Heather is one of the coolest women I’ve met. After being spotted as an extra on “VH1’s Surreal Life” she was cast in season one of VH1’s reality show: “Rock of Love with Bret Michaels” which put her along with 25 other women in one house all trying to win the heart of Bret Michaels, the vocalist for the band Poison.
She overcame a series of challenges… both with her roommates and also to win dates with Bret.On one outing she got a tattoo of Brets’ name on the back of her neck to show her devotion.
In the season finale, she was sent home after agreeing to share Bret with Jes (at least that was what was shown). I spoke with Heather about her career, what it was like for her growing up and how the editing process can completely change a show from what really happened.
The Entertainment Nexus- How have you been?
Heather Chadwell- I’m doin alright. I’m feelin better. I was sick over the weekend with that stupid flu. Now, I’m just getting busy. I’m back here in Vegas for four more days then I’m headin out to do this tour with this “Poison tribute band.” So, I’m just tryin to get stuff done around the house…tryin to get my house sold and to get to California and bla, bla, bla…
TEN- Before we get into the “Vh1’s Rock of Love” can we just talk about HeatherChadwell the person?
TEN- You were born here in Ohio.
HC- I was born in Columbus, Ohio.
TEN- On Cinco de Mayo.
HC- Yeah, 5/5/75…absolutely! Cinco de Mayo!
TEN- What was it like for you growing up?
HC- It was very humbling. We didn’t have a lot of money and I grew up with five stepbrothers. I played sports and I was very active and social…just your normal Midwest upbringings. It was good!
TEN- You also have a “Bachelor of Arts” degree.
HC- I have an “Associate of Arts” and a “BA” in communications from Ohio State. I graduated in 2002 and then I took off to Vegas and now I’m tryin to sell my house right now and move to Los Angeles.
TEN- So you have the “Total Package”…beauty and brains…
HC- Aw thanks.
TEN- You’ve recently lost two very important people in your life.
HC- I did. I lost my grandmother in Florida, my dads’ mother and then my grandfather, my moms’ father in Ohio…five days apart. That was pretty crazy. That was really sad. I knew that they were sick; I didn’t know that my grandmother was that bad. I knew my grandfather was on his death bed for sure. I’m glad they’re both not suffering anymore but it’s really hard to see your family…your mom and dad cry. I’ve had all four of my grandparents my whole life…I’ve been very fortunate.
After that happened in Florida, I flew back to Vegas and was getting ready to go and shoot “Rock of Love 2” and my grandfather died. The following day after my grandfather died, I went to California and the people at “Fifty-One Minds” that’s the production company that does most of the shows for VH1 and they’re very good to me…we have a great relationship and they said “Why don’t you go home and grieve with your family.” It was like really tough for me ya know. I remember how emotional the first “Rockof Love” was. I could just see for me to go on right with two deaths within a week. I was like “I don’t know if I wanna grieve so hard with everybody here right now.” So, I went back to Ohio and I was there for a week and spent time with my family and went to my grandfather’s funeral and was able to grieve with my family. I’m really thankful for that. It’s just gonna be hard ya know…for Christmas and stuff like that. It’s the first holidays without them.
TEN- How did they feel about your new found fame?
HC- They always knew that…ya know…I had something special and they were always like; “When is it gonna be your time?” So, for everybody it wasn’t so much “if” but “when?” They always believed in me I guess you could say.
TEN- Sounds like you had a lot of support.
HC- Yeah exactly…even though they were all the way across country. (Laughs) My dads’ family and my moms’ family are really great! I’m very thankful.
TEN- You’re also involved with the ASPCA and the American Diabetes Association.
HC- Yeah! And the same for The Salvation Army and Petsmart charities…what ever I can do. I love charities…I really do! I send out money here and there to different charities. It really makes me feel good to give…ya know? I’m hopin I can do something this December. I think there’s a toy drive at my gym and I’m gonna go get some toys and I really just like to give. Give my last two dollars…the shirt off my back to somebody.
TEN- There’s not a lot of people nowadays that want to do that.
HC- That’s just how I was raised. If you would go to my grandmothers’ house or my moms’ house in Ohio, they’re always givin’ you something. I’ll go there and she’s like;“Oh, here’s some shoes…here’s a jacket.” That’s the way I was raised. We were raised to give and be thoughtful and thankful and I’m really grateful for that upbringing.
TEN- You recently launched your “Rockstar Wear” line of products. Tell me about that.
HC- Actually it’s not so much as like I designed it…you know what I mean? It’s just that my former manager knew a company that has clocks and shirts and all kinds of stuff and you can just upload your pictures. But, for some reason, I’m having problems with that site. I don’t know if the site’s bogus or what? It’s been up for a while and people have ordered stuff but I’ve never gotten a check once! So, I don’t know what’s going on but I have a meeting with my former manager and I’m gonna find out exactly what’s up with that company! I haven’t reaped any benefits…I haven’t gotten any…ya know? I don’t want people to think that I’m doing them wrong.
TEN- Hopefully they’re not taking you for a ride.
HC- RIGHT! You never know. It’s like they’re coming out of the woodwork. I don’t know who to trust…people are stealing stuff from me. It’s flattering of course on one end but on the other end…it’s kind of scary ya know?
TEN- I read about somebody stealing your purse when you were back here.
HC- I know! All kinds of stuff…yeah! They just pose as my friends and fans and this and that and then all of a sudden…your stuff is gone!
TEN- Tell me about this U.S. Tour with “Talk Dirty 2 Me” that you’re going to be on.
HC- Actually, we start the “Talk Dirty 2 Me Tour” this Friday in Tennessee. It’s a Poison tribute band and ya know they love playin Poison and everybody loves hearin Poison and I think the timing’s really right with the “Rock of Love” thing. For me, it’s a great way to travel, which is what I wanna do anyways, and meet all of my fans and party and have a great time and enjoy life. Ya know, make a living a little while doing it. I’m excited about it!
