Second in a Series of Exclusive Interviews with the Contestants of Stan Lee’s “Who Wants to be a Superhero?” Competition Reality Show
By Mark Otnes, 3-26-2014
Editor, The Joe Report
“I think I watched the show peeking through one eye. It feels a bit awkward to watch yourself on camera.”
—Chelsea Weld, aka SyFy TV’s superheroine, “Cell Phone Girl”
Here at The Joe Report, we’re unabashedly HUGE fans of Stan Lee’s hit TV reality show, “Who Wants to be a Superhero?” (WWTBASH) And yes, we know that it’s been off the air for 7 years. But that’s not going to deter us from interviewing every single contestant from the show. Today’s interview is with Season 1 contender, Chelsea Weld, aka “Cell Phone Girl” (CPG) to her legions of fans. We caught up with Miss Weld recently at her new “secret lair” located somewhere in Hawaii, and she kindly offered to answer our questions about her life and her time on the show…
TJR: Hello! And thanks so much for agreeing to this interview. As I mentioned before, I’m a HUGE fan of yours and of your superhero alter-ego, “Cell Phone Girl.” But let’s begin by catching up with Chelsea Weld, the woman, as you are today. According to your Facebook page, you’ve recently become engaged. Congratulations! Is there anything you’d care to share about your fiancé, or your future plans together?
CW: “Thank you! We are getting married very soon in May and we are both so excited! I feel so blessed and lucky to have such an amazing man in my life. Our future plans are to stay healthy and happy together.”
TJR: When you appeared in Season 1 of Syfy’s Who Wants to be a Superhero (2006), you were just 22 years old, and working as an interior designer in La Crescenta, California. Where are you now, and what are you doing?
CW: “Currently I live in Hawaii and work as a Financial Advisor. It is something that has always fascinated me. I still have the creative design bug though. I just designed our condo with the help of my fiancé!” (UPS Enterprise AE, Peter Stams)
TJR: That’s fantastic, congratulations again. You’re also quite a beautiful woman. What sort of health regimen or exercise activities do you currently participate in to keep your superhero physique looking so “fit and fabulous?”
CW: “Thank you! In July of 2012, I competed in the Bikini Class of an NPC body-building show. I placed 5th in the top 5 in my first show which was very exciting! Staying healthy and active is something I am passionate about, so I really enjoyed the whole process and the camaraderie around it. I had no idea how involved that world gets until I experienced it for myself. My goal is to compete again in 2015. For now, I’m staying healthy by working out several times a week, and eating very cleanly. For my workouts, I really prefer weight training. I don’t get the results I want with anything else. And for fun, I enjoy yoga, hiking and water sports.”
TJR: Many fans have wondered if you were ever employed as a professional model or in show business as an actress? If so, what did you do?
CW: “I never did any modeling. I took some acting classes initially to get over my shyness and ended up really liking them. I love acting and think in another life I would have really enjoyed it. But I never did anything professionally.”
TJR: When you’re not working, what are you doing? What are your other interests or hobbies?
CW: “When I am not working, I love being outdoors. Whether it is laying on the beach, or being active in the water, or hiking—I love soaking up the beauty here. It is very soothing. I mentioned before that, training for fitness competitions is a passion of mine, so I look forward to getting back into training soon.”
TJR: How and when did you first get interested in superheroes? Who is your favorite superhero and why?
CW: “Back in high school, my boyfriend was very into comics, and he bought me some of my own, and the storylines just captivated me. I thought they were great; grown up stories—with pictures! That was the moment I knew I loved comics and that is what got me into superheroes. I think everyone loves the idea of being “super” at something and having extra powers. Who doesn’t want to fly or be able to teleport?”
TJR: Absolutely! And to carry the question further, did you ever dress up as a superhero and attend a toy show or comic book convention as a cosplayer?
CW: “When I lived in California, right after ‘Who Wants to be a Superhero’ aired, I went to the San Diego ComicCon as Cell Phone Girl. That was SO fun! I loved seeing everyone dressed up. I love dressing up and would love to do that again!”
TJR: As you know, The Joe Report is primarily geared towards fans and collectors of 1:6 scale action figure toys. Do you collect anything? Any toys, superhero items, dolls, or action figures?
CW: “I would love to have collections, but over the years I’ve moved around a lot and have had limited storage space, not ideal conditions for keeping up a collection. I enjoy seeing other people’s collections though.
I LOVE a proud collector; someone who is truly passionate about their collection and can tell you everything about it. In that sense, I would say I am more of a fan—of collectors!”
