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"Baywatch" Alum Gena Lee Nolin on Life in the Valley

Her favorite locales, restaurants, and the place she loves to take visitors.

Valley resident Gena Lee Nolin is multitalented. She’s an actress known for her television appearances on “The Price is Right,” “Baywatch” (Neely) and “Sheena” (Sheena); a model; and an author (“Beautiful Inside and Out—Conquering Thyroid Disease with a Healthy Happy ‘Thyroid Sexy’ Life”)—as well as a wife and mom. 

Here, she shares her summer tips, her favorite Valley spots, and what she’s doing now.

As a cast member on “Baywatch,” you spent a lot of time at the beach. Any summer tips you picked up?

I never go in the sun without my Neutrogena face and body SPF. Also, wear a big beach hat— it’s stylish and keeps your face protected. Always carry breath mints—you never know when you'll have to save a life.

Are you excited for this summer’s “Baywatch” movie?

I'm excited they finally got it made. It's been a long journey, with several different writers, tweaking the story, direction and finding the right comedic director. The A-list cast was definitely a game-changer—Steven Spielberg knows what he wants and gets it. I'm honored to be a part of something so iconic. The red suit lives on!

How involved were you with the movie?

I feel like my character, played by Priyanka Chopra, was perfection! She portrayed Neely Capshaw as the ultimate bad girl with a twist of honey. She’s smart, mysterious, and oh so bad!

Gena Lee Nolin
"I have a quirky, fun side most people don't see. I love making uptight people laugh." (©Phyllis Lane)

What do you miss most about playing Neely?

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I miss the ability to play an absolute b*tch, and get paid for doing it! I remember the producers sending me home with movies to illustrate what they wanted from Neely. I was absolutely terrified, because all I wanted to do was sew curtains for my apartment and order takeout. That's a tad far from bad.

What are you up to now?

I've been hosting, which I love. I'm also reading comedy scripts. I have a quirky, fun side most people don't see. I love making uptight people laugh. I think it's hilarious to say something inappropriate for a priceless reaction. Life is far too short not to laugh!

You are an advocate for thyroid health. Why is this so important to you?    

My thyroid advocacy is something near and dear to me. I wrote a book, "Beautiful Inside & Out," in which I share my lifelong journey with Hashimoto's disease. It's important that I help others who are struggling by sharing the knowledge that I've already acquired. My Thyroid Sexy Facebook page is a great way for men and women around the world to get help and support.

What do you love most about living in the Valley?

I love that I can be in L.A. in an hour, and I love the incredible restaurants and this weather. And, my kids go to amazing schools and have quality friends here. There's a sense of community with other families through sports and activities that I love. This will always be home base for us!

Any favorite spots?

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is number one for its seasonal festivities. That's also where I workout and enjoy the Well & Being Spa. I love Maureen Rischard, RN at www.maureenrischardaesthetics.com. She's the best in the Valley and the only one I trust. She gets us ladies camera-ready! If I'm not at either of those places, you'll see me hiking Pinnacle Peak.

How about restaurants?

I'm vegan so I can eat almost anywhere, but my favorites would be Kale & Clover, Flower Child and True Food Kitchen.
All home runs!

Where’s one place you always like to take people when they visit you?

I think the most beautiful place to take our out-of-town-guests for dinner is Sanctuary Camelback Mountain. The views, the food and the rooms are one-of-a-kind.  

Gena Lee Nolin
"I'm vegan so I can eat almost anywhere, but my favorites would be Kale & Clover, Flower Child and True Food Kitchen." (©Phyllis Lane)