TEN- How long will the tour last?
HC- Right now…it’s mostly in December with a couple dates in January but I’m unavailable at the end of January because I’m filming another show. I just finished filming “Rock of Love 2” then doing this tour this month and then in January I’m shooting another television show which I really can’t talk too much about.
TEN- That’s fine. I was gonna ask you if you were gonna be in season two of “Rock ofLove?”
HC- “Rock of Love”…yes.
TEN- Okay then, let’s talk about “Rock of Love.”
HC- Well, I cannot talk about “Rock of Love 2.” whatsoever.
TEN- That’s cool. How did you become involved with Season One?
HC- Actually I was an extra when the “Surreal Life” was out here. Fifty-One Minds and VH1 do the “Surreal Life” so I think they saw me on there having a good ‘ol time and they contacted me on MySpace. I can’t say for sure if they just found me on MySpace or if they remembered me from “Surreal Life.” They asked me to audition for the show. It went great!
TEN- What is the one thing that you’ve retained most from doing “Season One” or maybe learned from doing the show?
HC- It was definitely a learning experience for sure. One is that I quit dancing period…bottom line! I learned that I don’t need this big house, pool and spa to be happy. I don’t need to live in Vegas. I can’t dance anymore. I can’t do it anymore. I was the most educated person in the house and I was so ridiculed for doing a temporary occupation for a few years. Plus, I had given myself five years and it was four and a half years and I couldn’t do it anymore. So, I’m selling my house and movin!
TEN- Do you think that you’ll always keep the tattoo that you got on “Season One?”
HC- For right now…it’s okay. In the future I’ll probably cover it up with something else. I just don’t know with what yet. I mean I like it and Bret and I are friends and it was all about the experience but you never know what might happen in the future. You grow as the years go by and your thoughts change so I might want to put something over it.
TEN- You were very open about how upset you were at the season finale.
HC- Well yeah! A lot of people really believe everything that they see on T.V. What they don’t realize is that if it went exactly the way it went…it’d be boring. People have to realize that editing plays a role. It’s “ T.V. Land.” It’s no ones fault. Not the editors, it’s not VH1’s fault…it’s just the way it is. It just sucks that people really believe every single event that happens in a “reality show” is real. And, every single thing I say and do is real because that’s not the case.
TEN- Was the show scripted in anyway or was it all done with the editing?
HC- I don’t think it was so much as scripted but of course they say; “Why don’t you do some shots…why don’t you show your boobs?” They tell you; “Why don’t you go get the party started?” There’s not like a script. It still is “reality” it’s not scripted like a movie. I don’t want people to think that I’m sitting here going “It’s fake!” because it’s not. You’re still livin in this house…your still getting bombed and shit faced and making a fool out of yourself. It just might be in a different order and they might have you say something about one thing and then put it with something else.
TEN- When I talked to Big John, he said the same thing about when they showed him sleeping when Laceys’ dad was busting Brets’ chops.
HC- Yeah…he could’ve been sleeping from two days earlier and they just put it together.
TEN- Has VH1 ever approached you about your statements about how things are not as they seemed.
HC- Actually, Fifty-One Minds are very, very good people and have good hearts and are the smartest, hardest working, most fun group of people in Hollywood…I tell ya. I got a couple calls from the story girls there asking how I was and they felt horrible for me and this and that. A lot of times it’s the network that really wants the black and white. What can you do? They (Fifty-One Minds) definitely were there for me when I needed a shoulder to cry on and stuff like that. It’s the same with “Rock of Love 2” the same people working on it. I love everybody at Fifty-One Minds…we have a great relationship together. We all laugh and get along great and love each other and that’s why we’re gonna be doin some shows in the future. That’s why we have another one that we’ll be working on together at the end of January.
TEN- Can you talk about that show?
HC- I can’t. I don’t know very much about it actually. I know a little bit but I just can’t…
TEN- Was Lacey “The Puppet Master” that she portrayed on the show?
HC- Well yeah, I mean she’s definitely the “Little Vixen of the House” and I don’t think that she minds being the vixen. She didn’t mind so it’s all good!
TEN- What about Rodeo? Was she the sweetheart that she seemed for the short time that she was there?
HC- I don’t even know what to think about her to be honest with you. I don’t know her that well…I really don’t.
TEN- How many of the cast members including Bret do you still stay in contact with?
HC- I talk to Big John, Brandy C…
TEN- I’m sure some of the cast will be back for “Season 2”…
HC- I can’t talk about “Season 2”. (Laughs)
TEN- Tell me something disturbing about yourself that you’ve never told anyone before.
HC- Disturbing? I just don’t find myself to be “disturbing.” Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done stupid things and said some things and you’ve seen all of that on T.V. But as far as “disturbing” I don’t find myself to be “disturbing” or find all of these crazy skeletons in my closet. I’m pretty much an honest, open book…ya know. What you see is what you get.
TEN- What’s next for you?
HC- Well, the tour and then the new show at the end of January and then my move to Los Angeles after the first of the year. I should be in Ohio too. Did you see my schedule?
TEN- I know you’re appearing at Shakers in Cambridge.
HC- I’m doing Toledo and Cambridge but I’ll be in Columbus for Christmas. I’m supposed to be doing Brets’ New Years Party. I’m gonna help host the party in Minnesota and VH1 will be filming that. He (Bret) asked me to do that when we were filming “Rock of Love 2” so we’ll see if that goes through.
I would like to thank Heather for taking the time to do our interview especially when she was feeling a little under the weather.
For more information on Heather please visit www.myspace.com/hchadwell
Photos used by permission: Heather Chadwell