TJR: Let’s talk about your time on the show. In episode 1 of Season 1, when you first stepped out of the limousine at the mansion, you said (in a voiceover):
“I love cell phones. I’m always on the phone. I love to stay in touch with people. So when it came to being a superhero, I knew I was Cell Phone Girl.”
TJR: For viewers, that statement perfectly captured the essence of your character. Cell Phone Girl (CPG) was going to be an optimistic, friendly and outgoing superhero. Tell us about your creation of CPG and how the idea first came to you.
CW: “I was sitting in class one day, and at that time I was trying to figure out which carrier had better service (I had TWO cell phones). My friend saw me using both of them at once and called me ‘Cell Phone Girl.’ That name just resonated with me. That IS me. I am Cell Phone Girl!
I’m always on the phone; whether to have fun, help people out, or simply to find out some information. From that moment on, I started dreaming up my character’s super powers and what it would be like to actually BE—Cell Phone Girl.”
TJR: Cool! Okay, could you tell us about the show’s audition process? How and when did you first learn about the show? Where did you have to go, what did you have to do, etc.?
CW: “I saw the ad online somewhere and was instantly intrigued. I prepared my costume, went to a building in Hollywood for the audition (positive that I wouldn’t be chosen) and presented my character to them. The whole process was simply fascinating to me.“
TJR: When you finally met Stan Lee, where was that and what did you two talk about?
CW: “The only times I met Stan Lee were on a TV or video projector when he was talking to us. It was a magical moment when I first saw him, but I don’t even remember what he said, exactly. I just kept thinking, ‘Wow! I’m talking to Stan Lee. This is so COOL!”
TJR: When and how did you learn you had been selected as a contestant for the show? Were you notified via phone, email or letter? What specifically did you do to prepare?
CW: “The details are fuzzy, but I’m pretty sure they notified me by phone. I mean, how else would you notify Cell Phone Girl? At that point, I already had my costume and character, so the only thing for me to do was show up.”
TJR: Your long, elegant legs were shown to great advantage in both of your Cell Phone Girl costumes. But wasn’t it difficult to run in those high-heel boots? And did you ever poke anyone in the eye your with your cape’s antennas?Looking back, what do you think of your two costumes now?
CW: “I WISH I got to have that second costume while I was still on the show. The show’s costumers did a great job creating it. When I finally got to wear it, I was very excited. And yes, if I turned around too fast, and someone was standing too close, my antennas could get caught in someone’s hair, but people quickly learned how to keep clear.”
“The boots were actually fine to run in, thick heels are a superhero’s friend. Looking back, my first costume still holds a special place in my heart because it has all the memories of the entire process tied to it. But I also LOVED that second costume!”
TJR: You were eliminated from the show before receiving an “on-air” official costume makeover, but were given your beloved second costume later nonetheless, for photo shoots and other promotional activities. Did you get to keep that new (studio-created) costume? If so, where is it?
CW: “Yes I still have it, safely in storage. Maybe I’ll break it out and wear it again!”
TJR: Did you get to keep any other souvenirs from the show? Did anyone ever bring up the irony or pointlessness of giving Cell Phone Girl yet another cell phone or “communicator?”
CW: “Ha-ha! No, no one did mention the irony. And technically, Cell Phone Girl doesn’t need any cell phones, so you are correct. No I don’t have any other souvenirs. Just my costume.”
TJR: Personality-wise, what sort of heroine did you envision Cell Phone Girl to be? High-tech? Vain? Or youthfully immature like Spiderman, the X-Men, etc (all originally brash teenagers)? The reason I ask is that in the earliest audition tapes, you actually stated the following:
“If there’s a hot guy walking by, it’s a dilemma…
Do I help the person (in need), or do I go for the hot guy?”
TJR: Looking back now, I’m sure you’ll agree, that was hardly a “heroic” thing to say. By portraying Cell Phone Girl in that manner, it seemed as if you were almost working against yourself. Your thoughts?
CW: “Every super hero has their weaknesses—hot guys were one of mine. I didn’t say I chose the hot guys over saving someone, just that it was a dilemma. Superheroes always do the right thing, so of course, I would always choose to SAVE someone! I envisioned Cell Phone Girl as being very tech-savvy, confidant, and empathetic towards people.”
TJR: The first time viewers hear from you is in a voice-over referring to Stan Lee, in which you say:
“Being immortalized by this master of all superheroes would be a dream come true.”
TJR: The producers liked that comment so much they ended up using it in every episode, even after your departure from the show. Was that statement your own idea? Or did the show have writers “feeding” contestants certain phrases?
CW: “For our commentaries, we would have conversations with the crew where they would ask us questions. They never told us what to say, but if we said something that might be taken the wrong way, or it was stated unclearly, they might help us to phrase something differently. The statement is true—it WOULD be a dream come true. I don’t remember now if they helped me to articulate that particular sentence, but they never put words in my mouth.”
