Dani Mathers has embraced her life-altering mistakes.
In July 2016, the former Playboy Playmate of the Year created a firestorm when she secretly Snapchatted a 70-year-old naked woman from an LA Fitness locker room. Poking fun at the gymgoer’s physique, she captioned the image, “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.” Almost instantly, the 30-year-old was banned from the gym and its franchises, and fired from her hosting gig on a popular KLOS 95.5 radio show. By May 2017, after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor count of invasion of privacy, she was sentenced to three years’ probation and 30 days of community service.
“There is no doubt I regret that stupid choice,” Mathers, engaged to John Connor, says in the new issue of Us Weekly. “I am sorry that it happened to this woman. But I am not sorry about what happened to me. I would not have this push to create positivity and try to change people’s minds about how they act without thinking. My life flipped upside down. But it’s a blessing in disguise.”
The L.A.-based actress, who works with legal crisis and media manager Wendy Feldman, sat down with Us and opened up about how her "life flipped upside down."
Us Weekly: When did you realize the severity of what you had done?
Dani Mathers: I’m still learning how big of a deal this is. More than anything, I hurt somebody I don’t know. It’s a terrible feeling to know that’s something I was capable of. But I do think that it taught me a lot.
Us: If you could speak to her today, what would you say?
DM: A million things have run through my mind. But bottom line is: "I’m so sorry." I never intended to hurt her. There was a lot of pain caused and I think she would like to put this behind her, as would I.
Us: How has this situation changed how you use social media?
DM: I took a break for almost a year. I feared anything positive I put out would be seen as disingenuous. I hope my situation shows there is a responsibility when on social media.
Us: How have you learned to handle the backlash directed toward you?
DM: People have been relentless. That’s a lot of why I had to step away. All I want to do is defend myself. But if I spend every moment defending myself, I wouldn’t be getting anything positive done. I have to block it out. I can’t feed my mind and my heart with negativity.
Us: Do you think there’s more animosity because you were a Playmate?
DM: Absolutely! Prior to this, I would get unfortunate comments about my physical appearance. I was pigeonholed into this stereotypical view. It discounts the work I put into my career. Being in the public eye isn’t all rainbows.
Us: Plan to overhaul your image?
DM: My hope is to turn the corner and show people the person I am. Some people want to believe I’m only working with charities because of my consequences. But at the end of the day, I know who I am.
Us: Is there a charity you’re especially involved with?
DM: I work closely with Coupla Guys and Gals Give Back. I’m heading their anti-bullying department. I’ll be speaking at schools about the responsibility that comes with social media and telling kids about the pain we can cause if we don’t think before we speak, before we post.
Us: Overall, what have you learned?
DM: When you’re told how much of a monster you are, it pushes you to look inside. I don’t ever want to be someone spitting hate. That’s really what I’ve learned. I also gained a lot of empathy and learned that everybody, at some point, has judged a person. Going through this past year and making it to the other side, I know I can handle almost anything.
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