09-1998: Detour

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"I don't mind doing sort of sexy, raunchy pictures if there's a sense of humor about it," says Rebecca Romijn a few minutes before setting off to pose for the sexy, raunchy pictures that accompany this story. "I'm Dutch and the Dutch are sort of like that. They have such a healthy attitude toward sex and they tie in a sense of humor and it's not offensive at all." Spend enough time with the 25-year-old model and you'll argue that it's her humor, both quick and self-deprecating, that's her most beguiling feature, inching out such other worthy contenders as that mane of golden hair, that stellar engagement ring from actor John Stamos, and that 5'11'' hardbody that launched a thousand (make that a million) Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues. Romijn's disarming wit has certainly livened-up House of Style, the MTV fashion magazine she's hosted since last December [1997, RRF[. "When I was 15, growing up in Berkeley, California, I told my friend Susannah - we were both big drama geeks - that I wanted to be a news anchor," laughs Romijn (when asked if landing the gig was a dream come true for her). "But this is much cooler than being a news anchor." Tell us about it. You don't get to wear get-ups like these on the 6 o'clock news.

DENNIS HENSLEY: How did you land the House of Style gig?
REBECCA ROMIJN: I auditioned and interviewed. It was great to talk to somebody and actually have them listen to me rather than looking at my legs and my shoes and my hair and my fingernails.

Dennis: Has your modeling career improved since you've shown your personality on TV?
Rebecca: Yes. There are so many beautiful blondes out there and I think a lot of the time I've been hired strictly because, "She's really easy, she's very professional, she's fun to be with, you'll get the work done quick, and it'll be fine."

Dennis: What's the contract you just signed with Tommy Hilfiger?
Rebecca: I'm the Tommy Girl for the next two years. It's one of the big three. It's, "Get a cosmetics contract, a fashion contract, and a hair contract and you're golden." I just got the hair - a Pantene contract - also. Two down, one to go.

Dennis: Ka ching.
Rebecca: I know.

Dennis: You've done lots of swimsuit modeling. What's your favorite swimming stroke?
Rebecca: Breaststroke.

Dennis: I'm not going to touch that.
Rebecca: Don't touch it. It's much stronger to just let that go.

Dennis: What's your general strategy as an interviewer?
Rebecca: Try not to talk about anything serious. Like at the MTV Movie Awards, I was asking people how much they paid for their outfits. I was like, "Love your shoes. How much were they?" Jeff Goldblum, told me I was very rude. I was like, "I know, but can't I get away with it?"

Dennis: Speaking of getting away with things, say you fall in love with a garment on a job. What's your strategy for making sure you go home with it?
Rebecca: I pull a passive aggressive thing, like, "How much would this be if I called the showroom?" Then usually by the end of the day they just drop it in my bag and say, "We knew you loved this dress and you did a great job today."

Dennis: What's the coolest thing you've ever gotten for free?
Rebecca: I'm getting a Tommy Mobile. It's a white Chevy Tahoe with Tommy flags on the door and it says "Tommy Girl" on the license plate.

Dennis: Will you still be able to cut people off without affecting the company's market share?
Rebecca: I dont know. If Í hit anybody they'll be like, "I'm never buying Tommy again." There'll be a sticker in the back that says, "How am I driving? Call Tommy."

Dennis: Tell me some secret tricks of the trade from the modeling world.
Rebecca: Well, I have glued dresses to my boobs. And you know that infamous GQ cover I did with Dennis Rodman? He's actually standing on an apple box in that picture. That's right. You heard it here first.

Dennis: What was Rodman like?
Rebecca: Very sweet and very professional, though I had to explain a lot of jokes to him that day.' That's all I'm going to say.

Dennis: Where did you meet your fiance, John Stamos?
Rebecca: We met at a party in New York, and we kept bumping into each other that week. By the end of the week, it was my birthday and a friend organized a party for me and John was there.

Dennis:As the gift?
Rebecca: Right, he jumped out of the cake. We had a phone relationship that lasted a couple of months and then I came out to L.A. and he took me to Disneyland and we fell in love. It was Christmastime and we were walking around amongst the lights. We smuggled booze in and we actually got a Disney record because our guide complained about us and said we were weaving down Main Street. Come on, it was our first date. Cut us some stack.

Dennis: Were you surprised when he proposed?
Rebecca: It wasn't the shock of the century we'd been together for a while but he did get down on one knee. He wasn't wearing any clothes.

Dennis: Were you?
Rebecca: Oh, no. We were in our bedroom on Christmas Eve. It was a very intimate, romantic moment.

Dennis: What's your favorite photo of him?
Rebecca: It's his high school formal. Would you care to see it? (Pulls out a picture of Stamos in a discoera suit with blondish, feathered hair.) If that shirt came in right now, it would be Prada. And I love that he used Sun-In on his hair.