TJR: Did you realize that the show had a separate, unique theme song for Cell Phone Girl? It’s true! If you watch episode 1 and listen carefully just before you step from the limousine (at the mansion), you’ll hear the music spin off into a unique counter-melody that was created specifically for your character—and it’s PLAYED on cell phone buttons, to boot! Pretty cool!
CW: “I think I watched the show peeking through one eye. It feels a bit awkward to watch yourself on camera. So I don’t quite remember that. But thank you for pointing that out. I will look for that! That is very cool.”
TJR: Who’s idea was it to start conga-line dancing in the mansion? Did the producers say “Okay everybody, let’s start dancing.” Or did the contestants just begin to do that on their own?
CW: “Ha! I think it was Creature’s idea. She (Tonya Kay) is a VERY playful person and lots of fun. We all had so much fun together!”
TJR: When you learned you were leaving the mansion for an unknown “lair” elsewhere, you lamented:
“I don’t want to leave the mansion. I want to stay here. This sucks!”
TJR: You may have said that innocently, but the comment came across as somewhat “spoiled.” Was that your intention, or do you believe the producers carefully selected comments so that you and the other contestants would be perceived and portrayed in a certain way? How do you feel you ultimately came across on the show?
CW: “Of course, the show cherry-picked comments to help create drama, every show does that. And yes, it does sound spoiled, but the intention behind my comment was more about the FUN we were having, not the fact that we were in a mansion.”
TJR: Did you ever suspect that “Rotiart” (Jonathan Firestone) was a spy? Did he ever interrogate you, looking for “dirt?” What are your thoughts of him and Levity (Tobias Trost) both leaving the show before even entering the lair?
CW: “When we were all in the limo together, I remember thinking that something about Rotiart seemed ‘off,’ but I couldn’t put my finger on it, and I was even about to look at his name spelled backwards and then got distracted by someone. If I had done that then, we might have figured him out sooner! As soon as he said his real name, I thought back to that moment. Having Levity leave was very disappointing. BOTH of those moments definitely made the threat of leaving a reality.”
TJR: What can you tell us about your time in the lair, and of the lair building itself, that we may not already know? Was the address really 11400 Willow Street? What city was it in? Can you provide any (previously unknown) “behind the scenes” information?
CW: “I don’t really know where it was. If I remember correctly they blacked out the windows of the limo we were all in somehow. The interior was a very beautifully revamped warehouse. I loved it! Even more so than the mansion.”
“Half of my excitement was because I loved what they did with the interior space, and the other half was because I was on the show and that was just so exciting. When we weren’t shooting, we would all sit around talking and playing and making each other laugh. We really did have a great time together. Other than the interior, I really have no idea where we were. They were very good at keeping that a secret, even from us. Somewhere in the LA area is all I know.”
TJR: During the first challenge, you said (in a voice-over):
“When I heard what our first superhero challenge was, changing in public, I thought, you gotta be kidding me!”
TJR: But in fact, Stan didn’t tell the contestants to change in public. Rather, he urged everyone to find a place to change “inconspicuously,” ala Clark Kent. And so, the question many fans immediately ask is, why did YOU, Nitro G, and a few others, decide to change right out there in the open? When it was your turn, as the camera panned to the side, people are clearly sitting or walking by only a few feet away! Why didn’t contestants just go into one of those public porta-potties?
CW: “Oh trust me, if there was anywhere to change in private, I would have found it. EXCEPT for a porta-potty! I draw the line there. I try to avoid them at all costs. They basically took us to an open park. No buildings. No restrooms. In fact, I don’t even think there WERE any porta-potties. So I hid behind a wall. I was hidden from the public pretty well, but it was not an ideal spot. I think I was kneeling in the bushes. Where I was changing people couldn’t see me or I wouldn’t have changed. You can’t show the public your superhero quick-change routine. That ruins the magic!”
TJR: Okay… I think we’ll require some clarification here. Forgive me for asking, but your fans will HAVE to know this: Were you already wearing your costume’s black tights and fishnet stockings under your t-shirt and jeans? And if you weren’t (again, excuse me if I’m being indelicate), then exactly how far did you have to strip down (in public!) for this “revealing” challenge?
CW: “No, I was NOT wearing my tights or stockings! So…when I started to change and the camera crew found me, I told them if they didn’t LEAVE, then I wasn’t going to finish changing. To my knowledge, no one saw anything. And to anyone who did—you’re welcome! HA!”
