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When Pam met Hef: read an extract from Pamela Anderson’s new memoir

In this extract of her new book Love, Pamela, the actress and writer remembers her first trip to Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion

That evening, a stretch limo waited at the curb to take me to the Mansion. As I stepped onto the sidewalk, I passed two beautiful men in an embrace, kissing. I said hello and they giggled and pointed. What? I said, and then realised they were pointing at my hair – a Sun In spray experiment gone wrong. My hair was the colour of a manila envelope. Honey, one man said, that is not one of God’s colours, and he broke into laughter again. I had to laugh with the guys – but geez. I never intended to be blond, I just wanted sun-kissed highlights. Maybe I shouldn’t have dumped the entire bottle on my perfectly healthy chestnut locks that sunny day at the beach. Sorry, I said, I know it’s bad.

After a brief drive through the winding roads of Holmby Hills, the limo pulled up to the Rock, the security intercom in front of the Playboy Mansion on Charing Cross Road. The Rock spoke: Can I help you? The limo driver said, I have Miss Pamela Anderson. They asked for the colour, make, and model of the car and then opened the gate. Once inside, a guard asked for the trunk to be opened and inspected it. I asked the driver if people hid in the trunk sometimes, trying to sneak in. Yes, he said in a matter-of-fact tone. I had been kidding.

The road curved around through perfectly manicured gardens, finally arriving at a circular drive that ringed a spouting fountain. When we reached the top of the driveway, there was a sign, PLAYMATES AT PLAY. The Mansion itself was like nothing I’d ever seen, a sprawling stone house, more like a castle. Like Disneyland, without the fireworks.

I was dressed in my nicest high-waisted acid-wash jeans and a Metallica T-shirt, little white runners on my feet, ankle socks with the fuzzy balls at the ankles. When I walked in the door, Marilyn greeted me in the foyer and started to make introductions. I wasn’t a pop culture fanatic – I rarely knew the names of people or the names of their characters. Was that Tony Curtis? James Caan? There’s Rambo, surrounded by pretty girls. I met so many people that night, names and faces I slightly recognised – Chachi Spicoli, maybe, could that be Cher? – a whirlwind of personalities.

As Marilyn gave me a tour, I was taking it all in – the art, the steamy grotto, the game room. Then she led me to a seat at the bar and left me for a bit. She said she wouldn’t be far. I wanted an alcoholic cider, but the bartender didn’t know what I was talking about – too Canadian? – so I blushed and ordered a Coca-Cola instead. The bartender had some good jokes, and I was just starting to feel more at ease when… oh my God… I looked up to see Mr Hefner as he came down the stairs smiling in his dark blue smoking jacket. Time felt slowed down as people greeted him. He was right in my line of view, maybe on purpose. He looked toward me, and we smiled at each other. I took a deep breath as he passed through his friends and brushed by gorgeous girls politely. But his energy and charm felt directed toward me. I had to look away – it made my skin burn, such a funny feeling. The inevitable shyness. Well, hello, Pamela, I heard you had an eventful journey, he said, his pipe teetering in his mouth. I loved the smell of the smoke – it comforted me – and the whole effect was enigmatic.

He reminded me of a mythological figure. A Methuselah. With liquid eyes, he looked around at the other men in the room and said softly, Marilyn is going to take very good care of you. Don’t worry, darling, you’re safe here. Then he broke into a character, it seemed, and laughed his famous laugh, and said, Oh boy, we’re going to have to keep an eye on you. This felt like the epitome of chivalry, a true gentleman – elegant, passionate, so charming, and yet with that little-boy giggle. It’s hard to explain his laugh, but if you heard it once, you’d never forget it.

Love, Pamela by Pamela Anderson is published by Headline, and is out now.