I like to imagine Adrianne Curry going to a psychic in 2002, the year before she auditioned for “America’s Next Top Model.” I can almost see this psychic peering into her crystal ball and telling Adrianne, who was 20 years old and addicted to heroin at the time, “You are going to win a major reality show, get a contract with Wilhemina Models, and marry a member of ‘The Brady Bunch.’” Adrianne would have no doubt looked her square in the eyes and said, “Are you sure I’m the one on drugs?”
It’s been eight years since Adrianne won “ANTM” and six since she appeared on “The Surreal Life.” On April 9th and 10th, she will be one of the guests of honor at the Reality Rocks Expo, a two-day conference celebrating the phenomenon of reality TV and culminating in a Reality Rocks Fan Awards. To get ready, Adrianne sat down with The Frisky to talk about our fascination with modeling shows, falling in love with Christopher Knight, and how she convinced him to have a goth wedding.
You were the winner of the very first season of “America’s Next Top Model.” What made you decide to go on the show?
Honestly, I had one focus—to get the hell out of my hometown and make a better life for myself.
How popular did you think the show would be? Did you have any inkling that it would run for 16 seasons and make Tyra Banks into such a phenomenon?
When I made the show, I didn’t care if it would be popular. Tyra was very ambitious and, in retrospect, I can look back and see just how hungry she was to carve herself a niche outside of modeling. As each year passed, and more and more seasons were pumped out, I began to realize that I had helped start something big. It was awesome to be a part of it. No matter how much she likes to pretend I was never on the show—I was and always will be the first.
Watching yourself on the series now, what makes you cringe?
Well, I have one rule in life—never watch yourself on TV! However, I make an exception when it comes to “Top Model.” I have seen probably two whole episodes of my season. I have absolutely no regrets whatsoever. I went in there who I am, and came out who I am. I didn’t front, I didn’t get involved in bitchy house politics, I didn’t conform and I didn’t try to portray something that I thought they would like to see. I was me, and it’s nice to know that besides gaining some maturity and wisdom since then, I am pretty much the same person. However, my voice was terrible! Not only did I have the monotone Joliet, Illinois, slash south-side-of-Chicago accent—I had just quit drugs. Heroin, to be precise. Heroin has a profound effect on your speech, and it took me a few years to be able to enunciate my words better and speed up my speech. I sounded like I had a mouth full of marbles and just stepped out of the ghetto.
“ANTM” has spawned a lot of model shows. Why do you think our culture is so fascinated by seeing models behind the scenes?
Our culture is fascinated with building people up and tearing them down. Especially beautiful people. They want to know that they are just as messed up as they are. They also want to know that they have a chance to make it too, which “Top Model” is all about. “Top Model” put my foot in the door, and that is where most of society wants to be.
Who do you think is gonna win this season?
I’ve never watched any other seasons. D’oh.
What was your impression of “The Brady Bunch” before you met Christopher?
I hated “The Brady Bunch” growing up! Whenever it was on, I would whine and change the channel. I simply could not relate to the life they portrayed, because the way I was raised was so drastically different. I have only seen one whole episode of “The Brady Bunch,” and it was after surgery, so I was pretty hopped up on meds. I remember laughing my ass off at my husband, though! He made some volcano or something for class.
Which of the Brady boys would you have thought you’d be the most likely to end up with?
None! None of them are my type. As I told my husband when we met, he is everything I never looked for in a man. I was into men with piercings, tattoos, who played video games, and loved “Star Wars.” Now, had the Brady Boys spent all their time following Led Zeppelin around, it may have been another story.
What are the pros and cons of marrying a former child star?
I don’t know of any pros, because he doesn’t get paid residuals. I guess it’s nice that he takes the spotlight off me in certain situations. I also got to meet a lot of other former child stars that are pretty cool, and very legendary. The cons would be ego! You can’t put a little kid on TV, have millions of women worship him and have it not have an effect on who he is. My old man can be rather cocky. He also is very used to getting his way all the time. We nicely balance each other out, ’cause I am very alpha, and don’t like to bend to his will. We live in compromise—which is when two people get nothing they wanted, just kinda get what they wanted. [Laughs.]
What is it like having your romance captured on television from first meeting to proposal?
It’s f**king weird. I have to be honest with you. It is very weird when people you don’t know can come up to you and recite almost every major moment in your relationship. It’s also helpful, cause my husband likes to forget a lot of things he has done, and I have all the evidence on tape. I don’t know if I would suggest anyone do what we did, but I don’t know if we would have ever been together if it were not for those circumstances. We became foxhole buddies in the war against our producers.
Watching yourself now on “My Fair Brady,” what makes you cringe?
