diamond Dave proud, I presume.
Johnny: Alright. What were your high school days like?
Carrie: I lived in a small town called Hardwick, Massachusetts, and it took five towns to make up one high school because there weren’t enough kids in each town to go to school. We got bused in. It was like a 45 minute drive on the bus. I was always very popular. I was voted Most Popular, Best Dressed, Nicest Smile…I was pretty well-behaved. The school went from 7th to 12th grade. I was on student council, and I was entertainment editor of my school newspaper. I actually ended up interviewing U2 for my high school newspaper when I was 16.
Carrie: Yeah. That’s a great story. Did you say “how”?
Johnny: I actually said wow, but how were you able to land that U2 interview?
Carrie: Well, I was a huge U2 fan and so was my best friend. We were both on the school newspaper, and our newspaper editor and our principal were behind us. We wrote letters to the Worcester Center, which was the venue that the concert was to be at, and we wrote to the band’s management requesting press passes or an interview. We just got completely shot down and ignored, but I had tickets to the show anyway. They were kind of up on the side of the stage, but I happened to look down beyond the ropes where the crew was working. I think I thought everybody was Irish because U2 was Irish. I’m Irish, and I happen to love Irish people. I just smiled at this guy that was down there working. I was very innocent, and there wasn’t anything going on. I was just smiling at what I thought was an Irishman, and as the music came on and the lights came up, suddenly I felt a hand slap me on my thigh. I looked down, and it was that guy. He slapped a backstage pass on my leg, and I said, “Oh my gosh, can my friend have one, too?”. He said sure, and he gave her one, too. After the show, we went backstage and that’s how I got my interview. I talked to Bono and to The Edge (that’s Adam Clayton). Larry Mullen Jr. didn’t come backstage, but I still have it somewhere. I’ve got to find it. I’m pretty sure it’s in my garage somewhere typed up. Bono was talking about how important college radio is, and The Edge had been telling me a funny story about his limo getting pulled over by the police for speeding on the way to the show. It was a short interview, but it was really cool, and I guess that was my first lesson in using my feminine wiles to get what I wanted (Laughing). I’m not sure if that was a good thing that happened in my life or not. I guess I learned a lesson there about getting things the easy way with my looks, which I guess you could say would become a habit in the future. (Laughing) I use it to my advantage, even to this day. Unfortunately, I think I would be a lot further in life had I still been naive to that opportunity of using my looks and charm to get me places, but that sort of seems to be the theme of a lot of what’s gone on in my career.
Johnny: I see. Before you were a Playboy model, you had done fashion modeling. Who were you favorite designers to work for, and what was the most outrageous fashion that you wore?
Carrie: I wasn’t ever a high-fashion model. I was more of a bikini model and a commercial model. I’d modeled off and on since I was 10 years old. My first commercial was when I was 10 years old, living in Massachusetts. It was for some state fair. We shot it in Boston, and I got discovered for that. My mother sent me to Worcester to go to John Robert Powers Modeling School, and that was probably around the same time I was in 5th grade. I went again when I was 16, and that’s when a lot of my mother’s friends would see me and say, “She should be modeling”. I went back to John Robert Powers in Worcester. There’s not a lot going on there. I would do car shows where they would have pretty girls standing next to the car, on display with it, taking photos with people, that kind of thing. I moved to Memphis at 17 and went back to John Robert Powers, and that’s when I started doing more catalog work, mostly swimwear and small designers out of Memphis. It wasn’t really until I got to L.A that I got any real opportunities. My first legitimate modeling job in Los Angeles was in a Toyota truck ad. I got with a very good commercial print agency, but I wasn’t tall enough to be a fashion model, so you could do commercial print, which is another word for saying product print. If you have a good body, you could do swimwear, and pretty much the highest you can go as a celebrity model, when you’re not very tall, is to be a Playmate, and that’s what I eventually accomplished.
Johnny: Alright. We’ll get to that in due time, but first, your very first acting gig, according to the IMDB, was on an episode of Days Of Our Lives.
