12 minute read

Deborah Driggs

Be Inspired and Live Your Best Life

Interview by Sherry Nelson


“Never stop Learning and Growing ~ Stay Focused and Discipled and Let Your Heart not your ego Guide you toward Greatness”

Her life in photos is like a kaleidoscope of beauty and intrigue using the transformative elements of an ever evolving combination of self-improvement and adaptation. Focused, disciplined, fiercely independent, Deborah Driggs is the woman our youth can look up to and be inspired by. Aesthetically pleasing with her gorgeous mane of chocolate brown hair and eclipsing emerald-green eyes, it is her drive, ambition, and refusal to accept defeat without a challenge, that shows young people, male and female, that anything and everything is possible if you are willing to see life as an exciting adventure. “If you fail … fail forward! Turn a failure into a lesson”, because when you earn your goal, it’s value becomes so much more rewarding. Deborah Driggs’ life so far, has the universal appeal of athleticism, beauty, and business acumen, tied together by her infectious smile and inviting personality. In today’s world of uncertainty and distancing, it is important to put a spotlight on what is good and positive to incentivize us to keep moving forward and experience as much as we possibly can. Deborah is an important element in a world that seems full of barriers – physically and emotionally. Not one to be told, “stay there” or “think this way”, no – she is ambitious and continues to pursue life as she always has – with the mindset of champion. She is an accomplished model and actress, a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and a successful author, Radio/Podcast host and Moderator, an Advocate for Social Change and a power business women in Real Estate and Insurance. With these many accomplishments to date, how can one possibly define a woman who seemingly has done it all? Perhaps a step-by-step guide looking into a snapshoot of her life may help uncover the mystique of the divine Deborah Driggs.

Step 1: Find Your Goal

American made, Deborah hails from Oakland, California where at an early age, like most young children do, she looked to success stories for inspiration. Her first impressionable influence - America’s 1970’s sweetheart, Olympic Ice Skating Champion Dorothy Hamill.

Dorothy Hamill was the epitome of grace and, she was the all-American girl! I wanted to do what she did to win gold. At the time stories were being broadcast about various sports figures who never gave up no matter what, and I became obsessed with that mindset. I was also influenced by Sports figures. Growing up figure skating I would watch all the competitions and look forward to the Olympics. Dorothy Hamill was a huge influence. My coaches had a huge influence on my life. They pushed me to be more and work harder.

With her goal established, at 4am each day before school Deborah laced up her ice skates and would practice with vigor mastering the various technical aspects of the sport. The structure and discipline of ice skating was an environment Deborah thrived in. If she fell she did not get pity or comfort, instead, she learned to get up again and again because what good was she on the ground seeking empathy? In life we all fall down, but like all Olympic champions we must get up, dust off, and adjust what went wrong, then practice until we get it right.

Step 2: Life will have its Ups and Downs – Take them Head On – There is a Life Lesson to Be Learned

Soon thereafter, sadly as so many young people have experienced, her family unit broke, her parents divorced and money became tight so Deborah held off her Olympic dream to help where she could, working various jobs to help her mother with financial obligations. Growing up almost overnight as a result, Deborah does not play the “blame game” or wallow in frustration, anger, or sink into a victim mentality, she adapted and saw this as a character-building steppingstone and recognized what truly mattered, love. In a poignant tribute to her mother each year on December 13, Deborah’s Birthday, she salutes that special lady who sacrificed herself to give life and all the opportunities thereafter to her daughter.

I share my Birth-day with my mom! I grew up poor but wealthy with experience! One great thing I now realize is I never really knew we were poor! I was a happy kid! I have a lot of happy childhood memories! … My mom was 18 when she was pregnant with me!!! And, she chose to keep me!!! I feel very lucky to have a mom who chose the hard path of having a baby at 18 (in the 1960’s). It is easy to focus on what was wrong with our childhood, it takes work to choose what was a blessing and I choose the feeling of being Blessed with the Life my mother gave me!

