Tara Leigh Patrick was born on April 28, 1972
in Cincinnati, Ohio in a town called White Oak. Carmen is not her
real name as she choose to replace her birth name of Tara Leigh
Patrick when she met Prince in 1991. She got the name Carmen Electra
because Prince told her she looked like a Carmen and she chose Electra
for her last name after a Goddess.
Carmen is of Cherokee, Irish, and German decent which explains
her exotic skin colour. At the early age of 9, Carmen was chosen
for the School of Creative and Performing Arts. She began taking
singing lessons and by her teenage years, was coreographing and
performing musicals for the school's theatrical ensemble. She also
began rapping and said her goal was "to go to Los Angeles and
get a record deal."
In 1987, at the age of 15, Carmen decided to move to Minneapolis,
where her sister and half-sister lived. To begin with for some money,
Carmen did some modelling for Target department stores. She was
also known to be in Minneapolis during the 1990 filming of Prince's
movie, Graffiti Bridge. In 1991, Tara moved to Los Angeles, California,
changed her name to Carmen Electra, and met Prince. All of this
happened to the young lass in less than a week.
"I'd been there a week when I went to this club called Spice,
where I was approached by a woman who said she had this all-girl
band that Prince was producing, and I had the look they were after.
But what was really funny was that there was a Prince lookalike
at the club that night, and I thought she might have been talking
about him and it was all a joke. But it wasn't, thank God, because
the guy smelt really bad. I just thought, "If Prince smells
like this, I don't want to be in his group.
As a matter of fact, Prince smells heavenly. He's a very clean person
and he smells lovely.
So anyway, finally this blue BMW pulled up and Prince's brother
was driving. We ended up going to Prince's house in LA. And he was
really nice, but kind of quiet. Basically, I auditioned right there
in front of him at around 2 am. He played piano and I sang "Do
Re Mi" from The Sound Of Music. I was once in the The Sound
Of Music musical, so I knew the song. And then I danced.
Now, the whole time he's sitting there, he's just watching me with
no expression on his face. So there I am, dancing my butt off, doing
the Booty Shake and everything -- ha ha! -- and he still has no
expression, so I'm thinking, "He thinks I suck. I've gotta
take some more classes." So I go home and don't hear a thing
for two months."
"Then the woman called me and said she couldn't explain what
went wrong. So I got in touch with Prince's bodyguard because I'd
recorded some demos on my own that I wasn't really happy with and
I thought it would be great if Prince would help me out. I finally
got a phone call ages later, at around 4 am, and it was him. He
said, "I wrote you a song, If you like it, you can sing it."
It was called "Carmen On Top" and I loved it. The catch
was that I had to go to Minneapolis to record it. So I ended up
living there for two and a half years."
It has always been rumored that Carmen was just another one of
Prince's conquests whom he consequently gave a record deal. But
later Carmen put an end to these rumours by saying that even though
she had a huge crush on him, they kept the relationship strictly
"I had this mad crush on him, and every time we danced I'd
fantasise about him and what it would be like to be with him. But
he was my producer, not my lover. There was a chemistry when we
were together and I had a secret passion for him, but nothing happened.
I've never kissed him."
In 1992, soon after meeting and auditioning for Prince, she was
signed to his Paisley Park Records label. Prince took Carmen under
his wing, describing her as "this new girl out of Cincinnati."
Her first album coincided with her opening slot on the European
leg of Prince's Diamonds And Pearls Tour. She was promoted with
ads in Rolling Stone and on MTV. However large the hype, the success
wasn't there. The video for the single, "Go-Go Dancer",
shot in March 1992, received very little airplay on MTV, and only
the small Video Jukebox Network played the song.
A 12" single of "Go-Go Dancer" hit the stores in
June, but didn't sell well as no one was interested apart from a
couple of Prince fans who had the hardest time even finding the
album in shops. By that time, her album was finished, and promotional
advance cassette copies and bios were sent out for review purposes
to members of the press. However, it was all in vain. The album
was delayed, and it was decided that it needed additional tracks
and remixing before it was released. This wasn't Prince's decision,
as often has been thought, but actually Warner Bros. top executive
Benny Medina's. Medina had seen Carmen on some of the shows on the
Diamonds And Pearls Tour and hadn't liked what he'd seen. He then
approached Prince during a soundcheck and expressed his doubts about
Carmen's qualities. The album was finally released at a later date,
but did not meet expectations. It seemed Carmen Electra's career
had just gone the same way the careers of so many of Prince's other
protégé(e)s -- male and female -- had gone: down the
From 1993-1995, Carmen Electra was a forgotten name. Just another
pretty face with no talent was the public's feeling. Carmen's career
seemed to be on the rocks until she got a boost when she appeared
on the Nickelodeon show "All That", got a boob job, and
finally, being completly desperate, appearing nude in Playboy in
May of 1996.