Carrie: That’s not necessarily the truth. It’s just not that easy. The business just isn’t that easy. I moved out here knowing nobody in the entertainment industry, knowing no actors or models, and that’s what I wanted to do. It took me about a year of living in L.A to even figure out what a head shot was, what an agent was, what good acting classes you were supposed to take. It started with what most people do and don’t talk about, I think, which is extra work. My very first job came about because I was in a dentist’s office with a friend in Burbank. I was standing in the hallway, waiting for my friend in this office building. This woman came up to me and she said frantically, “Are you union or non-union?”. I had no idea why she was asking me, but I knew I wasn’t in any union, and so I just said non (Laughing). It turns out she was talking about the Screen Actor’s Guild, or as it’s known now, SAG-AFTRA. I said non, and she said, “How would you like to do an NBC movie of the week?”. I said, “Sure!”, and she said, “Would you mind wearing a bikini?”. I said, “No”, and she said, “Can you come in and audition for the producers tomorrow?”. I said, “Sure!”. It was glorified extra work. I think, back then, you used to get 50 dollars a day for extra work, and this job paid 100 dollars a day. It’s funny. It was a prelude to what would happen to me in the future. I think I was probably 18 when this happened, and I ended up doing this movie of the week. I think there were 5 or 7 of us girls hired to be the featured background, and they were all Playmates, except me (Laughing). This was many years before, maybe 8 years before, I decided to try out, and I was very intimidated. I had never been on a movie set before, and this was a cruise ship. Remember when they used to do movies of the week with all of the stars from the hit NBC shows of the time? I got to be on a set, on this cruise that went from San Pedro down to Tijuana and Ensenadas. I got to see how a TV show was made, and it was fascinating to me. It was intimidating, but a lot of fun. I got to see how cameras worked, how actors hit their marks, and that sparked my passion to say, “This is what I want to do. I want to be an actress”. I got to pick a few brains while I was there, got to ask some advice about how to do it, and I signed up for acting classes. I was taking three classes a week. I did scene study and script analysis and improv, and I got a job as a cocktail waitress at the Laugh Factory. That’s great advice for any actress or actor trying to break into the biz, because first of all, it was a lot of fun working there, and second of all, you got to meet a lot of industry people. That’s how I got my first agent. I thought this was a ridiculous comparison, but I was just being my fun, happy self. I’m very chatty, and I was just chatting with the customers. I had this man come up to me at the end of the night, and he handed me his card. He said, “You remind me of Madonna”. (Laughing) Keep in mind, this is Madonna’s heyday. This is like 1987 or 1988, and he said, “You’ve got something”. He said, “If you’re serious about wanting to be an actress, call me”. I almost threw the card away. I just figured he was like some guy hitting on me, and then Jamie Masada, the owner of the Laugh Factory, came up to me. He saw the whole thing and said, “You better keep that card and call him. He is the real deal. That guy represents Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld”. I was like, “Oh my God!”. “Yeah, he’s the real deal”. It took me three months of getting my nerve up. This agent said to me, on the night he gave me his card, “When you’re ready to be an actress, you walk into my office and you say, ‘I’m going to be an actress and no one is going to stop me’, and that’s when I’ll sign you”. It took me three months because I wanted to be in my class a little longer. I needed to get up the nerve and I didn’t have the nerve yet. I walked in his office one day and I said, “I’m going to be an actress and no one is going to stop me”. He gave me a list of photographers and told me to get good head shots, and explained to me how the unions work. I went out and I got some head shots. He represented me, and it only took three months to book my very first national commercial, which was a Lexus commercial. I was off and running, and the theatrical department signed me up. I was doing very well. I was getting tons of auditions back in the day. Things were a lot different than they are now. I would have three theatrical auditions a day and four commercials. I hate to say this, but it seems like every time I was about to really make it, something fucking tragic had to happen (laughing). He was the nicest guy, but his agency closed down because, unfortunately, he had a really bad gambling habit, so there went my great agency. From then on, there were many agencies. I could never get one as good as that again, but from there, I went to Days Of Our Lives. I was a huge, huge fan of soap operas. Guiding Light was my favorite, but I always wanted to be on a soap opera, which was funny, because most actors? That’s the last thing they want to do. They want to be movie stars, or be in a hit TV show. I grew up watching all CBS shows, so I really just wanted to be on a soap opera. That was my dream, and I’d gotten close many a time, but when I got my recurring role on Days Of Our Lives, it was definitely the most exciting thing that had happened. I remember, back when there were pay phones, leaving the casting office, stopping at a pay phone, calling my grandparents and screaming. I was so excited that my grandparents would actually be able to see me be on TV before they died. That was really important to me, so that was what happened first. That was a major highlight of 1992. I remember all of this because, as you know, I used to date Eric Carr. He died in 1991. After that happened, I pretty much fell apart for the next four years, which I think greatly affected my career because I was off to a really great start, but after he died, I was an emotional mess. I had a manager at the time instead of an agent. It was terrible (laughing), but she knew everything about my personal life, and she was probably getting feedback because I would go to auditions and literally start bawling my eyes out in front of casting directors. I was doing a play, and this was when they were casting for 90210, the original series. I was doing a play in Hollywood, and it actually won 5 Dramalogue Awards. I was seen in it by the head of casting at Spelling, and I found this out when we were meeting with a potential new agent for me. In the meeting, your manager goes with you, and she was telling the agent the story about getting a call from the head of casting at Spelling for 90210. He had seen me in the play, and thought I would be perfect for the show. She told him I wasn’t ready. She turned it down, and to this day, I’m pissed off about it because it’s like, “You know what? How many of those other chicks could act? (Laughing) How many of them had coaches on the set?”. I was in therapy with the right therapist, and with the right acting coach on set, I could’ve done it. I think there were a lot of twists and turns to my career that I want to kick the people involved (Laughing). You know, I fucked up a lot of stuff, and I think you really have to start young to get ahead. I don’t regret being with Eric Carr because he was a great influence. Without him, I would’ve never had the courage to be an actress and a model. I never thought enough of myself to be that because I came from a small town where, if you say you want to be a model or an actress, you get laughed at. Eric sat me down and said, “What do you want to do, really? What do you want to do with your life?”. When I said I wanted to be a model and an actress, he said, “What can I do to help you with your career?”. That’s basically how I got the courage to do what I did, and that’s why I never quit, because I still remembered his words and him believing in me. It took me a good four years to get my head straight, to even be able to smile again before I got ready to go back out there and give it my all with a sane mind and a happy heart.
