Pamela Anderson is one of modern history’s greatest celebrity icons. Though she’s been relatively private throughout much of the 21st century, her name has endured for decades, becoming cultural shorthand for glamour and grace. The image of her wielding a gun in a black leather corset, tousled blonde hair in a constant state of dishevelled sex appeal, is etched into popular consciousness like Playboy’s answer to Girl with a Pearl Earring.
Since the mid-90s, the narrative around Anderson has been dominated by the fallout of her leaked sex tape with ex-husband Tommy Lee – revived once again by the recent Hulu / Disney+ series Pam + Tommy. As it comes to an end, plagued by criticisms and questions of whether the show should even have been made without her consent, Anderson has announced her own “intimate” and “definitive” documentary with Netflix that professes to tell her “real story”.
Netflix added in a tweet that the documentary will “feature the pop culture icon setting the record straight as she looks back on her professional path and her personal journey”.
After swearing off social media last January, declaring “now that I'm settled into the life I'm genuinely inspired by, reading and being in nature, I am free” – (big mood) – Anderson re-activated Instagram to post the announcement on a slip of receipt paper. Seemingly kicking back against the air of tragedy that has hung around her story for decades, instead speaking with characteristic steely sweetness, she writes: “Not a victim, but a survivor, alive to tell the truth,” and signs off with a red lipstick kiss.
We’ve seen a lot of course-correcting when it comes to tabloid culture and the treatment of women in the 90s and 00s lately, particularly figures like Whitney Houston, Britney Spears and Princess Diana, but rarely are these stories told unfiltered and through a first-person lens – with the exception of Paris Hilton’s 2020 documentary exposing the abusive practises at Provo Canyon. Now, after decades of being spoken for, Pamela Anderson is finally reclaiming her own narrative.