Gala: I’m sure it must have been a really magical time for you, living in the mansion & everything, & I’m sure it was a really strange adjustment & there was a big leap of faith when you left your previous life behind, so what I really wanted to know was what’s the most exciting thing that’s happened to you so far as a consequence of having branched out on your own?
Bridget: Well, definitely doing this Travel Channel show & having this opportunity with them, not only has it been the coolest opportunity but made it possible for me to branch out on my own. I’ve been at the mansion for 7 years, & when this opportunity came up & everybody was supportive & I knew it was going to be a go, I knew that that was kind of the beginning of the end for me & my life at the mansion. Nothing to do with my feelings towards Hef or any of the other girls, but I just knew that it was… I was looking for an opportunity that would branch me out on my own, & so this has been the most exciting thing to come along. & honestly, I have given 110% to it, & I haven’t been doing anything since because my whole life has been devoted to travelling around the last 7 months, even prior to moving out of the mansion, coming home between trips & packing really quick, putting everything in storage & continuing to travel, so it’s really all I’ve been doing for the last 7 months & since I’ve been out of the mansion.
Gala: Wow, okay. So what’s been the most challenging part of the transition that you’ve made?
Bridget: You know what, I feel like I haven’t even made the transition yet. (Static!!!) So that’s been the most challenging part, just trying to get all my stuff packed up & into storage! Other than that, I haven’t even really realised that I’ve moved out, because I’m homeless still, um, in a funny way, because I’ve been travelling so much that I haven’t had to find a house yet. I’ve been looking! Even before I left the mansion I was looking for like a condo or a cute little house in the Valley or something but I’ve been travelling so much I haven’t really had a chance to look, when I’m at home, just online, so I’ve been living hotel to hotel, or if there’s a few days open when I’m in L.A. I stay at a friend’s house, so it hasn’t really occured to me that I’m not living at the mansion any more. That’s still my physical address, I still go there & get all my mail & say hi to Mary & the butlers & the security & everyone, & I feel like they’re my big extended family, so the adjustment & the transition hasn’t really hit me yet. I don’t have another place that I call home yet.
Gala: Right. So how is it going living out of suitcases? Doesn’t that drive you crazy?! It drives me totally crazy.
Bridget: Really? I love it! I love staying in hotels, & I mean… re-packing the suitcases gets a little bit old & lugging them around everywhere gets a little bit hard, & I feel like I’ve been wearing the same clothes over & over again, just re-washing & packing the same stuff, ‘cause most of my stuff’s in storage for like the last four or five months now, but other than that I really like it! I’ve been buying a few new things along the way & taking from wardrobe!
Gala: So given that you’ve left the mansion — well, you know, theoretically left the mansion — what has your perception of the fan response been to that? Has there been an outpouring of support, have people been asking you a lot of questions… How has that been for you?
Bridget: Everyone’s been really supportive, the fanbase about Girls Next Door is sad that that whole — they feel like it’s the end of an era, & are really sad about that — but as far as the most part, I’ve been really supported & encouraged. People are really happy for me, that I have this opportunity & they’ve been supportive of the show, & a lot of the Girls Next Door fans are watching it & happy for it, & it’s been funny because everywhere I used to go… I mean, Girls Next Door is syndicated in 170 countries or something ridiculous like that, everywhere I go I’m recognised, even in Thailand & Australia & just everywhere, even Costa Rica, especially Costa Rica! In fact, Costa Rica, every time I was in my hotel room, Girls Next Door was on! It was weird, like they run marathons of it constantly! & everyone used to know me as the girl from the mansion, one of the Playboy girls, a girl next door, whatever, but now I’m finding that everywhere I go people are coming up to me going, “Oh are you doing that beaches show?! I’m so excited for your beaches show! I love your beaches show!” Even when I got to — I’m staying at the Beverly Wilshire right now for the upfronts today, & when I walked into the hotel this guy in a business suit & everything goes, “Bridget, Bridget!” & I turned around & thought, ‘What, what?!’ to the lady who was escorting me to my room, & he goes, “Oh my god, I just wanted to let you know — BIG fan of your new Beaches show, big fan, wasn’t a big fan of Girls Next Door, wasn’t really my thing, but I love your Beaches show.” & people are starting to come up to me, not even bringing up Girls Next Door or the mansion or any of that, & just saying, “Are you shooting your Beaches show? I love your Beaches show! I love your Travel Channel show!”, & now I feel like I’m starting to get to be known for the Beaches show & the Travel Channel & not just Playboy, Girls Next Door, which is really exciting for me because it’s more personal & individual.
Gala: Yeah, that’s really cool, & I think that’s a really positive indication that obviously people are ready for you to make that transition & they’re accepting it & you’re really going to make a name for yourself, which is really great.
