Introduction to series “The Girl in the Video” (including list of interviewees).
This is the first-ever group interview with all five of the women who portrayed the band in Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” video.
What did you think of the video?
Julie: Loved it! I thought it was totally original and I loved the passion it evoked from many walks of life (it appealed to the male population for obvious reasons; many women felt empowered by it; some musicians resented it; and there was an outcry in the feminist camp). It did and still does appeal across the generations.
Patty: I think that the video is fantastic. It is an icon in the world of music videos!
Kathy: I thought it was great, very ‘80s.
Mak: At the time I was so embarrassed. I didn’t really do that kind of overtly sexy modeling. I did more sophisticated stuff or fresh-faced smiley shoots. This was really vampy and the reactions I got from people when they realized I was one of the girls started to freak me out. I couldn’t understand why that video was getting so much attention. Why we were considered so sexy…?
Julia: I hated it at the time as it was me up there but now as I’m older I can be more objective and I think it’s great.
Mak opening mouth, which was startling
since all had been close-lipped up till that point
Patty opening mouth, the second and last
of the women to do so in the video
What did your parents think of it?
Julie: Of it, or of me in it? Interestingly, I’ve never asked them but I sensed pride (and relief that this gave an indication of good things to come).
Patty: My parents could not believe it. They saw it way before I did and most likely did not even know it was me. I never told them anything I was doing. They lived in America and we did not have cell phones back then, so we did not speak that frequently. When I spoke to them, I rarely spoke to them about work!
Kathy: I think they were just happy I was getting work!
Mak: Thought it was great, didn’t have a problem with it at all. Not that either of them saw it for a while because they didn’t watch music videos. So they only saw it once it had started to get loads of attention.
Julia: Difficult to tell as they weren’t into that kind of music. But overall pretty proud.
What did your friends think of it?
Julie: Friends in the modeling world were very gracious about it. Friends outside the modeling world thought it very cool, but made sure I kept my feet firmly on the ground!
Patty: I have no idea. We did not see it much in England.
Kathy: I think they thought it was quite cool to be a part of such a talked-about video.
Mak: They were the ones who were telling me, “Mak, you have no idea how massive the video is and how impressed or infatuated people are with your appearance in it.” I was so busy traveling I hadn’t really cottoned on to how huge it had become. I’d get really shy (still do to an extent!) if they’d tell people in front of me that I was the “bass player” because all of a sudden people get all “No! Really? Wow!” or sometimes get a weird look on their faces, especially boys…ahem…
Julia: My friends thought it was great although I was overseas when it first came out so some of the impact was lost.
Did the video ever affect your dating life in any way (i.e. when you first told boyfriends you were in it)?
Julie: Ha…I can’t imagine any of us bragging to our boyfriends about being in the video but one way or another they seemed to find out.
Patty: I never really mentioned the video to anyone, mostly because I stayed in Europe until the early ‘90s. If anyone knew, though, it always led to a fun conversation. People were pretty taken by how popular it was. In hindsight, I feel like the video may have been more popular than the song itself.
Kathy: I’d love to say yes, but I don’t think so. I had an ex who was a drummer—he loved it.
Mak: Ummm…well, I was in a long-term relationship at the time, but since then, it’s not something I’d introduce myself as. But when I tell whoever, they tend to be quite impressed…
Julia: I have never been proactive in telling people (too English!) and have let people know only when I know them a little better, but when they have found out, they have been pretty amazed!
Did you receive fan mail? If so, do you still have any of it?
Julie: Not that I remember. Google wasn’t invented [yet] (!) so it wasn’t easy to track us down. Maybe [the] Julie Pankhurst [who founded UK social networking site] Friends Reunited has been inundated with “Addicted to Love” fan mail!
Patty: I am sure I did, but I did not take it very serious!
Kathy: No, definitely not…but the agency [got] a lot of calls…
Mak: I still receive fan mail, but via email or people following me on Twitter @_ms_mak.
Julia: I used to get some sent to my agent when I was modeling, but I haven’t kept anything. Some guy on the Internet set up a fan page of me.
Julie, you sent two versions of the sleeve/cover to the single—is that you on both of them?
Do you know why they chose you, and did the others say anything about that?
