I’ll just be up front about it: I love Rock of Love girls so much that I’d be willing to open a retirement home for them (if I ever find myself with an excess of cash). It would be an investment in self-perpetuating entertainment. In the meantime, getting to see them on VH1 again via Rock of Love Girls: Where Are They Now was a little slice of satisfaction in itself. Since I’ll never, under any circumstances pass up the opportunity to talk to a Rock of Love girl, I figured I’d take advantage of this opportunity and get a few of them on the phone to help flesh out their on-air updates.
Below, Angelique, Brandi C., Megan, Heather, Rodeo, Marcia, Farrah, Ashley and Brittaney Starr (who wasn’t featured on the special, but contributed to this piece, anyway) talk about daunting transition from reality TV to actual reality. They give their thoughts on Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It, share whether they’ve found happiness and reveal what they’re doing to feed themselves. Who’s bartending? Who’s back at the strip club? The answers may surprise you, but then again since it is Rock of Love girls we’re talking about, maybe not.
What do you think about Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It?
Megan: If he really has had a revelation and wants to be a family man now, then I’m really happy for him. I do think he should solidify it by marrying the girl and proving that he’s serious. It would be one more step in the right direction about being honest about his real life. The only thing left to do would be to stop wearing a wig and bandanna.
Angelique: It does look like he’s a really good dad. I can tell he really loves his kids and stuff, but I don’t think he would ever be faithful. Obviously, he’s not home not much because of his show business life. When you are in show business, you are married to show business first. That’s why I’ve been single all my life, also.
Ashley: I don’t want to see him changing his kids’ diapers, although I guess they’re older than diaper age. Whatever, I don’t want to see him taking Susie to soccer practice. What’s entertaining to me is seeing a bunch of drunk strippers falling down on their faces and heating up Hot Pockets. America likes trash and I don’t see what’s trashy about his family life. Also, I have a hard time buying Bret Michaels as a family man. He’s a skank just like me.
Marcia: I don’t think he’s ready to have a relationship with only one person. He’s probably just focused on his career and being more famous.
Rodeo: I think it’s long overdue. Bret’s a wonderful guy, everyone looks up to him and I think that it’s perfect timing. With everything that happened to him with the tumor and him being hospitalized, I honestly believe that having Kristi and his kids helped him through it. I believe that he is more spiritual now. People that thought he was just a regular rocker and didn’t really have any beliefs, I think he’s made them turn around. Also, it made them listen to rock more, I do believe. He’s shown people how life goes on. I love him to pieces and I’m grateful that I know him. I’m grateful that I’m the first one he chose, and I think there’s a reason: ’cause I inspire people. That’s why I’m on the Where Are They Now special. I’m hoping it can make a difference in everybody.
Brandi C.: I think it’s way better. It’s what he probably wanted to do from the beginning, but somehow they thought it wouldn’t be interesting, so they put him through having to find love. Now he’s finally able to show his real life to people. I think it’s the best thing for him. I’m sure Kristi’s happy. She’s got to be happier with this situation with the last one. I’m sure it’s causing less fights and his children are less embarrassed.
Brittaney Starr: I’m sublimely happy for Bret now that he’s finally figuring out what’s really important in life — his family. I think his girlfriend is beautiful and I wish them great success in their new show! They deserve it!
Heather: I don’t really have any desire to watch it. I feel like he’ll do whatever he needs to keep himself out there. I hate to sound bitter.
Farrah: I only have one answer for that: you can’t make a whore into a househusband.
How do you think Rock of Love will be remembered?
Farrah: I think the legacy ended with me and Ashley. When people look back, they’re gonna go, “Who are those people?” And then they’ll be like, “Oh, that’s Farrah and Ashley.”
Angelique: I think it’s an iconic show. It’s been three years and I still have people coming to me every single day: “Oh my god, Frenchy, I loved you on Rock of Love.” They barely mention I Love Money.
