So when people fall out, they need to find something to do. Some people choose to leave it behind, but some are forced out. Some people get really bitter, writing tell-all books and going on about how it's unfair that their co-stars are continuing to work and they aren't. And maybe it isn't fair. But acting like a spoiled brat isn't going to help.
Women have it the roughest. Once the get a little older and can no longer pass for early 20's, it's on to the next "it" girl. True longetivity and being respected for something other than your looks is very rare. Sandra Bullock broke out with the movie Speed. She was 38. Most women have given up long before that point, but she stuck with it. The smart ones recognize their time is limited and their odds aren't good and will set things up to make as smooth a transition as possible. Kathy Ireland has a bridal and home decorating empire. Jessica Alba has a site full of tips for busy moms with limited budgets.
One I always felt sorry for was Nicole Eggert. Eggert was the resident boy's dream girl on Charles In Charge -- slim, blonde, nice, and happy. Eggert then got a job on Baywatch playing lifeguard Summer Quinn. She's mentioned in interviews she didn't like the gig. I don't criticize because she's an actress, she needs a paycheck, and it's not like any other roles were coming to her. One of the details was that every Baywatch actress was weighed every morning, and if their weight went up or down more than a few pounds, they could be fired. My understanding was that Eggert weighed a dangerous 99 pounds.
Eggert got on the show when it started to transition. The creator of the show had meant to make the lifeguarding thing seem as realistic as possible. But the bad soap opera drama, tight shots of sexy bodies, and dopey unrealistic stories were what was getting people to tune in (David Hasselhoff said in an interview that he kept the show respectful of women, threatening to quit "if I see one more gratuitous shot of a woman's body." He's more oblivious than Frank Drebin). During the transition, two of their more popular actors, Billy Warlock and Erika Elaniak, walked because they didn't like the direction it was going in. And among those things was how women were depicted. Alexandra Paul's character Stephanie Holden was smart, second in command, capable, and strong. She also looked the least feminine of all the actresses and spent most of her time with shorts covering her hips. Pamela Anderson, however, got a modified swimsuit that showcased her Playboy build. They knew who the moneymaker was.
The way the show presented its women is where Eggert got the short end of the stick. Eggert seemed to be stuck with outfits, storylines, hairstyles, and other things to make her look underage. There were moments where I got a very Roman Polanski vibe from what they were doing with her. It may have been a steady paycheck, but it certainly didn't help with her Q score. After her departure, she had roles in B movies like Amanda And The Alien and The Demolitionist (which, I must say, was better with its $1 mil budget than Pamela Anderson's Barb Wire was). She also did a photo spread for FHM in a classic "I'm not a kid anymore" move (the movie Blown Away with Corey Haim was a bad move. It was a rip-off of Basic Instinct, trying to show her as a femme fatale. Although she was legal, her character was 17. Didn't quite work out right). She also did a bit for Playboy's Celebrity Sex Stories vignettes. She then became a fixture on Lifetime-type moviese for a while.
Then, things got bad. Because 99 pounds is not a realistic weight for anyone to keep, especially as they get older and their metabolism slows down, Eggert put on a few pounds. She got them off. She put them on again. Then, a double whammy. Her dad died, and then Corey Haim, one of her boyfriends and frequent co-stars. She has gained weight and now just can't seem to lose it.
Eggert has wound up with some reality fame, first risking serious injury on the TV show Splash (landing on her back when she hit the water once and causing fractures in her spine) and then the show What Not To Wear. And now, even that's dried up.
So what's Eggert doing now?
She's driving an ice cream truck.
It's her own truck. She drives it around, and she seems to be a hit in the neighborhood. And good on her, she's not destroying herself with drugs or acting like she's owed. It's humble, but she's still doing something for herself.
But I can't help but feel a little sad for her. Everyone who goes to Hollywood has dreams of stardom and of making it big. And here's Eggert, gone from the allegedly most popular show in the world to driving an ice cream truck to make a living.
Ice cream is cold. The world is colder.