Heads, as they always do, turn when Pamela Anderson enters the room. Wearing a flirty Dolce & Gabbana polka dot dress and black Louis Vuitton pumps, the former Baywatch actress looks every inch the Hollywood star on holiday as she strolls into the lounge at the Sofitel in Marseille and settles at a table overlooking the old port city. But Anderson, who turned 50 last summer, actually lives just 15 minutes away, where she shares a home with her new boyfriend, French soccer star Adil Rami, 32.
Yes, that’s right, the onetime poster girl for Malibu (and red swimsuits) has decamped to the South of France, where for the past year or so she has transformed herself into a bombshell Zelig, forming an unlikely, even surreal network of friendships with a shocking range of influential — and sometimes infamous — world figures. If politics makes for strange bedfellows, Anderson is running an orgy. She’s become pals with everyone from GOP billionaire activist Sheldon Adelson (an old Malibu neighbor) to Bill Clinton (they partied together at the Vienna AIDS Ball) to kosher sex guru and former congressional candidate Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (they wrote a book; see page 94) and a slew of other movers and shakers from various corners of international culture (punk designer Vivienne Westwood, pop artist Jeff Koons). As a political figure in her own right — championing animal rights — she’s been invited to speak her mind at venues ranging from Oxford University (where she talked about veganism) to the Kremlin (where she spoke about Siberian tigers) to the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok (she gave a speech about endangered species).