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She's Jane of the Internet Jungle:
Stefanie Michaels
Takes Travel into 21st Century

It takes more than just a pretty face to earn a title like "Adventure Girl."  Stefanie Michaels, an actress and former bikini model, has worked hard to deserve the moniker bestowed upon her by thousands of internet fans. 

As the host of an interactive, web-based travel adventure site, Stefanie allows her fans to join her as she explores exciting and exotic locations around the world.  From Hawaii and Belize to an upcoming excursion to The Bahamas, which was selected by visitors to her site AdventureGirl.com, Stefanie has taken her fans around the globe with her. 

For those unable to attend in person, she includes exciting footage from each trip on her sites.  In addition, she is a syndicated writer who provides travel-related advice on everything from how to book the best arrangements on-line to how to pack.  And, for those who can't get enough of this blond beauty, she's also putting together her 2002 cyber calendar.

As she prepares for her next adventure, Stefanie takes some time out with YourMVP to discuss how exactly she got  her nickname, her passion for the stock market, what it was like meeting Oprah, and marriage --  the one adventure she hasn't yet tackled!

YourRMVP: How did your title "Adventure Girl" come about?

SM: I was travelling and doing promotions back around the time when AOL had just started. It was kind of expensive back then but the people I was touring with were using computers and AOL just like I was. These people would then say to me, "Can we hire you to come sit in our booth at a show," or, "Can you come to Australia?" I wouldn't want to give them my agent's information or my

Stefanie Michaels

home information so I would give them my email address. From there people would email me and question me about where I was and about my travels. It was a really cool penpal kind of thing. A few other people got my email address from being at my different shows and they started asking me about my travels and what it was like in these areas. I thought it was kind of funny these people were asking me these questions. And just through a series of different emails I gathered that most people weren't travelling internationally like I was. 

Yeah, most people probably aren't.

Right, it tends to be a little scary for them to travel abroad. So these people started saying, "Take us with you," or, "I'll go with you." And I thought that was a really good idea. I started thinking about how cost-efficient the Internet could be so I approached a couple of my tech friends up in Silicon Valley and asked them what they thought about my idea and they thought it was great. I asked them how much would they charge me to create the site and they said, "Just take us with you and we'll do it free of charge." I agreed, we did it, and our first trip was to Hawaii and to the Pro-Bowl. I also knew about promotion and co-opting deals and marketing fronts having businesses through all of the travelling I'd done for four years. 

You used these companies and their promotion to help defray the cost of the trips?

Yes. I guess it all started because I was doing promotion for Skill Power Tools for a year. I'd go on location and autograph their posters and people would ask me, "How much for the poster and autograph?" I'd tell them it was compliments of the company. After that I called a poster company to see how much they would charge me for posters and they told me about 50 cents per poster. I realized I could turn around and sell them for 10 dollars.

Nice profit there.

After that I started a promotional company and learned pretty quickly what people and companies would trade out for and what they were looking for. I gathered sponsors and used that information and knowledge to start my show on the Internet. That's how it all started.

You went to Oahu on your first trip . . . 

I didn't want to do Hawaii because I thought most people had gone to Hawaii, especially people here in California and the west coast. But then I thought about the Pro Bowl and how that could be an event and it's kind of a wish fulfillment for some people to get on the field and toss the ball. On all my trips I try to make it some kind of event or unusual place to travel.

You met Frank Gifford on that trip?

Yes I did! 

Did anything happen there? Were there any emails or phone numbers exchanged?

No, no! Frank is a gentleman and so is Al Michaels. They were all very respectful and very nice and interested in what I had going on. At the time it was pretty cutting-edge. There really was no video on the web at the time so I was really just going with a photo log so I didn't take a film crew. 

How do you choose where you're going next? 

It wasn't until Belize that we did some local testing here to find out what people wanted. At night I would go to sports bars and I would interview people about where they wanted to go and what they wanted to do when they got there. Because of those interviews we chose Belize as our next trip. 