That appearance led to her being included in the Playboy video,
Playboy Cheerleaders, in which she sings a song called "2-4-6-8".
Also in 1996, she co-hosted MTV's Loveline and occasionally appeared
as a dancer at Prince's Glam Slam clubs
Carmen's career was revived on October 4, 1996 when Lisa Berger,
MTV's senior vice president original programming and series development,
announced that Carmen would take over from Jenny McCarthy (also
a Playboy veteran) as Chris Hardwick's co-host on MTV's dating show
"Singled Out" starting February 10, 1997, for at least
Carmen joined Jenny on-air for one week in February as Jenny prepared
to depart to star in her own series on MTV, which also debuted in
Lisa Berger said "Singled Out has been an enormous success
for MTV, and we are thrilled to take it into its fourth season.
Chris' witty sense of humor matched with the sex appeal and outrageousness
of Jenny -- and then Carmen -- will make this the most exciting
season of the show yet. Carmen is a perfect fit for "Singled
Out" and exactly the type of personality the show needs for
Chris' new co-host. She's talented, sexy and smart and a welcome
addition to the show's cast."
Carmen Electra and her dancers, The Nightmare Creations, performed
during MTV's 6th annual Rock 'N Jock B-Ball Jam on October 26, 1996.
She also appeared as a presenter at the 7th annual Billboard Music
Awards held on December 4, 1996 at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas.
Carmen also starred in a comic book called Embrace, published by
London Night Studios. The first issue, "Kill Me Softly",
is now available in three versions:a regular one, an NC-17 one,
and a signed platinum limited edition.
In January 1997, the New York Daily News announced Carmen was going
to replace Pamela Lee on Baywatch. Carmen had occasionally appeared
on the spin-off Baywatch Nights, so the news wasn't too surprising.
In April 1997, the story was proved true and Carmen had been given
a five-year contract to replace Pamela's character on Baywatch.
Since this time, Carmen has appeared more often on the T.V., and
even the big screen. Her first movie was Good Buger, where she played
a small role. With the turn of the century passed Carmen has wasted
no time and has appeared in one of the bigger movies of 2000, Scary
Movie. She is also following suit in 2001 with her appearance in
"Dancing is my number one love. That was my first goal as
a child. I would love to do stage, maybe do Chicago. I love being
in front of an audience. It's so stimulating... I also love to barbecue."
"I was watching an HBO special the other night on real-life
maximum-security-prison guys. I glanced up, and my poster was in
quite a few cells. I was screaming 'Oh, no!'"
"I never had my own name on a bathing suit on Baywatch. I
was always given one that said Pamela or Yasmine. I earned my own
suit, at the end of the season, which I now have framed."
"I'm more attracted to a stronger man rather than a feminine
man. Someone who would just throw me down and take control. I love
feeling helpless. I definitely like a man who is aggressive and
"For some interesting reason, I also like a guy who has a
littte bit of a belly. I think that's really cute."
"People are surprised at how down-to-earth I am...I like to
stay home on Friday nights and listen to The Art of Happiness by
the Dalai Lama."
"Is there a rehab center for Coke drinkers? I drink six to
eight cans a day."
[on her engagement to rocker David M. Navarro]:
"We met on November 10th, so the 10th of every month we go
out to dinner and we make a big event out of it. We have this digital
camera that Miramax gave me during a movie. And we took pictures
all over -- we travel everywhere together. Usually I'm just the
girl and I bring out the camera, 'Baby, come on, lets look.' And
he's like [rolls eyes] 'Ok Babe' -- It's kinda boring to him. This
night he brought out the camera and we were looking at the pictures
together. And he was down on one knee the whole time and I wasn't
even aware of that, because he was on the edge of the bed. And the
very last picture was him holding up the ring. And then he proposed
to me. We cried -- I said 'Yes', and we spent five hours just staring
into each others eyes. It was really sweet. He's a good guy. Well,
maybe a little more than just staring..." -- Carmen on the
"Craig Kilborn Show".
"There's something about male strippers, it's a little corny
for me. Most of my girlfriends would rather have a lapdance by a
girl - I just think they're much sexier in that type of situation."