Name: Donna D’Errico
How We Were First Introduced: She was Playboy magazine’s Miss September, 1995. “I was shopping in a grocery story, and a woman was following me around the store. She was pushing a grocery cart, but it was empty. After a while, I thought she is either gay and checking me out or she is some kind of secret shopper and thinks I’m stealing. Finally she approached and she said she was a Playboy talent scout. She gave me her card. I said, “No, I’m a single mom. I’m not interested in porn.” Then I called her a week later and asked more about it. She said they paid you $20,000 to pose and it includes having to do a Playmate video. I said, “Well, never mind. I don’t do porn”. She explained it wasn’t porn and sent me a VHS tape of a Playmate video. It was a girl running through a field of flowers-type video. I watched it and thought I could tolerate that. I was struggling financially. I’d been in abusive relationship. I needed the money. After the magazine came out, I moved to LA and gave myself one year to try to make it in the business.
Night Work: “Within three months of moving to LA, I was on ‘Baywatch Nights’, David Hasselhoff’s spin-off show. I went for the audition and did well enough to get a call back. At the call back, I read with David. Then I went home and about an hour later my manager called and said I got the part. I was beside myself. I cried. I thought, I’m going to be ok. I’m going to have a better life now. I had no acting ability at that time. I was a normal girl who got lucky.”
“They had me take a swim test at the YMCA, and I flunked. It was embarrassing.”
In The Swim: “Then they told me they were rolling my character over onto ‘Baywatch’ and I would be on both shows. But it wasn’t easy for a silly reason. They had me take a swim test at the YMCA in the Pacific Palisades, and I flunked. It was embarrassing. They gave me a chance to redeem myself by taking swimming lessons with their instructor. I showed up at the Y at 5:30 am every single morning, and it was a haul for me from Manhattan Beach. I got in that cold, non-heated pool for three solid months. Then they gave me another test, and I barely passed. I’m not a good swimmer – but I passed enough. I still have the handwritten results from my test.” Check out Fancast’s Baywatch photo gallery.
Favorite Scene: “Nothing against the show, but I don’t know if there were any great scenes. However, I like a scene I did with my good friend, Gina Lee Nolin. We were in the locker room. She been using prescription drugs, and I try to talk her out of it. It had a tiny bit more depth than the other scenes we normally did.”
About that Swimsuit: “One time when I was swimming with Gina, a jellyfish tentacle went down the front of my swimsuit. I’ve never had something that painful. The medic put meat tenderizer on it. I had to finish the scene.”
Memories: “I look back fondly. Being on that show completely changed my life. My career took off from there. I loved all of the cast and everyone behind the scenes. Like every show, there were political things going on, but I don’t have any complaints. On the whole, I’m grateful to have been on it.”
Tell Us About The Hoff: “He’s a huge practical joker. When I first started, he played one on me. I was in my trailer. I went in to use the bathroom. I pulled my swim suit down, lifted the toilet seat and there was an enormous lizard in there and I went running out of my trailer with my swimsuit around my ankles and David and some guys were outside the door, laughing hysterically. The lizard was fake.”
What They’re Doing Now: I am raising my 16-year-old son, Rhyan, and my daughter, Frankie Jean, who is eight. Recently, I’ve done several independent films, all written, directed and produced by Mary McGuckian. They are kind of experimental and have featured the same group of actors, including Andie McDowell, Jennifer Tilly, Geraldine Chaplin and others. With these films, I don’t have to play a bimbo. I get to play smart and be more of a character. It’s rewarding – not that I would shun the bimbo role. But it’s nice to go against type.