Currently, she's the co-host of "IFL Battleground" on MyNetwork, but most guys with an eye toward beauty will likely first recognize Tiffany Fallon from her pictorials in Playboy, her position as 2005 Playmate of the Year and her appearances on E!'s "The Girls Next Door." Fallon's never been one to rest on her laurels, though; she's also been guesting on "The Lance Krall Show" as well as appearing on a CMT series with either the best or worst name ever. (We can't decide which.) We had a chance to talk with Fallon recently, where we discussed all of these topics, in addition to veering into conversation about her husband, her appearance in a Toby Keith video and the fact that she attended a very special camp when she was a kid. And, by the way, if anyone has any pictures of Ms. Fallon from that era, we'd really, really love to see them. She says they've all been destroyed, but we don't believe her for a second.
Tiffany Fallon: Will?
TF: This is Tiffany Fallon.
TF: Is this an OK time to call?
BE: Yeah, absolutely.
TF: Oh, good!
BE: So, how are you?
TF: I'm great! I'm sitting in front of a plate of chicken wings right now; I couldn't be better.
BE: I would say not. Well, first of all, may I say that you've helped redeem the last name of Fallon for all the damage that Jimmy's done to it.
TF: Well, gosh! That's the first time anybody's ever said that! Thank you! The night is still young, and I'm in New York, so who knows what could happen?
BE: True. Now, to be fair, given how bad a movie "Taxi" was, the bar was set pretty low.
TF: That's true. You know, I always get asked, "Are you related?"
BE: Well, I was torn between just asking that outright, but I figured this put at least a slightly more creative spin on it.
TF: No, I love it, because I always get the latter!
BE: Well, I know you've got a new gig that you want to discuss, but for those who might not recognize your name, we should probably start off by mentioning that you were Playboy's Playmate of the Year for 2005.
TF: I was. And still am. I guess it's like a Miss America title -- you've always still got it.
BE: And, to date, you're the second-oldest Playmate in the history of the field.
TF: I am. Thank God I'm not the oldest.
BE: Who is the oldest, by the way?
TF: (cheerily) Kathy Shower, 1986! She was 30 (hesitates) OK, I think she was 34, but don't quote me on that. I just know that I'm the second-oldest.
BE: Well, I'll quote you on it, but then I'll confirm if you're right or not.
TF: (laughs) OK! (Writer's note: Tiffany was very, very close, but, in fact, Shower was actually 33.)
BE: Now, do you get a silver medal for being the second-oldest?
TF: No, but, even better, I got a Corvette and a big whopping check.
BE: Is it wrong to presume that some of the younger models view someone who's over 30 as being over the hill?
TF: I would think that, yeah, they'd probably think so. I did, when I was in my late teens and early 20s. But, you know, I never could've shot for Playboy in my early 20s. I just wasn't in that place; I wasn't comfortable in my own skin, and I wouldn't have been comfortable with people seeing me in my own skin. I think it was just better for me to have a lot of life experience before shedding my clothes, let's just say that.
BE: And, of course, you had plenty of life experience before that: you'd won Miss Georgia, then went on to represent Georgia in the Miss USA pageant.
TF: I did! I was second runner up in Miss USA. I lost to Texas.
BE: Well, if you've gotta lose to someone…
TF: I know, right? There was a blonde, an African-American and then me. I'm thinking they thought I was, like, Puerto-Rican or something. It was very politically correct.
BE: So what happened to lead you from the pageant circuit to trying nude modeling? Was it a gradual process? Did you slowly disrobe?
TF: (laughs) Nude modeling makes it sound so bad. It sounds like bad behavior. You know what? I'd been a cheerleader for the Atlanta Falcons the year we went to the Super Bowl, I'd been at Miss USA, I'd done commercials, I did a show for TBS called "The Man Made Movie," and I'd just come full circle in my area, which was the Southeast. And I just thought, "If I do another steak-house commercial, I'm just gonna slit my wrists. Or have someone slit them for me." Because I'd just been cast in too many of those, and I'd just completed my career there in the Southeast, and there was nowhere else to go. So I just thought, eh, I just need somewhere to branch out. And I sent my talent reel at the time, which was the Toby Keith video for "Who's Your Daddy ", which I was in, a couple of snippets from Miss USA, some headshots, and a letter to Playboy and some of the other men's magazines. And I got a response from Playboy, like, two and a half days later! And they said, "Hef would like to meet you." And I went, "Uhhhh, uhhhh, uhhhh…I'm kind of scared to meet Hef. I'm from the South. We don't do those kind of things." And they're, like, "You don't understand: anyone who does the magazine has to meet Hef." So after I summoned enough courage up, I went to the Playboy Mansion and met him, and I researched the company. This is me: I'm in my late 20s at the time, I'm 29, and I'm researching the company. Anyone would just jump at the chance to pose for Playboy, but I had to strategically plan it out and make sure it would work for me in my life at that time. Because living in the South, posing for Playboy is a big deal! You're going to incur a lot of different opinions.
