By Shane Igoe
Special to Page 3
You probably know her as Summer Quinn in "Baywatch" or Jamie Powell in "Charles in Charge," or the girl you had a crush on growing up in the '80s.
These days, Nicole Eggert is turning heads on the new reality show, "The Real Gilligan's Island," where she competed against supermodel Rachel Hunter, for the role of Ginger, the movie star.
Unfortunately, Eggert was recently cast off the island, but prior to her departure, Page 3 sat down with the actress to discuss Baio, "Baywatch," and her experience as Ginger.
1. So did you watch "Gilligan's Island" growing up?
Nicole Eggert: I loved the show growing up. It was kind of like a fantasy watching that show, and I used to think how great all of their lives were.
Did you view yourself more as the movie-star character or more as the girl next door?
I was really young when that show was on but I looked up to the movie star character ... if there was anybody I envied the most or thought was the greatest on that show, it was definitely Ginger.
2. Do you think you have the mettle and moxie to make the best Ginger? Size up your competition, Rachel Hunter. Friend or foe?
We are friends. I really like her a lot, but we're different. I think I'm more like a Ginger in that I don't really want to exert myself. Also, I don't really care that much, I'm not going to get wrapped up in everybody's drama. I'm just worried about getting myself through it safely and soundly, whereas Rachel is a little bit more tied up with everyone else.
To be honest, she is one tough chick. She grew up in New Zealand and Australia and in the outback and this is nothing new to her. This is stuff that she's done before while for me, who has never even been camping before, it was scary and a little intimidating. I was kind of scared with the outdoors element. I never wanted to be left alone.
3. What was it like filming on an island in Mexico?
Well, the storms on the Baja are pretty major and we were out in the middle of nowhere so the lightning was hitting very close to us and it was just a different experience for me. I grew up in Southern California and I never had to sit through a storm like that and we actually had to go outside because the huts we were in were rigged with cameras and all of this metal, so we were sitting ducks if we stayed in our huts for protection. So we'd actually have to go out on the beach to sit out the storm. It was pretty intense and pretty scary, but being in Baja was probably the best part of the whole experience.
4. Talk about the dynamic of the "Gilligan's Island" reality show. Did you realize there was going to be another competing cast there at the same time?
Although we had to really live through it and all of that is very real, the show is still very manipulated and very planned as they've got a director there and they've got a storyline, and they need us to play out what they already have in mind.
Unlike the some of the other cast members, I knew there was going to be another group there as the producers prepared us in different ways. Like for the non-actors they told them there would be no food and that it would be very Survivor-esque. For me, who they figured probably would never in a million years do something like that, they told me it was going to be very much like a sitcom ... we would be put in "Gilligan's Island" scenarios and we would improve it through improvisation ... so that to me, that sounded awesome.
5. What was it like working alongside regular people rather than all actors?
That was hard in that the situations were hard. We were all hungry and then you're having to explain to these people why we're waiting for three hours. The whole thing is a real big mind trick as the producers had us sitting out in the sun or something and they'd say you're not allowed to move or you have to stand here, and they'd come back three hours later, stuff like that. I figured I knew what they were doing, but nobody else could figure it out, so that was kind of hard because I would rather have been like a young na´ve one than the one that knew it.
6. Reportedly, there's interest in a "Baywatch" movie. Would you be willing to don the famous red suit as Summer Quinn again?
It depends what the premise is and what they have in mind. I mean if they're going to do like a behind-the-scenes sort of thing, I would love to do it. But if they're going to give you a full-length movie just like the show, I don't know.
7. What was it like working with Pam Anderson?
I get along with other females pretty well. I'm really secure in myself so with somebody like Pam and me ... her and I got along fine. When I was on the show, it was me, Alexander Paul and Pamela and there was no cat fighting. Then you've got other girls who are just dying to ... well, let's just say I think the fighting was more with the cast later on.
8. Were you ever a lifeguard in real life ?
I definitely spent a lot of time on the beach growing up, but I also spent a good part of my early life working, so there was no time for lifeguarding.
Do you surf?
I'm learning to surf now. I'm really familiar with the water and the waves and how to catch them as I body surfed and boogie boarded all my life. I just never did the actual surfing, but it's coming to me pretty easy I have to say.
9. Do you miss having Charles in charge of you?
You know, when they say you never appreciate something you have until it's gone, well that was a great time in my life and anybody that gets to work on a sitcom day after day is a lucky, lucky being.
Do you keep in touch with the likes of Scott Baio and Willie Ames?
You know, I don't keep in touch with them. It's sort of a shame. But you know that love is there. When you make life long friends like those, all this time can pass, but when you see each other, it's like you never left. I do run into the other Powell kids, my brother and sister on the show, quite a bit.
10. If you were stranded on a desert island with just one person ... Scott Baio, Corey Haim, David Hasselhoff ... who would it be?
Well, I would have to pick my daughter. I couldn't pick anybody else, sorry ... I'd have to go with family.
Shane Igoe is a writer/producer living in NYC. His first book entitled "Taking the Hill: 100 Presidential Pitches from 1904-2004" debuts next year. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.