Before sitting down with reality TV star Kendra Wilkinson at Macy’s on State Street Tuesday to discuss her book, “Being Kendra: Cribs, Cocktails, And Getting My Sexy Back,” I was given three instructions so that her camera crew could film the interview: Sign a waiver, pose for a camera phone photo and wear a microphone.
I don’t love being on camera, but I agreed anyway. I knew it couldn’t be any more uncomfortable than the time I was filmed sitting on a hotel bed interviewing the bikini-wearing stars of VH1’s “Megan Wants a Millionaire.” (The latter scenario might sound great, but in reality I was trying so hard to look cool and relaxed that it probably had the opposite effect.)
Unlike me, Wilkinson knows what she’s doing in front of a camera. She filmed five seasons of “The Girls Next Door” with Holly Madison and Bridget Marquardt (all three of whom were dating Playboy founder Hugh Hefner at the time), and she’s now in her fourth season of its spin-off, E!’s “Kendra.” If it were up to Wilkinson, her current show would last five seasons — at least.
“I want to go as long as ‘Girls Next Door’ did,” Wilkinson said as her crew filmed us in a Macy’s conference room. “And if I beat that, trust me, whew, I would celebrate. … ‘Girls Next Door’ was the three of us. It was more of a group thing. This time around, I could say I held my own show for over five seasons. That’s a huge accomplishment.”
While some might question how much talent it takes to carry a reality TV series, it should be noted that most celeb-starring reality shows don’t last as long as “Kendra” has. Paris Hilton’s “The World According to Paris,” Audrina Patridge’s “Audrina” and Roseanne Barr’s “Roseanne’s Nuts” were cancelled after one season this year.
In her new book, the 26-year-old Wilkinson admits to planning out storylines with E! before each season. She claims those plans, however, always go out the window once it comes time to film.
“We never ever stick with a plan,” Wilkinson said. “How do you plan for a baby? How do you plan for (a pro football roster move)? We weren’t planning on the (Philadelphia) Eagles waiving Hank. These things happen naturally.”
“Hank” is Wilkinson’s husband: Former NFL wide receiver Hank Baskett. The show revolves around Wilkinson, Baskett and their son, Hank Baskett IV. Her book contains the same T.M.I. humor as her show, but also sheds light on her postpartum depression and the two fights that she claimed nearly ended her marriage. “I needed to share those (fights),” Wilkinson said. “I didn’t want to look perfect.”
Wilkinson said the lines for “Being Kendra” book signings have been longer than they were for her 2010 book “Sliding into Home.” Macy’s said about 150 people lined up for Tuesday’s signing.
“People are like, ‘Thank you for helping me get my sexy back,’ or, ‘I thought I was the only person who eats my breakfast in the shower,’” Wilkinson said of the feedback. “They’re coming (to the signings) with their babies. I’m like Santa Claus this time around.”