BE: But at least no one who shops at Seven-Eleven is ever going to see it.
TF: (laughs) Exactly!
BE: I'm in Virginia. I know.
TF: Exactly. So after awhile, well, at the time, I had just started dating Joe Don Rooney, who I'm now married to. I don't know if you're familiar with him, but he's in the band Rascal Flatts.
BE: No, absolutely I know who he is.
TF: And he's very liberal, an open thinker, and he said, "Just do it. Who cares?" And I'm, like, "You know what? You're right!" And so I started shooting in February for a December pictorial, and it's been history ever since.
BE: Actually, since you just brought up something I was going to ask about earlier, I'll go ahead and ask about it now.
BE: Well, as far as you and Joe Don, I had been planning to ask whether you'd been doing the nude modeling before you started seeing him, but obviously you hadn't.
TF: No. God, no. And you know what? I would never have done it for anyone else but Playboy. And I still won't. Unless (laughs) unless it's, like, needed for a movie role that's gonna win me an Oscar in the long run! Because it's just not worth it. But Playboy, they put women on a pedestal and just…the art behind it, the 50 years behind their product, it really represents a great deal to women in general, and I would never, ever have posed if I'd thought I was being taken advantage of. And not one day has gone by that I felt that. Plus, with all that lighting, hair and make-up, honestly, I wish I could look like that every day!
BE: Have you had any hesitation since you've continued doing a few more nude photos for the Playboy website? I mean, do you ever just wonder, "Man, what have I gotten myself into?"
TF: No, and I think it's because you always work with the elite photographers. Now, even if I didn't do a little bit more of the photography outside of my actual pictorial, they're gonna use pictures that you haven't seen for their website, anyway, that you didn't see in the pictorial that were still taken at the same shoot. So, y'know, I might as well create something new and fresh and artful that you enjoy instead of having to run repeat material over and over again. But I haven't done it in a long time. I probably haven't shot for Playboy in almost two years.
BE: Now, they have a hand in your website, correct?
TF: They have run TiffanyFallon.com for the last two years, but I have TiffanyFallon.net. So what they have on their site, I don't even know. It's just one of those things that they're licensed to use. Now, I have an active hand in TiffanyFallon.net. I put in pictures and recent media and blogs, and my MySpace and my contact information…all that good stuff!
BE: But I know you've maintained your relationship with Playboy, because in an episode of the first season of "The Girls Next Door," they covered your Playmate of the Year celebratory luncheon.
TF: I know! I love "The Girls Next Door!" You know, it's just fun. At first, I didn't know what to think about it, I didn't know how it would be portrayed, but I think it's just fun to watch. It's campy, it's fun, you don't have to do a lot of thinking when you're watching it. And I love going to different places, especially in the South, and having women go, "Omigod, I saw you on ‘The Girls Next Door'! Omigod, who's your favorite? My favorite is Holly!" Or, "Tell Kendra I said ‘hi'!" It's just a nice balance for me to live in Nashville and then be in L.A. from time to time and go visit with them and play with them and still see Hef and be a part of the Playboy family. It's just a, a sick balance. (laughs) You know? Everyone says that the grass is always greener on the other side, but I have green grass on both sides of my life.
BE: Must be nice.
BE: Actually, they just pitched us interviews with the girls, in conjunction with the release of the second season on DVD, but our first response was, "Yeah, but what about Hef? We want to talk to Hef!"
TF: Yeah! (laughs) And, you know, it's such an interesting relationship there. When you're in L.A., you don't really think much about it. You hang out at the mansion, and you're just, like, "Oh, that's the way it is!" When I first came around, when I first met Hef, he had seven girlfriends! And then I'd go back home, I'm sitting on my couch in Nashville, watching the 5 p.m. news, going, "God, that really isn't everyday life, is it?" But it's fun to watch!
BE: So, now, your current gig is serving as co-host on "IFL Battleground."
TF: Yeah. You know, I've worn many hats, as you know.
BE: How did you find yourself behind the microphone for something like that?
TF: Well, they came to me. I have a history in sports. I graduated from Florida State University with a degree in sports management, and I've just been a huge sports fan all my life. And my dad and my brother, they're both black belts in karate, and although I've never trained myself, I was around it growing up, around the intensity and discipline of it. So when this came across our desk, we were, like, "Yes! This is a great opportunity for me to get into the sports world!" Because, quite honestly, once you're deemed a Playmate, I guess people seem to think that you're not worthy of actually having smarts, or having a real career after the fact. And I've really enjoyed proving people wrong, and there have been so many girls who've proven people wrong in the long run, but in the sports world, you just can't seem to break in. But the IFL was cutting-edge enough to bring me on board and prove that I can walk and talk – yes, I'm brunette! – and we just have a good time with it. I can use my journalism skills and conversational skills with these guys, their families, and celebrities. And, of course, I have the best co-host in the world with Bas Rutten. He's just a really endearing, charismatic bad-ass from hell, but he knows so much about the sport, and I'm learning and learning and taking all this in, and it's just been so much fun. And it's been so much fun to get back in front of the camera in a different capacity.