Johnny: Well, I must say you’ve been doing spectacularly. Back to the questions: In 1997, you were Playboy Playmate Of The Month for June of that year. What was it like to be accorded that honor?
Carrie: It was amazing. I have nothing but positive things to say about my Playboy experience. It’s funny because I was working on my acting career and going on auditions. I could barely scrape by because I was making 8 dollars an hour as a hostess at a very trendy restaurant and nightclub called Sanctuary. Hugh Hefner came in one night along with Marilyn Grabowski, who was the editor of Playboy, and several of Hef’s good friends that I know now. I think Hef only came in one time, but Jenny McCarthy’s manager at the time would come in, and so would Heidi Mark with her boyfriend Vince Neil, Pamela Anderson with Tommy Lee, and all the Playboy Playmates. I never thought of myself as one of those girls. They were up on a pedestal, and I thought nobody noticed. One day, and you’re going to laugh, I was actually at a meditation session. I was still trying to get over the pain of Eric and trying to find some peace within. I used to do this thing called Connected Breathing, otherwise known as rebirthing. It’s a sort of meditation, and in that meditation, this idea came to me to do Playboy, and I couldn’t get it out of my head. I called a friend of mine. She wasn’t a Playmate, but she had done features with the Swedish Bikini Team, which she was part of, and they were on a special edition cover. I called her and asked her if she thought I could possibly make Playmate, and she said, “Yes! I get a finder’s fee, so let me submit you”. I said, “Okay, give me some time”. I took 4 months of working out with a trainer, sometimes twice a day. I ate nothing but fish and vegetables every single night, maybe one egg and a piece of toast for breakfast, and tuna salad for lunch. 4 months into getting myself into shape, I waltzed in. Jenny McCarthy was my inspiration, and I read in interviews how she went in dressed in a business suit. She did not go in looking like a tramp, like most people think you have to look to be a Playmate. She did not. She went in a business suit, so I took her lead, because she was successful. I wore a business suit. They had open calls every other Thursday, but since my friend had called ahead, they were looking for me. I swear to God I almost walked out, because they girls in the room looked like they were standing on Sunset Boulevard, waiting for someone to offer them ten dollars for a blowjob. I didn’t want to be mixed with that, and I almost walked out right before they called my name. I went in, and I’m sure it’s changed by now, but what you have to do is bare all, except your high heels. There’s this assistant photographer there, and you do a few poses nude, again, except for high heels. It was Polaroids back then, and they say, “Thank you. Maybe you’ll hear from us. Maybe you won’t”, and you walk out. I didn’t tell anyone that I auditioned, except for my friend who referred me. It was a couple of days later since the editor, Marilyn, had been out of town, and I got a call. Marilyn said, “When I got back from my trip, you were the first picture on the pile and I couldn’t take my eyes off of you”. She said, “Can you come in tomorrow and do a test shoot?”, so I said, “Absolutely!”. I went in and she loved me. I actually never left. I stayed shooting for an entire month. That’s how long it takes. It usually takes you a week just to shoot your centerfold with the big camera, and I actually broke a record. We did it in two-and-a-half days, and it usually takes five days. We got it perfect in two-and-a-half days, and then we did my video. I remember, on the last day of the camera shoot, we were shooting in a theater, because my theme was actress. I remember the photographer, Arnie, and the wardrobe lady, Lane, shouting across the room to each other. One said to the other, “Is she even approved yet?”. My heart just sunk. I assumed I was definitely in because I stayed so long to shoot. I didn’t know that you’re not approved until Hef sees the centerfold, and when he gives the nod, then you keep going with your small camera. They didn’t do that because Marilyn loved me so much that she pushed everyone else aside and kept going. They made a call right from there, and I was so nervous, but as soon as they got off the phone, they repeated what Hef said. He said, “She’s enthusiastically approved!”, and so we moved forward with the video. There’s a waiting list. All the other centerfolds have to wait months, or I’ve even heard of a year-and-a-half, before they’re published. They pushed everyone aside and put me in the very next issue. Being a Playmate, by the way, is not all about being gorgeous. I won’t name names, because she’s a little bit famous, but there was another girl I was friends with that I knew, and she was test-shooting at the same time as me. I thought she was a gorgeous music video girl, and she didn’t get it. I asked them why, and the photographer said, “You know what? It’s not all about looking good. You also have to have a good attitude, too”, and I said, “Oh, okay”. A lot of these girls? You can imagine they either have bad attitudes or they don’t show up on time or they’re on drugs or something. I don’t really know why, but the point is they try and choose girls that will represent the company well. It’s not just your layout. You do a lot of personal appearances, and you’re forever associated with the brand.