Who gave you the name "Adventure Girl?" 

In Hawaii we would be on the field and people would ask around as to who we were and they would respond, "It's Adventure Girl." People started emailing me and calling me Adventure Girl. We then changed the name of our company from Travel Partners to Adventure Girl all because of the people on the web who kept calling me that.

I see . . .

I didn't want to be known as Adventure Girl. At the time I had a sponsor named "Power Bar" and they loved [the name] and told me to go with it. The company had an Adventure Triathlon going with the model Kim Alexis and it could be pretty grueling. I told them I'd pass and leave it to Kim.

Was it something like the Eco Challenge they do every year?

Exactly and I could just see myself crying at the end of it. So on my trips you definitely don't have to work for it. You do get to go on cool adventures but it's not anything like "Survivor" the TV show. You don't eat rats

and you get to stay in a hotel. 

So you don't have to fish for your own food or anything like that?

No, no.

Did you do something recently with Tippi Hendren?

We were scheduled to do a photoshoot together. It was kind of last minute and she ended up going out of town so we couldn't pull it off.

You've met other famous people including Oprah Winfrey.


Where'd you meet Oprah?

This is kind of interesting. My boyfriend at the time and one of my best friends and her husband were at the Bel Air Hotel. We were just sitting there having some drinks. Jim Carrey was there with a bunch of people also. He was with a blonde and it was about the time he and Lauren Holly were breaking up but the media hadn't caught on yet.


I was wondering what he was doing with this blonde. It turned out it was Oprah Winfrey's producer and they were with this guy who was her hairdresser and a couple of Jim's people. They were all sitting in the corner having a good time. You have to understand that my friend's husband looks exactly like Jim Carrey and people mistake him for Jim all the time. So we dared my friend to go over to Jim Carrey and ask if her husband could walk over and say hello. Jim agreed and they met and Jim Carrey kept saying, "You don't look like me!" and joking around. My friends came back and sat down but you could hear Jim and his group shouting into their cell phones for someone to come down. 

And it was Oprah? 

It was Oprah. She was in town for the Revlon Run/Walk, which I was doing the next morning. She came down in her nightclothes and was laughing and telling these guys how she had to be up the next morning for this event. Well, my friend and I admire Oprah so much and we dared my friend's husband to go over and ask if we could meet her. He did and Oprah came over and was the most gracious, sweetest person I'd ever met. My friend started crying.

And Oprah was in her nightclothes? 


That is so funny.

But she also had on her 10-carat diamond earrings, too. 

(laughing) So she still looked fabulous.

Absolutely. There was nothing casual about those stones. And my friend was crying and saying, "Thank you for what you've done for society." And Oprah was so gracious. I'm sure people tell her those things all the time and she was acting like she had never heard it and was very thankful and sweet. She was just one of the coolest people I've ever met. After that she said good night because she had to get up and we ended up partying with Jim Carrey for a while.

He invited you over? 

Yes he did. We ended up having champagne with him. It was a lot of fun, we had a great time. He's one of the nice people in the business.

You've said that one of the people you'd like to meet is Madonna.

I would love to meet Madonna. Hands down I think she's the coolest. She's a businesswoman who's stayed on top of her game and faced all kinds of adversity in the process. 

You've also said you'd like to meet Dame Judi Dench.

Yes. What an actress!

She's a wonderful actress.

Yeah and it was sad to hear that she lost her husband recently. I read something that said she had never been away from her husband longer than two weeks. They made it a point in their relationship that family came first and that acting, even though it was a passion for her, was completely separate and second. She had this amazing relationship with her husband and unfortunately he just passed away. I feel so sad for her.

Have you ever married? 


Have you ever thought about marrying? 

Yes! Totally down the line I will. Right now I'm just busy with my career. I've had long term relationships. One of my boyfriends I had for 10 years.

Ten years?!

Can you believe it?! I love relationships. He's one of my best friends and to this day we have a business together. We rent camera equipment back to the television show "E/R" where he's on the camera team. 

