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Adrianne Curry

It's Her Surreal Life

by Ronald Sklar

Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: March 15, 2008. 

The last person you would consider having a clear-eyed take on reality is a reality TV star-slash-model-slash-two-time-Playboy subject. However, Adrianne Curry is finding the real and keeping it. 

Formerly of VH1's The Surreal Life and currently of that same channel's hit series My Fair Brady (co-starring husband Christopher Knight), Curry has become one of those rare outsized personalities that are hard to contain, even within an unscripted reality series. 

"When it comes to our reality, what you see is what you get," she says. "People are like diamonds. There are many facets to a stone, but people are only seeing the one facet shining at them. People perceive that as 'oh, that must be everything that person is.' And it's so far from it. 

"People think that reality TV must be so invasive, but when I see what they're airing, it's such a small aspect of myself that I don't even feel like I've been violated. I feel like people are only seeing me through tunnel vision. Reality TV is a bunch of over-edited sound bites." 

Her own sound is never, ever bitten; biting her tongue is an act she does not practice. 

Curry has made quite a name (and a face, and a body) for herself as an outspoken and memorable standout in an overcrowded and quickly forgettable TV genre. 

"I just know that our audience knows that I'm real," she says. "I'm not into scripted things. That can't be me, because that's a lie. And I'm not a good liar. I can act and be someone else, but I can't act and be me." 

The real her is what took her far from her humble beginnings in Joliet, Illinois. She hatched her persona more quietly than you would expect, shedding very little of that hard shell. 

She worked as a local model for the Midwestern fashion and commercial market. It was a far cry from the New York photo studios and European runways on which she would eventually sashay. 

"I had tried out for lame little modeling things," she recalls. "It was mostly to boost my self-esteem. I was heavily into drugs throughout my teens. I didn't have much thought or much of a future planned out. 

"Once I started cleaning up my act near the end, that's when it occurred to me. Everybody was telling me, 'wow, you're so tall and beautiful. You should model.' So I thought that maybe I should try for it. And if it wasn't for the lame-o modeling things I had done, I probably wouldn't have had the confidence to do what I eventually did."

That "eventually" was groundbreaking, as she became the very first America's Next Top Model, clenching the contest in a surprising upset and becoming not only America's next top model, but one of America's next top reality stars. 

"I came home from work one day [as a waitress] and my mom told me that she had seen the commercial [for local Top Model auditions] on UPN," she says. "And I believe I sat there for four hours waiting for it to come back on." 

She took herself – and that personality – to the audition and then to the series itself, helping to make it an instant hit. Still, she never expected to become a finalist, let alone win the whole sh-bang

"I had prepared myself so I wouldn't look like those loser beauty queens that would sit there and cry and look like an idiot," she says. "I had made sure that I was ready when [favorite Shannon Stewart] would win. I was going to be all cool and I was going to hold it together. I did not put in my battle plan at all." 

When the unexpected happened, she remained cool as a cuke.  And like the butterfly who still has a little bit of moth in her, she flitted off for more fabulous pastures. 

"It was definitely wonderful," she says of Top Model, "but of all the things I have done, it was definitely the most stressful thing I have ever done in my life. You don't eat on regular time. You don't sleep on regular time. It feels almost military-esque. People are telling you how to be, where to go, who to talk to. It's crazy." 

Her big break earned her some even bigger breaks in the industry, but her super-sized personality could not contain her as a paper doll. Her tendency to be opinionated often lost her lucrative modeling jobs, but gained her a new career on television, where mouths and natural-flowing outrageousness are more than most welcome. 

"There were times where I knew I would get the job if I acted the dumb idiot part and maybe did some things that I would never live with myself for doing," she says. "But I didn't. Then I ended up having everybody think I was fabulous, but not the kind of person you can tell what to do. 

"Models are meant to be nameless beings. The age of the supermodel is over. It's over. They just want ghosts walking around, and I wasn't that. Everybody said you need to go back to television. You've got a personality." 

She tried her hand at a number of TV projects, mostly misses (Rock Me, Baby; Hot Properties). However, the misses are what hit the bull's eye. 

"For me, every time I get knocked down, I always come back so much stronger than before," she says. "Every time I get defeated, I'll wallow in it for a second, and I hate to say this, because it sounds awful, but I have this revenge mindset. It's like, oh, this didn't work out? Well, I'll show them. I'll do something else. And I know that that isn't the most healthy, but that's what pushed me to where I am today." 

She got her revenge with The Surreal Life, where she had a second chance to turn heads. One head in particular that turned hard was former Brady Buncher Christopher Knight, with whom she has lived, married and co-starred in reality TV heaven. 