Johnny: I see. A good attitude is important to have. That’s the way I always approach my job. Returning to you: Playboy recently made the decision to eliminate nudity from the magazine. As things have been changing rapidly for the Playboy empire in recent years, what’s your take on the elimination of that?
Carrie: I think it was the stupidest thing they could’ve possibly done. I just think it was a very poor decision. I know why they did it, and I understand the logic behind it. It’s because, to get revenue, you need advertisers. A lot of them don’t want to advertise in a magazine that has nudity, and at the same time, people can get free nudity on the Internet now. You don’t need to buy a magazine to see a nude woman. It’s free on the Internet. I think they said, “You know what? If we can’t get subscribers with the allure of the nudity, then let’s get rid of the nudity so we can get some income that we’re losing from the subscriptions, and make it up with the advertisers”. What I think they did was alienate their fans. Playboy has always worked for a reason: It has the same formula. It’s glossy. It’s glamorous. The girls look like a fantasy. They look untouchable. They look like you’re floating on a cloud, you know? They chose to now publish some very grainy-looking covers. They’re not glossy. The girls look more like hippie chicks that don’t really care what they look like. They abandoned their formula, and I think a lot of the fans were probably offended by that. It’s like, “You’re changing what we like and we’ve been following you for decades”. You can’t turn around and change something because you’re not going to get the new viewers and you’re not going to get the 18-to-21-year-old subscribers. They’re not into that. They’re on the Internet. They’re not stealing their father’s magazines anymore. Times have changed. They should’ve stayed loyal to the fans who were already fans, in my opinion.
Johnny: Definitely. Returning to your acting: 2001 was a busy year for your acting, starting with your role as Daphne in Rock Star. As you’ve been part of the rock music scene for decades, how accurate would you say the movie was to your experiences in the genre?
Carrie: I have a lot to tell you about that movie. I’ll tell you it’s every actor’s dream not to have time to audition anymore because you are so booked. You’re just booked back-to-back, movie-to-movie. I was extremely busy before and around the time I did Rock Star. I was a Playmate, and I also had a lot of campaigns I was doing. I was Miss Killian’s Irish Red Beer for three years. I was hosting for Midway Games and traveling around doing their conventions. I worked on the movie Rock Star for four weeks, even though you see me in the movie for three minutes. I was actually on set for an entire four weeks, and every weekend I had to get on a plane and fly off to do one of my Killian’s appearances or my Midway Games appearances or Playboy appearances. I was really busy working. I thought Rock Star was going to my breakout film, because I always thought I need just one part in an A-list movie, and then I’ll be able to get more. I was so excited to get that. The audition is a great story. I’d only gotten two auditions through this agency I was new with. The first thing they sent me on was Son Of The Beach, which Howard Stern produced. It was a spoof on Baywatch. I ended up getting so far as to get a screen test. I was in the Bahamas, shooting a bikini catalogue, so I wasn’t home to do the test. It ended up going to my friend Jamie. I was happy one of my friends got it, but I didn’t get back for the screen test. The second part they sent me on was Rock Star. I booked it, and I heard they were looking for actresses who actually had lived during that time and had been around that scene. Eric Carr, my boyfriend from KISS, has given me this jacket from the 1990 Hot In The Shade tour. The only people that got them were the band members. It’s a leather jacket that says Hot In The Shade on the back, and had a symbol on the side that said KISS on it. I put it on one day, and he said, “It looks better on you than it does on me, so keep it”. That’s how I have it, so I decided to wear that to the audition, considering that they were looking for girls and guys that were actually around during the 80s and in that scene. It was a great conversation piece. When I walked in, the casting director asked me about the jacket. That was my chance to tell her about my experience being on the road with KISS and all that. I happened to look up at the bulletin board of people that were already cast in the movie, and I saw Stephan Jenkins, the singer for Third Eye Blind. I had just starred in their video for “Never Let You Go”. I was the main girl in that video, and that was another plus, getting to tell the casting director I just worked with Third Eye Blind in their new video.
Carrie: She put me on tape for the director. Usually, you have to audition a few times, but she’d worked with this particular director several times, so he trusted her opinion. She put me on tape for the director, and after the audition, I could tell she loved me. She said, “Well, if you get the part, you would be playing this guy’s wife”, and she shows me Zakk Wylde’s head shot. You know who Zakk Wylde is.
Johnny: Yeah. I saw him at Disney a few years ago when I went to a concert at the House Of Blues.