What makes me cringe most about our show is knowing that we were shown in some of our lowest moments. All relationships have their dark secrets. Normal couples keep it on the down low, so they don’t have to suffer public ridicule. We, however, put everything out there, good and bad. I wish I had control of what made it to TV, because I would have put more of our fun moments in there instead of all our bad ones. But the public loves to eat up negativity, so perhaps it is better that I left that to producers. I would have been too biased and there would have been no real drama. Actually, that is one thing I am most proud of. Unlike most reality television, I don’t have to fake my life or the situations in it. I am naturally that messed up. [Laughs.]
What are some lessons you’ve learned about love from Christopher?
I learned never-ending patience. He is the most difficult human being I have ever met, and I know the feeling is mutual. No one else could put up with our crap, so we ended up with each other. I learned love has no age, no rules and isn’t always the Disney version I thought it to be. Love is difficult—marriage is hard work.
I read that you had a goth wedding—can I get some details?
I wanted a “Star Wars” wedding originally, but that was off the table the second it left my lips. Chris was pissed I had even suggested it. So, I wanted to find a theme that would reflect how messed up we were. I was huge into everything dark growing up—Tim Burton movies, “Natural Born Killers,” Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, and I still am. I wanted my wedding to reflect who I was. I am a huge “Phantom of the Opera” fan, and thought that a story of twisted three-way love was perfect! To me, it represented us, and the cameras we allowed into our lives—a sick sort of love triangle. My bouquet was black magic roses and the cross above the alter was constructed of the same flowers. The church we used had been abandoned for 10 years and was over 100 years old. It was literally crumbing, I loved it! My bridesmaids all wore garnet dresses with black cross chokers. My flower girls were in all black with a crown of black roses and red ribbon in their hair and my reception was in a 100 year old Grand Palace theater that looked exactly like the theater in the movie for “Phantom of the Opera.” It was lovely.
How did you talk Christopher into the wedding theme? Or was it his idea?
I pretty much told Chris that since this was his third wedding, and seeing how he had such a huge say in the two before, to please give me the ability to do as I pleased. After promising him that it would be gothic and lovely, he let me have my way for the most part. He put the nix on a lot of other cool things I had planned that he had deemed too dark. My black wedding dress was not acceptable to him. So, I had to go cream colored.
What was your family’s reaction in the end?
They pretty much accept every weird freaking thing I do. They know me better than anyone. They helped mold me into who I am. Nothing seems to surprise them anymore. I know a lot of them were a little suspicious of Chris being with someone so young, but he’s family now.
How did you get into gaming?
I have been playing video games my entire life. Coleko, Commodore 64, PC, Nintendo, Playstation, X-box. I have literally wasted probably years of my life playing. [Laughs.]
Why do you think it’s something girls tend to not be as drawn to as boys?
I don’t know. I have two brothers, and my mom is the only girl out of eight brothers, so I guess I was pretty much raised as a boy myself. Girls seem to want the attention on themselves instead of their man being into a video game. Also, it’s the type of game being played. Men like shooting games, while women tend to enjoy games with questing.
How did you make the decision to do Playboy—was that a tough one or obvious as soon as they called?
The second they asked was the second the word “yes” formed on my lips. Some of my favorite models growing up—the cream of the crop—have posed for them. I felt I was following in the footsteps of many great women, especially knowing I was being given the cover both times. Playboy is amazing, especially celebrity spreads, because you get a say in it. Both my shoots looked very Italian Vogue and Steven Wayda is one of the best photographers that has ever lived. Both my Playboy shoots are easily my favorite shoots of all time. My second spread, especially. We did a kind of Stanley Kubrick “Eyes Wide Shut” theme. It was bloody brilliant.
What’s the best piece of life advice anyone’s ever given you?
To never change who I am. Who we are is all we have at the end of the day—why waste your time and efforts depicting yourself as someone you’re not?
If you hadn’t auditioned for “ANTM,” what do you think your life would like now?
Probably not somewhere I would want it to be. I auditioned on “Top Model” after being clean off drugs for months after many years of abuse. There are too many old haunts and bad triggers for me back home. Everyone thought I would go somewhere, that my personality was made for TV. I have a feeling that had I not made it on “Top Model,” I would have found a different avenue to get where I am. I am incredibly assertive when it comes to what I want out of life.
Where do you see yourself and Christopher in five years?
Well, that would be our 10 year anniversary. If we haven’t destroyed one another by then, I fully expect to go on a huge vacation to celebrate what the world said could never happen. Hell, we might as well do that this year, since no one said we would stay together for more than six months! I hope we are happier and more content than we are today. What more could one ask for?