Carmen Electra is sore. You wouldn’t know it from the radiant 37-year-old’s ready smile or the way she sits perched on a plush red chair in a draped, kimono-like dress and tall, studded black heels, but the actress, dancer and Playboy model is hurting. Physically.
“I’m sore from head to toe. I can feel it in every muscle in my body,” Electra says with a laugh.
“It” is a week of rehearsals inside the MGM Grand at Crazy Horse Paris where Electra will be guest starring for a week long run with the show from July 8-13. And “it” is also the cabaret’s signature body position, the dramatically arched back that creates the Crazy Horse silhouette.
Electra demonstrates the posture despite her dressy outfit, puffing out her chest and exaggeratedly sticking out her butt. She points to a framed photo on one of the bordello-esque theater’s red striped walls in which a dancer has assumed the position, her lower back curving like the letter “C”.
“I have an ongoing joke,” Electra says, “that as soon as it’s over … when it’s time to go home … that’s when I’m really going to get used to the moves.”
While she’s modest about her progress, Electra isn’t exactly an amateur. The Cincinnati, Ohio native born Tara Leigh Patrick studied dance growing up, was a lead performer with the Pussycat Dolls and released her own aerobic striptease workout video, which was filmed in a suite at the MGM Grand.
“A lot of the dancers come from a ballet background, and I can really feel that when I’m learning the choreography,” Electra says. “It sort of takes me back to my roots a little bit. It’s not only about getting out there and feeling sexy and showing skin. Actually, all the girls are classically trained ballerinas, so you definitely get that feel.”
You also get the feel of the female form as a moving art project. Skin is Crazy Horse’s canvas and Electra will be showing plenty when she takes the stage for her first performance this Wednesday night.
“Absolutely,” she answers with a coy smile when asked if she’ll go topless as is the customary costume for much of the performance.
“The girls wear pasties in the show, and at first they were so respectful and had a bra (for me) and everything, and I honestly just wanted to go for it.”
Of course, Electra is no stranger to being sexy. As an actress she’s appeared on Baywatch, and she seems to crop up in a range of movies and TV shows in the kind of hazy fantasy sequences that are always interrupted by a girlfriend or parent entering the room.
“I guess so,” she answers timidly, when asked if she would consider herself a sex symbol. “I’ve definitely based my career off of my images and being sexy.”
But for Electra, Crazy Horse Paris presents a first in that department, as well.
“I’ve only posed nude for Playboy, so I’ve only been in photographs without clothes, not on stage or in front of an audience,” Electra explains. “So this is very new for me, but I want to stay true to what the show is.”
Performing in front of the live audience is a big part of what she’s looking forward to about guest starring in the famous show.
Being on camera is different, Electra says. “I love being in front of an audience and just feeling the energy and getting the response of the audience. Getting on stage and just hitting a move or having eye contact or feeling a moment, you can feel from the audience if you’re doing it right.”
Electra may have more opportunities to channel an audience’s energy in the near future. She’s working on an album of music, her second, following a 16-year gap after releasing Carmen Electra with then-mentor Prince as executive producer in 1993.
She calls music a “hobby,” and adds that she’s also been keeping busy with her more standard entertainment fare, movies.
For now, however, all her energy is focused on Las Vegas and arching and dancing her way through Crazy Horse Paris.
Though fiancé Rob Patterson is along for the ride, Electra says she won’t be venturing into any wedding chapels while she’s in town.
Been there. Done that.
“Not Vegas,” Electra answers when asked about tying the knot with the Korn guitarist. “I’ve gotten married in Vegas once (to Dennis Rodman). And I’ve done the real wedding reality show, as real as that could be." "We’re taking our time; we’re happy.”
Indeed, Electra seems content working and living at the MGM Grand with Patterson in tow.
“Everything is done here to perfection, and I just have so much respect for the theater, for the choreographer, the lighting, the stage, the girls. It’s perfect,” Electra says.
“I could live here,” she laughs. “I’m happy.”