Step 3: Life is Ever Evolving and So Are You!

One of Deborah’s great philosophy’s is “you are the director of your life!” With that sense of enthusiasm and a natural drive to entertain to make people smile, Deborah says she was influenced a lot by comedic television, so just like her curiosity of Dorothy Hamill she “would watch every I Love Lucy episode because I wanted to do that type of comedy. I was addicted to getting attention anyway I could - running around in go-go boots, singing these boots are made for walking, putting on shows for my babysitters and anyone who would watch. I wanted to be a performer! Hands down attention was my first addiction”.

Born to entertain, Deborah replaced her ice skates for cheer shoes as a Saddleback College Cheerleader and shortly thereafter was making headlines for her talent and creativity in choreography beating out more than 800 dancers to became a Pro Squad L.A. Express cheerleader her first year trying out.

When I won my spot on the cheer squad at 19, that propelled me into the spotlight. I was on a tour doing morning shows, radio and various guest appearances. I thrived in front of a large crowd. There is nothing like performing and hearing people yelling your name and cheering you on!

Step 4: Get out of your Comfort Zone

This opportunity went beyond the borders of California, and soon the 20 year old she was enroute to Japan performing and breakdancing and hip hop to enthusiastic crowds. The magnetism and energy of Deborah at these events landed her commercial work in Osaka, Japan making $800/day dancing in a poodle skirt from the 1950’s. It is important to note that once again this opportunity was not purely by happenstance, Deborah was keen to learn some of the Japanese language so she could communicate better, proving once again the mindset of a champion separating her from a one dimensional beauty to a multi-faceted woman evolving her reputation to fit better within her current environment. “If you say you could never do that. Then guess what? It’s not going to happen”. Taking a gamble and leaving the comfort of home to travel abroad opened up Deborah’s world to even greater possibilities because of her focus and commitment to excel as a cheerleader and dancer. Now she could add to her resume and portfolio model and actress and soon she was the face for iconic International brands Ocean Pacific, Body Glove, Victory Swimsuit, and Fedco. And then the #1 Magazine in the World wanted Deborah for their platform.

Playboy entered my life by accident. I was already working as an actress doing commercials and I was doing print work. So when I got the call to go audition for Playboy I was Shocked. I was going in to be seen for a new book called The Lingerie Book and it was for the cover. I went to the famous Playboy building on Sunset and did a few Polaroids and left. I did not think it went that well. I got a call the end of the day that they were interested in shooting me for a centerfold. I said I think there has been a mistake! Me? LOL I did not see myself as a Playboy Centerfold.

Hugh Hefner’s lineage of Playboy models has always centered around the “girl next door” image, and at that time they were receiving more than a thousand applications a day from beautiful girls hoping to get their chance to be a Playboy model too. Once the camera caught that sparkle in Deborah’s eye and the level of sophistication captured in her screenshots, Playboy had bigger plans making her Playboy Channel’s first VJ on its hit show “Hot Rocks” and putting her in back-to-back issues of the magazine as Miss March in 1990, then as its Covergirl in April 1990. Never one to shy away from a new challenge, Deborah chose the less “safe” path and did what millions of women could only dream of doing and because of that bold step she has now solidified her place in American History as a Playboy Covergirl, Playmate and VJ!

Step 5: Get Curious

“Getting curious is by far one of the hardest things to do … It can annoy me when someone tries to give

me advice or tells me how something should be because I know people will see what they want to see … and they usually do it in a way that is judging.” This leap of faith opened up even more avenues and opportunities. She was approached by other magazines to be on their cover, she was riding in the very popular L.A. Based K-Rock’s helicopter doing guest spots reporting on the weather and traffic, she performed on the Bob Hope Special in Acapulco, and appeared as a guest on Oprah Winfrey’s Valentine’s Day Special.

Looking back on her memories with Playboy, being at the Mansion, and her relationship with founder Mr. Hugh Hefner, Deborah only has fond memories.