Carrie: Yeah. He’s a famous guitar player who used to be with Ozzy Osbourne. I had another great story for the casting director, because in the early 90s, pre-9/11, you could walk through the airport and have your friend walk you to the gate. I was going from LAX to New York City to see Eric Carr since he lived there. Zakk Wylde was at the bar at the airport, and he was on his way to see his girlfriend Barbara, whom he’s married to now. My friend Marie was in the bar with me, waiting for the flight, and we started talking to him. He actually has a first class seat, and I was in coach, and he gave up his first class seat to come back and sit with me. We had a great time and we talked the whole way. I didn’t see him for a decade, and then I get cast as his wife in the movie. When the casting director showed me him, I went, “Oh my God! I know Zakk! We met on an airplane”. I tell her that story, and I think it was right then that the deal was sealed that I was going to play his wife in Rock Star. I had a lot going for me. I think Eric was looking down on me…I had his jacket on. I’ll give myself a little credit. I got myself the part in the Third Eye Blind video, and I got this part. It all comes full-circle, and now I’m doing this movie that I think is going to be my big career break. It turned out to be the thing that completely changed my life, but not in the way that I thought it would. During the filming of this movie, the director developed a crush on me. He was sending bottles of my favorite tequila to my trailer and gifts. He was always stopping and talking to me, saying I made him weak in the knees every time he looked at me. He asked me out, and I said, “You’re married. I’m sorry, but you’re married”. 9 months later, we had lunch because he offered to introduce me to his agent. You know that old trick, “I’ll help you and introduce you to my agent”. They never would’ve taken me because they were way bigger than me. The agent did him a favor because he was a very successful director, but he had a meeting with me. It was actually 11 months later when I got a call from Stephen Herek, and he said, “I’ve filed for divorce. Would you like to go out with me Friday night? It’s Valentines’ Day”. I said yes. Now I know better: Wait until the divorce is final (laughing), but at the time, just the fact that he had upbraided and filed for divorce was good enough for me. I was working back-to-back. I did Redemption. I was in the silly Backlot Murders. After I did Rock Star, it did help me. I was on fire. They weren’t the greatest movies, but I did Vegas: City Of Dreams, which I think they changed the name of like a million times, so I don’t know what it is anymore on IMDB, but the film starred John Taylor. I was just working, working, working non-stop, but I was 31. Everyone warned me that your biological clock starts ticking and you get these crazy ideas in your head that you want a family. I think that’s nature’s way of tricking you into procreation (laughing), but that was my state of mind. I was ready for a relationship. I was ready for a boyfriend, and he happened to call. We went to dinner and we hit it off. We didn’t date for very long, probably 5 months. 5 months later, I remember the night that it happened. I knew we were going to be into it, and this was the first time in my life I’d ever waited so long to trust somebody. He set up dinner at Spago. He had a room for us at the Hotel Bel-Air. I said, “Listen, I’m almost 32 years old. I’ve never been pregnant before, and if I get pregnant now, I don’t want to have an abortion”. He said, “I wouldn’t want you to have an abortion”. He wasn’t careful, and so two months later I found myself pregnant. He said he was excited about it and that he always wanted more kids, since he had one from his first marraige. He said he wished he could shout it from the rooftops, but his second divorce wasn’t final yet. It bothered me, at the time I was pregnant, that there were rumors going around that the only reason I got the part in Rock Star was because I was dating the director. In fact, I did not date the director until almost a year after we had wrapped filming. It was Memorial Day weekend, and I was flying up to see him. He was directing Angelina Jolie in Life Or Something Like It, and I had gone up there to visit before as they were shooting in Vancouver and Seattle. When my morning sickness got so bad that I couldn’t fly, he flew down to see me that weekend. He was very sweet and he took care of me. IWhen he left, at the front door he got on his knees and kissed my stomach, and he told the baby inside of me, “You take care of her”, meaning me, and “you be strong for her”. In hindsight, I should’ve known he was never coming back, you know? I just thought he was being sweet and talking to the baby, but he meant “You take care of her because I’m not going to. I’m not coming back”. That day, he left and I’ve been a single mother ever since. He never looked back. He’s never once sent a Christmas card. He’s never called his son. He’s never cared for a minute. He cared less than zero, if possible, and it was quite demeaning what he did to me and to my son. I won’t hide it. I’m still angry about it. My son is 14 now, so this was 15 years ago, and obviously my career took a backseat to being a mother. I was never quite as passionate about my career again because, to be a successful model and actress and Playmate, you really have to be into yourself. That means your looks, your studying of your craft, working it, going out and meeting people, reading scripts, going out on auditions. You live and breathe your craft and keep up your physical self. You have to be into yourself. That’s the name of the game: Self-centered. I belonged to my baby, and it slowed me down definitely. I still dabbled in it. I did some Playboy appearances, a Miller Beer poster, and some small parts, but it took me about two-and-a-half years to say, “You know what? I’m ready”. It was two-and-a-half years because of preschool, and I said, “I’m ready now. I’m ready to get back into my career”. I went to go back and everything was different. I’m like, “What the fuck happened? What happened to the business?”