It’s a slow-mo showdown here at TheRichest! We’re time traveling back to the 90s for you to tell us who’s the hottest from the cast of the Baywatch TV show. There’s no use denying that you “babewatched” every now and then back in the day. You tuned in to see them as they donned red bathing suits and promised not to let you out of their sights *cue cheesy theme song* on the beaches of Los Angeles County. Well, now two of the leading ladies are back for your viewing pleasure. Many tanned, pretty and handsome faces came and left the show during its amazing 11-year run but two among the throng stand out as ultimate Baywatch babe fan favorites: Pam and Carmen.
Carmen stepped in to take Pam’s spot after she left the show, having been involved since its early days. Although Carmen didn’t replace Pam’s character, she took over the role as the sexy buxom lifeguard on duty for the fellow hot male lifeguards to fight over and beach-going boys to drool over. Here are twenty photos for you to decide for yourself — who’s hotter? Pamela Anderson as Casey Jean “C.J.” Parker or Carmen Electra as Lelani “Lani” McKenzie?
20. Pam’s Sultry Stare
Pam’s seductive gaze is just one particular asset that caused a frenzy and multitude of fans to flock to her. Even though she was a relatively new actress, Pam expertly played to the camera and the camera seemed to love her right back. Though not a member of the original cast, Pam joined Baywatch early in its second season as lifeguard Casey Jean “C.J.” Parker and quickly became its breakout star. Fans of the show loved her!
Did you know that David Hasselhoff never wanted Pam on the show? It wasn’t personal but he didn’t feel that someone with a risqué background such as Pam, for posing in Playboy, would bring the right kind of attention to the show which was something of a baby to Hasselhoff. He confided in producers that he was afraid that Pam’s large chest might steal the thunder from the other cast members, the storylines, and even the whole show! But producers had a funny feeling that millions of men might just tune in anyway… and they were right!
19. Carmen’s Stunning Smile
Carmen’s pretty smile won fans over as she joined the Baywatch cast in 1997 closer to the end of its run. 1997 was a huge year for Carmen as she took over not just one, but two huge roles for popular 90s shows. Besides her character, Lani McKenzie taking over Pam’s C.J. Parker’s lifeguarding duties, she also stepped in as the newest host of MTV’s widely-loved speed dating show, Singled Out, previously hosted by Jenny McCarthy who left to pursue other acting projects. By the time Carmen received her signature red bathing suit and reported for fictional duty, the show (though still very popular) was already well into its reputation of not being taken seriously, much to the dismay and probable heartbreak of star David Hasselhoff. Carmen didn’t help matters in that regard with her beauty queen looks and killer smile.
18. Pam’s Beachy Blonde Bombshell Look
Nothing but classic California girl vibes here! Plus everything in this picture is pure 90s gold from the blue beach umbrella with white piping to the black and white large-faced watch on Pam’s wrist. Pam helps the picture out with typical California girl tan legs and tousled beach wavy sun-kissed blonde hair. Do you wonder what she’s thinking about in this photo? She looks deep in thought… perhaps she’s thinking about the $5,000 per episode salary she started with that eventually moved up to $40,000 per episode. Or maybe she’s just wondering when this photo shoot will be over. With a photographer’s bright silver sun bouncer no doubt reflecting the rays right at her when this photo was taken, I’m sure she’s ready to call it a wrap for the day. But then again, with her salary, perhaps she was willing to wait it out to get the perfect shot to give her fans what they love.
17. Carmen’s Classic Look
Carmen’s bright blue eyes, toothpaste-commercial-ready smile, and trademark Baywatch body were all important assets to her role on the show. But her long brown hair also gave her an edge on an otherwise mostly blonde female crew. Maybe producers thought it was time for a change when they hired her. Evidently, it was a change that paid off. If you weren’t around to watch the show or even if you were, you might be surprised to find out that Carmen only starred in twenty-two episodes, just twenty-two, which is minute in comparison to Pam’s whopping number of Baywatch episodes. She starred in eighty-eight more. That’s right, one hundred and eleven episodes total. While it’s not hard to still find diehard loyal Pam fans in abundance, Carmen’s relatively short stint on the show must have been absolutely stunning to leave such an impression on fans.
16. Pam’s Glam Girl Next Door Charm
Baywatch co-producer Craig Kwasizur said of Pamela back in 1994, “She is, of course, this big, gorgeous attraction. She’s the girl next door with beauty and innocence. She sure brings a good male presence to the show.” Indeed she did. Although she was helping Baywatch hit killer ratings every airing and by doing so, skyrocketing to fame herself, she didn’t let the fame go too much to her head. She claimed to be a homebody and said that her friends had to resort to dragging her out of her Malibu beach house because she would have preferred to stay at home most weekends. She said that her non-actress friends had more dates than she did and it was hard to have a social life. Don’t worry too much, 1994 Pammy, life has some excitement in store for the girl next door.
