As Holly Madison took off this morning for a week’s combined work and play vacation, her gal pal and assistant Angel Porrino prepared for the biggest break in her young life. Tonight, she steps not only into Holly’s shoes as the headline star of Peepshow at Planet Hollywood, but also Holly’s costume and goes topless for the first time.
Holly, who watched Angel’s two final dress and near-undressed rehearsals over the weekend, gave her two thumbs up: “She’s ready to rock. She will amaze everybody. She’s a natural, and I’m so proud of her. It’s the real start of her new showbiz career!”
Angel admitted to me: “The knees are knocking, the butterflies in my heart are jumping, but I’m super, super excited and just ready to do it. The most fun part until now has been rehearsals because I’ve been dancing since I was 2 years old, so being back onstage and learning all the dance moves has been really fun. The hardest part, though, will be taking off my top for an audience. I’ve only done it once for the private dress rehearsal.
“My heart will sink, but I won’t freeze. It’ll come off! It’s an incredible opportunity and a break of a lifetime that I never thought would happen.
“I had talked about being in Peep as a swing, or a backup dancer, just as a nighttime thing. Never did I think, one, it would actually happen and, two, instead of being a swing dancer, I’m headlining.”
Angel is the first to admit that none of it would have happened without Holly pushing her to the producers. “She actually suggested it to me,” Angel told me. “She was, like, ‘You should be my understudy so I can go on vacation.’ ” I immediately said yes -- not even the slightest hesitation, but I was actually scared inside.
“I had to tell my mom and dad who live here in Vegas so they would approve. I also told my boyfriend so he would approve. They all were unanimous and told me to go for it. They gave me their thumbs-up approval and said it would be stupid not to. But neither my son nor mom is coming tonight. I want to get one under my buckle before they come this week. Mom will give it a few days, and then she’ll come.”
As Holly’s real-life assistant and best girlfriend, in addition to the role on Holly’s World, Angel already knew all the lines and dance moves. “I’d memorized every word, every line,” she said confidently. “Paula, who is the dance captain, is really Holly’s understudy if she got ill or anything, but now I can do it.
“I’m not really sure where this will take me. I’m kind of just taking life day by day right now. It is an excellent opportunity, and I’m just going to embrace it while it’s in front of me. If something bigger comes out of it, cool; if not, then I had the time of my life doing it.”
Coincidentally, it turned out in the wardrobe department that when new costumes were fitted for Angel, they were the exact same size as Holly. “We’re both 5-foot 5, and we’re both a 34D,” she laughed. “We didn’t have to change the wardrobe.”
Even though Angel is just 21, she’s very confident about tonight: “I am very bubbly, very outgoing, carefree and slightly ditzy -- but I’m very focused on everything when it comes to work. I feel I’m pretty mature for my age because I have a 15-month-old son. Luckily, my parents help me out when I need them to, but Roman is with me all the time. He’s a really good baby, and Holly is his godmother. He’s with us all the time, and they both love each other.”
Tonight’s star debut follows Angel’s failed Playboy audition a few years ago. She explained: “We first met when I was 18. I went out to audition to be a Playmate, and they filmed it for The Girls Next Door. But they didn’t pick me to be a Playmate, which was fine, as it turned out . Holly and I kind of clicked right away. She called me and said the she and the producers really liked me on The Girls Next Door and wanted to know if I would come out, live there with them for the summer and film Season 5.
“I thought that would be so much fun in L.A. so I went. It was my senior year when I tried out to be a Playmate. After that, I just modeled, moved out to L.A. and did a whole bunch of stuff there and wound up getting married, then pregnant with Roman’s dad, but we wound up divorced.”
I had a final question for Angel about her experience of working on Holly’s World as Holly’s best girlfriend who also is her boss. “Normally, it would be hard for someone to balance it out having a boss and a best friend in the same roles,” she replied. “But she’s perfect at it. She says, ‘Hey, when you get a second, do this.’ She’s really cool about it if I get busy with Roman, I forget something, or I can’t get it in that day, she’s, like, ‘It’s OK, just do it tomorrow. She’s amazing! It’s the best job I’ve ever had, and I don’t plan on letting it go anytime soon.
“I really can’t wait for tonight’s debut. It’s a shame in a way Holly won’t even be here to see it since she started me on this. I’m not too crazy about tumbling out of the ceiling at the show open, but I love the finale because it’s got the most dancing in it.”
Holly will be in Gulf Shores, Ala., all day tomorrow doing volunteer work on the oil spill cleanup, checking out the ocean for the dolphin pods and visiting a zoo to make a donation. Midweek, she gets to Orlando, Fla., and has plans to visit Disneyland and Universal Studios. Vegas DeLuxe will update news of her vacation during the week, and we’ll have Angel’s photographs from Peepshow, too.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.