Did he ever propose to you?

Yes he did actually. At one point he did and I was just like, no.  

(laughing) You told him "no"?!

Marriage is a very scary proposition. I still feel like a kid. I still feel like I have so much ahead of me. I would love to be married and do the whole family thing but right now I'm so busy that I don't think it would be fair to him.

What is your biggest self-doubt? Do you have a self-doubt?

Yes I do. I think everyone does in anything they do even if it's small, especially in the acting business. Sometimes you just don't know where your next meal is coming from. There's always that fear that you're never going to get to the point where you feel comfortable in what you're doing. And also sometimes you remember the days

when you were struggling and you have a fear of going back to those days. It's like any kind of business. In acting and modeling it's not like a job where you go to college and then you start out at an entry-level position and then you move your way up and you see your results as you move up. In acting you could be on top one day and kind of forget about you the next. The reward and the work you put into it doesn't always come through right away. It's not tangible like some other kinds of jobs or positions. This is why I never rely on an agent to get me out there and get me parts or modeling jobs.

You would get your own parts alone?

I would have this network of friends and we were all pretty entrepreneurial and we always came up with things to keep ourselves busy and to bring in income. An agent has 350 girls of your type and then it's a matter of you going out and getting the job. But if you can personalize it and bring it down to a personal level and meet these people that are going to book you they'll remember you and trust you to get the job done right. 

I hear what you're saying.

It's so hard. It's a rough, rough business. I've been in it since I was three. My whole family has been in it and thus I learned to look at it as a business and not what it is. 

Are you thankful your parents got you into this business? 

(laughs) That's an interesting question. Yes and no. (pauses) 

What do you honor most about your mother? 

She's tenacious as all hell. That's probably where I get my drive from. She's very smart. She taught me about the stock market. I would come home from school and I'd stay with my Aunt Peggy who was like a nanny while my parents worked. And when my mom would come home she would ask me if the Dow was up or down and I would tell her. (laughing) Because of that I have this interest in the stock market. I love playing the stock market and for a while I was day-trading. I've pulled back on it recently though. That's a hobby of mine that I don't think too many people know about.

Is the stock market up or down today? 

I'm not following it that much these days and I haven't looked at it today. Since the NASDAQ's decline I've kind of been on the sidelines. I'll hear about it every once in a while or I'll go into Yahoo! and I'll check to see what stocks are doing but I'm not following it that much anymore. When it was hot though, I'd wake up at five in the morning to do my research, checking P/Es (price earning ratios) and all of that good stuff. By the time trading opened, boy, I was ready!

What stock made you the most money?

I did really well with I2 Technologies and with Qualcomm. There were a series of different stocks I owned and it was fun while it lasted. I've been dealing with my tax accountant recently and he told me I did much better than I thought I did last year, which means more taxes I have to pay.

Do you find a lot of compassion on your travels? Do you find good things on your travels?

Oh yeah. Travelling to me is one of the best ways to educate yourself. You learn about different cultures and people. I think in other places people lead more simple lives. I'm from L.A., a big city where things get complicated and you're more easily stressed. It seems like when you travel there's a different mentality. Abroad everyone thinks Americans are pretty crazy and that we're all overworked. They think what's wrong with us that we don't take siestas.


Their perspective of us is interesting. And compassion is worldwide. I was in Belize and I think this is an interesting statement from one of the native guys that was with us. He worked for Captain Morgan's, our sponsor for the Belize event. He was taking us out on a boat and we were doing some filming and we were kind of teasing our cameraman Mark. And this man from Belize was kind of keeping quiet and shaking his head. I asked him what was wrong and he said, "You Americans, I don't understand why you're always putting each other down." I was shocked and explained to him that you tease someone because you like them. It wasn't even teasing about something mean, I think it was about the way Mark was holding the camera. It was something silly. But it definitely made me think how we aren't one world. And that just makes me want to go out and explore it even more.

For more information on Stefanie or her adventures

Interviewed and written by Sandro Galindo

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