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Carmen Electra and I have lots in common. We’re both from Ohio, and we both cherish our days working at amusement parks.

While I could be found at Sandusky’s Cedar Point hosting rides including Mantis — the world’s tallest, fastest and steepest roller coaster at the time — Space Spiral and Schwabinchen — plus giving surveys for the marketing department and keeping the park clean as a sweeperette, Carmen danced her way to the top at Cincinnati’s Kings Island.

In fact, today is her 36th birthday — and the day the park opens for the 2008 season! She would be thrilled to relive her youth.

“Every year I had a season pass to Kings Island,” Carmen tells me. “I love roller coasters and I love going on all the rides. I would spend most of my entire summer at that amusement park with my friends, so when I actually started working there, I thought I would have a chance to go on all the rides because I was there all the time and hang out. But it ended up being long hours at work. That was probably the down side of it. I didn’t get to go on as many rides as I wanted to. But the upside of it was that I was able to save the little bit of money I made. It wasn’t a lot of money. I was able to save $100 a week that we made and I was able to buy a plane ticket and fly to L.A. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t have been able to fly out and start a career.”

What were her favorite rides?

“At Kings Island, my favorite roller coaster was the Beast, and the Racer — the one that you go backwards,” she says. “You go forwards and backwards. That was fun.”

Would she recommend the amusement park life?

“It was a great experience,” she tells me. “I remember I didn’t want to go and audition, but my mom talked me into it. I was really scared and nervous, and wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. That was kind of a big thing. If you get to perform and dance at a show at Kings Island, it was kind of one of the biggest things to do when you were a teenager and you want to get into entertainment and dance. I was really excited when I made it. It definitely changed my life — definitely. It helped give me a little bit of self-confidence to move to Los Angeles and try to make it happen.”

As for me, living at Cedar Point during college summers was a total blast. I’d highly recommend it.

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