Michele Merkin: Wild at Heart

She may host a show about celebrity impersonators, but no one can imitate Michele Merkin.


As host of TV’s The Next Best Thing, which celebs are under-impersonated?
I’d like to see more impersonations of younger Hollywood. A lot of ours are old-school, like Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis. There are no Lindsay Lohans.

Although one Paris Hilton impersonator got out of a limo and said, “That’s hot.”

How realistic was she pantywise?
I didn’t actually look under her miniskirt.

Since we’re talking underwear, your mom was a Victoria’s Secret model…
She was. She loved it. She’s from Sweden, and she modeled for 20 years.

You modeled before doing TV. How did she feel about your joining the biz?
She was supportive—she just wanted me to wait until I was 16 so I could drive my own sorry ass to castings. It was fantastic. I traveled the world for free, learning languages and cultures. I tried college, and it was a tough choice: study medicine and become a plastic surgeon so my mom can have free face-lifts, or travel the world without my mom and make lots of money.

Any experiences you’d rather forget?
A photographer once yelled at me, “Be sexy!” I was 16; I didn’t even know what sexy meant. He goes, “Touch yourself like you’d like to be touched.” Creepy, right?

You used to host Foody Call, but you’ve said the way to a woman’s heart isn’t through her stomach. Did that piss off the producers?
The show was finished, so I could say whatever the hell I wanted. It had a cute premise, but the last thing women are going to do on a date is scarf down a meal.

So what’s the way to win you over?
People say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but I’ll buy my own diamonds. For me it’s a sense of humor. And it would be nice if he were taller than me.

How tall are you?
I’m six feet tall. My nickname in school was Manute Bol. It was flattering then because basketball was my life, but as I grew older, not so much. My one-on-one game isn’t so good now, but I could take you at horse.

Gorgeous, buys her own diamonds, solid jump shot. How often are you hit on?
I was at a party and a guy said, “Can I have your number? I just want to have sex with you.” I was like, “Um, I appreciate your honesty.” Then he goes, “Bye, you have a nice ass.” That’s my favorite departing comment of all time.

How old were you when you learned that merkin means pubic wig?
Third grade. I was mortified. I came home to my mom, and I went, “Do you know what a merkin is?” And she said, “Honey, now you know the family secret.”

We think it’s the best last name ever.
It really is. This year for Christmas I’m going to buy everyone merkins. They come in all shapes and colors and in male and female versions. They even have a Union Jack one. It’s going to be my new thing. Instead of leaving a head shot, I’ll leave a merkin. People will never forget me.