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A Splash of Brande

Former Playmate Brande Roderick wants to keep making waves in television.
Paul Chutkow
From the Print Edition:
Alec Baldwin, May/June 2004

(continued from page 2)

Life was great—until the show got canceled in 2002. That was a big disappointment, but Roderick managed to roll with the punch, a trait she had learned from her dad: good, steady Walter. "I've never seen my dad get mad, ever, or get in an argument with anyone. He's just very laid-back. Mom, on the other hand, can have a bit of a temper. She can tolerate a lot, but then she has her moments when she gets irritated. Not Dad. He always goes with the flow."

The same could be said about Roderick. After "Baywatch Hawaii" ended, she moved back to Los Angeles and expanded her career in TV. Over the years she has made guest appearances in a number of sitcoms such as "Just Shoot Me," "Beverly Hills 90210," "Babylon 5," "The Love Boat: The Next Wave," "Jesse," "Two Guys and a Girl" and "The Parkers." Now, playing a cheerleader in this spring's Starsky & Hutch, Roderick is gaining experience and exposure in the movie world.

All this has given Roderick quite an education. She's now 29 years old, and while she still has serious ambitions in television and the movies, she is looking for deeper satisfactions. "My main goal is to do two more TV shows and then I just want to produce. I don't want to have to be the cutesy girl on the other side of the camera. I just want to be on the business side of it. I want to be able to gain that ten pounds and have a kid and be a mom and a wife."

Roderick's agent might cringe at reflections like that, especially when uttered publicly, but Roderick is who she is and she's not about to pretend to be anything different. With her, you get the truth, simple and pure: "I don't really want to be a star," she says, "because I don't want to put my life under that microscope…. I want to be a soccer mom, eventually, and I don't want to have my kids under that kind of scrutiny either."

To roll with the turbulent highs and lows of the Hollywood life, Roderick has learned to live simply. "I still shop at Wal-Mart," she says with a laugh. "I don't want fame. I just want to be able to work and pay my bills and I want to be able to pay my mortgage and send my kids to college. I don't need anything fancy, though a bigger closet would be nice. And heated bathroom floors would be nice, too, but, you know, that's for a later date."

Some of Roderick's happiest moments come from cooking for friends and from enjoying fine wine and cigars. "I love wine," she says. "I've been wine-tasting a few times and I like to go to wineries and things like that." Her favorite wine is Opus One, but she also enjoys Clos du Bois Merlot and a good Pinot Grigio. When it comes to cooking, she loves to be creative. "Every week before going to the grocery store, I,ll throw open the cookbook, and whatever's on that page I,ll cook," she says. "But not veal or lamb; I don't eat them. I always keep a careful record of how the meal came out and how much everyone liked it."

Roderick sees premium cigars as the perfect complement to fine food and wine. "I travel a lot and whenever I go out of the country I bring back cigars. I have a collection at my house and when I have people over for dinner, I like to offer them a cigar. I have my Cohibas, my Romeo y Julietas, my Partagas. On celebratory occasions especially, I like to offer my friends a cigar and then I go outside and smoke with them." She keeps her cigars in a small humidor she bought in Spain, and she often gives cigars at Christmas or birthday presents. "They're awesome gifts; people just love them, especially people who don't travel as much as I do. It's a wonderful gesture."

Early on, Roderick developed a taste for vanilla cigars, but from there her tastes expanded. She started going to the Grand Havana Room, a favorite gathering place for Hollywood stars, including California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. "That was always kind of fun," she says, "going in there, having dinner and then a cigar. I always enjoyed it."

Brunch is over now, and in an hour or so Roderick is headed into an important meeting regarding a pet project of hers: Brande's Brigade. "It's an adventure/transformation/makeover [TV] show," she explains. "I,ll be one of the celebrity hosts, but the people we make over will be regular people chosen from candidates who send in their videotape." She envisions, for instance, helping women who want to find ways to put the fire back in their marriage. Roderick has enlisted New Line as a partner in the venture, and a deal with the networks is already taking shape.

But Roderick knows how unpredictable Hollywood can be and she has a backup plan already in place: she's taking classes at Los Angeles Valley College, with the aim of completing her undergraduate degree in education. "I just love kids and I think that it would be just great to go teach second grade. It's such an influential time in a child's life and it would be great to be the person who gives them hope and encouragement. You won't make millions, but you'd be happy and you'd make a difference in someone else's life."

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