Monday, Jan. 24, 2011 | 3:37 p.m.
Emotional fireworks exploded on last night’s Season 2 premiere of Holly Madison’s E! Entertainment reality TV show Holly’s World. The platinum blond bombshell was shell shocked from all sides as she tackled Peepshow producer demands that she lose weight, former love Hugh Hefner announcing his engagement to Crystal Harris and Playmate Jayde Nicole’s bizarre takeover attempt as her Las Vegas rival.
Moments after I sat with her for the premiere screening last night at Extra Lounge at Planet Hollywood, Holly told me: “I’ll always have a place in my heart for Hef. We were together for seven years. I thought we’d get married sometime and have children. You don’t ever forget something like that! That was my dream and hope. I don’t know how I am really supposed to feel about all of it. I had a lot of different emotions and thoughts on it.
“We went through a lot together. I wanted to settle down. I thought we were headed to being exclusive and then marriage and family. I had to go to The Mansion to confront him and Crystal. This was kind of a shock! I had to film that, so it was my exact reaction and words and not distorted later elsewhere. You will see exactly what happened there next Sunday. Hef didn’t mind the cameras because he lets his life be a very open and honest book. I had to know he was all right. I was being very protective. There are many girls who would take advantage of him, and I had to know he was OK.”
Just 5 hours before the premiere, I’d talked exclusively with Holly in a wide-ranging interview. She told me: “I’m really excited for the new shows. I think it’s a way better season than the first season. Last year, you got to know us, and this year you’re seeing how we deal with life as it throws the curve balls at us. There’s no time to pre-plan anything. It’s all as it just happens even if we are not comfortable about it. It’s a lot of drama that’s very confrontational.
“It’s really dramatic. There are a lot of challenges for all of our characters, and the humor as a result is really funny. We’re still smack in the middle of shooting it, so there’s a lot more surprises to come from me. The filming runs four days a week and will continue through March.”
The series also stars former assistant turned understudy Angel Porrino, Peepshow co-star Josh Strickland and best girlfriends Laura Croft and newcomer Claire Sinclair. Laura stole last night’s premiere with her outrageous and hilarious commentaries. There’s also a catfight storyline with Jayde, who was on MTV’s The Hills while the girlfriend of Brody Jenner. (Congrats to Holly and the cast, as Nielsen ratings today has the premiere at more than 2 million viewers, an increase over last year.)
“It’s a really emotional season for me because there’s so many challenges for me right away. I’m told to lose weight, which I’m working on, but it’s a really hard thing to deal with somebody’s ego. The Peepshow producers didn’t tell me exactly how much. They just said I needed to lose weight. I didn’t even know if my job was on the line. I didn’t even know if they preferred my girlfriend Angel, who I’d recommended take my place while I was on vacation. But to come back to that news and be told I have to slim down and tone up was a little devastating. No one wants to be told to their face they have a fat ass! You see that as it actually happened on the show -- for real.
“So I’m just going to see how well I do by trying to get healthy. I’ve been working out more, and I’ve really cleaned up my diet. More fruit and vegetables and less fast food. It’s tough, though, going out with Josh, Angel and Laura to the Peppermill. They order great food, and I get just salad. I was ordered to keep carrots and celery in my dressing room as the only snack I should have. I’ve lost 4 pounds so far. So maybe 6 more to go. I’m just going to see what happens with a healthy lifestyle. I don’t want to lose too much because I don’t want to lose any of my curves.
“The fast foods are the killer. You grab it on the run when you are as busy as me. Now I have fresh diet meals delivered to my house. I think living in a hotel, too, is a little bit tricky because there’s so many great restaurants and room service all the time. I lived at Planet Hollywood full time for my first year here. And also when I was writing my book about Vegas, I tried so many restaurants because I wanted to do a chapter where people my age could find a really quick guide to some of the most fun best restaurants. A lot of the restaurants I featured aren’t the most upscale. They’re really fun, themed, more middle-priced junk food-type places. So I definitely went out and sampled it all.”
Holly’s book The Showgirl Next Door is already available on Amazon pre-order, with national distribution starting in April. Her debut book will take readers on a tour of the glitz and glitter of Las Vegas, but she also promises to reveal some of our city’s best-kept secrets and provide an intimate look at some of the biggest and best luxuries we offer. She admits that it’s the story of how she wound up here and a tribute to her adopted Las Vegas hometown she “fell crazy in love with” after moving here.
I asked Holly how she dared march into The Playboy Mansion in L.A. to confront Hef after Angel had told her that he’d used Twitter to announce his engagement to Crystal and had sealed it with a diamond ring. Holly told me candidly: “I wanted to visit and just tell him how I felt on camera rather than to be no response to the media because it wasn’t really a response I could put into a quick sound byte. He was cool with that, because he’s an open book and he was OK about being on camera, too. This ends tonight’s first show as a teaser that goes into next Sunday’s second episode. You’ll see the whole thing as it actually went down. I had a ton of different emotions. I didn’t cry over it, but I was irritated, confused. I was being protective.
