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August 05, 2006 04:00pm
Jenna Gets Waxed!
Source: Courtesy of Tod Hunter
by: Tod Hunter

Tod Hunter's Random Notes From a Red Notebook: Jenna Gets Waxed in Las Vegas

I'm getting used to the drive to Las Vegas. The lull of the sound of the tires on the road, the dopey commercials on the Highway Stations (at least they re-recorded that Tanya Roberts timeshare ad so it doesn't sound like she's on the phone and she doesn't refer to "seeing the Stones last week")... There's a new wrinkle in the late afternoon I'm not so fond of: at the top of the Baker Grade I leveled out and got an blinding eyeful of the setting sun from all three rear-view mirrors, and only one has that little flip-up thingee and it didn't help much. I was never so glad to take that descent into Nevada in my life... The road to the parking behind the Treasure Island is clogged with white production trucks. Usually I'm happy to see production trucks, because they mean that people are getting work and not going elsewhere to make movies and TV shows. This is different. This is Las Vegas. This is people going elsewhere to make movies and TV shows. Oddly, I fall into the reaction so many of my friends have when they see production trucks: Screw you, get outta here, you're in my way... When I go in, they seem to be shooting in the Mystère theater, and the gear has big Universal logos so it could be CSI: they're shooting... Lotta self-important junior-executive types with Crew lanyards walking around so it's a hit TV show or a big-budget movie, whatever it is... Back at my hotel, I have a small setback at the craps tables. I set down $100 so I can play $50, the stack of chips seems a little small, but I set down a $3 bet on the pass line, shooter rolls, point is 10, I put down a $5 bet and the dealer pushes it back to me. I look at the chips and realize that I have put $15 on the pass line and tried to back it up with a $1 bet. And the point is 10. I back it up with $5 and lose when a seven comes up a moment or so later. But at least I learned a lesson about looking at the chips.

Tuesday dawns and I head off to Madame Tussauds for the unveiling... In the Venetian casino, the industry-hangout Oculus Bar is shrouded in curtains, making it difficult to navigate without the familiar landmark... Stevie Wonder is singing that you can feel it all over... There's a large poker room by Lutèce now... Just think, if you win enough, you can eat there... I step outside and hear Michael Crawford bleating Music of the Night, as if the 17 kazillion signs saying Phantom the Las Vegas Spectacular didn't make the point that there's a new show at the hotel...

As I ride down the moving sidewalk I find myself facing a scowling Simon Cowell with a clipboard... The press lady at the front cheerily waves me in even though she can't find my name on the list... I take an escalator up and find myself face to face with cut-out cardboard paparazzi and their flashing cameras... One more escalator and I'm in the Museum proper, looking at a life-size figure of a grim-faced Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is shorter than I thought... The place where Jenna is to be unveiled is covered by a red velvet curtain, with a mirrored disco ball in front... Playboy TV is here already... Tourists wander through, unaware that there's going to be an event... Around the side of the curtain I can see that there's a statue of Hugh Hefner near Jenna... I see a man to my right, big grin, hand out to shake, he seems to recognize me, I make eye contact, I recognize him, it's AL Roker, he's made of wax, no rush, we can talk later... Johnny Depp in full Captain Jack regalia. I think I saw this guy in Anaheim recently... Another wax figure looks familiar. Gérard Depardieu... Another camera crew... A Madame Tussauds rep sees me taking notes, asks if I'm with the press, I tell him I am, and a minute or two later I'm all set up with press kit and name tag for entrée into the luncheon. That's the way to do it... A whiny lady with an east coast accent starts to complain about things. It's too cold. She doesn't like the music. I wonder why she's here, but I'm afraid to ask. She has a tattoo of a green moon shrouded by ivy on her shoulder... The local ABC station camera crew appears. I wonder if Disney knows about this. Or cares... A familiar face, photographer Scott St. James. He lives here now, and does a radio show about poker on Sirius radio... A sizeable crowd has gathered, and some of them have climbed up on a platform with Sammy Davis, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin... A Madame Tussauds rep steps through the curtain, does a double-take at the size of the crowd...