Brandi C.: Rock of Love was really great and I’m glad that I was on it, but people love to make fun of it. People love to trash the things that they love to watch for some reason. I don’t really get that. If they didn’t watch, they wouldn’t know anything about it and be able to talk trash. I don’t think the legacy with the general population will be very good. They’ll remember it as a trashy show, which is kind of sad, because if you look at it from a TV standpoint – from the reality TV world and TV programming in general – it’s like, wow, that show came on the scene out of nowhere and was huge. It really set precedents for a lot of things.
Marcia: I think when people think about Rock of Love, they think of drunk/sloppy strippers and hookers. Alcoholics. Wannabe badasses. I had a blast on Rock of Love. Even though I don’t remember half of it, I would do it again. I wish I got to be famous like Jersey Shore and make 20 grand an appearance from it, though. Are you kidding me? They don’t even have talent. I have a real job! That’s talent!
Heather: People will remember it as fun and wild and racy and controversial. It was out of control and full of hot messes. I think as time went on, Bret got more distant and the girls were less interested in finding love, too. Half them had boyfriends or husbands. I think by the end, it was just about the party, but that’s cool, too.
Brittaney Starr: I think the Rock of Love legacy is awesome. It was a fun, silly show that resurrected an awesome rock star. I’m happy I got to be a part of it all!
Ashley: I think when people think about Rock of Love, they think of entertainment. I never watched an episode without laughing and thinking, “Oh my god, these bitches are crazy.” It was drama and entertainment and funny. So many characters will always stand out because they were just really, really trashy.
Megan: When people think of Rock of Love, they think of a crazy house of girls that either need to be on medication or are on medication. Just a bunch of crazy girls — some hot, some ugly — antagonizing each other and shamelessly chasing after this guy. It’s not love, obviously. It’s the opposite. Just a bunch of slobbering, naked catfights between strippers and alcohol-induced ridiculousness. But I’m not like that. I’m normal.
Rodeo: I think it will be remembered as women that wanted to find love, but didn’t. I believe it showed people a great time with rock and roll, and that show helped people like myself. I was real on that show and I continue to be real today. It helped move my career in a positive way. I believe that it will be remembered for being the most-watched reality show in history. I think it will always be a No. 1 show. It was great fun.
How are you making a living now?
Farrah: Me and Ashley are having the time of our lives in Vegas and just waiting around on our own show. That’s basically what we’re doing. And, of course, working at [Spearmint] Rhino [Gentlemen's Club]. Who doesn’t enjoy taking money from men? It gets really packed on weekends, but no matter how chaotic it gets, me and my BWF, which means Best Whore Friend, we always have a good time with it. For example, we were doing a promotion at the Moon in the Palms and I pulled Ashley’s boob out for one second. Security separated us and took us in different rooms. The guards who were handling us knew who we were and were really nice. But then, the doors bust open and this guy that looked like Barney Fife walked in and he had crossed eyes. I was wasted and he went off on me for 30 minutes. I sat there quietly with my arms crossed. When he was done, I said, “Can I just ask you a question: were you just talking to me or were you talking to somebody over there? Because this eye was looking at me, but that eye was somewhere else.” They tossed us out the door after that. Basically, what I’m saying is what you saw on Rock of Love is us on a day-to-day basis.
Ashley: I still swing around a stripper pole two nights a week. Last month I worked four times, and I could still pay my bills. I’m not with James right now, if anyone cares. He’s a loser. I’m single and living life with my son, who just turned 4 and is doing great. Rock of Love didn’t make it so that I don’t have to work anymore. Rock of Love did nothing to change my life, except for now when I go to the mall, a bunch of teenage girls are like, “Oh my god!” That’s the only difference: I can’t go to the mall without teenagers following me. Well, and there is this one girl who works at the McDonald’s drive thru and she always hooks me up, ’cause she’s such a huge fan. I’ve moved out of that area, but I still make it a point to hit up that McDonalds.