“It wasn’t a case of she got him and I didn’t. Honestly! I really like how my life turned out. It was more that I was being protective, l wanted to make sure he was making the right choice. My life changed when I walked out of The Mansion and got my own apartment in Santa Monica. All of the things that have happened here in Las Vegas would never have happened if we hadn’t broken up. Life did change for the better for me because I was limited there to what I could do work-wise. Peepshow and Holly’s World, the book and all the exciting things happening for me might never have happened.
“I think I was just a person who was meant to do my own thing and not really be anybody’s real housewife of Beverly Hills. I may have wanted that, but it’s not meant for me. In the end, it was a good thing I got to fly free. I found my wings, and now I absolutely love where life is going. I love where it is now. It’s really exciting for me, and it’s just better than I ever could have imagined it.
“People ask if I’m too busy with so much going on, but it’s definitely the way I want it. I barely have time to sleep, let alone eat and drink, but I’m the one pushing myself, but sometimes I’ll admit it gets a little tiring. Sometimes I would just like to be at my house more, have more time to read. I do get tired, but I think you have to strike when the iron’s hot and take all the opportunities you want.”
Holly says she’s spending most of her time now at her new home southwest of The Strip in Southern Highlands. “If I want to go out to an event on The Strip, if I have been out drinking and I don’t want to drive, or if my schedule gets really crazy with photos and shooting the reality series, I’ll stay at the hotel,” she said. Even with all the commitments she has with Peepshow, personal appearances, photo sessions, her calendar and book projects, she’s working on her singing with a vocal coach so she can be a back up on Josh’s new album.
She says that in the coming months when producers of Peepshow are happy with the weight loss, she wants to take on added singing and dancing duties in the production. “I’m still loving every moment of it and want to do more. I’ve been taking lessons with a vocal coach for 6 months now,” she said. And she has a new surprise full-time assignment that we’ll reveal here later this week.
Even with the hectic schedule, she’s still found time for love and told me that punk rocker Jack Barakat of All Time Low and she are still a couple, and they were featured kissing and cuddling on last night’s premiere. “The romance is still on, and we are still seeing each other,” Holly told me happily. “He’s in Brazil right now on tour, but he’ll be back in a few weeks. We’re both happy how it’s working out. Some will say it’s difficult to maintain when we both have crazy schedules. But it’s perfect right now because he’s just as busy as I am. So when we both get free time, we meet up, and we’re happy that way.”
I told Holly I was surprised how much she bared her soul and emotions in the first episode and let the cameras record the heavy duty drama as it happened. She responded: “We have even more drama and emotions to come. There’s even more than what we filmed with Hef. We have so much going on and so many exciting things I can’t give away. It runs the gauntlet of all kinds of different emotions, plus lots of funny and crazy things. We’ve been really blessed this season to just have a lot going on.
“We had a great first season ratings-wise, and E! ordered the new shows and bumped it up last minute by three months. We’ve really just been scrambling to capture everything that’s going on, but that’s really been a good working pace for us cause we have to work with whatever we’re given, which means there’s no time to think things through. As it happens, it’s filmed for real. There’s no time to even discuss should we include this or not. I think it’s better when you just have to include everything. It makes it more real and more exciting.
“We have to deliver 10 episodes, and we’re about halfway through shooting those so far. Claire Sinclair shows up a little later in the season, and she’s playing a big role this year. Robin, you’re even in the third episode with a cameo from your time with her at her MGM show.”
Five times in last night’s debut, Holly’s friends branded Jayde a bitch, and I’m reliably told that she will vanish after a few more episodes. “I really think she came into Vegas determined to take over what I had accomplished here,” Holly confided. “It really made for some serious tension. There was no need for some of her stuff. She invited Josh out on my birthday as her date and wound up making out with him -- that was seriously bad. So think of it as a fleeting appearance.”
Holly confirmed that Jayde hadn’t seen a preview of last night’s show where Laura and Josh ridicule her and the gift she sent reminding Holly of her upcoming 32nd birthday, which they promptly dumped in the garbage! Josh’s comments about the tainted gift were some of the funniest moments in last night’s high dramas.
I asked Holly how long she would keep this hectic pace going. She told me: “At least another year. I’ll be 32, and I know the clock is ticking. I want children. I don’t know when I sacrifice a little work to be Mom. I definitely want to have kids, but I just feel really young right now still. I don’t know why, but I still feel like I’m in my early 20s. I work out like a lunatic every day and try to find something to do. Sometimes I don’t have time because it gets too busy, but every day I try and fit something in.”
As I left early this morning, Holly told me she was off to her room to start looking at next week’s second Holly’s World episode with her hat on as the co-executive producer of the show.
“It’s a ton of work, but I’m very happy here in Vegas. I’m not leaving any time soon,” she said as I kissed on the cheek goodnight the girl who has become the first lady of Las Vegas show business. Tomorrow, E!’s True Hollywood about Holly begins filming here. The cameras have already rolled at Holly’s childhood Oregon home, and I’ll sit for them tomorrow for my analysis of her amazing rise to fame and fortune here.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.