. Reality TV came in, and then there was the writer’s strike and the actor’s strike, and everything was screwed up. Suddenly everybody was doing non-union work. The jobs that I used to get paid $3000 to do now paid 400 dollars, and people did reality TV for free, competition shows especially. There was no actor’s union protecting you because it was technically a competition. There’s no point in doing it because you get treated like garbage, and then they find all these people with no training that just want to be on TV or to promote whatever they really do, like being a chef or a real estate agent. Suddenly, everyone wanted real this or real that, and I was a real trained host for TV and a real trained model and a real trained actress. My agent, just because I was a mom, would send me on auditions for mom stuff, and I still looked more like a Playboy Playmate than a mom. Everyone kind of puts you in a box. I talked to them about it because I would end up on these auditions. For example, they sent me on a Disney catalog for my son to audition when they were looking for little kids, and you know what? They booked me instead! They took one look at me and said, “Do you model?”, and I said, “Yes”, so I got it instead of him. The same thing happened with Starwood Resorts. Actually, they were looking for real families, and even though I don’t have a husband, they hired me, but they ended up not using children, so my son unfortunately didn’t get to do it. They got me a fake husband for the ads. I do go mainstream. I have a look that can go from commercial to sexy. I’m versatile, but I did some things. I even tried to fit in with the stupid reality business, which I’m not interested in trying ever again. That’s sort of what happened. The thing that I thought was going to be my big break turned out to be the experienced that changed my life, but not the way that I thought it would. I won’t say it changed my life for the worse, because I certainly am glad I have my son and I love him very much, but I was in the height of my acting career. I was on a roll when I got pregnant, and I don’t know what would’ve happened because I was still in my early 30s and booking things back-to-back when I was pregnant. That’s my story. Any other questions?
Johnny: I have one….I actually have several. In 2010, you reunited with director Jim Wynorski, who had directed several of your earlier movies, for Dinocroc VS. Supergator. A very tongue-in-cheek movie, what creatures, great or small, would you mash up for a movie like this if you were the writer and director?
Carrie: I always keep an open mind when I’m given a script. Jim gave me one of my first movies, Sins Of Desire, and we were friendly. He would always call me. He would always do all those C-movies, those fun Shannon Tweed/Tanya Roberts movies that nobody watches anymore because of free porn on the Internet. I was not nude in Sins Of Desire. I remember being scared to death of Tanya Roberts because it was my first real part, and I had to cry in the script. This is so silly. I don’t know why anybody would write this way, but I’m walking out into the street and purposely getting hit by a truck (laughing). Before that, I had to cry. When I got to the set, Jim Wynorski came up to me, and he said, “Did you call Tanya Roberts last night? She is pissed off at you because you never called”, and I was like, “Oh my God! Nobody told me I was supposed to call Tanya Roberts!”. He said, “Well, she’s pissed at you”. I was so mortified and scared. She went back to her trailer, and she was immediately like, “You were supposed to call me last night! We were supposed to go over this!”. She was like, “If you can’t cry, I’m going to make you cry”. I was terrified. Luckily, I’m a good crier, and so she talked to me. She was very nice after that, and gave me some advice on the business. Jim continued to cast me in his movies for many years. I didn’t choose them because I liked his scripts. He always asked me to “pop my top”, as he would put it. He offered me many, many other movies that I didn’t do because I didn’t want to “pop my top”. When I finally did Playboy, it was good that I didn’t because they won’t cast you if you had. By the time I did Playboy, I had done nudity in Jane Street, and this is good trivia, which was the first movie I ever went topless in, and the only movie before I was a Playmate. When you fill out your application, they ask you if you’ve ever been a stripper or been in a nude movie. I’d never been a stripper, but I said I did do a nude movie, and my agent had lied to me and said it was going to be a Showtime movie. It turns out it was a Playboy movie. I actually don’t know if the agent lied, or if Playboy lied to her…I don’t know it happened, but, and this is also good trivia, I ended up holding a record, although I don’t know if I still hold it, of having the biggest part in any Playboy movie ever for any Playmate. That was before I was a Playmate, but I had a role in a Playboy movie before I was even a Playmate. I don’t know if it holds true, but at the time, I held the record. I don’t keep up on that stuff, and I don’t even know if they make Playboy movies anymore. Jim Wynorski never got me to “pop my top” in any of his films, and when the C-movie genre of soft porn went out of style, he started doing SyFy Dinocroc Vs. Supergator kind of things.
Johnny: I see. On a different tack, an interesting direction your career has taken in recent years is making fudge. What led you to that?
Carrie: Fudge is a fun side business for me. As you know, the industry changed a lot. Things slowed down a lot. It’s changing again. It’s going back to where there’s going to be a lot of roles again for actors. I had a lot of time on my hands because shows were looking for something real instead of actors and things went in the reality direction. I had to make money like everyone else, so I started Infamous Fudge. It was based on my grandmother’s recipes, and I love to cook. It was a hobby of mine, and so I created some cute packaging and branded myself. It does really well over the holidays. I don’t promote it too much during the Summer as I live in California and it’s hot out, but it does really well in the Winter months. I have 12 flavors and they’re all amazing. What else can I say?
