When Dr. Sandra Lee started recording videos of her popping pimples and extracting blackheads at her dermatology practice, she had no idea that four years later she would be known best as Dr. Pimple Popper, internet celebrity and star of TLC's new reality series of the same name.
In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com prior to the series' Season 2 renewal announcement Tuesday, Lee opened up about the path that took her from an everyday dermatologist with a YouTube channel to the leader of a subculture she lovingly calls "Popaholics."
"I feel like sometimes I'm the Pied Piper of pimples," she joked when asked about the appeal of watching her pop other people's pimples. "I don't know, I think what I was really just trying to do is show people what I love about what I do and the intricacies behind it and I feel that I found something that was able to grab a lot of people's interest — pimple popping. I didn't realize it was such a big deal ... and when I saw that I just sort of seized upon it. I thought, 'OK, this is a thing. Let me see how much I can grow it.'"
More than 2.5 billion views, her SLMD Skincare line and her new Pimple Pete game later, Lee knows she was able to tap into a faction of humanity that finds some kind of satisfaction in watching her pops.
"There was something here, and I was just waiting for someone to figure it out, like, mainstream. And that's been tough, because it sort of like is this, some people might call it pimple porn, where it's hidden and people were embarrassed that they even watched stuff like this," she admitted. "So we kind of brought that out in the open, which is a good thing. The thing that sustains us the most is the fact that it makes people happy. We're making people feel better about themselves. We're making people that watch it feel content and happy, and it helps to decrease people's stress and relax them."
And while she advises that people don't take all that pimple-popping fervor to their own skin, she does recommend her Pimple Pete game as a way to get that satisfaction without the possibly scarring.
"It's something that I think is going to create the same sort of feelings in people who enjoy watching my videos," she said of the Spinmaster game. "They're going to be able to safely fascinated by it. There's a suspense to it like my videos create a suspense... So I think that it is a great way for people ... because I know a lot of people say they want to live vicariously through me."
She joked, "And in the meantime, you can fill it with a little vodka, you can have a little party too."
Pimple Pete is now available at Amazon and Walmart and soon to be available at Target online and in-store.
Dr. Pimple Popper airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on TLC.
Photo credit: TLC