Seducing Cindy Premiering Saturday Night on Fox Reality

from “I’m a hopeless romantic,” says Seducing Cindy star Cindy Margolis. “On the show I fall in love with more than one person, which I never would have thought possible. Every date was something out of a fairy tale. Everything was so beautiful…waterfalls and roses and chocolate fountains and candles, date after date. I never wanted to leave.”

In Seducing Cindy, 25 men are faced with a series of challenges to compete for Cindy’s heart. Margolis is the spokesperson for the charity Resolve, the national fertility association. “I did a challenge with the guys right off the bat,” says Margolis. “I had them give me their sperm samples. You want to see shock on a person’s face? ‘Hi. How are you? Here’s my Playboy and here’s a cup. I want your sperm sample.’ I had my fertility doctor there and a microscope and was able to look at their sperm and see who was the most potent.” Margolis is the author of the book How to Have a Baby when the Old Fashioned Way Doesn’t Work, and had twins through a surrogate.

“A dating show has never been done with someone like me in my age range,” says Margolis who didn’t pose for Playboy until she was 40. Now single for the first time since high school, Margolis is in her forties and has three children. “One thing I’m not smart at is dating.”

For advice what to do in a dating reality show, she asked Brent Michaels, the vocalist from the band Poison and the VH-1 dating reality show Rock of Love. “He said, ‘It’s hard, the eliminations. These girls really do love me and are there for me and I have to break up with them.’ I didn’t really listen. There’s nothing that could ever prepare me for that. Elimination was heart-wrenching for me. You only have five minutes to break up with someone and they’re gone. You never see them again. I’d be sick afterwards.”

Seducing Cindy is what you get when you put 25 guys determined to get Cindy Margolis living in a house together.

“Men are so competitive,” says Margolis. “You put them in a house. It’s almost like a lab experiment. I didn’t know any of the stuff that was going on when I wasn’t there. When I was looking at it later I was saying, ‘Oh my gosh, what is he doing?’ and ‘Oh no, they’re beating each other up!’ The person with me is not the person who was in the house.”

“They say there’s nothing real about reality TV, but there’s a lot that’s real about it,” says Margolis. “You’re putting your emotions out there and wearing your heart on your sleeve. The guys were real, too. As much as I was shocked at the beginning, it really opened my eyes. The first day when I looked at them I thought, you, you and you are definitely the final three. To go to the end, six weeks later, and have nobody who I thought would be in the final three was a life lesson I learned.”

Margolis doesn’t do well at sticking to her self-imposed limits for her six-week reality dating experience. “I went in thinking I’m not going to do this and I’m not going to do that,” says Margolis. “There was chemistry there. That was not expected of me on the first night. Six weeks was speeded up, like six months. How can you fall in love in that short a time? When I got there I was living vicariously through myself, forgetting that the cameras were there. To walk out and have 25 men who want you, that feeling is amazing.”

Some of the men Margolis is dating are older and some are much younger. “I would maybe take offense a couple years ago to the word cougar, because it’s a word made up by a male, almost as a gold digger type thing. Now it’s an empowering thing. It means you’re independent, that you’re a woman in your own right at a time in your life when you know what you want. Forty is the new thirty. Sexy is forever.”

Television has helped make cougar an empowering term and better reflect the society we live in. Cougar Town, starring Courtney Cox, was conceived by showrunner Bill Lawrence who’s married to an older woman, actress Christa Miller who stars in Cougar Town and Scrubs.

Cougar has become so mainstream there are even cougar conventions, such as the National Cub Convention happening tonight at the Clarion Hotel in Millbrae, California. The keynote speaker is Why Younger Men Are Better author Rich Gosse, and singer Unique Monique will perform her cougar anthem “Cradle Robber”.

Long before Margolis appeared in Playboy, she achieved the Guinness Book of World Records as the most downloaded person on the Internet. It happened almost by accident. As a homework assignment for a college business class, Margolis launched her own business to market pin-up style greeting cards. Margolis was also the model. As orders came in for her greeting cards, so did offers to hire Margolis as a model. Margolis posed for a hundred posters and became America’s top pin-up model. When AOL asked if they could put her picture on the Internet, Margolis, who didn’t have a computer or know what the Internet was then, said yes.

“I started with AOL,” says Margolis. “My Internet success started with them in 1996. It’s really nice to be back with AOL. The Internet’s my baby. That’s what made me. They’re doing a whole hub with me and on the home page. You’ll be able to see the show online on AOL before it airs on Fox Reality Channel.” Cindy Margolis also has her own website. That’s completely free and has 100 million cyber buddies.

As a reality show, Seducing Cindy is somewhere between The Bachelorette and Beauty and the Geek. Like the latter, some of the men seem vastly inappropriate. Like the former, it follows the standard kick-them-out-of-the house formula. For someone who’s curious about Cindy Margolis, which is the main appeal of the show, it would be better if more time was on Margolis in the pilot episode instead of exploring what jerks some of the men are. Margolis fans will want to persevere to later episodes, where fewer men will be left to compete for screen time.

Seducing Cindy explores a real Cougar Town situation, where an attractive single mom with no dating skills must re-enter the dating scene. The series airs Saturdays 9p/8c on the Fox Reality Channel starting January 30th.

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