It was as if she were “two people,” Frankie Rodriguez told 20/20 in a special that is airing on Friday, February 5. “Any kinda camera, you just yelled out her name, ‘Anna Nicole.’ When she turned around, it was on the spot; you saw Anna Nicole,” said Rodriguez.
"The minute that camera left, it was a whole other person. She was back to Vickie Lynn," he continued, referring to Smith’s real name. "I [am] very fortunate to have met and gotten to know Vickie Lynn… How she did it, I don't know. But whatever she was doing, it was making everybody watch."
Smith, who started modeling for Playboy and Guess in the ‘90s, moved to Hollywood and made a name for herself. However, her life was cut short after she died of a drug overdose in 2007 — months after her son Daniel died of a drug overdose.
Now, on the 14th anniversary of Smith’s death, Larry Birkhead — who met Smith in the early 2000s while working as a photographer — and their daughter, Dannielynn Birkhead, are learning more about Smith when they take a road trip to Mexia, Texas, where the actress grew up.
"Dannielynn's a teenager now, and she doesn't really know a ton of things about her mom," Larry says in the trailer.
"As a dad who has a child whose mom has passed away, I thought, 'Why not go back to Anna's beginnings?' When you talk about Anna Nicole and you talk about where she came from ... you talk about the court battles," he said. "In between, there were a lot of happy moments for her. There was a lot of highs before there was a lot of lows."
The special also "takes a comprehensive look at Anna Nicole through new interviews with those closest to her, never-before-seen and rarely seen video, as well as material from the ABC News archives," according to the release.
"20/20 also reports on the dichotomy between who Anna Nicole was in the spotlight and who she was in private as Vickie Lynn Smith, her rise to fame, life in the limelight, her tragic death in Florida and the unanswered questions about her death," the release adds.
Larry and Dannielynn's episode of 20/20 airs on ABC Friday, February 5, at 9 p.m. ET.