Johnny: I can ask another question about that. Have you ever considered creating other sweets like brownies or candy bars?
Carrie: Brownies are too perishable to keep for long. You can keep my fudge in your freezer for a year, or keep it out on your kitchen counter and not have to refrigerate it for three months. It’s not perishable. I have considered expanding it to different things, but honestly, I think I’m just going to keep it simple for the time being because I’m reinventing myself in my career again. That’s what I’m about to do since now my son is older and more independent and doesn’t need me as much as he did. It’s hard for me to get back into my passions, which are acting and, believe it or not, modeling, which I still do at my age. I do a lot of product print and commercial print. I just saw my agent the other day, and they want me to reshoot some pictures. You have to reshoot all the time. You have to do lifestyle shots for your commercial agent, and then he wants these types of shots, and then you’re sent out on certain types of jobs. It’s a lot harder than what people think. I think a lot of people who aren’t in the industry think it’s like Lana Turner getting discovered at a soda fountain, or you just fall off the turnip truck and get discovered. It’s not like that now, and it wasn’t like that back when I got started. Maybe I should get another cocktail-waitressing job at a comedy club (laughing). I know a lot of people. I already have agents. It’s my fault for not being more aggressive, but like I said, I’ve been focusing on things that were more important, namely being the single mother of my son. My son’s grade was interested in all the same things, and that’s part of the reason why I do This Day In Metal. My son gets a kick out of it. It makes him proud. He plays the drums, and had been playing them since he was 8 years old. He went to the School Of Rock, and he’s already played at the Troubador and the Whisky and the Roxy and all those clubs. He’s done tribute shows to bands like The Who and The Rolling Stones and Bowie and The Doors and Guns N’ Roses and Van Halen. We like all the same music, so he thinks This Day In Metal is cool, and it makes him proud. He hasn’t seen the ones I’ve done in a bikini, but he wouldn’t really care. He’s used to mom being a Playmate. I have my centerfold hanging in the bathtub. He doesn’t care. He grew up at the Playboy Mansion. I’m sensitive because I just don’t want his friends to see it. I mean, it’s not like they probably don’t Google it on their own, but I don’t really encourage that because it’s a sensitive adult lesson. We don’t want to give them any encouragement. You know what I mean?
Johnny: Perfectly understandable. I’m sure you’ve attended conventions like Glamourcon and the like. What’s been the most rewarding part of attending those types of conventions?
Carrie: I’ve never been a big fan of those things, although I’ve done a few. I did the Playboy Convention in 1999, which was full of Playmates. That was great, because it was classy. I saw a lot of classy industry people and friends of mine show up at that because it was just Playmates. A lot of us are classy and we attract a classy group of friends and fans, and Playboy made it a classy event with lots of security. It was very organized. I think it was the only one that they had. It was at the Pacific Design Center in 1999, I believe. I think I did 2 Glamourcons. I think I lasted the whole day at one of them, instead of two days, and at the second one, I lasted a half-day. I’ll never do one again. There’s a lot of creeps that show up at them because there’s a lot of girls that walk around naked, and they’re not Playmates. They just have fetish websites, and they don’t mind walking around naked and giving everyone a free show. It attracts a different class of fans. There was actually a man in the ladies’ room. One of my friends went to go to the bathroom, and saw a man in the next stall standing over her looking down. That was enough for me. I said, “I just don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do this anymore”. I think of the late Christina Grimmie, and I notice on Instagram that a lot of bands are cancelling their meet-and-greets, and I don’t blame them. You just never know, unfortunately, who’s coming to see you or shoot you. I told you there were creeps hiding in the bathroom at Glamourcon. You never know which creep might have a gun. I don’t think I’m being overly paranoid. I never enjoyed doing it, to be honest, because I felt awkward taking people’s money for my signature. That made me feel uncomfortable. I don’t know why. I feel like I should be giving it away for free, just my signature. I felt strange charging for a photo with me. It was kind of embarrassing for me. It didn’t feel right. It’s just my personal thing. I know everybody else is okay with it, and they have a right to do it because it’s their time. Playboy doesn’t pay us. Playboy shoots us and gives us one payment. It was $25,000 at the time to do your centerfold, and then they own your pictures for the rest of your life. I mean, it’s 19 years later, and I’m constantly seeing nude pictures of me that I’d never seen before. They take my test shoots, and every shoot you do for them, you sign a paper and they own every one of those pictures. They’re still releasing my pictures as if they came out yesterday, and the only way the girls can make money is to make prints of them and sell them with their signature on it. We all need to make money, so I don’t blame anybody else for doing it, but honestly, I’m very successful with my modeling and acting. I didn’t need the money, and I was uncomfortable doing it. Someone asked me the other day if I would do a meet-and-greet. Actually, it was a rock-and-roll convention-type thing, and because I do the This Day In Metal videos, they wanted to include me, and I said no, thank you, just based on that horrible shooting. It makes me feel uneasy.
