More than 30 years ago, Erika Eleniak did something that numerous young women at the time only dreamed of. Namely, the 20-year-old Eleniak, who popped into the public eye from Playboy magazine, managed to grab the coveted role of many from a television series that was hitherto unknown to the public, which later rose to a cult reputation around the world. That series was called Baywatch.
Now, 30 years later, Eleniak, 50, is still best known for his Baywatch and role as lifeguard Shauni McClain. Contrary to many people's beliefs, the men's magazine Playboy, which starred in the central opening, was by no means offered a role in the cult series with a silver tray. On the contrary, Eleniak participated for a long time in a trial shooting with hundreds of women her age.
- It was a really traditional way at that time to choose Actors. There were many experimental descriptions for this one role. They wanted to see me in front of the camera not only alone, but also to test how my and Billy’s chemistry would work together, Eleniak recalls to Ilta-Sanomat, referring to her co-star Billy Warlock.
Erika Eleniak continues to act and pilot her own podcast. Yet the role of Baywatch is still what he is best known for.
Photo: Nicole Kubelka / ZUMA / MVPhotos
The favorite series Baywatchia Eleniak managed to star for a total of three production seasons, which were shown on television between 1989 and 1999. During that time, a lot had to happen both in Elenia's own life and behind the scenes of the beloved series. Eleniak, among other things, got engaged to his co-star Warlock, but the couple's relationship later ended in divorce.
In 1989, NBC unexpectedly decided to stop producing Baywatch immediately after the first season. However, the star of the series, David Hasselhoff, bought the rights to the series from the channel and later also produced the program. According to Elenia, there was a significant change in the series at the time, which was reflected in a very special way for the viewers.
- The series became much bolder as it moved away from the conservative NBC. This was especially evident in our swimsuits. They became bolder, more Brazilian, and much more revealing. The same happened, of course, for the whole series. Baywatch became much more daring, as it is remembered today, Eleniak recalls for IS.
Erika was only 19 when she grabbed the role of Baywatch. He starred in lifeguard Shauni McClain.
Photo: THE BAYWATCH COMPANY
Over the years, the iconic red swimsuit was worn by Elenia as well as Pamela Anderson and Carmen Electra, among others. Eleniak admits that wearing a revealing outfit was by no means always easy for a 19-year-old actor who was just beginning his career.
- After appearing to millions of pairs of eyes, you obviously want to show the best of yourself. It becomes really aware of myself and my own body, so naturally I was also very insecure about myself and my body at times, says Eleniak.
- People also don't always remember that we didn't play swimsuits. We had to run, swim and act. When you have such a bold and open garment, it’s not always easy. But sometimes I regret not having my own suit left anymore, he laughs.
Erika Eleniak originally went public when she posed in the middle opening of Playboy magazine.
Photo: AMERICAN BROADCASTING COMPANY
Eleniak left the world of Baywatch behind in 1996. Since then, he has done minor roles in various films and television series and today he is piloting his own podcast, Spiritual Alchemy With Erika. As part of the years he has spent on the Baywatch star chart, Eleniak still has only good to say after 30 years.
- It was a great experience. It’s great that new generations have also discovered our program, after all, it’s downright legendary and unique in so many ways, Eleniak rejoices.
This is what Erika Eleniak looked like in 2017.
Photo: Birdie Thompson / ZUMA / MVPhotos
When asked Eleniak what was the absolute highlight of her Baywatch career, she doesn’t have to think about her answer for long. The actor would like to thank the entire team, the other actors, and the lifeguards who helped them cope with their roles as credibly as possible.
- Those people made that experience what it was, that is, great. We still see each other every now and then and with the help of social media we can easily stay informed about what each one is doing, Eleniak glows.
- Billy and I are still on good terms, he laughs.
Baywatch will be seen at the start of the series at Sub on Monday, September 7, starting at 6 p.m.