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November 22, 2017

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Q+A: Holly Madison talks ‘Vegas Diaries,’ second baby and catharsis


Erik Kabik/Retna for In Touch Weekly Magazine

Holly Madison, Pasquale Rotella and baby Rainbow Aurora, 1 week old, at their Las Vegas home as featured by In Touch Weekly Magazine in March 2013.

Holly Madison

Holly Madison Book Signing

Holly Madison smiles during a book signing to promote her new book Launch slideshow »

Holly Madison Rides the High Roller

Holly Madison rides the High Roller on Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, at the Linq Promenade. Launch slideshow »

Holly Madison and Rainbow at Animal Foundation Picnic

Holly Madison and daughter Rainbow Aurora Rotella attend the Animal Foundation’s Forever Home Family Picnic on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013, at Sunset Park in Las Vegas.

Launch slideshow »

Even in her seventh month of pregnancy, Holly Madison was busy promoting her new book “Vegas Diaries,” which reached No. 8 in this month’s The New York Times bestseller list. It’s her memoir of life in Las Vegas after leaving the luxurious Playboy Mansion as Hugh Hefner’s girlfriend.

Since arriving here, she experienced other escapades of being a single girl in Sin City, then married Electric Daisy Carnival founder Pasquale Rotella and became mother of their first daughter, Rainbow Aurora. Now she’s expecting the stork in August for a baby boy.

I had 10 questions for Holly as she arrived home to unpack after her cross-country promotion tour for the book, which included a stop here at home. Thanks to Richard Corey for his video of her appearance at Barnes & Noble:

How did the tour go? What was the fan reaction this time around?

The tour was amazing! I did two weeks of stops all over the country. It was great meeting new people and also seeing some of the same people who came out for my book tour last year.

What’s the difference between the two books?

“Vegas Diaries” is a natural sequel to “Down the Rabbit Hole,” but it’s not as straightforward. In “Down the Rabbit Hole,” there were very few identities I could change in part because my living situation was so specific, but also because I lived a lot of that story on TV.

Even though I had my own reality-TV series during the “Vegas Diaries” era, I lived a lot of my life off-screen, too, so I was able to disguise a lot of identities and even create composite characters in order to protect privacy. Besides that, both of the books are very honest, personal and reflective.

Was “Vegas Diaries” a cleansing of your past and more all about you, your life and adventures rather than other people?

Both books were about my choices, experiences, perceptions and lessons, but I think that is more obvious to readers in “Vegas Diaries” simply because I am able to disguise characters. In “Rabbit Hole,” people are sometimes so dazzled by other names in the book, they only take away the dirt and miss the reflective elements.

Was it a catharsis? Was it to get a weight off your shoulders by writing about the experiences?

Writing is definitely cathartic, but then I got stage fright right before this book came out. I was like, “Wait, this is too personal!”

What have people said about your strength after reading it?

Sometimes readers will mention strength as one of the themes of the stories, and of course I look back and wish that I was stronger at certain times in the past, but that is part of our journey and how we learn.

With a new baby set to arrive shortly, how do you feel physically, emotionally? What does Rainbow have to say about the stork’s delivery date of a new baby brother?

Rainbow is very excited to be getting a little brother! I fit my book tour in at the last minute. I have two more months to go, and I feel very slow and tired. This pregnancy is a lot harder than the first one!

I think staying onstage for the first five months of my last pregnancy really set the tone for my physical fitness. This time around, I was sitting at my computer in edits for the first five months.

What’s the status of more children? And more books?

I would love to write more books. I have a fiction series in mind, as well as an idea for another nonfiction, so we’ll see what comes first.

My husband and I would love more kids, but we are going to take it slow, too. I loved having 3 1/2 years to get to know Rainbow before adding another one to the mix.

Are you in a great state currently? Happiest ever? What has marriage and being mommy given you?

I am definitely happier than ever now because I feel like I have a balance between a professional life and a personal life. I finally give myself a weekend now so I can spend uninterrupted time with my family.

I had fun back in my workaholic days, too, though, and I am really glad I had that time in my life when I was single in Las Vegas, just working on me and my career, because it’s important to have a solid sense of who you are before settling down.

Look back at everything for a moment: The journey from a tiny town in Oregon to life at the Playboy Mansion with Hef and now married life in Las Vegas. What does it all tell you?

When I look back at all the different phases in my life, it makes me happy even though some were better than others. We are only here once, and I want to live life to the fullest. I read a quote from Gypsy Rose Lee once that made an impression on me. “I’ve had three wonderful lives,” she said near the end of her life. When I heard that, I thought, “I want to live three wonderful lives, too! Or more!”

You found fame on a reality-TV show. A lot of young girls now dream of Hollywood stardom by getting on a reality-TV show. Some words of advice for them?

Reality-TV shows can be a blessing and a curse. When people ask me if they should do them, I say it depends entirely on the concept. I have been really lucky with my experiences, minus a few minor bumps in the road, but lately I’ve been turning down a different offer every month because there is a lot of reality TV out there that isn’t positive or empowering in any way.

My new motto is, “I don’t need the money, and I don’t need the drama.” Reality TV doesn’t have the impact it did 10 years ago anyway, so my advice to young women is be very selective.

* * *

We’ll check in with Holly in early August as the new baby is about to arrive. In the meantime, we wish her family all the best as she continues brightening the lights of Las Vegas. The Electric Daisy Carnival is at Las Vegas Motor Speedway from June 17-19.

Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” fame has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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