Johnny: I see. Now we come to my final question, the one I end every interview with. It’s this: If you could go back to your youth with the knowledge that you have now, would you do anything differently?
Carrie: Yeah, I would do everything different. I didn’t tell you this, but what I really wanted to do with my life in high school, since I worked as the entertainment editor of my school newspaper, was major in journalism. I wanted to be a rock journalist. I went to college at the state university in Memphis, Tennessee, since my father was living there, where I studied journalism. At the time, I decided I was going to be the next Barbara Walters, but KISS pulled through town. I ended up meeting Eric Carr. I went to the KISS concert with a guy I was dating from Arkansas, and a few days later, Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones was in town with an art exhibit at the Peabody Hotel. My girlfriends and I went to the Peabody to see the Ron Wood exhibit, and we were sitting at the hotel lobby bar. From the back of Eric’s head, I thought he was Paul Stanley, and I heard him speaking to the group he was with, talking about taking a taxi to see this group, The Willies, play at a place called the Midway Cafe. My girlfriends and I were huge fans of The Willies, and we went there all the time, so I chimed in. I interrupted the conversation and I said, “Excuse me, but I have a car. I’ll take you”. That’s how I met Eric Carr, and shortly after that, Eric and I kept in touch. I hid my suitcases behind my bed. (Laughing) My stepmother found them and she said, “Where do you think you’re going, California?”. I said, “Uh huh”. She told my dad, and my dad said, “If you go, you’re on your own. I’m not helping you”. I said okay. I had 200 dollars to my name and my Toyota Celica they had given to me. I drove by Memphis State University on the way out of town, and I signed myself out of school, so they could at least get a refund for the semester. My friend and I drove cross-country to L.A because Eric was with KISS recording Hot In The Shade there, and that was during the Crazy Nights tour. I wanted to be with him, so I went straight from college to basically running off and going on tour with KISS. To be fair, Eric told me not to. Eric warned me what happened to girls when they moved to L.A. He was scared for me and what I might turn into at the same time he encouraged me to be a Playmate. I’m not quite sure what he was referring to with bad things, but I was a nice girl, and he talked about what happens to nice girls when they move to L.A. He was the first person who told me, “You have one of those bodies like one of those girls in the magazines”. I do? I didn’t think of myself that way before 1997. It was 1987 or 1988 that he said that to me. It took me a long time to end up deciding to try Playboy. Basically, if I were to talk to my younger self, I would’ve stayed in college, gotten my journalism degree, matured a little bit and not been boy-crazy, or man-crazy since he was 19 years older than I was. I was 18 and he was 37. He did not seem 37. They said he was robbing the cradle, but he was a hot rock star. He never seemed 37. I mean, he seemed like he was in his 20s. I never thought of him as 37, and no one ever looked at us as young except Gene and Paul. They would tease me for being young, but I think they were just jealous. There’s a girl named Jaide. She’s only 18 and she hosts This Day In Metal a lot. That’s what I tell her: Don’t get distracted by guys. Stick to your goals. Don’t fall in love and get derailed from your own dreams, and when you’ve accomplished your education and got something going for yourself, then it’s time. You can find love. I just wish I hadn’t been impulsive and boy-crazy. I might’ve been Barbara Walters, for God’s sake!
Johnny: Well, if I may be so bold, I think there’s still time. I always encourage people I speak to to continue to follow their dreams. I think you could still be a journalist. I find you to be a very intelligent person, and I think you’ve been a great interview subject.
Carrie: Thank you. I have led a very interesting life. People have asked me to write, but honestly, I do have a lot of dirty laundry I could air, and I’m not the type to write a kiss-and-tell. I just choose to be more private than that, and I don’t want to say anything negative about anyone, but that’s what the publishers want. I’m a lazy typist, unfortunately (laughing), but I’ve had an interesting life, and who knows? A few things, including your interview, have come out of doing This Day In Metal, and I’ve had people wanting to talk film or TV projects with him. I’ve had Skype calls based on the videos. I always say “activity breeds activity”, and you’ve just got to put yourself out there. Things will come, as long as you’re active. You can’t just, as the old saying goes, sit on your couch and wait for the phone to ring, you know?
Johnny: That’s true. Like I said at the beginning of the interview, I thank you for taking the time to speak to me. I thank you for being so open in your answers, and I also want to thank you for the autographs I received from you as well. I was pleasantly surprised that I received 3 of them, and I thank you for that.
Carrie. Aww. (Laughing) At first, I didn’t know who the order was from. I just put it on file, and then I realized it was you, and I threw in a couple of extra for you (laughing).
Johnny: Well, that’s very kind of you and I certainly appreciate it. Thank you very much, and I hope you have a good afternoon.
Carrie: You, too. It was great speaking with you. Thank you so much for your time.
Johnny: Yours’ as well. Okay, bye.
Carrie: Bye bye.
I would like to thank Carrie Stevens for taking the time to speak to me. For more about Ms. Stevens, visit her official Facebook fan page and her website. If you would like to purchase her fudge, visit Infamous Fudge.