15. Carmen’s Exotic Flair
Carmen Electra, born Tara Leigh Patrick, hails not from the sandy beaches of sunny Southern California but from Ohio. This doesn’t mean that a career in entertainment was an unlikely choice for her. In fact, both parents were entertainers themselves. Her mother was a singer and her father was a musician. Many of her fans have wondered over the years where her exotic look comes from and there have been guesses to her heritage such as Greek, Italian, and Spanish but those guesses are all incorrect as Carmen is of English, German, Irish, and Cherokee descent. Did you know that the man responsible for her career start was Prince? He took her under his purple wing and sort of mentored her, impressed with not just her look but her singing and dancing talents. He also was the one to suggest the name change to Carmen, saying that she looks like her name should be Carmen.
14. Pam Takes A Beach Break
Even TV lifeguards need a break once in a while. C.J. Parker bravely faced down dangerous earthquakes, sharks in the water, nudists holding protests, serial killer standoffs, a multitude of drowning beachgoers, rowdy, rambunctious drunk teenagers on her turf and even a very special Hawaiian wedding. Throw in a few steamy romances and relationship stress and you can clearly see the need for a well-deserved break for this lifeguarding gal now and then. They say, “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” It’s obvious that Pam’s character took this sentiment to heart as she seemed to love her job, even the tough aspects that came with it. After a particularly rough day, a little meditation session was all it took for C.J. to get her game face back on.
13. Carmen In Action
When your set is the sand and water and you clock in every day to a sunny Southern California paradise for work, life’s pretty much a beach. Add to that the fact that you don’t actually have to risk your life like real lifeguards do or perform any strenuous work for that matter (aside from dealing with the loads of makeup slathered on due to the sun’s makeup-melting rays) and life’s an extra sweet beach. A little fortune and fame (such as an exploding career) sure couldn’t hurt either. Doesn’t sound like too bad of a deal, right? Here, Carmen as Lani McKenzie runs while toting a plastic floatation device to a scene where she’s about to heroically save some child or drowning person who got caught up in the waves. Go, Lani, go!
12. Pam Keeping A Look Out
We’ve already covered that Pam got her big break on ABC’s primetime 90s family show, Home Improvement but did you know that Pam was excited in more ways than one to accept her infamous role as C.J. Parker? Obviously, the chance to be on one of the biggest shows at the time is a given. But Pam also felt that she connected with her character’s personality. You see, at the time Pam was into the New Age way of life and luckily for her, the Baywatch writers had created C.J. as a New Age thinker too. C.J. was intended to have a love for all things such as dream interpretation, crystal and stone healing, meditation and aromatherapy. Young Pam who was relatively new to acting and definitely new to a big role like this, must have felt like it was a sign!
11. Carmen Keeping A Look Out
At the age of just nine years old, Carmen (then Tara) was chosen as a student for the School for Creative and Performing Arts where she loved to take singing and dance lessons. She was into a wide variety of performing interests from rap to ballet. Her first small break was when she was chosen as a dancer for the Kings Island Amusement Park in her native Ohio. From there, she started small modeling gigs for store ads and other minor jobs. She was determined to make it in Hollywood and got as much exposure as she could, hoping for the chance to be discovered. Soon after her move to Los Angeles, she was discovered by Prince’s people and the rest, as they say, is history! Carmen would soon join the cast of Baywatch, a dream come true for an Ohio girl with stars in her eyes.
10. Pam’s Heroic Save
At the end of the day, a character’s got a job to do and C.J. Parker did just that in this clip, where she busts David Charvet while locked in a steamy kiss with some random whose name he can barely remember. Suddenly he spots two bodies that appear lifeless floating in the bottom of the pool apparently due to huffing and calls out for his fellow lifeguard. C.J. springs into action, rescuing an unconscious man. She expertly performs C.P.R. and brings him back to life. Go right ahead and giggle if you must at the cheesiness but back in the 90s there were several cases of people who claimed to save people’s lives with the skills they learned from the show.
9. Carmen’s Courageous Rescue
One by one, Carmen’s character, Lani, works hard alongside her co-workers to pluck swimmers out of the Los Angeles waters. I tell ya, guarding fictional lives is not a job for the faint of heart. See how many silly moments you can catch in this clip besides the slow motion signature running. Kelly Packard checks the lifeguard badge on her jacket just to make sure it didn’t fall off and gives a self-assured confident smile to the camera. A random person is headed towards the beach carrying an American flag for some unknown reason and it just happens to be the perfect background for Carmen and friends. And don’t forget when Carmen giggles to herself in the lifeguard tower for apparently no reason at all. This show filled much air time with these kinds of montages and wasn’t known for its witty plot lines, that’s for sure!
8. Pam In The Sand
Pam wasn’t one of those prissy types when it came to posing in the sand. After all, she played a lifeguard on TV so she was more than used to the grainy substance when it came to photoshoots for popular magazines. When the big magazines came a-knocking, they would undoubtedly choose a beachy background for Pam because what better than sand to relate back to her rise to fame and help promote the huge show at the same time? Above shows Pam on her earlier Baywatch days carrying a flotation device and wearing a razor sharp stare. Was that because the photographer asked her to? Or because (judging by the footprints in the sand a few steps ahead of her) she had already shot this photo several times before? The world may never know.
