Pamela Anderson Says She Was 'Painfully Shy' Before Posing for Playboy : 'So Debilitating'

Pamela Anderson attends the
Pamela Anderson attends the
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Netflix

It took becoming a centerfold for Pamela Anderson to come out of her shell.

The Baywatch alum, 55, said that posing for Playboy for the first time in 1989 was "my first feeling of freedom" as she told ET Canada suffered from "debilitating" shyness as a child while discussing her new documentary and memoir.

"I became painfully shy, and the shyness was something that was so debilitating" she explained. "When I was little, I would wear a hat over my head and pull the hole closed, so I could only see out this much.

RELATED: Pamela Anderson Confirms She Does Actually Bleach Her Own Hair at Home: 'I Can Do It Myself'

"I hated the way I looked, I hated everything. I was so shy, and I always thought everybody was pretty, and I just didn't have that confidence or self-confidence," added Anderson.

She almost didn't jump at the chance to pose for the glossy's October 1989 cover, admitting she turned down the Hugh Hefner publication at first.

Pamela Anderson
Pamela Anderson

Dave Hogan/Hulton Archive/Getty

"Then I was in Vancouver and Playboy approached me a few times and I said no. Finally, I was in a situation and thought, 'Why not? Let me try this.' Then I got to L.A. and I was horrified," she recalled.

RELATED: Pamela Anderson Reveals She Still Has One of Her Iconic Baywatch Swimsuits — and It Still Fits!

"Then I did my first photo shoot with Playboy… it was the first flash when I opened my eyes and it felt like I was falling off a cliff. It really felt like I was just… allowing, instead of trying to control. And it was my first feeling of freedom," Anderson continued. "Then I was off to the races."

Anderson previously spoke to PEOPLE at the Los Angeles premiere of Pamela, A Love Story, explaining how personal the documentary and her Love, Pamela memoir were for her.

RELATED VIDEO: Pamela Anderson Says 'It's Emotional' to Watch Her Life Story in New Netflix Documentary

"Of course, it's emotional for me," Anderson says. "It's just all these wonderful memories and hard memories too. But I wanted to go back into those feelings and feel those feelings."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Pamela, a love story is now streaming on Netflix, and Love, Pamela is available wherever books are sold.