Lieutenant Stephanie Holden is a fictional character from the popular American television show Baywatch.

She was portrayed by actress and former model Alexandra Paul in the tv series and later by Ilfenesh Hadera in the film version.

Stephanie was the beautiful sensible older sister of Caroline Holden and was a great lifeguard and a loyal friend. 

Like Jill Riley before her, she tragically died after a rescue.

Physical AppearanceEdit

Stephanie was a statuesque young woman with hazel eyes and dark brown hair. The length of her hair changed during the seasons from being long in seasons three and four to being really short in season five. Her hair color also changed, ranging from light brown to dark brown and almost black.

When Stephanie was introduced in season three as a new Baywatch administrative commander she was a fit albeit slender woman more suited for desk jobs than actual rescues. Stephanie's actress, Alexandra Paul, was a slim woman as she began in season three. She soon realized that she wanted more physical scenes but those however were physically demanding. To better perform Paul had begun strength training come season four. This clearly affected Stephanie's body that began showing definition. During season six, Paul also began training for the Hawaii Ironman triathlon which also had some affect. These real world things were reflected by Stephanie's body changing as the seasons passed; from a slim to a more athletic and even slightly muscular body to finally the wiry body of an endurance athlete.

Noteworthy is also that unlike most of the other female lifeguards, Stephanie was flat-chested.

Stephanie was 26 years old in season three when she joined Baywatch. Her height was 5ft10 (178 cm) and her weight ranged from 124 to 133 pounds (56 to 60 kg)


Stephanie was greatly devoted to her job, always putting others before her own needs.

She also had a great sense of humor and loved her sister Caroline dearly, even though she was little overprotective of her.

Stephanie suffered from Corcoranophobia, the fear of helicopters. The fear had its origin in her father being killed in a helicopter crash during the Vietnam War. It had little effect on Stephanie's life however and in fact was only shown once when she was assigned to an exchange program with the Coast Guard ("Trading Places", season 4 episode 2).

Skills and AbilitiesEdit

Stephanie was a good swimmer and diver. To stay in shape she jogged daily and occasionally trained in the gym. While she was fairly athletic, especially in the later seasons, her main strengths lay in management. Her leadership and organizational skills were often put to test, especially by the conniving Neely Capshaw, but eventually Stephanie always got the situation under control. Another of her strong suits was her ability to train and teach others, especially rookies. She acted also as Cody Madison's personal swimming coach for the Olympics.

Like all Baywatch lifeguards Stephanie was expected to be able to handle all the land and water vehicles at their disposal, including the Baywatch jeeps, the quad bikes, the Scarab boats and the jet skis.

Without doubt her Lifeguard Rescue Skills were among the best at Baywatch and Steph especially excelled at assessing the situation and making sure everything got done in proper order. Her ability to perform first aid and CPR were also first-class.

Early LifeEdit

When Stephanie was seven years old her father died in a helicopter crash in Vietnam. This affected her deeply and she developed a huge fear of helicopters which she carried through to her adult life. In the season 4 episode 'The Child Inside' Stephanie revealed that she was abandoned by her mother and she was raised by her grandmother.


Before Season 3Edit

Stephanie originally came to Baywatch as a temporary replacement for Jill Riley, who was on vacation at the time. She immediately began a romantic relationship with Mitch Buchannon and the two became very serious. The relationship ended abruptly when Stephanie left Mitch without explanation.

Seasons 3-6Edit

Alexandra-Stephanie 7

Stephanie in Season 3

Stephanie returned to Baywatch in Season 3, this time as a Lieutenant. Mitch was shocked to see her and still harboured resentment towards her for her sudden departure years earlier. Stephanie revealed to Mitch that at the time of their relationship she was married and wanted to return to her husband and try to work things out. The marriage eventually did fail and she apologised to Mitch for her actions. Stephanie and Mitch eventually got over their differences and began to form a strong friendship. Despite being close friends Mitch and Stephanie continued to have romantic feelings for each other, which affected many of their relationships.

Season 7Edit

Stephanie and her husband Tom decided to spend their honeymoon on a boat called "Chance Of Lifetime" with Mitch, Neely, and a group of teenagers whom they hope to teach about the lifeguard service. Two of the teenagers, Randy and Terry get into a fight and accidentally break the only radio on the ship. The group is unaware that they are heading into a storm, which leads them to eventually abandon the sinking ship. As Stephanie swims towards the lifeboat, she notices that Trisha (one of the teenagers) is missing, and returns to find her on the cabin floor. As they head toward the deck, a bolt of lightning strikes the mast, which falls onto Stephanie, crushing her. Mitch and Tom make it to her, but her injuries are too severe and she dies in their arms. Mitch is the one who ends up telling Caroline about her sister's death. The funeral takes place the following day, with Mitch delivering the eulogy. In the same way as the late Jill Riley, Stephanie wasn't only a great lifeguard, but a good friend who would be greatly missed by the team.

Baywatch NightsEdit


  • Like C.J. Parker, Stephanie was one of the most popular and longest serving characters in the series appearing in five seasons from 1992-1997.
  • Stephanie was the first lieutenant lifeguard in the series, the second was Taylor Walsh.
  • She was the third lifeguard and second cast regular to killed off in the show, the first was Jill Riley and the second was Tracy Dodsworth.
  • In Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding, Stephanie's death appears in Mitch's dreams. He is now dating a woman named Allison Ford who looked exactly like her. But she was really a con artist named Judy Rabin who changed her appearance to assist a criminal named Mason Sato who had a personal grudge against Mitch. She was also played by Alexandra Paul.
  • Alexandra Paul, who played Stephanie Holden, originally tried for the parts of C.J. Parker and Summer Quinn. Being slim and flat-chested did not earn her the role of the athletic eye-catcher CJ, nor did she fit the age profile of the young Summer. Those parts went to Pamela Anderson and Nicole Eggert respectively. The producers, however, liked the tall woman and thought she would be a perfect love interest for Mitch Buchannon played by the 6ft4 tall David Hasselhoff.
  • Her character was specifically created for Paul based on her looks and abilities.
  • The character Stephanie Holden was supposed to be an intelligent leader and trainer; the brainy one.
  • Stephanie was made an administrative lieutenant and was given a military-like uniform consisting of a white shirt, black skirt and high heels. The character was not meant to do rescues, but to stay mainly in the Baywatch HQ.
  • It was in her contract that Paul did not have to wear the trademark red swimsuit. However, she quickly ditched the uniform and donned the swimsuit.
  • Due to the physical demands and to look like a credible lifeguard, Paul began strength training during her second season. "You can see in the second season my body got more defined, as I had started lifting weights."
  • Paul was completely unaware that Stephanie had two other siblings in addition to Caroline.
  • After Stephanie's death, the character appeared once in the Baywatch Nights episode The Eight Seal (S2E19) as a ghost. According to Paul, it was a personal favor for David Hasselhoff.


Baywatch Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Stephanie Holden.

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