I was born in Westchester County, N.Y., about 30 minutes from N.Y.C. I had a pretty normal childhood. I grew up with my Mom calling me Sandra Panda. I had a panda bear collection you wouldn't believe!
All my life, I thought I'd follow in my Dad's footsteps and be a mathematician. I couldn't believe how easy Math was for me. Neither could anyone else : ). I completed Calculus in high school. Unfortunately, when I was 19, my Dad died unexpectedly and my thoughts of the whole math thing went out the window.
I started hanging out a bit in NYC and met up with a real nice girl named Nancy who was a model. She said her bathing suit company needed one more model, and I should come in and try out. I went in, and to my surprise was hired. From that, I started meeting all kinds of people and I started hanging out in the city a lot more.
Next, I was doing a music video for Def Leppard called "Hysteria". That led me to be a Club MTV dancer for like 4 years. That was my life! Club MTV with Downtown Julie Brown.
During that time, my friend Nancy's husband was a Chippendale dancer who had a poster. I thought it would be so cool to have a poster out. So I shot one and it became really popular. I was named "America's #1 Selling Poster Girl" .
I wound up doing the talk show circuit of all the TV shows like Montel, Joan Rivers, Geraldo and Howard Stern. One thing led to another, and I kept doing modeling stuff here and there, and I found myself spending more and more time in Los Angeles. I decided to move here in 1993.
Soon after, I met Garry Marshall who was doing a movie called "Exit to Eden". I remember going in to read thinking, "I don't want to be a typical model/actress. I don't want to act." Crazy stuff! I got the movie! WoW! Next thing I knew, I was sitting on a plane in first class on our way to Hawaii to shoot, sitting next to David Bowie (who's wife Iman was in the film) and Dan Aykroyd and Rosie O'Donnell. I really enjoyed being on the set and learning all that I did.
Throughout my modeling career, I was a mute! When you model, you don't really have much input on things. I liked doing movies and found I really liked the whole art of the film industry. I came back home, got my SAG card and started auditioning and got a few great roles.
My next big break was getting "Under Seige 2" with Steven Seagal. That was quite an adventure to work on. I get shot, and again, learned so much on the set from such great people.
During the release of "Under Seige 2" I did a Celebrity layout for Playboy magazine which featured me on the cover! Talk about a dream come true! Seven months later I got another Playboy cover where I posed as a Bond girl with Leslie Nielsen.
I thought, "I really like this stuff!" I have worked on such great films like L.A. Confidential, Batman & Robin, Princess Diaries 1 & 2, Tomcats, Phoenix (with Ray Liotta, God I love him!), Raising Helen, Runaway Bride, Keeping Up With The Steins, Valentine's Day, and lots of others. I also did some great TV shows like E.R., Just Shoot Me, King of Queens, Son of the Beach, and Married with Children to name just a few.
Through work, you meet new people, and I always think, Work breeds Work. Other highlights have included being a guest on the Jay Leno Show several times, as well as Conan O'Brien, and traveling and meeting amd working with people like Julie Andrews and Arnold Schwarzenegger (he froze me in Batman & Robin).
It has been a terrific ride! You most recently saw me in New Year's Eve, working with Robert De Niro and Hilary Swank. Look for me in more great movies soon!
I have learned not to take anything for granted (including great friends and family). I consider myself to have a big heart. I do a lot of appearances around the world, and nothing makes me happier when I hear a great story of when I put a : ) on someone's face. I heard a good one recently: "People will forget what you said, and they will forget what you did, but people will NEVER forget how you made them feel." I truly take pride in that!
I have learned over and over how short life is. I try and live each day to the fullest, and be as honest and loving as I can. I consider myself real lucky for having a few best friends and people I can really count on. I am not judgmental clearly, because I have learned I hate when people judge me. We're all in this life together! This is NO dress rehearsal. Remember: "It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you're not!" I am what I am! I've learned that I'm pretty sensitive, and get my feelings hurt a lot especially when people are outright mean. I'm learning to have a tougher skin, but it's a slow process.
Life has been full of surprises! I love meeting new and interesting people who love life, and treat life and people with respect. As Jewel once sang: In the end . . . only kindness matters.
ACTRESS MODEL SOMMELIER