'Trading Spaces' host Paige Davis strips for charity, then complains about press
By Wade Paulsen, 07/01/2004
Apparently Paige Davis, the host of TLC's Trading Spaces, likes to push the edges of the envelope in her public life.
The New York Postreports that Paige, who is currently starring in the Broadway revival of Chicago, showed a little more than her dancing moves during the "Broadway Bares" AIDS fundraising benefit (sponsored by the actors' group Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS) on June 20 (which raised over a half-million dollars for HIV/AIDS support).
At the end of the benefit, Paige performed a simulated-striptease routine while wearing a V-necked sundress, which she pulled up to reveal a skimpy sheer thong underneath (shades of Monica Lewinsky) In one partygoer's view, "men maul[ed] her breasts" while stuffing money in both the top and bottom parts of her clothing .
Considering that Paige's job on Trading Spaces was supposedly "on the line" over a TV Guide cover in which she was clothed only in wallpaper -- and that TV Guide ultimately agreed to limit distribution of the cover so that TLC didn't use a "no-nudity" clause in her contract to terminate her -- many onlookers were surprised that Paige was so openly showing her God-given assets. However, Paige chose to ramp up the controversy by responding to The Post's story on the TLC message boards.
In her response, Paige noted that Broadway Cares was her longstanding favorite charity and that she "raised $20,000 for [it] last year in an embarrassing night of Celebrity Jeopardy." She then discussed the benefit, where she claimed to be "dressed in a very modest, almost demure, yellow dress, cut to my sternum." While she admitted to "flip[ping] my skirt for a second" and "collect[ing] some money in a pretend-stripper fashion," she said that she "kept all of my clothes on at all times" and accused The Post of "rumor and exaggeration" in its description of the night.
Unfortunately for Paige, this week's Star Magazine includes three full-color photos of her "pretend-strip," including one during Paige's "flipped skirt" antics that was censored, presumably to keep this issue of Star from ending up hidden under the counter with Playboy. While Paige's claim that she "kept all of my clothes on" clearly seems to be true, that doesn't mean that the clothes were performing their normal function of body coverage -- and the words "modest" and "demure" did not come to our mind while viewing men sticking their hands down the front of her dress and an image of numerous dollar bills tucked into her G-string.
In response to the pictures in Star, the New York Postfired back at Paige, asking her to "exaggerate this" and to answer the question of "who's lying." One hint: it isn't the photos.
Frankly, we don't care how or where Paige dresses or undresses, and we agree that her actions were on behalf of a good cause. But we admit to being fascinated by the legalities involved.
Because Paige kept her clothes on, does that mean that she didn't violate her TLC "no-nudity" clause -- even though the photos are much more revealing than the TV Guide "wallpaper shoot," which may have violated it? Does a photo in which Paige wasn't showing anything count as nudity because she was covered in non-clothes (wallpaper), but a photo in which she shows much, much more not count as nudity because she was wearing clothes that she didn't remove? Or have she and TLC simply moved beyond the "no nudity" clause?