If the woman in the above picture looks familiar, yet you can't quite pin down where you've seen her, maybe this question will help you narrow it down: are you a regular viewer of NBC's hit Howie-Mandel-hosted game show, “Deal or No Deal?” You are? Well, that'd explain it, then: Kelly Brannigan is one of the show's models. She also branched out from the comforts of NBC to appear on a certain Brady-centric reality show on VH-1. After doing an exclusive photo-shoot for Bullz-Eye (you'll see some of the resulting photos below), the lovely Ms. Brannigan agreed to chat with us for an accompanying interview.
BE: Hi Kelly, it's Will Harris.
KB: Hi, how are you?
BE: Pretty good. How are you?
KB: I'm great!
BE: Ready to answer a few questions?
KB: Yeah, I'm ready!
BE: Well, I guess the first thing we should talk about is what everyone knows you for: your stint at the Culinary Institute of America. (laughs)
KB: (no laughter at all) Right.
BE: Um, I was kind of kidding about that. But you did actually attend there, though. I take it that you grew up with a fondness for cooking?
KB: Yes, I did. I went to Monroe Community College, in Rochester, New York, for food service and hospitality, and then, when I graduated with my associate's degree, I went to the Culinary Institute for Pastry Arts.
BE: And what do you do with a diploma from there?
KB: Um…become a pastry chef?
BE: Fair enough. Did you ever actually work in that field?
KB: I did. I worked at two four-star restaurants before I moved here, for about three years, after I got out of college. And, then, I moved here a year ago.
BE: Of course, what people will probably recognize you for is your gig on “Deal or No Deal,” but I've read that you don't actually have a modeling background. How did you get involved with the show?
KB: Well, everyone...a lot of people in upstate New York…have asked me why I wasn't modeling, so I moved out here a year ago – like I said – in January, and I got an agent, and I started going on castings. And one of them was for “Deal or No Deal.” And I just went, and they liked me, and I got on the show! (giggles)
BE: How much interaction do you have with Howie Mandel?
KB: Oh, a lot! It's like a big family there! He's a great, great guy.
BE: Is he pretty hands-on as far as the show itself?
KB: Oh, yeah.
BE: How much did you know about him before the show? I mean, I know his profile had not been as high in recent years as it had been in, say, the ‘80s.
KB: Yeah, I did know him. From “Bobby's World.”
BE: I wondered about that. I thought that would've been your era.
KB: Yeah. And I also knew him from a couple of movies. Like the monster movie with, God, y'know, it was a long time ago.
BE: Do you mean the one with Fred Savage, “Little Monsters?”
KB: Right! Yeah, I loved that movie, so, of course, I did know him, and I did like him a lot, so I was excited to meet him, actually.
BE: I know he's got an ongoing battle with OCD (obsessive compulsive disease). Does he manage to keep that pretty much under wraps while he's on set?
KB: Yeah, you know, it's not bad. I mean, people blow it out of proportion. He just doesn't like to shake hands, because hands are filled with germs…and I don't blame him! (laughs) That's his only real OCD thing that's apparent; that he prefers not to shake hands.
BE: Can you see him twitch when people try, or do they warn contestants ahead of time?
KB: No, he just plays it off. He'll put his fist out so you can hit it, or he'll be, like, “Nice to meet you,” and pat you on the back, or something like that. He's a very witty, smart man, so he knows how to handle himself. (laughs)
BE: I'm sure you've had plenty of memorable experiences with contestants, but who was the person that you found yourself rooting for the most?
KB: The woman who had the family from Belize, because my mother's side of the family is from Belize as well. She didn't know that side of the family, and we flew them out. It was very emotional for me.
BE: Who was the funniest person?
KB: Probably the wrestler guy, the guy who liked the wrestlers. He was really funny to me. He was nice. (Writer's note: I'm pretty sure she's referring to Rick Achberger, a.k.a. WWE Sign Guy, a man who holds signs ringside at WWE events as a way to incite a response from the wrestlers. WWE wrestlers John Cena, Bobby Lashley, Edge and Randy Orton all made guest appearances on the episode.)
BE: Have you ever been tempted to yell out, “Good lord, would you just take the deal already?”
KB: Yes. Definitely! (laughs) And more than once!