Heather: I’ve been going back and forth between L.A. and Las Vegas on acting gigs. I’ve got an episode of Funny or Die that’s going to air in the near-future, and the producers of Baggage just called me back because they’re doing a spin-off. I’ve been on HBO, Fox and Showtime, but those bit parts don’t really pay the bills so I am working part-time for the moment as a featured showgirl at the Crazy Horse III in Vegas. The irony is that while Bret is bitching about baby seats in Bentleys on his show and flying in his private jet wearing his new Italian hair, for everyone else, it’s back to the pole. It’s back to the struggle and the grind, no pun intended. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Rock of Love and the time I shared with Bret, but I think it’s unfortunate that the few girls that helped make Rock of Love a phenomenon weren’t taken care of better. If it were my show and I had people who pushed the limits and helped make the phenomenon, I’d keep in contact and make sure they were taken care of.
Angelique: I’m still dancing once in a while. I’m working on a lot of projects, but I don’t want to brag about it, because this is not who I am. Everybody’s going to see me on TV and in movies: I’m going to be everywhere all of a sudden. But I don’t like to brag about too much stuff on record.
Rodeo: I am the spokesperson and host for Sick Speed TV: Motor/Sports/Luxury/Lifestyle/Living. I tell you what’s hot and I bring the world what’s new, what’s old, how motor sports can be and how companies can trick out vehicles. It’s fun, it’s exciting. It’s something that everybody’s interested in. I’m also the spokesperson for Save the Horses. It’s for horses that are retired or abused or neglected. We find homes for them. I actually adopted a foal for my son while filming the Where Are They Now special. I’m also training twice a day to get ready for my workout videos. They’re going to film in the Keys in February and them I’m going to release three DVDs in spring, summer and fall. We already have investors that want to invest. Everyone is wanting to know how to train while they’re on vacation and this is one area of my life that I want to show to people. Even though it’s hardcore training, I want everyone to know that they can lose weight and live their everyday life and also help their kids to lose weight, as well. My DVDs will show people how to train outside of the gym, to work out and use any type of equipment out there or any type of stairs – whatever I train on, I’m going to show the world how to do it. But with my hat on. (Laughs) It’s great, it’s fun, it’s different, it’s new and it’s something that everyone would love to hear, I believe. I’m also going to be going on tour with Driven Livid, which is the Grammy Award-winning producer’s Pete Evick’s project bands. Pete is also Bret Michaels’ lead-guitar player. I cannot wait to be in people’s lives and inspire them. ‘Cause you know rock music: it’s true and it’s real and it comes from the heart.
Brittaney Starr: I’ve been DJing some crazy parties. Last year, I toured in Asia singing and DJing. I played in Jakarta at Golden Crown, Surabaya, and Bali on the beach. It was so fun! My DJ friend Miss Dust and I felt like Madonna because we had two armed security guards following us around everywhere. I just got hired as a strip-club DJ at the new Hustler Club in Vegas. I get to announce the hotties and also spin the private parties, which is a blast. I also do promotions and performances at Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club. I just digitally released my new album Counting Starrs internationally. It’s available on iTunes and many other download sites. I also have free DJ mixes for download on SoundCloud.com — my new mix is called I Am Woman. I’m also getting involved in Central Christian Church. They are wonderful! Their motto is: “Come as you are. Everyone is welcome in the house of God.” I’m hopefully to be singing in their band soon. I left the porn life behind me years ago, but I don’t discredit it. It made me part of who I am today and it actually brought me and my family closer in the end.
Marcia: I’m selling time shares and I also do VIP hosting in Las Vegas. It’s good, but the economy sucks. Trying to sell any type of real estate is hard now.
Megan: I’ve finally accepted my dream job of being the trophy wife of Anthony Scirpoli of Cerca Trova Fashion. And now I’m planning my dream wedding for next year and I appreciate all my fans’ support and gifts. [Note: She isn't kidding: here's her registry, if you are so inclined.]
