Pamela Anderson Became Famous After an Accidental Jumbotron Appearance

Every celebrity has their own path to stardom. Many benefit from powerful family connections, while others spend years slowly rising through the ranks. A rarer — but more coveted — experience is that of being “discovered.” Everyone dreams of going about their typical life, only to be whisked onto the A-list. 

Canadian actor and model Pamela Anderson had a one-of-a-kind experience when she made it to the big screen before having even a cameo on the small-screen. Most surprising of all, her big-screen debut wasn’t in a movie theater, but on a jumbotron. 

Pamela Anderson was discovered at a Canadian football game

Pamela Anderson arrives at PETA’s 15th Anniversary Gala and Humanitarian Awards at Paramount Studios on September 10, 2005 in Hollywood, California.
Pamela Anderson | Kevin Winter/ Getty Images

Anderson had humble beginnings. She was the first child of her young parents, who were working-class and based in Lady Smith, B.C., Canada. Her childhood grew more exciting after a move to Vancouver and the addition of a baby brother.

As Anderson entered secondary school, she took up gymnastics and acrobatics. With such a love for sports, it seems only fitting that she was discovered at a sporting event… but not in the way you might expect. 

According to IMDb, Anderson was attending a British Columbia Lions football game when she made an appearance on the jumbotron. Her soon-to-be-famous looks instantly garnered cheering from other fans in the stands. Her popularity was so immense that she was brought down to the football field.   

This crazy moment likely would’ve simply been fifteen minutes of fame, had Anderson not been wearing a Labatt beer shirt. According to Biography, the brand caught word of the attractive woman wearing their form-fitting apparel. She was brought on for a commercial, the first of many modeling gigs that would lead to Playboy magazine

Anderson’s career consisted of acting and activism

Anderson’s immense success in the modeling world would have been enough to sustain any career. However, the star quickly branched out to other mediums. She played a small part in Home Improvement and eventually earned a leading role in the Baywatch television series. This iconic part played into her modeling and acting strengths, helping to further her popularity and nationwide acclaim. 

The model didn’t just grace the covers of magazines, either. Soon, she was the writer of a column in Elle Canada and even penned a novel with the assistance of Eric Shaw Quinn. As it turns out, wearing one beer t-shirt can lead to wearing many hats. According to CBC, all of these accolades led to Anderson being named the most powerful Canadian in Hollywood, beating out Jim Carrey and Keanu Reaves. 

In perhaps the strongest testament to her stardom, Anderson appeared as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars twice — competing in both seasons 10 and 15. In the years following, she’s made human and animal rights a priority in her life and social media feeds. 

Hulu is making a show to document one part of her dramatic life

Of course, there are some downsides to being discovered. Since the beginning of her stardom, Anderson’s love life has been closely followed and scrutinized in the media. Like many women of her ilk, she was followed and taunted by the paparazzi. Most famously, she and her ex-husband, Tommy Lee, became victims of blackmail. An intimate video of the pair was stolen from their home and held over their heads before it was eventually leaked. 

This sex-tape scandal was just one chapter of her tumultuous relationship with Lee, which ended in 1998. Though Anderson is now happily married to Dan Hayhurst, Hulu is set to begin filming a series about the infamous Lee and Anderson relationship in the spring. Starring Lily James and Sebastian Stan, the show is sure to only add to Anderson’s unexpected legacy. 

RELATED: ‘Baywatch’: Tommy Lee Got Violent Behind the Scenes Over Pamela Anderson’s Love Scenes