Femme on Fire: Alison Haislip

By Vanessa Butler Photography by Richard Guaty

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Femme on Fire: Alison Haislip:

*You may know her from G4tv, or maybe it was that sexy Esquire shoot she did for “Me in My Place.” Or was it through her work as the cohost of the first season of American Ninja Warrior that our Femme on Fire caught your eye? You probably know her best for corresponding on Attack of the Show and NBC’s The Voice. Yes, it’s obvious that the wildly gorgeous Alison Haislip is a Jackie-of-all-trades, which is why we had to track her down and talk with her. She’s definitely got the gift of gab, too. We didn’t even want to get off the phone with her! Read on to our chat about her four-day stint at Cirque de Soleil, her upcoming horror film Freshwater and her take on being a girl gamer. *

Playboy.com: You just wrapped your horror film Freshwater.

Haislip: Shooting was so much fun! It’s the first horror film I shot, and it had always been on my checklist I made when I first moved to Los Angeles under “Die a terrible death in a horror film,” so I was very excited when this one came along, although I will not comment as to if I get to check that thing off my list or not. Because I don’t want to spoil anything!

We shot for two weeks in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which is one of the nicest places I’ve ever been. That town could not have been more accepting of us. Everyone was just so thrilled that a film was being shot in Tuscaloosa that we couldn’t go anywhere without people asking if we were the ones shooting the movie. It was really really fun. We got to know their nightlife pretty well, too, because we had a lot of downtime. So we discovered some really great dive bar karaoke and some really fun places to eat and a great ’90s cover band…There is so much awesome stuff in that town!

Playboy.com: Was it strange for you to act terrified for the first time?

Haislip: There were moments that were definitely creepy. This film is very Jaws-like in the sense that you don’t see what is actually killing people for a very long time, so the way that it’s played out, strictly the fear on our faces, there were definitely a few scenes we had to shoot at night and we just had to sit and creep each other out because there was no actual killer or monster in front of us! [laughs] Although Alabama has scorpions…I was not aware of this until I got there; the house that we were shooting in actually has scorpions! So really a lot of my fear came from praying I didn’t get bit by a scorpion walking around barefoot.

Playboy.com: Have you started filming Franklin & Bash?

Haislip: Yes, I shot it in the beginning of April. I have a very fun role for an episode of the show; I am playing an announcer for a minor-league baseball team, which is really great because I love baseball and I think Franklin & Bash is an amazing show, but mostly because I got to be an announcer, which, coming from my previous hosting work, was right in vein. Right after I did my first bit of announcing, a lot of the guys on the crew were like, “Wow, you could be an announcer!” And I was like, “Well yeah! That was my job for the last five years, so I hope I can do that!” [laughs]

Playboy.com: You’ve done a lot of work on the internet through Hulu, YouTube and podcasts, which seems to suit your kind of hosting. What do you like most about working in these kinds of media?

Haislip: I think the great thing about being able to work in the new media is that there aren’t nearly as many as restrictions as there are when you work in television or film. When you’re working in those sectors you have to report to some bigger studio that has things set to the way they want it, but when you’re shooting a show for, say, Hulu or Netflix, they don’t have the same kind of restriction. They don’t have the Nielsen ratings they have to deal with, they don’t have the same advertisers they have to deal with, so the show is freer. And I hope that it’s a sign of where the industry will be going in the next few years. I think we’ll get a lot more variation in our entertainment instead of a lot of the cookie-cutter shows we get these days.

Playboy.com: You’ve got to do a lot of great on-location reporting like the Zombie 5K, you swam with sharks and a million other things! What has been your favorite so far?

Haislip: Oh my gosh, that is like a Sophie’s Choice question. Here’s the thing: in the last five years of my life I’ve gotten to do more things than most people get to do in their entire lifetime through hosting, so I’m so thankful for these opportunities. But what would be my favorite? I had a special with Cirque de Soleil and their Kà show out in Vegas when I was with G4. I got to spend four straight days with the cast and crew and learn how they did everything. Learn makeup, learn wardrobe, learn how they did all the stunts and got to do some of the flying myself. It was incredible! Even though I saw the show four days in a row, on day four I was still as impressed with it as I was on day one. That was a pretty incredible experience. [laughs] Although swimming with sharks was pretty awesome as well!

