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Video: Tan mom in 2012: Being bronzed ‘just feels good’

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    >>> with our exclusive interview with the new jersey mom accused of taking her then-5-year-old daughter to a tanning booth . nbc's mara schiavocampo talked to her and she's here with us this morning. mara, good morning.

    >> good morning, lester. patricia krentcil, also known as the tan mom, said she decided to speak because she wanted to set the record straight and let people know that she is a good mother. while she has come to be known as the tan mom, patricia krentcil wants people to understand what her life is really all about. that of a busy housewife and mother of five kids.

    >> i'm up at 3:00 in the morning making sure all the wash is done, my husband goes to work at 4:30. works on wall street , and then i make pancakes, pack their bags, and they're all off and gone, and then i work all day inside and outside of this house.

    >> reporter: in her backyard on a sunny day , we speak to krentcil exclusively, about the attention surrounding her devotion to tanning, and the allegations that she brought her then-5-year-old daughter inside a tanning bed , a claim she denies.

    >> she never went in. she never went in.

    >> reporter: prosecutors say krentcil's daughter anna, now 6, turned up at her elementary school with a sunburn last month, prompting a school nurse to contact police. although krentcil admits her daughter was burned, she says it was caused by the sun, and not artificial rays from a tanning bed .

    >> it was beautiful out. and they went in the kiddie pool . she's a redhead. she got sunburnt.

    >> reporter: but essex county prosecutors allege anna's burns were caused by a trip to city tropics, a tanning salon krentcil visited up to 20 times a month. she's been charged with second degree child endangerment.

    >> i'm innocent.

    >> reporter: earlier this month krentcil pled not guilty in court. she continues to proclaim her innocence.

    >> we're fighting these charges because i'm not guilty. every allegation was completely wrong, and i just want people to leave us alone.

    >> reporter: but, like it or not, krentcil has remained in the spotlight.

    >> leave me alone !

    >> reporter: her overly bronzed appearance making headlines and punch lines.

    >> is she tanning or did she fall down a chimney? she looks like wile e. coyote after the dynamite stick blows up.

    >> reporter: she's inspired an action figure. and even a skit on "snl."

    >> piece of bread.

    >> yep.

    >> put it between my thighs.

    >> oh, my gosh.

    >> reporter: krentcil says she's taking it all in stride . but her kids have not.

    >> they're mad. they're mad, they're picking on mommy again.

    >> reporter: several new jersey tanning salons krentcil never even visited have now banned her. a move she calls pathetic.

    >> i didn't do anything wrong. if there's something wrong about getting your nails done, or somebody who smokes too much, or somebody who overeats, if this is such a problem, why wouldn't this have said years ago.

    >> reporter: krentcil says what upsets her most is how her tanned complexion brought on negative comments about her parenting. now she has a message for those who judge her.

    >> look in the mirror and look at yourself. instead of looking at me. i'm sorry i'm tan. i like to be tan. it just feels good. but, i really think that these moms or dads need to step off and step away.

    >> now krentcil says she is looking forward to her next court appearance scheduled for june 4th because, in her words, she is innocent. lester?

By
TODAY contributor
updated 5/21/2012 9:22:38 AM ET 2012-05-21T13:22:38

"Tan mom" Patricia Krentcil is out to prove she's a good parent.

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The 44-year-old New Jersey mother of five spoke exclusively with TODAY about the allegations that she took her then-5-year-old daughter to a tanning booth in April.

In addition to maintaining her innocence, she emphasized her family's very typical home life.

“I'm up at 3 in the morning, making sure all the wash is done. My husband goes to work at 4:30,” Krentcil told TODAY in a report from Mara Schiavocampo. After Krentcil’s husband goes to work she said she makes pancakes, packs her kids' school bags, “and then they’re all off and gone. And then I work all day inside and outside the house.”

Video: Tan mom in 2012: Being bronzed ‘just feels good’ (on this page)

Krentcil has been charged with second-degree child endangerment, which carries a prison sentence of up to ten years. The charges came after her daughter Anna went to school with a sunburn and said she’d gone tanning in a booth with her mother, which prompted a school nurse to contact police. New Jersey bars anyone under 14 from using a tanning salon.

Anna “never went in,” Krentcil said. “She was not near a bed. Anna goes out with me…we go shopping and nails and this and that. She did not do anything wrong.”

Story: 'Tanning Mom' is no friend of sunbed industry

After the allegations against Krentcil were reported, the Essex County New Jersey Prosecutor's Office issued a complaint warrant stating that Krentcil took her daughter “in a stand-up tanning booth causing first-degree burns on her body.” She was released on $25,000 bail.

Krentcil said that while Anna was burned, it was from the sun and not from exposure to a tanning bed. “It was beautiful out. And they were in the pool. Not the big pool, the kiddie pool," she said. "She's a redhead. She got sunburned.”

John D. Caruso, Krentcil’s attorney, said, “That child was never in that tanning booth. She loves her child more than her own life and would never, ever allow her child to go inside a tanning bed.” The salon she frequented, City Tropics in Nutley, N.J., has sided with Krentcil's story.

Other tanning salons around New Jersey, including some Krentcil has never visited, have banned her. Krentcil, who has not gone tanning since her arrest, said she is "disgusted" with the whole situation.

Story: ‘Tan mom’ getting cold shoulder from N.J. salons

“Every allegation was completely wrong and I just want people to leave us alone,” she told TODAY.

Story: 'SNL' cooks up laughs with jab at New Jersey 'tanning mom'

In addition to intense media attention, Krentcil has become a punchline on “Saturday Night Live” and earned a spot in a monologue from Jimmy Kimmel, who said, “Is she tanning or did she fall down a chimney? She looks like Wiley Coyote after the dynamite stick blows up.” A toy manufacturer has even turned her into an action figure.

Story: NJ tan mom inspires 'Tanorexic' doll

While Krentcil said that she can handle the jokes about her bronzed appearance, her kids are having a harder time: “They’re mad they’re picking on mommy again.”

Story: Tanning mom off the hook — for 1999 probation over bad checks

She suggests people who judge her should “look in the mirror and look at yourself, instead of looking at me.

"And I’m sorry I'm tan. I can be tan; it just feels good. But I really think that these moms and dads or whoever, need to step off and step away.”

Krentcil is due back in court June 4.

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