Carmen Electra is no stranger to airing dirty laundry on television — she did, after all, let MTV chronicle her march to the altar with Dave Navarro 12 years ago on “Til Death Do Us Part” — so she’s the perfect host for “Ex Isle,” which takes couples in toxic relationships to the Caribbean for some couples therapy — all with the aim of getting them to split up for good.
How did they first explain this to you?
Basically the concept of this show was, “We’re bringing these five couples to a remote island, you’re going to be the host of it, we’re bringing in a professional psychiatrist. These couples are basically in very unhealthy and co-dependent relationships, and they feel they need to figure out their issues on how to either move on or get things together.” Some people choose to work that stuff out on television. I mean, I chose to get married on TV.
Usually with reality shows the goal isn’t to break people up.
I had to deliver quite a lot of bad news, I have to say. There were moments when people had breakdowns, fights. And there were moments where there was crying because of happiness, because of learning. I know some people came out of it heartbroken and some came out stronger. I can definitely see a little bit of myself in a lot of these couples. I was getting upset about the way that certain people were getting treated, but I had to remain kind of like a viewer from the outside. I definitely shared lots of my personal experiences with them, but when it came down to business, it was Dr. Ish. He definitely broke them down and turned things around.
It just sounds like such a strange environment for that.
We had rules for them. There was no cell phones, no communication with your family or friends. They were basically put on this island without all of those things to fall back on. No texting, nothing. Basically just going out there for three weeks to the Dominican Republic in this beautiful mansion. It’s exile. It’s dramatic.
And then there’s the twist in the middle.
Right. At one point we had a huge surprise for them — we brought in all of these singles, and they were cheering and so excited, and then some of them started to go, “Wait a minute, you’re a little bit too excited about this.” There was some cheating and some openness to what went on, but … a lot goes on. (laughs) A whole lot.
Is this the kind of situation you would recommend for anyone you know?
I’m not against therapy in any way, at all. Sometimes you need a third person, and a lot of times you can’t see your own behavior or your own co-dependencies. What I always say is life’s too short and everyone deserves to be happy, so do what it takes and figure it out, get to that place however you can.
Even if that means going on a TV show in the Dominican Republic?
Even if it means exposing all your baggage to everybody in a public way — which I’ve done! So who am I to judge?
The mansion looked pretty nice, but were there any not-so-pleasant experiences while filming?
I had a spider crawl up my dress. It was a huge tarantula. It was the biggest spider I’d ever seen in my life. I didn’t know that the Dominican is very famous for their spiders, and spiders are my phobia. I sat down at a table during one of the parties and was just talking to the contestants, and I literally felt something crawl up my leg. I look down, I lift up my skirt and I saw this big, black, furry thing on my thigh and literally screamed, jumped out of my chair. I was ripping off my dress, alcohol spilling everywhere. It was utter chaos.
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