Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, with their resort hotels, have the reputation of being a honeymoon paradise. Growing up there, Kelly Monaco knew another part of paradise- the great outdoors. With a home on the boundary of a state game preserve, Kelly Monaco and her four sisters put in plenty of time hiking, climbing trees, fishing, camping and swimming. They were taught to skate by their mother, a former Olympic hopeful and figure-skating instructor. They even helped their father, an avid hunter, build tree stands. As a result, Miss April developed into tip-top shape. And when Kelly Monaco did resort to working at a resort, she obtained a job as a lifeguard.
Her duties involved more than merely working on her tan, though she also did an excellent job of that. “One night, I had to make three saves,” she says. “There’s this adrenaline rush that I can’t explain.” One of her rescues was a boy who had lost consciousness. “It’s an amazing feeling to know that if you hadn’t been there, this person may have died,” she says. And what an amazing feeling it must have been for the kid to wake up and find Kelly Monaco reviving him. Perhaps he thought he had died and gone to heaven.
Since her days at Playboy, Kelly has found success in Hollywood. A middle child, Miss Monaco says she enjoys being the center of attention. “I’ve always wanted to be a star. Growing up, I wanted to be an actress.” Her first television role was on the nighttime drama Baywatch from 1997 to 1998. In addition to playing the role of Susan on the show, Monaco also was Carmen Electra’s body double at times, as Electra could not swim. Monaco also had minor roles in the late 1990s films BASEketball, Idle Hands, and Mumford.
Monaco had two roles on the television soap opera Port Charles: Olivia “Livvie” Locke Morley (1999–2003) and Tess Ramsey (2002–2003). When that program ended, she joined the cast of soap opera General Hospital as Samantha Morgan in September 2003.
In 2003, Kelly was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role on Port Charles. In 2006, Monaco was again nominated for a Daytime Emmy, this time for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Sam McCall on General Hospital. In 2006, Monaco also co-hosted the 33rd Annual Daytime Emmys, with Dancing with the Stars host Tom Bergeron.
Miss Monaco was a cast member, and the season winner, on the ABC reality television series Dancing with the Stars, during its first season in 2005. Among the events that she experienced prior to her victory were a near-wardrobe malfunction in which the skimpy strap on her dress during a Latin dance number came apart, On July 27, 2012 it was announced that Monaco will be participating in the 15th season of Dancing with the Stars for a chance to win a second mirrorball trophy.