Jennifer Coolidge: Paul Smith / Featureflash/ Retna
October 15, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

It takes a brave actress to admit she was fired from Baywatch Hawaii. Well, more than admit. To gloat about it, as if that single moment made her career. ”When my agent told me Baywatch wanted to make an offer, I was like, ‘Let me go look at myself naked,’ and my agent said, ‘No, no, it’s not to be one of those girls on the beach,”’ says Jennifer Coolidge. Turns out that the jigglefest wanted her for one of those Lovey Howell types that she later perfected in films like Christopher Guest’s A Mighty Wind and Best in Show — and, loath as we are to include it in such esteemed company, A Cinderella Story. ”My agent said it’s filmed in Hawaii and I could bring my sister, so I said, ‘I’ll do it under one condition: I wear a disguise. Wig. Prosthetics. Everything.”’

Baywatch didn’t exactly share Coolidge’s vision, and once she rejected the set of pearls that were proffered, producers sent her packing. ”I get the gold-digger part six times weekly. I can play those women into the ground, but I don’t want someone telling me that’s all I can do,” she says. The roles that Coolidge ”can do” could fill an entire movie. Sexy? Stifler’s mom in American Pie. Pastry-inclined and insecure? Legally Blonde‘s Paulette. Lesbian dog lover with ancient husband? Sherri Ann Ward Cabot from Best in Show. Searingly blunt Hollywood shark? Her most recent gig, as Bobbie, Joey‘s agent.

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