7. Over The Shoulder Carmen
Carmen Electra is a triple threat, being able to sing, dance, and act. While her music career never really took off, aside from releasing an album under her mentor Prince’s label, Paisley Park, in the early 90s, Carmen looks like a natural here as she poses for a Baywatch promotional ad of some kind, making the process look effortless. Leaning over in the classic red bathing suit, she smiles like a girl who’s got everything in the world to be happy about: fame, fortune and having won the best TV gig available at the time. Following in the likes of Pam Anderson’s footsteps is definitely worth a huge, proud grin or two!
6. Pam Sizzles On The Beach
Hollywood found Pam to be such a fresh face that she was originally cast as the “hot girl next door” type in many TV movie bit parts and small roles until she landed the ultimate TV “hot girl next door” role at the time of Lisa, the Tool Time girl on the hit 90s sitcom, Home Improvement with Tim Allen. She was soon cast as C.J. Parker on Baywatch. While Pam simultaneously tried to juggle both roles, she ultimately decided to hang her tool belt up and left her first show behind after two years, leaving Debbe Dunning to take over as Heidi, the new Tool Time girl. With more time freed up and less scheduling conflicts, Pam was able to dedicate the time needed to make the character, C.J., the pretty, voluptuous girl guarding lives on the beaches of Los Angeles County, come alive.
5. Carmen Electrifies The Stand
The lifeguard stand, that is. Here, Carmen shoots what was probably a well-rehearsed gaze that seems to say, “Hello world. I’m Lifeguard Lani McKenzie and I can tackle anything that comes my way. I know I’m beautiful but I’m not just another pretty face. Mess with me and you’ll live to regret it.” Can you just see Carmen poised in front a mirror in her Los Angeles mansion practicing this expression until she had it down pat? Baywatch was all about montages and in those montages, the pretend lifeguards had the perfect opportunity to showcase their very own Blue Steel looks set to sappy 90s music with whiny male voices and saccharine piano notes. Carmen’s formula here was one shoulder back, one shoulder forward, hands on hips and her head cocked to the side with one eye slightly squinting that gives the impression she may be deep in thought.
4. Pam – Bathing Suit Beauty
Pam’s classic California girl good looks inspired many women to get their hair dyed and cut like hers, their lips plumped and to look and act like her as much as they possibly could. There’s even a 31-year-old woman named Carolyn from Liverpool who has been obsessed with looking like Pam for sixteen years! Even though the waves of time have washed the TV show away long ago, Pam’s beauty has obviously left a lasting effect worldwide! Desperate to be similar to Pam, Carolyn changed her last name to Anderson and mimics the star’s habits and looks in every way she can as recently as the time of this writing. She’s spent a small fortune on plastic surgery and tries to make a living as a C.J. Parker lookalike. When Pam joined the show, she took over in a way and made a huge impact that stood her apart from the rest of the red bathing suit clad ladies and gained a loyal following that has lasted the test of time.
3. Carmen – Brunette Lady In Red
While Carmen’s run wasn’t as long as Pam’s on the famed show, viewers seemed to take an immediate liking to her. She shined on screen in her red bathing suit, the caramel-colored highlights in her dark brown hair complementing her tanned skin nicely. Carmen looks serious in most of her official Baywatch stills but truthfully, she was somewhat in love with the famous red bathing suit. So much so that in an interview, she claimed to have the classic suit under glass and framed on display in her home. She also loved the show dearly and was incredibly proud to be a part of it. “It was the number one show in the world,” she proudly declared in an interview. It’s true that Baywatch had a weekly audience of 1.1 million viewers in 148 countries and was even translated into 44 different languages! I’d say that’s something to be proud of.
2. Pam’s Iconic Slow-Mo Run
Ah yes, the classic slow-mo run, trademarked by Baywatch. It was a must for all cast members to run with a look of concentration and determination… concentrated and determined on saving innocent lives at the beach, that is. A careful toss of the head to showcase perfect locks was always a plus for the film editors who would slow the footage down as much as possible to show every strand of hair flying, every firm pec muscle on the male lifeguards bouncing and well, for the ladies… I’m only guessing that’s why the slow-mo run was invented in the first place. Here, Pam shows us how it’s done with her red floatie in tow, black strap slung over her shoulder, hair up in a no-nonsense ponytail, practical waterproof watch and all… she almost looks like the real deal! And I’m sure she did on the beaches back in the 90s, too; if it wasn’t for that film crew following her every move.
1. Carmen’s Signature Slow-Mo Run
Carmen sees Pam’s patented slow-mo run and raises it with one of her own. If anything, you have to appreciate the time that these film editors took to process each and every running scene. The job had to get old after a while even if it meant they were staring at beautiful people all day. The Baywatch slow run has been mocked and joked about all over Hollywood — and the world! But based on the show’s ratings at the time, you have to hand it to the producers and directors. They knew what would sell and they went for it. They were smart, having both the men and women run (sometimes together!) to appeal to both audiences. Besides the iconic red suits, it remains the most memorable take away from the show’s incredible and successful eleven-year run. That’s another memorable run. Run! Get it?