Jetting off to a remote island with an ex may sound like your own personal nightmare, but it’s the premise behind Carmen Electra’s new show, Ex-Isle, which premieres tomorrow night. A lot has changed in the two decades since Electra became a household name. There are fewer male-gaze photo spreads for her and more opportunities, like Ex-Isle and So You Think You Can Dance, where she’s flexing her hosting muscle. The Cut talked to Electra about the importance of setting boundaries, cookies in bed, and how she noticed a change in her body overnight.
How I start my day: It depends. If I’m not working, mornings are not my friend. I take my time. I never turn off my TV, so I’ll watch a little TV and then turn on my phone. I turn off my phone at nights because you have to have boundaries. Sleep is very important, especially when you start working. I made it a rule that I have to drink two bottles of water before I start my day.
How I stay hydrated: I used to drink soda, but I don’t get any caffeine any more. It’s been my New Year’s resolution [to drink water] for like seven years. Finally when I started dancing again and working on music, I noticed that I was dehydrated from being so active and consistently sweating. I started drinking water and noticed a change in my body overnight. It’s easier for me now to keep the weight off, whereas before, it was more of a struggle. Before I had to be perfectly healthy when I was drinking soda to lose weight. My skin is completely different because it’s not as dehydrated. Water has changed my life.
How I like to sweat: I don’t go to the gym every day. Usually when I’m on break, I’ve already danced a lot so I’m okay for a while. Sometimes I work out at my house. I’ll do some lunges, something simple like that. Otherwise I’ll go to the gym. I’ve only had one trainer in my life, and I realized that because of my dance background, I already have discipline and I don’t need to be pushed. I think I’ve saved a lot of money too. As a dancer, I’ve never put strict rules on my workout habits and sometimes I just want to go to the gym and do something light.
What wellness means to me: It’s a lifestyle. I can’t say that I’m 100 percent perfect. My doctors always tell me I have vitamin deficiencies. It’s hard to be consistent with taking vitamins, that’s the honest truth. Wellness is about finding your balance, it’s not what someone tells you.
How wellness has changed for me: I’m not a balanced person and I still search for that kind of balance with everything that I do. I’m really extreme, even when it comes to working and my personal life. If I’m in a relationship I’m 100 percent in that and will slack on my career. And there’s also the opposite. If I’m 100 percent into my career, then I won’t take the time to put into a relationship. Balance, balance, balance is what I’m trying to figure out in all aspects of my life.
My wellness shortcut is: I listen to my body. There have been times in my life where I’ve pushed myself so hard to do everything, and I had to learn how to say no. It’s important in dating to say no, in your daily life, and with your friends. I think boundaries are really healthy. When you feel guilty about having boundaries in your life, that’s a problem. People don’t respond to boundaries well; they think that you’re being selfish. But if you’re not taking care of yourself, then you can’t take care of anyone else. As a woman I know it’s hard to be heard. I want people to understand that when I say no, it’s not because I don’t love you. That’s been a huge misconception with me. If I’m not constantly available or constantly co-dependent with someone, they feel like I’m being selfish or that I’m rejecting them and that’s not the case at all. I’ve gone through so much, maybe I can be a self-help person. Sometimes I know the answers for everyone else but can’t help myself.
How I eat when I’m alone: Especially if I’m not in a relationship and sleeping by myself, or if I’m on the road, I resort to food. I love my sweets: cookies and baked goods in bed. There’s something about it that’s really comforting. It’s sounds too good for me because I have such a bad-girl image — and I still have a wild side — but I’ve just learned to think a little bit before I act out.
My wellness advice is: Stop worrying so much, things usually work out. I used to worry myself so much where I didn’t sleep or I didn’t take care of myself, but when I looked back it was meaningless. I look back and think about things that I’ve missed, being happy because I was so worried about something silly. I don’t want to look back at things with regrets.
The interview has been edited and condensed.