Earlier this week, we ran an interview with Traci Bingham, the winner of the first-ever Surreal Life Fame Games. For a different take on the show, we checked in with Andrea Lowell, who, despite not making the Top 5, is doing well, thank you very much. After the jump, Andrea talks frankly about her level of fame, the perks of being a hot chick, and — wait for it — quantum physics.
Did you enjoy your time on The Surreal Life?
Yes, I enjoyed being on The Surreal Life, but of course there are definite challenges you have to deal with like being stuck in a house with really big personalities and being compared to each other when you all are friends, but you know what you’re getting into. So basically it’s fun, but it can be stressful as you see from the episode where I’m pulling my hair out.
Early on, it became clear that you maybe weren’t as well known as many of the other people in the house. Was that a rude awakening?
I was actually kind of shocked that they wanted me to do the show, because I was like, I’m not even on the level of these other people. I know there was no way I could have won because the show was based on your level of fame, and actually I was happy that I lasted so long.
It’s really down-to-earth of you to be admitting your level of fame as compared to everybody else.
Oh, I am totally open about it. I don’t think I should try to build myself up because that’s ridiculous. I’m a Playboy model, I’m a Playboy TV star, and my fans know and love me but, people that aren’t familiar with Playboy stuff aren’t gonna to know who I am. I don’t expect 45-year-old women to really necessarily like me or be familiar with what I do because that’s not who knows me, and I’m totally OK with that. Honestly I don’t do it for the fame, I do it because I enjoy it. I enjoy being in front of the camera, I enjoy taking my clothes off, I enjoy making millions of men smile daily. The whole Surreal Life thing has been a such a great opportunity because I never anticipated it.
So, in other words, if you maintain the level of popularity you have now you’d be completely satisfied with that?
Absolutely, I’m already, I’m so shocked because I forget that people do consider me to be a celebrity, sometimes I’m out and I’ll say to my friend, “Why is that bitch over there staring at me?” And they’re like, “Because you’re on TV,” and I’m like, “Oh yeah!” And then I buy them a drink.
One thing that rang so true was just as you were leaving, you said a true A-lister wouldn’t know how much Dom Perignon and caviar stuff costs anyway because they’d be getting it for free.
I’m definitely not an A-lister but being a hot chick you don’t pay for stuff, and the fact is, I just I had no idea how much the Dom costed, that’s really what killed me, I thought it was way more expensive, and honestly it’s not my preferred Champagne anyway…
What is your preferred Champagne?
I actually like either Cristal or if I’m on a budget, Veuve Cliquot is really good, it’s like forty bucks and it’s really tasty.
So did you end up buying a Hyundai?
No that was just a…that was just an exaggeration, I was just trying to get my point across, I actually drive a BMW. I actually do pay for all my stuff, I’m self-sufficient, I don’t date a rich guy, I really take pride in the fact that I do work for a living, but I really did want that money because I really did want a super-nice car.
I actually went to UC Irvine in pursuit of a biology degree. Science is something I’m very passionate about, I’m really into the philosophical aspects of subatomical physics, and that’s basically what quantum theory deals with. Basically everything that’s created dictates everything that is real, or what our perception of reality is, and it’s just really wild. A lot of people watch movies like The Secret or whatever and they think they understand but you really gotta know it. A lot of celebrities, like Carmen Electra for instance, I’m not gonna knock her, but she watched What the Bleep and she thinks she understands. But it’s so cool and honestly after a few drinks it’s so fun to talking to some people who really understand it and just learning. Science is cool, I definitely love it, my Mom teaches science, it’s just something I’ve grown to love, I love it.
So do you think if you weren’t a hot chick you’d be a scientist?
I think I can be a hot chick and be a scientist, I can always go back to school, you know what I mean? My career goal was to be a surgeon, and the only reason I stopped doing that was the opportunities that arose with Playboy. And I said you know what, I gotta do this now because I can always go back to med school, but I can’t go back you know to being offered the cover of a magazine, or my own show on Playboy TV. At first it was a lucrative hobby, I did it while I was still in school, but then it became something I really enjoyed doing. It was really difficult for my family at first to deal with that change, when you know your parents tell their friends and colleagues, "Oh yes my daughter you know is gonna be a surgeon, she’s getting her bio degree," and now it’s, "She’s taking her clothes off for men." It was a weird transition, but ultimately they support me now, so that’s all that matters.
You sound so positive about everything. Is there any downside to posing for Playboy or of fame in general?
Oh yeah, I mean, the stigma that comes along with posing nude, people think you’re a slut, people assume that you’re stupid, the latest one I got was that I’m white trash which is laughable. But you know you just have to just brush it off because negativity does nothing, if you go through life negative there’s no way you’re going to have a positive outcome. It just really kind of hurts my feelings when people judge me for what I do not who I am. But I’m over it now, I just I just feel bad or pity people who judge you and have no idea who you are, but just judge you by some things you do. But I don’t take it personally. If I saw myself on TV doing the same things, I probably would think the same thing. So I can’t be mad at people, you know?
What’s next for you?
Canoga Park is a sitcom that I’m in. It’s basically about the adult industry, but it’s a really, really funny, satirical sitcom, so everything’s really far out. It’s either gonna go to HBO or Showtime. Playboy TV is our backup. I play Andrea Daniels, this porn star, and I’m a lesbian but I do guys for money. It’s so over-the-top it’s just ridiculous. And then, I have movie coming out, Jason and Ross. It’s about two guys in search of fame, and I play a homeless chick that ends up getting her own reality show. We’re in production now. And then I have a show on Amp’d Mobile that I host, and that’s every week. Basically, I give relationship advice to everyone out there with an Amp’d Mobile phone, and then of course I am the co-host of the Playboy morning show on Sirius 198.
On your site, you thank your fans for understanding your "vision, aspirations and personality." what is your vision?
I wrote that a while ago, but basically my vision is ultimately just be happy. My fans have actually been with me since my very first Playboy college girl pictorial, so they all really know what I mean by that. They’ve seen me grow, and basically what I’ve just wanted is what I’ve achieved, which is working regularly, maintaining a close network of fans and friends, and just ultimately waking up every day worry-free and with a smile on my face. That’s my ultimate goal.