The unveiling begins. Madame Tussauds general manager Adrian Jones points out that there was an interest in a Jenna figure from guest surveys, and describes her as meeting three criteria: She's famous, she's from Las Vegas, and she is a successful businesswoman, a meme that has been turning up every time Jenna's name has been mentioned lately. He also pronounces the name of the place "Madame Too-sahds," which may be correct but sounds a little precious when I try it later... "She's been fantastic with the process," Jones continues, and adds that she was very cooperative with helping them find the right skin tones, hair colour, and replicating her tattoos. Jenna also recorded a voice track for the figure, which will speak when you touch the tattoo on her ankle... The curtain opens, and Jenna is sitting next to the figure on a fur-covered bed. Jenna is in a white and red dress, the figure is clad only in a leather belt, her arms coquettishly covering her breasts. Jenna poses with the figure as flashbulbs go off. "You look beautiful, Jenna," a voice cries from the crowd.

"Thanks, Mike," Jenna replies.

After posing with the figure, Jenna moves off the bed for some solo shots. The face of the wax figure looks petulant as the focus of attention moves away from her. Don't worry, honey, she'll leave in a few minutes and you can have the place all to yourself, you and Hef over there... Jenna leaves, many of the tourists and several of the press stick around for uncrowded shots. A woman offers to take my picture with the figure, but I can't figure out how to pose, so I decline... The Playboy crew decides to take the picture of Jenna, then whip-pan over to Hef. Sounds good... I crawl onto the bed, poke the ankle tattoo with my finger. No voice, it must not be turned on.

I walk through the museum proper for a luncheon in the Spirit of America room, surrounded by figures of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and Princess Diana (!) among others... The Princess Diana figure is wearing a red suit the same shade as Elton John a few floors above... There's a woman here who looks like Carly, but her name tag says Kelly... Jenna talks with a reporter from Strip Las Vegas magazine, a diamond the size of an ashtray glittering on her right hand... The food is good, cheese tortellini in pesto and a chicken-and-artichoke hearts thing. Plus salad and a ton of soft drinks... In a corner, a woman is busily uploading pictures on a 17" PowerBook... Adrian Jones gets everybody's attention: To thank Jenna for all her help, he gives her, her husband Jay and her assistant small boxed gifts. Jenna poses with members of the Madame Tussauds staff, and I take the chance to talk with her after that.

After catching up (we last spoke a couple of years ago) she says she's been busy doing due diligence with the Playboy deal, and she's looking forward to working again. ClubJenna has been in production, though, and they plan to release six movies in one month very soon. "I'm gonna work my contract girls like dogs," she grins.

She also is prepping a new mainstream movie based on the story of her life, "But I'm not going to say who it's with until it's signed in blood." if you said the name of the studio, would I recognize it? "Oh yeah." Big smile.

I noticed that when you're described nowadays, the words "successful businesswoman" are used. Is this deliberate?

"Absolutely. You can't be the number-one porn star forever. I'm paving the road for other girls. Nobody ever did a deal like this before. I just finished my second season of the Playboy show ­ Jenna's American sex Star ­ and there doesn't seem to be any limit for this. It just keeps getting better and there's no sign of stopping. I'm 32, and I'm better than ever."

And she does look good.

I ask her to sign my copy of How To Make Love Like a Porn Star ("At base, I'm still a fan," I tell her. It's true.) and whammo her assistant is right there with a silver pen for the black title page. That's impressive. She made her exit a few minutes later, and the party broke up soon after that.

On the way out, I stopped to get my shoes shined, and struck up a conversation with an elegant man in the next chair. Upper-class British accent, perfect suit, tie, textured cordovan leather shoes. He's in town for a shoe convention (the shoes were made from ostrich leg leather), and was quite impressed that Jenna was here. In fact, if she were still here, he probably would have hopped out of the chair and gone straight to Madame Tussauds, shoes half shined.

I hang around Vegas and decide to spend another night here. The Lovely Mrs. Hunter scares up a reservation at Harrahs but the date gets screwed up. I tell the clerk that I was in town for Jenna's unveiling ­ and he tries to fix things, but he can't scare me up a room at the same price for tonight. An Sos call to home base and the Lovely Mrs. Hunter then books me at Treasure Island. When I check in, in casual conversation with the clerk, I mention that I was in town to see Jenna's unveiling. (Hey, it worked once.) the clerk is very interested, asks a few questions about what it was like, and I show her the picture of wax-Jenna-and-real-Jenna in my camera. I wind up getting a 25th floor room, with a view of the pirate battle.

There's a lesson here: Never underestimate the Power of Jenna, and be sure to use the Power for good, never for evil.

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