Dennis: What video from his past would you love to see?
Rebecca: The Nair commercial. It was the "Who wears short shorts?" campaign, At the end it would be like "John Stamos says, 'I love Nair girls.' " I've never seen it.

Dennis: You should really see it before you marry this man.
Rebecca: Right. There should be no secrets. We were reading about Nicolas Cage in Vanity Fair and he said, "My character's voice in Peggy Sue Got Married was all based on John Stamos's Nair commercial."

Dennis: Where's the most offbeat place you've ever seen John's image?
Rebecca: Three years ago, when I was doing Sports Illustrated in South Africa. I was missing him and I turned on the TV and there were four episodes of Full House on back to back.

Dennis: Did you take off all your clothes?
Rebecca: Right there and then. In my hotel room. I was in there for a couple of hours.

Dennis: Has John given you any advice about being on camera?
Rebecca: When we were doing Spring Break, everything was a one shot deal and I had a 20 page script that I had memorized the night before. I was nervous that if I got one little thing wrong, that's it. John said, If you mess up, just yell out a swear word because they can't use it," so there was one moment where I had diarrhea of the mouth and I just went, "Oh, fuck." Worked like a charm.

Dennis: Have you ever thrown a tantrum on a job?
Rebecca: One time, in France, I was frustrated because I didn't know what anybody was saying and I had this moment of paranoia. Later I realized it had been PMS and I apologized to everybody.

Dennis: Have you ever cried after a haircut?
Rebecca: Yeah. I cut my hair super short in Paris about a year after I started modeling. I cried after that pretty much for three years straight. I cried when I walked home and the friend I was living with asked, "Why are you crying?" and I was like, (sobbing) "Because nobody said 'Ooh la la' when I walked by them on the street. I cut off all my sex appeal."

Dennis: Whereas before you always complained about the "Ooh la las."
Rebecca: Right. I was like, "Ugh, how gross." The other day I was walking in New York and eating a lollipop. I had just come out of a job so my hair and make up are done. So I'm strutting down the street and there's this very small Hispanic man and he started walking in stride right behind me going, (chanting) I wish I was a lollipop, I wish I was a lollipop," for two blocks straight. At first, I was like, "Ooh, gross," and by the end I wanted to sing along with him.

Dennis: Do people constantly misspell your last name?
Rebecca: Always, but it's fine. I'm probably going to take John's name when we get married. I've spent my whole life wondering what my married name will be and just because I'm sort of a semi public person it's sort of presumption to keep my own last name.

Dennis: Do you practice writing Rebecca Stamos on your notebook?
Rebecca: Yes. I've done R. R. for so long it's weird to an S. It's all in the wrist. My mom's into handwriting analysis and she's been changing her handwriting for the last year, so whenever l'm dictating something to her over the phone she's like, "Wait, slow down, I'm trying to be more outgoing." She says that the way John does his S's is really healthy so I'm trying to copy his S's. She told a photographer I was working with "Now, Robert, you need a good F."

Dennis: Who doesn't? Did you ever think you'd be living the life you're, living now?
Rebecca: No. It's crazy. I pinch myself all the time.

Dennis: Do you ever feel like you don't deserve it?
Rebecca: No, because I work my ass off. It's all about having other things in your back pocket besides modeling, because if that's all you can do they stop calling when you're about my age.

Dennis: Are you interested in acting?
Rebecca: It's not something I'm really pursuing right now. I did the dirty girl in Friends and the bearded lady in Dirty Work with Norm Macdonald. David Spade, who's a friend, called me up yesterday and said, "How come the only acting parts you ever do are like really gross girls?" I said, "Because that's the point." I don't want to play a model. I want to go against the grain a little bit.

Dennis: Do you have slob tendencies like the girl played on Friends?
Rebecca: I'm better now than I used to be. My dad has pictures of my high school bedroom that are downright embarrassing. It's just a pu-pu platter of disgusting things. My sister had a chameleon and I got jealous that she had it and I didn't, so I took it from her and I hid it. With all the crap that's all over my room, it practically exploded, I'm sure, trying to match all the colors. Anyway, it died in my closet and I forgot about it. I found it there a couple months later. She still brings it up.

Dennis: What's something you're good at that would surprise people?
Rebecca: Building dollhouses. The one I spent the last year building is completely uninhabited. Good tenants are hard to find. I don't want Malibu Ken in there with his dumb-ass tan lines. I'm a real arts and crafts kind of girl. I subscribe to [the doll magazine] NutshellNews.

Dennis: You should be on the cover.
Rebecca: There's the section I want to be in where readers send their pictures and it's always these dorky 12 year olds pecking out from behind their dollhouses.

Dennis: Then there's you in a bra and panties.
Rebecca: Right, straddling the house. It's a secret fantasy of mine, actually.

Original article: Detour 09/1998

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