Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
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
"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."
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
She tried her hand at a number of TV projects, mostly misses (Rock
Me, Baby; Hot Properties). However, the misses are what hit the
"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
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
With her lifetime checklist perhaps half-completed at such a young
age, she is confident and determined in her next steps along life's
"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
"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.
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
"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
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.
March 15, 2008.