Vic­to­ria’s se­crets

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Pay-tv - COLIN VICK­ERY

VIC­TO­RIA Sil­vst­edt is do­ing this in­ter­view in bed. It’s just af­ter 7am Hong Kong time and the for­mer Play­boy Play­mate of the Year still sounds sleepy as she talks about her new show Vic­to­ria Sil­vst­edt: My Per­fect Life.

The weekly se­ries fol­lows the glam­orous life and jet-set­ting ex­ploits of the Swedish model, ac­tor and pre­sen­ter as she criss­crosses the world from Paris to Rome, Cannes, Los An­ge­les, Swe­den and New York.

To­day it’s Hong Kong as she be­gins film­ing the eighth episode of the re­al­ity show.

‘‘ E! (En­ter­tain­ment Tele­vi­sion) came to me when they re­alised how big my name has be­come in Europe,’’ Sil­vst­edt says. ‘‘I wasn’t re­ally ex­cited about it at first. I’m against re­al­ity shows.

‘‘In the beginning I was re­ally un­com­fort­able — I was freak­ing out think­ing, ‘I can’t have a cam­era fol­low­ing me all the time’, but it wasn’t as in­tense as I thought it would be. They don’t have a cam­era on me 24 hours a day.

‘‘When it’s early morn­ing and there’s a cam­era there, that’s when you don’t want to be shown, but I guess it is part of my life so I can’t to­tally shut it out.’’

So who is Vic­to­ria Sil­vst­edt and why does she war­rant her own re­al­ity show?

Mel­bur­ni­ans will recog­nise her as Sam New­man’s date at the 2004 Lo­gies. Europe knows her from the French and Ital­ian ver­sions of Wheel of For­tune. Amer­i­cans still re­mem­ber her as the face of the GUESS jeans ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign.

The 34-year-old is no dummy. She speaks five lan­guages and was a mem­ber of the Swedish na­tional ski team (a shoul­der in­jury at 16 ended her sports ca­reer).

She rep­re­sented Swe­den in the 1993 Miss World con­test be­fore be­ing signed by a Parisian mod­el­ling agency.

As­sign­ments for Chanel, Chris­tian Dior, Givenchy, Valentino and Gior­gio Ar­mani soon fol­lowed.

An ap­proach by Hugh Hefner led to a cen­tre­fold in the De­cem­ber 1996 is­sue of Play­boy and she was sub­se­quently named 1997’s Play­mate of the Year.

‘‘ Play­boy was some­thing that came along when I was very young and I was just happy to come to Amer­ica,’’ she says. ‘‘I never re­ally thought what be­ing in Play­boy meant (at the time)— I was so naive. I got huge suc­cess out of it. A lot of doors opened for me. I’m for­ever grate­ful to Hugh Hefner.’’

Sil­vst­edt ac­knowl­edges that ap­pear­ing nude in Play­boy had its draw­backs — it is too easy to be writ­ten off as a blonde bimbo — and that she has worked hard to shed the play­mate stigma and ‘‘rein­vent’’ her­self as a so­phis­ti­cated, world-class fash­ion model.

Now that she is in her mid-30s, though, she has de­cided to wind back mod­el­ling for more pre­sent­ing and movie op­por­tu­ni­ties. She has scored the lead role in Ital­ian movie La mia vite stele e strisce.

‘‘Mod­el­ling doesn’t ful­fill my mind,’’ she says.

‘‘Movies and tele­vi­sion use your brain a lit­tle bit more. I do it in dif­fer­ent lan­guages, too, so that’s a wake-up for my brain.’’

Real deal:

Vic­to­ria Sil­vst­edt has added re­al­ity TV star to her grow­ing list of roles.

Pic­ture: AFP

Red car­pet: Vic­to­ria and her date Sam New­man at the 2004 Lo­gies.

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