By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Tenaya HillsKevin Kerwin knew just what to say to Pamela Anderson at her South Coast Plaza book signing.
"I told her I'm her biggest gay fan," he said, speaking at a rapid, breathless clip, "and then the ghostwriter said that he was her biggest gay fan. Pam said, 'I'm a gay man trapped in a woman's body.' Aren't we all?"
Kerwin, 21, of Palmdale works in the "entertainment industry" (Disneyland) and has been an Anderson fan since her stint on Home Improvement.
"I love her rags-to-riches story," he said. "It's my story, too. I can't wait for the next book."
Kerwin was one of hundreds of fans who descended on Book Soup on Aug. 8 to get a glimpse of the model-turned-actress-turned-author. An hour into signing Star, Anderson's fictionalized autobiography, people were still hopping in line—even after security guards told them they weren't guaranteed a meet and greet. The line started at the back of the store, near the espresso bar, and snaked past Middle Readers and magazines and out the door. It ended two stores down.
Employees closed the store to everyone except fans clutching copies of the roman ŗ clef. The room was crammed with tan young women sporting highlights and halter tops; moms carrying Louis Vuitton bags and showing off taut, straining cleavage brought their kids. Except for the first person in line—a nervous guy with a disposable camera who got his ticket "way in advance"—most of the men were with their girlfriends.
"This is the closest I'll get to Tommy Lee," one blonde whispered, fanning herself with a magazine.
The former Baywatch star and ghostwriter Eric Shaw Quinn greeted the crowd half an hour late. Anderson, 37, wore a brief white tank top, cuffed jeans, a rhinestone belt and white stilettos. Her big blond hair was mussed and curly; her roots screamed for attention. Despite her bra, the color and precise outline of her nipples were clear.
"Oh! You're lovely!" someone gasped.
"Wow!" a man shouted.
Anderson spent a few minutes tossing her hair and forcing a come-hither pose with Shaw. She sighed and smiled wide and fake for the cameras, lips curled into a snarl, ignoring requests for a full-body shot.
"Hello, everybody in Costa Mesa," Anderson purred. "We're gonna do a nice show for you. Come in, tip the waitress and try the shrimp."
The rules were simple: no asking Pam to pose for pictures, no asking Pam to sign anything besides Star and no hugs. But after the bombshell politely shook hands with the first people in line and signed a few copies with a quick, swirling flourish, fans began to take more liberties. They came bearing gifts; one guy wore a Hawaiian-style shirt with her pictures on it; others begged her to autograph their chests.
One dead-ringer for Anderson—down to the tattoos, blond hair, smoky eye makeup and clownish lip liner—asked for a picture. The doppelganger's large, bronzed breasts were leaned hard against a white sports bra and spilled out of her sheer top. Anderson looked pained but agreed.
"It was everything I expected it to be and more," said model Alana Garber, 49, after her photo-op with Anderson. "She has proved brains and beauty is a good combination. I've always admired her ability to have a family and show biz and still be a real person."
Garber, whose blond hair partially hid a bandaged right eye, drove from Pomona to see Anderson as a birthday present to herself. She said she's already started reading the book, which was published Aug. 3, and enjoyed the mix of Anderson's personal history and fiction.
Though her look is similar to Anderson's, Garber said everyone has an individual style. But she did have an opinion about Anderson's love life: "She's a good mom," she said. "She should focus on her sons."
Chrissy Ware, 33, who brought her two sons to the book signing, said Anderson was a kindred spirit. In 1985, Ware was asked to pose in Playboy while working at Hooters. "They found her the same way," said Ware, a housewife from San Diego. "She followed her dream. She makes me think I should have, too."
Though Ware had a tummy tuck a just a week ago and should be home recuperating, she couldn't pass up the opportunity to meet Anderson.
"She's beautiful," said Ware, poking at her bandages gingerly. "I have black hair. She's blond. You always want what you don't have. She's a superstar."
Ware bought three copies of the book and said Anderson was personable and understanding. Ware gave Anderson a letter about how she could have been in Playboy, too, and lent her a pillow to sit on.
"She's the ultimate blonde," Ware said. "She's my hero, and I love her. She has fun, and she does what she loves. She has everything. Everything I should have."