Baywatch star Erika Eleniak felt ‘uncomfortable’ as a sex symbol on the show

Erika Eleniak was just a teenager when she joined the cast of Baywatch in 1989 alongside the likes of David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson.

The US actress, who is now 51 years old, has spoken out about her experience on the show in a new documentary directed by Matt Felker.

Speaking about the infamous red swimsuits and her confidence on set, Erika said she wasn't comfortable being a sex symbol.

"I promise you, if you were to put on a bathing suit right now and go out in front of a huge cast and crew, that's exactly how I felt," she said in an interview with Sky News.

"Hundred percent, honestly, the same as you would feel. It's awkward. You know, you're super insecure. For me, [I was] always worrying what's showing, is anything hanging out?

"As an actor, you don't want your mind on anything but the work at hand… the last thing I want to be thinking about is, you know, is anything coming out of my bathing suit? Or if I walk five feet, the bum of my suit is going straight up…

"You know, those things. So all of that was there, and not easy."

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She continued: "Actors are literally the most insecure people on the planet. I mean, I'm speaking for myself, but most that I know, and it's because you're constantly scrutinised.

"I think there's a misconception that people think, yeah, because you're putting yourself out there, of course you must be a confident person. It's not that way, it really isn't."

Erika went on to admit that she found the fame that came with being in the Baywatch cast difficult to deal with.

"I think there might be some people in this world that really love it and eat it up with a spoon," she said.

"It's important [to be] humble and grateful and kind. I can't stand when I see celebrities who are not kind to fans. But it's not comfortable.

"I don't think any attention… you know, you could be at a birthday party, your own birthday party, and your family and friends are there, and when everyone's singing Happy Birthday to you, you shrink a little.

"I think that kind of attention all focused on one person is uncomfortable. So then you just multiply that times a thousand."

Erika also admitted that starring in Baywatch hindered her career in the US, but helped it elsewhere.

"Domestically, it was hard… What's happening for me domestically is literally, I'm going up for a role, I studied, I worked really hard, I got great opportunities, and often I would go in and they would ask me my last job and I would say, 'Baywatch', and I would be asked to leave. That's no joke, I'm being very serious," she explained.

"I felt very caught between a rock and a hard place, because I love the show… but I really wanted to spread my wings. I didn't want to play Shauni McClain forever.

"Internationally, have I made shows overseas or had the opportunities to go overseas and work? Yes, because of Baywatch. One hundred percent.

"I lived in Canada for a long time and so all of that kind of notoriety a hundred percent helped me and afforded me the opportunity to go elsewhere and work.

"So it's a yes and no. Domestically it made things very hard, but internationally it was wonderful."

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