Poison frontman Bret Michaels could not be prouder of his older daughter, Raine, who was just named a top six finalist in Sports Illustrated’s 2019 swimsuit model search competition. But as a man with racy memories of attending the bikini dance contests at the Sunset Strip’s notorious metal club Gazzarri’s, or partying with bikini babes in Headbangers Ball music videos like “I Want Action,” he admits with a chuckle that seeing his daughter all grown up and showing some skin is his “comeuppance coming full circle.”
“As a dad I’m proud, but there’s bittersweetness involved, because it’s your daughter doing bikini [modeling],” Michaels laughingly tells Yahoo Entertainment. “You know, it’s Sports Illustrated! It’s a bittersweet thing. I just look at it like this: I think she will be classy, it’ll be awesome, and I’m proud.”
In a separate frank 2018 interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Michaels stressed that everything that transpired at Poison’s wild backstage parties was fun and 100 percent consensual. “Poison, not once, not ever, forced anyone to do anything they didn’t want to do. I want be on record about that. Backstage parties were a party. No one was at gunpoint who came back there, “ he said. “Let me make very clear: No means no. I want be on the record with that. We’ve never done that stuff, meaning with our band at parties; there’s no spiked drinks, none of that. I’ve got to be pretty strong about this, as a father of two daughters: No matter what goes on in an evening, how much teasing, when the answer is no, the answer means no. That’s it. There’s no more to it. And I’m saying [women] absolutely should stand up if something is done to them.” Still, looking back on his own wild past sometimes makes Michaels worry about both his daughters, 18-year-old Raine and 13-year-old Jorja Bleu, as they navigate what can be a dangerous world.
“When I was living in it, you don’t think of it as dangerous. You’re thinking, ‘This is fun! This is awesome! It’s great!’” Michaels, who respectively released the fatherhood-inspired songs “Raine” and “Jorja Bleu” in 2003 and 2017, now tells Yahoo Entertainment. “But when you look back as a dad, and this is your comeuppance coming full circle, right?” However, he believes he has raised his kids right and has prepared them to “make great decisions.”
“As a dad, you’ve got to let them also go out there and do what they’re gonna do,” Michaels elaborates. “You look back as a dad … you hope that you were fun, that you taught them the right thing, and I always say, ‘Always go with your gut.’ I tell my daughters, ‘If something doesn’t feel right, whether that’s going to a party, doing a video, shooting something, you’re around someone that’s creeping you out, use your gut. If you’re in a car with a driver and something don’t feel right, use your gut.’ And I’ve showed them, throughout all this, also how to protect themselves, I think, pretty good.
“So hopefully all those play in and I’ll pray that they have a lot of amazingly good luck and don’t hit too many of those bad situations. These are [Raine’s] decisions. She’s a smart kid. She’ll know. I said, ‘Go with your gut. Something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.’”
Michaels gushes about Raine’s ambition when pursuing her SI dream, describing her as “humble” and “hardworking,” and he’s equally proud of his musician daughter Jorja, with whom he just recorded a new duet. “She’s very driven, very motivated, has a lot of talent musically,” he says. “She sat down at the piano and she wrote this song, and then we ended up co-writing it together. It’s called ‘Unbroken,’ and I cannot wait for people to hear the song.”
The father-daughter duet has also inspired Michaels’s Unbroken Hot Rocks Challenge, via which fans can submit their homemade dance videos (no need to wear a bikini, of course!) for a chance to win $10,000 from Michaels’s Life Rocks Foundation that will go to the 501(c)(3) charity of their choice and a “VIP rock star trip” for two. For full contest details, go to bretmichaels.com/Unbroken.
This article originally ran on Yahoo Entertainment.