"We're normally happier when the cameras are turned off," she says of their very public relationship.  "However, I'm twenty-five and I'm going through my maturing phase, my soul-searching phase, asking-all-the-questions-of-life phase. Everyone goes through it. 

"At one point, I said to my husband, 'I don't think I can ever work with you again!' I don't think it had anything to do with Reality; it's just that I'm trying to find myself. At that point, I was kind of weak. I call it my Great Purge. Frankly, I don't give a crap what people think about he and I. I come home to somebody who loves me every day. And that's all that matters."

Although we are privy to a good part of their relationship, the most baffling and telling aspect of their dynamic may be that Curry has never seen an episode of the series that made her husband an American icon. Curry may be one of two people on this planet (along with, perhaps a pygmy tribe in New Guinea, but even that's debatable), who has never watched an entire episode of The Brady Bunch

"He asked me a few weeks ago, 'why won't you watch the show?'" she says. "I would rather wait until I have children that can really appreciate it. After being twenty-five-years old and seeing and doing the things I've done, it's like somebody coming up to me and saying, 'Barney rocks!' 

"I mean, you can be a Brady Bunch fan. That's fine. But if you're older, and you're sitting there laughing and you don't have a kid sitting next to you, then something is wrong. It's a children's show. It's for kids. It's wholesome and it's great, and I can't wait until I can sit there with my kid and say, 'dude, that's your dad!'"

It may not be as easy for her to share with her kids the two Playboy spreads she had done in recent years, but regrets? Negatory. 

"For Playboy, my only worry was if I do this, are people going to forget everything I've ever done before and think that I am only a Playboy girl?" she says. "It was definitely a good experience, but that was my only worry." 

In addition, she has made girl-watching history as one of Maxim's hottest women of all time. 

"Maxim I had absolutely no say in, but I was flattered," she says. "That came two years after being a waitress, I made their Hot 100. I was like, 'damn. Well, okay.' I mean, it's definitely flattering, but beauty is only skin deep and can only last so long. So at least I made it in my lifetime." 

With her lifetime checklist perhaps half-completed at such a young age, she is confident and determined in her next steps along life's catwalk. 

"For the entire duration of my career, people have been like, 'oh, her fifteen minutes will be up in three months.' It's now been five years, and I'm still here," she says. "I felt the good, bad and the ugly while I did it. But it was all worth it. Definitely all worth it." 

Her outspokenness, including frank talk about her bisexuality on radio programs like The Howard Stern Show, has left an even deeper impression on the public.   Curry chalks it up to growing pains. 

"I don't know if I regret what I said, but I regret I spent my entire teen years flushing [my feelings] down the toilet instead of learning, growing and maturing," she says. "Sure, there are things that I've said that now, in retrospect, I think, 'how stupid.' But it's all part of growing up. 

"Sadly, I've been documented going from being a juvenile delinquent to an adult. During that time, you're definitely going to have some slip ups, and I've had them. Sadly, they get written in stone and can be used against you at any time. And frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." 

True that, as she knows that she will always have a place to go if the dream ever dies. 

"I am always going home," she says of Joliet, Illinois. "My friends and family see me so much. Life to me is not material things. Because I have so much family back there and so many friends, if everything blew up in my face, if my marriage went into a shambles, my career hit the slopes, I would not see it as unrealistic of me going back to where my roots were.  

"I think I could actually do it. Would I want to? No. I'm working very hard to see if I could provide for myself and I long to be so wealthy some day that I can help anyone that I wanted charity wise, family wise. But if I hit hard times, I wouldn't think the world was over. 

"A lot of my friends back home can't watch my show, because a lot of them think they'll kill Chris if they see him being mean to me. It disturbs them and it's kind of scary to see me on TV. Sometimes it will come up like, 'whoa, man, isn't it weird that you're famous?' Other than that, everybody just treats me the same." 

For all of her bravado and charisma, she still longs for a bit of simplicity and common everydayness, if she can fit into that challenging size. 

"I'm saving money to go to college," she says, "so when this is all over, I'll have enough to support myself while I learn what I need to do," she says. "I'm probably going to start taking some on-line classes really soon, just to get the general stuff out of the way. I would love to counsel people, but who the hell would want to come to me for counseling? That's a little scary." 

However, it would be no surprise if the line would form immediately. For those who want to be counseled in the most honest, world-weary and life-experienced method possible, the doctor is in.

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Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: March 15, 2008. 

Photo Credits:
#1 ©2006.  Courtesy of Adrienne Curry. 
#2 ©2008.  Courtesy of VH1.  
#3 ©2006.  Courtesy of Film Magic/VH1. 
#4 ©2006.  Courtesy of Film Magic/VH1. 
#5 ©2007.  Courtesy of Film Magic/VH1. 


Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: March 15, 2008.