Roughly thirty miles northeast of Tampa, Florida, lies the town of Zephyrhills. With a population of just over 10,000, Zephyhills is a small, tight-knit community perhaps best known for being the home of Zephyrhills bottled water.
But these days, perhaps the most famous resident of Zephyhills is Meagan Simmons, who became an online sensation in 2010 after her photogenic mugshot — the result of a reckless driving arrest — became a popular internet meme and she was dubbed the “Attractive Convict.” While the former Hooters waitress only spent a mere eight hours in jail, her legacy remains strong years later.
Simmons has stated that the photo, along with her resulting notoriety, served as a wake up call, one that motivated her to change her life, become a medical assistant and focus on raising her four children.
I had a great childhood. Both of my parents, though divorced, were very much a part of my life. I have two younger brothers who mean the world to me. They are all very active in my children’s lives and for that I am beyond thankful, especially since I am a single mother. I come from a very close family, and I am raising my children to have the same family values.
What were the circumstances surrounding your arrest?
The circumstances were basically bullshit. Excuse me. I had no intentions of driving that night because I was invited to ride along with my girl friend. So of course I had a couple of drinks and of course the girl I was with decided to go home with a dude AGAINST my wishes — she and I haven’t spoke since — and leave me to drive her car back to Zephyrhills from downtown Tampa. I had no other choice BUT to drive myself home, back to my children and back to my daily responsibilities. I barely get around the block and her tire is going completely flat, I call her to tell her, as I’m looking for a place to pull over, I see lights in the rear view. The officer pulled me over to tell me about the flat tire. Then he said he smelled alcohol on my breath. The owner of the car and her boyfriend are across the street yelling for me not to blow when he asked, and call a lawyer, etc. I was scared. I just wanted to go home. I wasn’t drunk. Regardless, because I refused to blow, it’s an automatic arrest. I was definitely a victim of circumstance.
What was your time in jail like?
Jail was terrible… people staring at you, trying to ask you questions. I had to even change and get searched. It was humiliating.
When and how did you first learn that your image had gone viral? How did you feel about the idea of thousands of people looking at your mugshot online?
I was with my best friend, our children were playing, we were reading, gossipping, just like any normal day. And then the UK Daily Mail calls me wanting to do an interview in regards to my mugshot going viral and to inform me of my many bizarre and random foreign admirers. I was in complete shock but also I found it hilarious. My friend and I had a hard time concealing our laughter during that phone interview. We still laugh today. I was so mad in that photo.
The internet can be a harsh world at times. Did you receive any unsavory comments from people who had seen your photo?
I still receive unsavory comments from random people in regards to just how I live my life! Racial remarks regarding my children, threats because I have dated black men and because I have children who are biracial, people who found out where I lived, telling me they were going to come see me, it was scary. I’ve since then moved.
At any point, did only being known as the “Attractive Convict” make you feel objectified, or did you take it as a compliment?
It can go both ways. I am definitely not fond of being known solely as a “hot mugshot.” I definitely am not a huge fan of my mugshot being plastered all over the internet, I don’t like that as of lately, people have been comparing me to the new “hot mugshot,” Jeremy Meeks and making up photoshopped babies using our images??? I get weird updates and articles sent to me daily. He is an actual criminal; I think he is also gang related!!! Haha!!! No thank you, it would definitely never happen and I’m embarrassed to be paired up with that! Ugh. And lastly, I also like to think I take better photos when I haven’t been drinking and crying all night, haha… But then THAT brings me to a different conclusion all in all. I definitely DO take it as a compliment as well because, like I said, that definitely wasn’t one of my better photos.
You’ve mentioned elsewhere that you’d consider posing for Playboy were Hugh Hefner to contact you himself. Has there been any word from him yet?
Nothing. Didn’t he die? Hahaaa.
What is your dream job?
E! News co-host, hands down LOL. I love Guliana Rancic, and who wouldn’t love to interview celebrities for a living?
If you could only eat one type of cheese for the rest of your life, which type would you choose?
It would have to be cheddar.
What is your current favorite song?
“Simple Things” by Miguel. I am a huge fan of Miguel. He is a lyrical genius.
How have you changed as a person since your arrest and resulting celebrity?
I definitely stopped going out with selfish unreliable people. Lol. And of course, if I’m driving, I don’t drink period. I’ve received some fun opportunities… And of course, I can’t ignore the fact that I did settle my case with Instacheckmate and, thanks to my wonderful attorneys, the only thing that I will comment on the case at this point is that if none of this ever happened to me, I definitely wouldn’t have been able to take my children on a vacation to Disney World last weekend and for that, I am beyond grateful.