When Kelly Le Brock divorced her husband of nearly 10 years, action star Steven Seagal, she left Hollywood behind with no intentions of returning. But when the former couple’s daughter Arissa decided to chronicle her modeling career for a new reality show, Le Brock chose to appear in front of cameras again.
“I must have been drunk,” the actress joked to Fox News. “[But] I did it for my girl… This has actually been really great for [us] to do. It has brought us closer… You would think reality TV is all about knocking people down and drama. But I’ve actually really enjoyed watching Arissa go from the beginning of filming to the end and how much more confident she came out of it. And it’s actually like a documentary of our lives.”
The mother-daughter duo are starring on Lifetime’s “Growing Up Supermodel,” which follows the children of celebrities, such as Ricky Schroder, as they attempt to pursue the fashion world. It documents Arissa’s journey in becoming a plus-size model, a goal Le Brock insisted she’s been wanting to achieve for a long time.
The 57-year-old, who first found fame as a model, isn’t worried her 24-year-old daughter will endure the same challenges she faced.
“Arissa hasn’t taken any nonsense from anybody — any nasty people, casting couches, people taking advantage of her,” said Le Brock. “I was so taken advantaged of because I was so ill-prepared for the world.
"She’s very upfront and she’s not going to let anyone mess around with her, whereas I was so freaking demure and shy. I allowed all sorts of atrocities happen. You know, the typical strange photographers doing not nice things. But my girl is not that girl. I think the way I raised her has been really great. I think she’s not going to have the pitfalls I had.”
Le Brock’s unwanted encounters as a model was one of several reasons she wanted to escape the spotlight. She raised her three children with Seagal “up in the mountains, in the middle of nowhere” above Santa Barbara surrounded by lions, bears and rattlesnakes.
The family had no television and instead, learned to track animals and befriended local cowboys and fishermen. Le Brock, who once lived next to Gracie Mansion in New York and grew up in a boarding school from age 5-15 before modeling by 16, loves her life on a secluded farm.
“Let’s just say my hands are rougher than some of my dates, and I have to hide them,” said Le Brock. “I always have my hands in dirt. I’m [tending to] my animals, my goats, my horses. I save all my peelings and leftovers and give it to the chickens… I chase cows and goats out of my garden… I was growing my own vegetables… I have a really good life.”
Le Brock, who’s still recognized as an ‘80s sex symbol thanks to her titillating film roles, such as 1984’s “The Woman in Red” and 1985’s “Weird Science,” doesn’t regret packing her bags to live a more private life on a ranch.
“It’s wonderful, just to be able to breath the air, go outside, and have nobody around,” she explained. “It’s very healing to be in the environment, especially when you’ve had the eyes of the public all over you. It’s really bizarre to be a sex symbol... I had to learn how to cope with fame… I don’t think I coped very well actually when I started. I had panic attacks, not feeling I was good enough.”
However, Le Brock does have some fond memories from her time in Hollywood. One of them involves working opposite Gene Wilder in “The Woman in Red,” her first film. She said it was comical filming their sex scene.
“... I’m actually eating a sandwich [during the scene]. A grilled cheese sandwich. That’s sexy to someone my age!”
The famous dance scene when her dress goes flying, she revealed that wasn’t as easy to shoot.
“That scene took for-freaking-ever,” recalled Le Brock. “They tried all kinds of things to get the skirt to go up. Everyone was so freaking tense and nervous because it was a very important scene... You had to get the right angle. And my heels kept falling into the grate, so I had to dance on my tippy toes… It was a crazy thing, to be dancing in front of no one, but in reality you were going to have millions of people watching you.”
Le Brock added, “I wish I still had the same ass.”
When Wilder died in 2016 at age 83 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease, his former co-star was devastated.
“I loved the man,” she said. “I didn’t realized how much I loved him until he passed on. We had emailed a few times and then I saw him on an airplane a year before he died. But when he died, I cried for three to four days. He was my father in film. He guided me through my first film. It was such an extraordinary experience to work with him.”
Now that Le Brock is in front of cameras again, she hasn’t completely ruled out the possibility of acting for a new movie. She insisted it would have to involve a noteworthy script worth bringing to life with a special director. But one thing she won’t be doing anytime soon is publishing her long-awaited memoir.
“I’ve [already] written one and it’s 28 chapters,” said Le Brock. “But it’s so honest and I have a lot of names in there that it’s just not going to be published. I had a deal with a big publishing company, but I gave them their money back… Maybe when I die the kids will publish it, but I think while I’m alive, if I want to stay alive, it’s best I don’t!”
"Growing Up Supermodel" airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.