BE: And I know people try to make for good TV, but has there ever been a contestant who just drove you crazy as they tried to be funny and just absolutely weren't?
KB: Yes. I'm not going to name any names, but definitely! (laughs) Have there been occasions where you just can't wait for it to be over? Sure.
BE: You just have to bite your tongue, I guess.
BE: You're friends with Adrianne Curry.
BE: How did ya'll meet?
KB: We met down in Manhattan Beach, where I lived for the last year. I just moved up to Hollywood recently, so we met down there, with a mutual friend at dinner, and we just clicked.
BE: And I understand you were on the current season of “My Fair Brady.”
KB: I was, and it was a very memorable episode! Adrianne and I did a very provocative photo shoot where we were both nude, though I was covered up. It was really hot. And then Adrianne showed them to Chris (her husband Chris Knight), and he just freaked out. He started asking her if she was a lesbian and he left their place, though he came back. It caused plenty of drama, but then everything was fine.
BE: At least it was great for the show.
BE: I presume that, if you're friends with Adrianne, you've gotten to hang out with Chris to a certain extent.
KB: I have, yes. He's a great guy.
BE: On “The Surreal Life,” he struck me as a very real, funny kind of guy.
KB: He is. He's one of the nicest people I've ever met. He genuinely loves Adrianne very much.
BE: And they're still doing well together?
KB: Very well, yes.
BE: On a related note, are you yourself a fan of reality TV?
KB: Y'know, I am somewhat a fan of reality TV, but I don't watch much TV, so (fades off)
BE: Do you have a particular favorite reality TV show?
KB: Let's see. (thinks for a moment) Not really. “General Hospital” is really the only thing that I have to watch. (laughs)
BE: That's the extent of your must-see TV, huh?
KB: Yeah, “General Hospital” is it.
BE: So beyond your current work, do you have aspirations for acting?
KB: You know, I never did, but as I get more into it (pauses) I've done “C.S.I.: Miami” and some other TV shows and commercials and stuff like that, and as I get more into it, I realize that, well, I always said that I wanted to do soap operas, because I'm a very dramatic person in general (laughs) so I'm starting to feel that maybe I should take some acting classes, because I know I have it in me.
BE: Now, you say you're a dramatic person…
KB: Very dramatic.
BE: …but do you qualify as a full-on drama queen?
KB: Maybe I'm not a drama queen. But I'm a very passionate person. When I love, I really love, and when I fight, I really fight. (laughs)
BE: Which I guess kind of leads into the next question: are you seeing anyone at the moment?
KB: I am.
BE: And that's going well, I hope?
KB: It is.
BE: Are they in the industry as well?
KB: No, he's not. He's, his own boss. (goes quiet)
BE: Do you ever feel like guys are intimidated by you?
KB: Well, sometimes. I'm very independent, and I have a tendency to say what's on my mind. I'm from New York, you know? I'll say it, and a lot of guys are turned off by that, guys who like control. I'm not easy to control! (laughs)
BE: When you consider the possibility of “Deal or No Deal” ending, do you ever think, “Well, at least I can fall back on my degree in hotel management”?
KB: I do! I hope that, by the time I do end my career in modeling or TV, I have enough money to open my own restaurant or bakery someday.
BE: Have you thought about a bed and breakfast?
KB: I have. A bed and breakfast would be nice, too.
BE: Where do you see yourself in the short term? Do you have specific career goals?
KB: You know, short term, I'd like to, in the next couple of years, get married, to be honest. To keep working and then, probably around 28 or 29, have a baby. I've always wanted to have a baby. So as soon as I find the right person to marry and have a baby with, I'd like to do that! (giggles) I'm kind of like Martha Stewart. People don't really accept that from me, because I don't seem it, but I am.
BE: In that case, can you offer us a household tip?
KB: A household tip? (laughs) Well, I have OCD really bad, so I guess just “clean.” I keep my apartment or my house, wherever I'm living, very clean. You could eat off my floor. I don't like a dirty place.
BE: All right, thanks a lot, and sorry it took so long for us to get a hold of each other!
KB: Thank you. And I'm sorry, too! Bye-bye!
Don't miss our Hollywood Girls photo gallery of Kelly!