BE: Now, I've also heard that you made an appearance on a new show called, um, "Karaoke-Dokey."
TF: Just the glamorous jobs, Will. Just the glamorous jobs. (laughs)
BE: But, see, the thing is, I can't decide if that's the most awful name in the world or if it's the most awesome ever.
TF: I know, right?
BE: Because it's not like you can ever forget it once you've heard it.
"Once you're deemed a Playmate, I guess people seem to think that you're not worthy of actually having smarts … but the IFL was cutting-edge enough to bring me on board and prove that I can walk and talk." TF: I was saying the name over and over, and Joe Don's, like, "Stop saying that." Like, he'll say, "Hey, let's go to lunch at 2." And I'll say, "Karaoke-dokey!" And he doesn't find it as amusing as I do. But that was fun! I love working with CMT; they've always been good to me. It's nice to be able to work in your backyard. But, yeah, it was a lot of fun. I had a good time. And that's the best thing about my gig with the IFL -- I can concentrate on other things as well. Right now, I'm looking to do a little bit of acting, some more hosting, and still work with the IFL with all their fights and promos, and work with Bas as much as possible!
BE: So I guess Joe Don was the impetus for getting you involved with the "Karaoke-Dokey" appearance?
TF: No, actually! (laughs) You know, I had worked with CMT even before I met Joe Don, and, in fact, that's how I met Joe Don. I came to Nashville from Atlanta to partake in a show called (adopts a seductive – if clearly sarcastic – purr) "Video Babes."
TF: Because I had just done Toby Keith's video. And, you know, I keep hearing "Who's Your Daddy" over and over again in my head, because they keep showing all the stuff about Larry Birkhead being the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby and asking, "Who's the daddy?" But, regardless, that's why I went to Nashville. I stayed with a friend while I was filming that, and I got introduced to Joe Don. And I've been working with CMT quite often since then.
BE: Out of curiosity, has Joe Don or anyone else in Rascal Flatts gotten around to sending a thank-you card to Tom Cochrane yet? (Writer's note: surely everyone in the world already knows this, given how ubiquitous the song is, but just in case, Rascal Flatts recorded a cover of Tom Cochrane's "Life is a Highway" last year for the movie "Cars.")
TF: (laughs) It's so funny that you say that! Joe Don is infamous for wanting to write thank-you notes, then doesn't, so I got him stationary. And just, like, three days ago, he said, “I've gotta just write a note to Tom, just to say, ‘We appreciate the song.'" But, really, Tom was thanking them, because he was one of the writers of the song, and they brought life back to that song in a huge way with “Cars." And I think he jammed onstage with them when they played in Canada. They ran into him, and he came onstage, jammed with them, and sang with them, too.
BE: Very cool. And you've also appeared on “The Lance Krall Show,") on Spike TV.
TF: Yeah! It's a sketch comedy, much like “Saturday Night Live," and that's a lot of fun because Lance is a friend of mine from Atlanta, and he got his own show on Spike, and I think he's coming back around in a different format. But he's a good friend and a funny guy, and I…I take my work seriously, and, like I said, I wear a lot of hats, but I never, ever take myself too seriously. I mean, hell, I attended Clown Camp as a child!
BE: (Bursts into laughter.)
TF: Seriously. No lie. That's embarrassing. And I played a dancing envelope for an ESPN/Capital One commercial. These are things that you just can't make up. And as serious as I try to be sometimes, where it's a serious gig and I'm, like, “I've gotta land this," I never land the really serious dramatic roles. I always get the role of the girl who, well, who's tap-dancing across the stage wearing a big envelope costume!
BE: Now, what I want to know is, can we get a picture of you from Clown Camp to run with this article.
TF: (scoffs) Yeah, right. I think those have all been abolished.
BE: And their ashes scattered to the four corners of the country, so they can never be reconstituted?
TF: (laughs) Yeah! That's the last thing I want put on the AP! I've got plenty of current bad pictures; like I need another one out there!
BE: All right, I think I've got everything. It's been a pleasure talking to you.
TF: Definitely. Thank you so much. And if you don't mind plugging the IFL stuff. You've got the times it airs?
BE: Well, I've got all the press releases, so I should. But if I don't, we'll definitely have links to the website, and I'm sure that'll have the information.
TF: Oh, great. Thanks so much, Will!