After the jump, Traci Bingham, the winner of the first Surreal Life Fame Games, talks about the advantages she had over her competitors, rubber-chicken shots and why you should never estimate the power of a Bingham.
Thank you. Thank you, thank you. I was beaming for, like, three weeks after we filmed [last year]. Everyone was like, "What is wrong with you?" and I couldn’t tell anybody because we were under contract. I was running around in the dress we wore at the end of the show, in Vegas. I don’t think anyone expected me to win. And once I heard the snickering, people talking about how I wasn’t going to win, I said, "Oh yeah?" And here’s my quote: Never, ever underestimate the power of a Bingham. Just when you think we’re last, we kick ass and win.
It seemed like you really took the show to heart, like when you were upset about being on the B-list.
No one really knew the rules of the game when we first walked in the house. I was upset being on the B-list because I felt like when I was on a team with the B-lister people, no one seemed like they gave a s***. I wasn’t used to hanging around with people who didn’t give a s***. I’m an all-or-nothing type of gal. I don’t half-ass anything. I’m a really great competitor.
Do you think that attitude was key to your success?
Yes. I thought of the show as an opportunity to not only have some fun, but to make some good, easy, fun money. But you had to work for it, and I don’t think that anybody really got that. I don’t think that anybody really realized that it was their opportunity to shine or their opportunity to show that they were different from the first seasons we were on. Nobody cared so I was like, "Yeah, I’m gonna care." And when I care about something and stay positive, I usually get my way.
Who was your stiffest competition?
I know that Rob really wanted to win because he as kicking butt all the way through. A few times he said he didn’t care about winning, but his actions were saying, "Not only am I winning this, but I’m taking all of you down." And I love competitive spirit. I knew Pep wanted to win, because she envisioned it. She has this gift, she’s kind of clairvoyant or psychic. She was seeing things or feeling things and maybe freaked out a few people.
Did Pep predict your victory?
I think in her mind, she saw a brown-skinned woman winning, so it was either her or me, because those are the only two brown women that I knew on that show.
What did you think of Rob’s final freak-out, when he trashed the set?
I know he’s a very boisterous, and, as they say, an angry man . But that day, when he did that, I had fear for the first time because of him, and that’s when I ran over to hug Robin Leach. I saw the look in Robin’s face, and I knew that he was freaked out, too, and that this was real. It was really weird to see that. It’s like, you have a beautiful family, and you’ve got great money, you have a great career, people still love you…I think what set him off was that he felt set up, but it was a game. It was a game! I told everyone in the beginning that we can be all buddy-buddy and laugh and be friendly, but it’s still a game, and there’s going to come a time when we have to turn on each other. And I want you to know that if there comes a point where it’s between you or me, it’s gonna be me going ahead and turning on you because I want to win.
Even though you were fiercely competitive, it seemed like you were cool with everyone in the house, and there was a lot of drama amongst the others.
I like to think that I pretty much am a cool person. I may be in this business and have done very well for myself, but if I weren’t in this business, I would still be a cool person. I think people are shocked when they meet me because I’m very sweet and outgoing. I’m very touchy-feely. I’m not a diva. But if you cross me or piss me off, you will see my ugly side.
Was Chyna Doll the person you bonded with most?
Definitely. I get her personality. She may get a bad rap for being Chyna and going through what she has in her life, but no one’s perfect. I liked her also because, and you didn’t see this on the show, but because of the stories she would tell about her life and all the horrible things that happened to her that I could relate to. I just instantly became her friend because we were on the B-list together. But we’re friends to this day. I would do anything for her. We talk and text each other all the time.
It’s a rubber-chicken shot reunion!
Absolutely. Everywhere I go, people are doing rubber-chicken shots. It’s something that we’re working on making an international thing. She and I made it up. She brought the chicken in, in with a huge bag of toys. We were bored, so I thought, "Let’s get the chicken drunk." And we made a play out of it. It became our thing. "RCS" is our code name for "rubber-chicken shot." Sometimes, Chyna Doll will text me, "RCS" and I’ll just start laughing.
What went down between you and Verne, when you shared the bed with him?
I never ever ever ever ever had sex with Verne Troyer. It never happened, it never would happen, it never will happen. Every night we were there, I would go in and visit him, whether we were on the B-list or the A-list, because a) he didn’t want to be there, b) he was sick, and c) his wisdom teeth were coming in. I really felt bad for him, I just wanted to cheer him up. When I was talking about, "I wanna have a baby," I was talking about having a baby with my fiancee, not with Verne. But he’s a sweet guy, I’d do anything for him. I crash in bed with all my friends and family. If you’re hanging out, that’s what you do. I didn’t have sex, I never would. I wouldn’t disrespect myself, my fiancé or him like that, especially in that manner on national television. So for all those people who thought I did, you’re absolutely wrong. Besides, what hole would it fit in anyway?
Your nostril? You also had a really strong bond with Ron.
Love Ron. Ron Jeremy is so cool to me. I don’t care what anyone says. I don’t care for his porno, but, hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. He’s just a really good friend. He’s very intelligent and funny.
What did you do with the money you won from Surreal Life Fame Games?
Basically, it’s in an investment banking account. I’m still deciding what I want to do with it. I have a bunch of ideas. I want to give some money to my brother who’s terminally ill with cancer. Of course, I’m a girl, I have to shop. And I also want to give money to charity. But I didn’t do the show for the money; I did it for the fun. I would have done it for free.
Tell me about what’s coming up for you.
I’m going to be in a movie called Hanging in Hedo, which I shot in Jamaica with Judy Tenuda and Sherman Helmsley. I’ve got a new line of home décor, pillows, blankets, candles. Things like that. I’m working on a clothing line. I’ve got a TV series that’s in development right now, it’s a sitcom. And then I’ve got a possibly a lingerie line coming out. And there’s a few shows that I’ll be hosting. Things are going really well. I’m just enjoying my life right now.
Is fame all that it’s cracked up to be?
That’s a really hard question. What you see on TV is not what you get. Fame can feel good and be good if you do it the right way. You see Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton getting pulled over, getting DUIs, going to rehab, cutting off their hair, running around like crazy people. These are beautiful, wealthy, young women who can do anything they want and have everything they want, and they chose to mess up their lives by doing ridiculous things. OK, they’re young, they’re experimenting. That’s what you do when you’re young. But how much more do you have to keep destroying their bodies and their lives and their youths? They’re going to start looking older than their parents if they continue doing that. So, is fame all that it’s cracked up to be? It can be if you do it right, and if you respect yourself. Just do everything in moderation and then you can enjoy everything and anything you want in your life.