TJR: What are your memories of the nighttime “rooftop eliminations?” On the show you said:
“When I got to the roof, and saw all of those boxes lit up, it was intense. It was definitely intimidating.”
TJR: Could you hear Stan clearly? Was he really appearing on that billboard-sized TV screen?
CW: “I remember being VERY nervous. I enjoyed being on the show and didn’t want to leave, so I think that was going through all of our minds. We would see Stan on a big flat screen, but probably not the size of a billboard. It was a big screen though.”
TJR: Tell us what you remember about the “Attack Dog Challenge.” Before it began, you honestly and openly admitted:
“Wow. I’m nervous! This reminds me of a time when I was actually bitten by dogs.”
TJR: And then during the attack, you lasted only 4-seconds before quitting. Afterwards, you stated:
“I have a horrible headache, and those dogs just made it worse.”
TJR: Looking back on that day now, what are your strongest memories? What was it like being a chew-toy for two vicious K-9s? Were you physically hurt, or did just you just suffer some wounded pride?
CW: “That was a VERY tough day for me. When I was 5, my family and some other families went camping in the desert. One of our family friends had Rottweilers and I remember the owner telling us not to run or the dogs will chase us. Well, when you are 5 and it looks like a big Rottweiler is chasing you on his own, you RUN! And sadly, I could not outrun him, so he bit my butt. That hurt!
So, while I was waiting for my part of the challenge, all I remember thinking was about that moment and how much it hurt to be bit by a dog. Not to mention scary, because they are usually barking also. I was already in that big ‘sumo suit’ so I was also very hot. Being hot and anxious for hours will give anyone a headache.
I was also very nervous because those were specially trained attack dogs who could only be called off by one word from their owner. If I said that word or if anyone else said that word they wouldn’t listen. So on top of everything else, I was thinking ‘gosh, I hope this guy doesn’t drop dead or something before he says the command to call them off me.’ Plus, they had an ambulance nearby!”
CW: “So there I was, in this huge padded suit that was hard to move in, wearing heels(!), and I’m supposed to outrun some trained attack dogs?! As soon as my feet hit the ground, the dogs were on me in 2.5 seconds. I knew I wouldn’t make it to the door (another 25 feet away) so decided not to prolong the pain. Those suits we were wearing were not padded. They were just thick enough for a bite to not break skin. You can still definitely feel the pressure though. I think I even had bruises from it.”
CW: “I don’t think they showed it, but when Stan was asking me questions to eliminate me, he asked me if Cell Phone Girl was afraid of dogs and I said, “No. Cell Phone Girl isn’t. But I (Chelsea) am!” I was looking around at the production crew thinking, ‘Don’t they know I’m not REALLY a superhero?’ News Flash: I, Chelsea, cannot fly or teleport either. Only Cell Phone Girl can! Oh well, in the end, Stan made his choice and I was just happy to have had the experience of being on the show.”
TJR: That’s a good way to look at it. And regardless of the 4-second outcome, it took a lot of guts for you to get in there with those two dogs. If you were faced with the same sort of challenge TODAY, would you do anything differently?
CW: “Dear God, I hope I am never faced with that same challenge again! If I was, it would probably be in real life and I would definitely fight the dogs back. Those dogs were only attacking me because they were trained to, so I felt like it would have been very wrong of me to hit them or fight back. I felt like my only option was to just take the attack. If I were put back in that exact same moment in 2006 for a ‘do over’ right now, today, honestly, it probably would have ended the same way. I might have tried to run a little bit farther, but I don’t think the outcome would’ve been any different. What would YOU do if you had 2 trained German Shepard attack dogs coming for you?”
TJR: That’s a good question, and the perfect opportunity for me to change the subject (HA). So…are you aware of the various adult-oriented “fan-fiction” and comic strips that’ve been created about the women of WWTBASH? What are your thoughts about being the subject of such online amateur (and professional) erotica?
CW: “No, I am not aware! Being that I have no idea what you are talking about, I don’t know that I can offer a comment. But I will have to check into that.”
TJR: When you find it, you may want to read it much like you watch yourself on the show, by “peeking through one eye!” (Some of it’s pretty risqué!) Finally, it’s been 8 years now since your appearance on WWTBASH. Looking back, would you amend your departing statement in any way? And is there anything you would have done differently?
CW: “I would not change my parting statement, because I think that it summed up how I felt in that moment. And looking back, the only thing I could have done differently would be to have tried to run a little faster!”
Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks and gratitude go out to Miss Weld for her generous response to this interview. We wish her all the best in her future endeavours, and in her upcoming nuptials. To view a 30-second promo of Chelsea’s time on the show, click on the video link below. And stay tuned for our THIRD exclusive WWTBASH contestant interview—coming soon!