Bridget: Yeah, I’m hoping that, I’m pushing it that way, I’m giving it all I’ve got & it’s really exciting for me. I think part of the reason too is from the start of Girls Next Door, I always said that this is what I wanted to do, right from the very beginning, even before we started Girls Next Door I was taking classes in — I have a Masters degree in Communications — & then I was taking broadcast journalism classes at UCLA, through the extension program, & when Girls Next Door started, & press or whoever would ask, “So where do you see yourself in five years? Where do you want this to lead?”, I would always say, “I really want to host my own show, something travel-related or something spooky-related, & they’d be like, “Oh, cool, whatever”, you know, but here I am, it’s not even 5 years later & I’m doing it! & I put that out there kind of during the whole show, any time we’d do interviews, & they’d be like, “Where do you want to go? What are your ambitions? Tell us about school, why was it upsetting for you to miss that test?”, that kind of thing, during Girls Next Door interviews, I’d always talk about how career was so important to me & school is so important to me & how I really wanted to host my own show. So I feel like this was kind of a good arc for me, because the fans kind of went through all of that with me, & now they actually see it come to fruition.
Gala: Well that’s very cool & very inspiring, because it reminds people that they can actually live out their dreams & do what they really want to do.
Bridget: Oh that’s the number one thing I tell people — I don’t get a chance to go & speak very often but I did get to go speak at the University of Pittsburgh, & I just told them that education is so important, because it allows you to be able to follow your dreams, even if what you went to school for isn’t exactly what you want to do or what you end up doing, you always have that to fall back on, it’s something nobody can take away from you. So just follow your dreams! Get your education & just follow your dreams!
Gala: Yeah, definitely. So I know you had a regular spot, was it on Sirius FM?
Bridget: Yeah! It was Sirius radio, 198, I had a live radio show every Friday, a morning show, I had so much fun. I really enjoy doing radio, but due to my schedule now I’m not able to do it any more. But they still talk to me & they were like, “Any time you want to come back, like when your schedule frees up, when you want to come back, want to do a show, we’d love to have you, you can talk about anything you want, we’d just love to have you back!” So I mean it was about the lifestyle & what was going on at the mansion all week, even what we were serving for dinners, & what movies we were watching, & that kind of thing, but if I went back we could come up with a whole new format, which would be kind of fun.
Gala: That’s awesome. Okay, so tell me how Bridget’s Sexiest Beaches came about. Was it your idea? Or was it a whole lot of crazy late-night planning sessions with a bunch of people…? How did that come to fruition?
Bridget: You know I wish it was totally my idea, it was my ideal job to begin with & like I said, I was putting it out there from the very beginning. But I didn’t really have any way of making that come true other than just going to school & trying out different opportunities, but what happened was the executive producer of Girls Next Door, Kevin Burns, was doing some other shows for the Travel Channel — they weren’t hosted shows, they were just like Food Paradise kind of things, & then they came to him & said, “We really want to do a show about amazing beaches all over the world, & we want somebody kind of sexy to host it” — they were thinking maybe a Playmate or something — & Kevin was like, “Well, what about Bridget? She’d be perfect & that’s really what she wants to do.” & they were kind of like, “Well, what about Girls Next Door? Can we get her?”, & he was like, “Well, I kind of have a pull with Girls Next Door!”, you know, because he’s the executive producer for it, so he set up the initial meetings, & we met, & we hit it off great, it was with Michael Klein & Charlie Parsons & I thought they were great. & before they even left the mansion I was already emailing them my ideas of places I thought we should go & things I thought we should do, & later they said that that’s when they knew they had the right person, that I was emailing them all my ideas before they even walked out the door!
Gala: Yeah, that’s fantastic! So have you just finished filming the first season?
Bridget: We aren’t completely done yet. There’s 13 episodes, 12 original locations. We’ve completed 11 of them, & on Monday I leave for Morocco, which will be the final original location, then I come back & in-studio the 13th episode, which will be the best of.
Gala: Wow, okay, so have you been to 12 different countries for each thing, or… ?
Bridget: Well, not entirely different countries but 12 different areas or regions. We did Southern California was our first one, then we went to Spain & Croatia, & then Turks Caicos & Jamaica, Australia & Thailand, Florida & Mexico, Hawaii, & I just got back from Costa Rica the other night. & on Monday I leave for Morocco. & I think that’s probably all 11 of them.
Gala: Okay, so my final question is as an amazing, independent woman, what would be your advice to other women who are recently single & wanting to strike out & do their own thing? What would you say to them?
Bridget: Oh… That the sky’s the limit, & you just have to set your mind to it. I mean, know what you want & love what you do, like think of what you would enjoy doing every single day, that it wouldn’t necessarily feel like work. I mean, any time you do something that’s in your career, there’s times where it’s going to be stressful or it’s going to be work, but if there’s something that you love so much, that every day doesn’t feel like work, & follow your dreams! The sky really is the limit. & if it means going & taking a few classes, or doing a few things for free, or at a low end to get your foot in the door, just go for it! Do it!