Brandi C.: Oh god, nothing. I recently got a job bartending. Reality TV is great when it’s going good. I had two shows air in the same year: in 2008, I Love Money aired in the summer and Charm School was on in the fall. I was making appearances every weekend, traveling constantly and making tons of money. I still do appearances, but it’s not very often – maybe once a month, once every two months. At that point, you start to need money and you start to look around and it’s like, “What am I going to do?” I’m not going to be a sign-holder on the street. I went to a couple of restaurants and I was going to serve, but that didn’t work out. I’d like to go back to school and start a real career. But the paradox of it is more people recognize me today than they did when I was on TV everyday. I don’t know if it’s because I live in Orlando, Florida, again and when I was on TV, I was living in L.A., and maybe in L.A. people don’t care to say anything or there are way bigger celebrities so you’re not as big of a deal. Now, I’ll go to Walgreens with my hair all crazy and in pajamas and I’ll get recognized. I feel like it’s the same thing with a job. I had an internship that went fine for a few weeks and then clients started coming up to me saying, “Are you that girl from that show?” I was like, “No.” My boss found out and was like, “Oh my god, you didn’t tell me. You have to tell me all about the show!” I think it’s really impossible after you’ve done reality TV to do a real job. Bartending is better because if I don’t like the person, I can just make them a crappy drink. I still hear, “Tell me this! Tell me that! Tell me if Bret’s hair’s real,” everyday, though. How many years is it going to be before people finally forget about it?
Was transitioning from reality TV to reality difficult?
Brandi C.: Yes. I don’t think it’ll be possible [to fully transition] unless I dye my hair, get plastic surgery and change my name. I love Google, but I’ve learned to hate Google. If I apply for any jobs and they Google me, they see all this stuff. I don’t consider myself a famous person, but everybody else does, and that’s where it gets weird. I just want to be normal. I don’t understand how true celebrities do it. This minor taste of celebrity is really annoying. I’ve thought of telemarketing. Then, at least, people couldn’t see me, although they might recognize my voice. I would do another show, though. That would set me up for the life that I was living. Doing appearances all the time and not trying to live in the normal world would be different. I did get contacted by the Bad Girls Club producers for an upcoming season of Love Games. The wanted to use bad girls from other shows. It sounded really awesome, but I have a boyfriend and I’m not going to do that.
Farrah: A little bit. You get so used to seeing yourself on TV. In different countries, they’re still playing the shows. I think they just did in Australia, so we’ll have foreign people come up to us at work, like, “Oh my god, it’s Farrah and Ashley,” and they’ll freak out. Everybody keeps saying, “If VH1 wants ratings, they need to put you and Ashley back on.” I’ve got a message for VH1: if they want ratings, they better put us on with a couple of whores.
Marcia: Coming back to reality in this economy is hard. Before, I was making $25,000 a month. That’s when the economy was good. When I went to VH1, it was already bad. Now I’m definitely not making $25,000 a month. I’m barely making it.
Heather: It’s been amazing to be on show and movie sets. There’s no alcohol during the day, and I’m totally a different person with no alcohol. I’m professional. Getting to work with Danny DeVito [on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia] and David Duchovny [on Californication] and just really great actors has been amazing. I do miss reality TV, though, because I’m really good at it. Had you asked me if I wanted to do more right after Charm School, I would have said, “No more! I’m half dead!” But I’ve had time to rest and work on myself as a whole and different projects within the entertainment industry. I’m getting the itch to get back and entertain the s*** out of people and have a blast doing it. My fans are waiting.
Ashley: No. I wasn’t any different on Rock of Love than I was in normal life. Yeah, I was being fake as hell on Charm School because I wanted to win the money. I would have said or done anything to win that money. Clearly, I don’t want to change because I don’t think I have to change. I am the way I am for a reason and I don’t have a problem with it. Reality TV didn’t change me at all. The difference now is I don’t have cameras on me. And I’m not getting wasted every single second. Rock of Love Bus was kind of like my spring break. It’s usually not that hard coming back from spring break, you know? I know Rock of Love girls who live in L.A., and call TMZ to tell them where they’re going to be. Like anybody gives a s*** that you’re going to Whole Foods. Nobody cares. I never cared about doing appearances. The only reason I did them is because people came to me like, “Here’s $1,500. Will you show up at my club?” OK. I’ll do that. But I was never like, “I’m going to be a serious film actress.” That’s bulls***. It was the same with Rock of Love – they saw me drunk as hell dancing on a table and asked me to be on that show. It was never something I would have done if it didn’t fall into my lap.