Julie: I haven’t a clue why I got to grace the cover[s]. I haven’t really thought about it before but I’m sure the girls didn’t lose any sleep over it. It was shot by a photographer called Ashworth and designed by Island Art. I’m assuming they are connected to Island Records.
Did the video generate any controversy that you know of?
Julie: It did. Ironically I imagine that is partly why it became such a cult video of the ‘80s. (More on this below.)
Patty: Not that I know of.
Kathy: Not that I know of, although as it was copied so much, it can only be good…
Mak: I think there were discussions at the time at the objectification of women. I think that missed the point, though. The brief from Terence Donovan was to look like shop window mannequins. I guess his reasoning was that in so many videos women were being blatantly objectified so why not poke fun at that and offer something they’ll never be able to get hold of. We didn’t have a come-hither look in our eyes. It was a look but you can’t touch. We were dangerous ornaments. Out of reach and perfect accessories to Mr. Palmer’s bespoke tailored suit.
Julia: Yes, it had the feminists up-in-arms. They felt it was a bad portrayal of women. I always thought it was a great video with very powerful images of women looking in control.
What were you paid?
Julie: We were paid £500, which was the standard rate for pop videos back then. [But] bearing in mind the mega-bucks it generated…peanuts!
Patty: I think we were paid 250 pounds a day. I don’t really remember but I remember thinking that it was very little. Now that I look back, I know that it was very little!
Kathy: A few hundred pounds.
Julia: I can’t remember. I know it was good as I was more excited with the fee than the fact that I had got the video!
Did you watch the MTV World Premiere of the video, and if so, where and how did that feel?
Julie: I didn’t see it. But we quickly became aware that it was one of MTV’s most popular videos at the time.
Kathy: No, I missed it as I was working in Japan at the time.
Mak: No, didn’t even know they had one. I was so busy working.
Julia: I missed it! I was modeling in Japan at the time.
Were you ever recognized in public? How often and when last? Any stories about that?
Julie: It’s funny that we have been recognized in public, considering slicked-back hair and pouty red lips isn’t the usual morning makeup routine, but occasionally it has happened. Apparently they guess from the eyes. The school playground was one of the more recent times (prior to my son’s knowledge of it so can’t hold him responsible!). That spread like wildfire!
Patty: I was never recognized, and I think that this was quite on purpose. Terence wanted all of the women to be unrecognizable…ambiguous, vague, obscure…that was the point. Beautiful sexy women…but they could have been anyone.
Kathy: No, sorry!
Mak: Never. The makeup and hair made me look completely different than how I do in real life.
Julia: I have a lot of people say they recognize me from something but they can’t put their finger on what. It’s an easy video to go incognito.
Did you appear in other music videos after that?
Julie: With Harry Connick, Jr. in “Recipe for Love.” Patty and I were in the Robert Palmer “Simply Irresistible” U.S. Pepsi commercial in 1989.
Patty: Yes, I did—again with Robert Palmer in “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On.” And then again in the Pepsi commercial with Robert singing “Simply Irresistible.”
Mak: There was a Bryan Ferry one, but you can’t really see me in it.
Kathy and Julia: (see earlier in interview)
If you ever met other women who were female leads in a mainstream ‘80s rock video, who?
Julie: Yes, but foggy memory cells = forgotten whom.
Patty: I know that there are many, but I no longer know them.
Kathy: No, I didn’t.
Mak: Can’t think of any off the top of my head, but there must be models I know who have done some.
Julia: Debra Lang was with my agency and a friend. She was in a Queen video and ended up marrying Roger Taylor.
If you went to college, where and what did you study?
Julie: I trained in childcare and launched into modeling after a few years as a nanny for a photographic agent and commercials director.
Patty: I went to UCLA in the ‘90s and studied art history. I did my internship at a photography gallery named G. Ray Hawkins, which specialized in the sale of vintage photographs. Fifteen years later, I went back to the extension program at UCLA and studied horticulture.
Kathy: No, I left school at 16 having been scouted by a model agent.
Mak: London College of Printing, Graphics and Design.
Julia: I didn’t go to university. I was modeling from 16.
Tweet about this interview to @_ms_mak and @Juliabolinoslap!