Hef was amazing, quietly funny, extremely wickedly smart, that is what made him so attractive to me was his genius. He was happy and living the dream life he created. He was the King of the Mansion and loved having the girls around him a lot. Hef changed everything with his magazine, he was ahead of the times with his great interviews and the lifestyle he provided for men. He showed me you can have it all. The Playmate was really just the icing on a brilliant magazine.

Step 6: Connections – Reinvention - Perserverance

Deborah could see beyond the instant gratification Playboy offered her as one of its models, scrolling through her social media she has a whose who of friends from Sir Richard Branson to Van Jones to Tony Robbins and later in life she would capitalize on these connections to build a strong foundation in a variety of business ventures. “Being in proximity of really like minded people will always set you apart, the people you spend most of your time with will greatly influence your life. I learned this as I went through life, I was attracted to different types of people.” Deborah is a woman who craves knowledge, so the caliber and diversity of minds she was able to connect with continued to open up her horizons emotionally and encouraged her mentally just as her past skating, cheerleading, and dance coaches did for her physically.

In 2003, she stepped away from Hollywood to raise a family in Utah with her husband Olympic Gold Medal Champion Mitch Gaylord. She connected with a talent agent there and kept her foot in the door of entertainment, while also stepping into Real Estate during the booming housing market at the time. Once Deborah passed the difficult exams to attain her Real Estate Licence, like a driven and focused athlete wanting to be trained by the best, she pursued ambitiously to work with the top Real Estate Agent in Park City, Utah. Deborah was establishing a reputation as an intelligent, driven, and very persistent woman in business. Then the 2008 United States Housing collapse happened, and Deborah reinvented herself again in the Print Procurement Industry though soon that too, was fleeting because print was on its way out and digital media was on its way in. Yet again Deborah reinvented herself on the advice of a friend who said she would be a natural in sales because she was such a magnetic ‘people person’. Soon Deborah was hitting the books again in her desire for more knowledge and took the Life Insurance course. She received her license and in 2011 catapulted to the Top 5% in the USA for Life Insurance Sales.

From Top Left: Mich Gaylord, Sir Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, Boy George

From Top Left: Mich Gaylord, Sir Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, Boy George

Life Insurance has really educated me a lot on growing wealth and using it as a hedge in your portfolio. It is as Forbes Magazine says “the last great tax shelter in America” People would ask me what do you do I would in the beginning say “I sell Life Insurance” now I say “I prepare people for unexpected life events” - Big difference. My business last year was affected when the insurance companies would not insure anyone 60 and over, so as a result we took a hit because they got scared with all the hype about this virus affecting older people.

Step 7: Always Look Ahead to the Future

The global pandemic, Covid-19 affected Deborah’s Insurance business dramatically, but instead of saying “why is this happening to me … Again?!” she continues to reinvent herself. Currently and with great pride she has joined forces with Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Unite with the goal of making the world a better place. She is also Co-host on the very popular “Roger the Wild Child Show”, she writes a weekly motivational blog called ‘Deb’s Den’, and, she is self-publishing 2 very insightful and creative books she has written.

So how can you live your best life? If you resonate with Deborah Driggs then be the champion in your world, be the architect of your destiny. Whether you want to be a model or attend a prestigious University or if you are going into a job interview, then be prepared. Know your goal, practice your skill set - whether that is getting in the best shape of your life or acquiring as much knowledge as you can about the field you are applying for. In life you only get one chance to make a first impression so be bold, be confident and focused so that you make it to the podium, hopefully wearing that gold medal in this life that you too have been Blessed with.

Podcast: www.rogerthewildchildshow.com

To learn more about Deborah Driggs and to get access to her upcoming book and motivational blog please go to: www.deborahdriggs.com Social Media: Instagram/Facebook/Twitter @deborahdriggs Books: Aging Gracefully is a Full Time Job Hot Pink: A Girl’s Guide to Primping, Passion, and Pubic fashion