Rodeo: No, because I was real on the shows. I didn’t change and I don’t believe that you should change for anybody just because you’re on TV. By me remaining the person that I am, I believe that I connected on many levels with everyone, with my cancer history and being in a wheelchair and losing a child and struggling to have my son and not giving up despite my heard times. From reality TV to reality now, I still continue to be myself.
Megan: It was hard. It took a full year to adjust back to staying in one place and trying to relate to people in the real world, I think. But now that I have, I’m really happy. I’m excited for where my little road is going.
Are you happy?
Angelique: I’m doing good. I have a place in Malibu that I just moved to. I’m really happy I moved there. It’s another life and it’s relaxing. When I’m around L.A., I don’t really work while I’m there. I’m trying to make my contacts, I do red carpet and I host events. It’s really more like networking. I also have my place in Vegas, so I’m kinda lucky ‘cause I have two house, you know what I’m saying? So I’m doing really good, so I’m happy. I’m trying to put everything together, but it’s really hard because I’m alone. I don’t have Mommy and Daddy in show business. I’m alone and I’m trying to make it happen. I’m looking for a P.R. right now because it’s hard to do everything by myself. But like usual, I get everything I want regardless. I will fight for it, and I never give up and that is the key to success.
Farrah: I’m really happy. I’m the happiest I’ve been in a while. Number 1, I have my BWF living down the street from me. Number 2, Las Vegas is so pretty when you get off the strip. There’s so much s*** to do here. There’s 24-hour tanning, 24-hour gym, 24-hour nails. It’s the s***.
Marcia: I’m happy, yeah. Definitely.
Brittaney Starr: Life is great!
Rodeo: I’m extremely happy. I have never in my life been so thrilled. I never thought I’d be able to have a show that I host that everyone loves and that has a lot of speed and fast cars and lifestyle that gives you the adrenalin. If you’re having a down day, you can watch the show or go to a company that has fast cars like Aston Martin and Ducati – this show that I host gives you every feeling of power: fun, life-living, lifestyle. It’s just amazing. I’m happy. My son is happy.
Megan: Very happy. I’ve never been happier. I’m looking forward to having lots of Italian babies. Their names will be Mario, Luigi and Mini Megan.
Heather: Yes. I feel great because I have space now. In L.A., it’s so expensive and you sacrifice your space and freedom for Hollywood. Here in Vegas, you get so much more for your money and it’s a four hour car ride or 50 minute plane ride to Los Angeles. I have to go back there to get my hair done anyway, so I don’t mind going back there. I really like having my own space in a three-bedroom home with my dog. I like having my Zen back and feeling independent again.
Brandi C.: I’m really happy in my own little bubble, but I do feel that I’ve acquired a social anxiety disorder, just from not wanting to go out and wanting people to come up to me. I’m trying to transition to normalcy, and I feel like I’m working against the flow of the universe, or something. I’m happy besides that, though.
Ashley: I’m very happy. I was a little depressed after Charm School. I hated that show. I think it was embarrassing to even do it. But, yeah, I’m happy. If I was never on TV again, it would be the same as if I was. It’s not going to change my life, because my life will always be what I make it, not what TV makes it.
If you want some pictorial evidence of how far these ladies have and haven’t come since their time on the air, check out the gallery below. Though, really, it’s been only a year since we’ve seen many of them, so how much could they possibly have changed?
And if you want to keep up with these girls, the following places are probably as good as any:
If you happened to miss the special, you can watch it in its entirety below…