WATCH: 'Pamela, A Love Story' Director Ryan White on Star's Connection to Queer Fans: "I think she finds a safety with LGBTQ people"

Director Ryan White is known for some of the most intriguing documentaries and docuseries. He co-directed the acclaimed 2014 documentary The Case Against 8, which put the spotlight on the case to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage. The documentary went on to earn two Emmy nominations. White also directed the true-crime Netflix docuseries The Keepers as well as feature documentaries Ask Dr. Ruth, Assassins and his most recent feature Good Night Oppy received praise and was an awards season contender.

That said, how does Pamela, A Love Story, the Netflix documentary about the titular cultural icon Pamela Anderson, fit into White’s cinematic repertoire? In a recent interview with GLAAD’s Anthony Allen Ramos, White admitted he doesn’t typically pursue mega-celebrity docus because it isn’t really something that interested him as a filmmaker.

“With Pamela, even though I loved her as a teenager, I didn't think a lot about her over the last 20 years and so my image of Pamela came with a lot of preconceived notions and a lot of them were probably unfair,” White admitted.

The director said they started making the doc before Hulu’s Pam & Tommy, a series that focused on the infamous leaked sex tape in 1995 with Anderson and her husband at the time, Motley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee.  (Anderson did not have any involvement in the Hulu series.)

It wasn’t until White read her memoir that made him want to make the documentary. “It really unraveled a lot of those preconceived notions [about Anderson] about everything in her life – but especially about the stolen tape.”

Through intimate and honest interviews with Anderson as well as personal journals and videos, Pamela, A Love Story, follows the trajectory of Pamela Anderson’s career from small town girl to Playboy model, actress and international sex symbol. She also has a huge gay following – and White said that he doesn’t necessarily have the scientific data to back it up, but he does have a ton of social media responses from gay men of a certain age who are fans of Anderson.

“I'm born in 1981, which I believe is the perfect target [age] for Pamela Anderson because I'm was a teenager and coming of age in the nineties [which] was the height of her fame,” said White. ”She was our Marilyn Monroe… she was our Kardashian or whoever the ‘It girl’ is. She dominated everything because there just wasn't the proliferation of media back then in the way that there is now."

White goes on to say that Anderson’s beautiful, larger-than-life, free spirit presence in the ‘90s was appealing to gay audiences. The film strips away the aesthetics from Anderson’s life and gives a very raw look at her life – which also appeals to queer audiences.



When White met with Anderson’s son Brandon Lee, he felt that a lot of the subtext of the meeting was that they were looking for a gay man to direct the film -- not because of tokenism, but because of a certain amount of trust and empathy. Lee said that White and his mom would get along because White was apprehensive about boarding a movie about a celebrity.

“The moment I met Pamela, we had a rapport and the last two years have been like that,” said White. “She's just very interested in everyone's lives. She’s been surrounded by people her whole life. Her inner circle is very, very small. It's basically her family and a small circle of friends – and they're almost all gay. I think she finds a safety with LGBTQ people that maybe she hasn't with others in the past. I felt like that helped me and she would ask about those experiences and was very sensitive to them.”

“I'm sure there are a million different directors that could have made this film and made it in different ways and taken their own unique angles,” said White, adding that she is a very trusting person and once you're in her circle, you’re in. “I was lucky because I was sanctioned by her son… she really trusts her two sons more than anyone in the world. We didn't have to start from square one. We started from a very trusting place from the moment she met me.”

Pamela, a Love Story is available now on Netflix.