Playboy.com: You’ve also done a bit of modeling for Maxim and Esquire’s “Me in My Place,” among others. What do you love about modeling?

Haislip: [Laughs] I don’t know if I love anything about modeling! Modeling is great when you get the pictures at the end. But the actual process? I don’t know how people who make careers out of modeling do it. I did that shoot for Maxim and I legitimately worked out every day for the three weeks leading up to it. I didn’t eat a single dessert, not a sip of alcohol…I was getting my picture taken in my bikini and in my underwear! I had to look amazing! So I stressed myself out for three weeks and then did this five- to six-hour shoot. After we wrapped I immediately got a milkshake. [laughs] I tortured myself for three weeks, I deserved a milkshake! The pictures look incredible and I’m so happy I have them, but I’m so happy that’s not my life every day. But it’s great that people got to see that I can be sexy, flirty and fun too!

Playboy.com: I asked this question to Chloe Dykstra, and I think you’ll have a good answer to it too:Do you feel that it is a constant battle being a superhot chick that also kicks ass at games?

Haislip: [Laughs] I bet Chloe gave you a good answer for that one! Yes, it is a battle because you’re constantly dealing with “Girls don’t play games!” But at the same time I kind of welcome it. I feel like my whole life I’ve been this person who’s like, “Oh, you tell me I can’t do something? Well I’m going to go do it.” So that’s my own personality, but I do find it frustrating that girls have to struggle with this when they really shouldn’t have to, and I think we’re slowly getting to the point where people are realizing we all game. Actually, when I was shooting Freshwater we had a day off and one of my costars, John Bobek, and I sat down and played through the entire co-op game of Portal 2, and so we’re playing the game trying to solve all these puzzles and at one point he was like, “Here’s the deal, Alison. You’re much better at precision. You take these jobs!” It was good to see a guy handing over all of the harder jobs, you know? I have a little bit of pride with that.

Playboy.com: You’re also good friends with the people at Nerdist! What has that experience been like, watching it grow into such a major part of nerd culture?

Haislip: Every time an announcement comes out saying Chris Hardwick is doing another job I’m sitting here going, “I don’t even know how he gets through it all now!” Chris has been one of my dear dear friends for about five years now. I remember when he started the podcast because he was supposed to be doing this other show that ended up not going well, so he ended up saying, “Oh well, I guess I’ll start a podcast since I have some time.” And now he’s the Ryan Seacrest of nerds! So watching it go from Chris having a hobby to becoming this empire is absolutely incredible. The only downside is that I don’t get to see Chris nearly as much as I used to! So selfishly I wish I had my friend in my life a little bit more, but honestly I’m really happy for him.

Playboy.com: What’s the nerdiest fact you know?

Haislip: I have a music book of Tolkien’s music that I can play on the piano. So not only can I sit down and play the piano, when I do so, I’m playing Tolkien music from the LOTR trilogy. [Laughs]

Playboy.com: What’s your….

Favorite drink: Red zinfandel or vodka lemonade. So it’s either if I want to be classy or trashy.

Favorite food: I’m going to have to go with a nice filet. Steak is definitely the last meal I’d eat if I could choose.

Worst pickup line: Oh god. My name is Alison, so I can’t tell you how many times drunken guys in bars have sung me the Elvis Costello song “Alison.” Not original, dude!

Most embarrassing moment: When I was 16 I managed to crash a parked car, which I think takes skill. Number one, since I’m from New Jersey—you can’t even get your license there until you’re 18, and number two, I crashed a parked car into another parked car, causing 4000 dollars’ worth of damage. So that was definitely a crowning achievement in my life.

Memory of Playboy: I’m totally outing myself right now, but I remember sneaking into my parents’ room when I was around 10 trying to find Christmas presents and instead I found a stack of my dad’s Playboys. I remember immediately knowing I wasn’t supposed to see it.


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