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 are you doing these days?
Julie: Enjoying work and motherhood. Dabbling with the properties I bought thanks to a lucrative modeling career. I have been retailing Indian leather bound journals in the UK for some years (any excuse to indulge in the culture of that country) but this is now taking a backseat to a business I started after having my son. It’s an online mail order company selling an eclectic mix of children’s gifts—anything from frothy tutus and sparkly shoes to educational science museum kits. Another excuse to travel far and wide to design and source new products.
Patty: I work with landscape designers and architects. I have two children and I [got] married June 22, 2013 in Los Angeles.
Kathy: I am living in Phuket, Thailand, and am involved in various charities. [I asked for elaboration] I am on the board of a charity set up by my late friend, Tom McNamara—the Phuket Has Been Good to Us Foundation, providing English classes to underprivileged. [I’m also on the board of] The Good Shepherd Phuket, an organization that helps school the children of migrant Burmese workers and helps women who have been trafficked for the sex trade.
Mak: A bit of modeling from time to time, but my main focus and energy is on the Edible Bus Stop (@EdibleBusStop), a project I co-founded two years ago. We’ve had some great publicity and last year were invited to 10 Downing Street by the Prime Minister and were nominated for an Observer Ethical Award, the Green Oscars.
Julia: I’m a hair and makeup artist.
Kathy, when did you move to Thailand, and why?
Kathy: About 12 years ago. I fell in love with the people and the country and then my husband started working here.
Where do the rest of you live?
Julie: Still loving the buzz of London.
Patty: Los Angeles.
Mak: Brixton, [a part of] London.
If you are/were married, what was your future husband’s reaction when he learned you were in this video?
Julie: Quietly impressed and amused by the impact it stirred up. But the video was part and parcel of a long modeling career so in itself did not have much impact on our lives.
Patty: My ex-husband, Jonathan Elias, wrote the original score for the MTV music show [the MTV jingle]. It was a sweet part of our meeting.
Kathy: I am married now, but at the time we were friends [and] he thought it was great.
Julia: He was, I think, a little shocked and probably didn’t entirely believe me!
Patty, fascinating that the man behind the MTV theme married the lead woman of one of the most iconic MTV videos. How did you meet Jonathan—was it via the MTV connection?
Patty: I met Jonathan at a birthday party through mutual friends. We did not connect our MTV experiences until later, maybe on our second or third date. Jonathan is a composer and was living in New York in the ‘80s, working with Duran Duran at the time.
What does your new husband do?
Patty: My new husband, Michael Rosenfeld, is a real estate developer in Los Angeles.
Patty in 2010
Julie: An 8-year-old boy.
Patty: Lilli Elias, 17, and Jack Elias, 12.
Kathy: No kids, but nine godchildren who reacted over the years with “Wow, that’s great!” to “How embarrassing!”
Julia: Two girls, 13 and 7 years.
What do they think of the video?
Julie: [My son] thinks it’s very cool and has recently started telling anyone who will listen that his mum was in a famous video. The low profile is now in jeopardy.
Patty: They think it is hysterical. It is hard for them to believe that Mommy had such a glamorous life!
Julia: They think it’s cool (their word)!
What did you think when you first heard from me?
Julie: “Is he legit?”
Kathy: “Oh God, it was such a long time ago.”
Mak: “Gosh, that video will never leave me!” LOL!
Julia: “Another interview!”
What other interviews about the video have you done?
Julie: I’m flaky with who/what/when. Ask Mak…
Patty: I have had offers to be interviewed a lot. I don’t take it very serious. I did a show back in ‘94…not sure what it was. Lame interview.
Kathy: News of the World did a “where are they now” article a while ago.
Mak: Loads! Can’t even begin to name them all!
Julia: We have done a few over the years, the I Want My MTV book, and a [show] for VH1 called “Video Vixens.”
Patty, I had a hard time finding you and I’ve done this a lot. How have others tracked you down?
Patty: People have tracked me down through my old agency in London, Models 1. Or through word of mouth. I never answer!
When you say you don’t take interview requests very seriously, does that mean you said no to most (or all) of them? If so, what made you say yes to this one?
Patty: Throughout the last 20 years, I have heard many people reference the “Addicted to Love” video and talk about who the girls are or were. It is always so funny to hear people talk as if they know! Most people really have no clue who the original girls were…including me! I think it was me, Julie Pankhurst, Julie [Julia], Mak, and who? So you can see that I don’t take this very seriously… But it was so nice to hear from Julie Pankhurst! How can anyone say no to Julie? I would love to see her!
Have you appeared at any fan conventions to sign autographs? If not, would you?
Julie: I haven’t done so. Never say never.
Patty: No, I have not. I would do it just to see all of the girls!
Kathy: No and no.
Julia: No, but maybe…
Did you stay in touch with Robert Palmer and/or each other after the shoot?
Julie: Not with RP but I worked many times with Donovan. We girls often saw each other through work (Mak and Patty were also with Models 1). Patty became a good friend when we both spent time in Australia at the end of the ‘80s. We lost touch when she moved back to the States but I’m hoping you can track her down so that we can get back in touch! Julia and I are great friends. I haven’t seen Kathy for years. I became a photographic agent when I stopped modeling and last saw her at a fantastic exhibition she organized for Fashion Acts Aids charity. Our photographers donated some photos to help raise money for it.
Patty: I was lucky to stay in touch with Robert and his management team for a few years since we were still working together. Then, we all carried on…I moved back to America in 1991 and stopped modeling soon after.
Kathy: No contact with Robert, but I stayed in touch with Julia.
Mak: Not Mr. Palmer, but occasionally me and a couple of the girls get brought together for a shoot or interview.
Julia: I saw Robert on a shoot a few years before he sadly died. I am good friends with Julie and see her once a month.
When was the last time you were in touch with each other?
Julie: Mak, 2006—VH1 feature; Patty, early ‘90s; Kathy, mid-‘90s—Fashion Acts exhibition; Julia, weekly.
Patty: I really haven’t been in touch with any of them. I always ask about Mak and Julie—both such loves!
Kathy: Not for a long time…until a week ago [April 2013], when Julia sent me a message about you.
Mak: Last year.
Julia: I’m Facebook friends with Mak and Kathy, but don’t seem to have enough time to see them. Would love to though.
Mak, Julie, Julia in 2013, at Julia's wedding reception...at which they re-enacted the video:
“Just an adoring line of women in front of us, whooping and cheering along,
and behind them stunned men not quite knowing what to do with themselves.”
(Mak: “You can even credit me as happily divorced! Ha ha!”)
How did you find out that Robert Palmer had died ?
Julie: In the news.
Patty: I was sitting in my kitchen listening to the news. I was still so sad that Johnny Cash had just died a week or so before. It really isn’t fair. Robert was way too young.
Kathy: On the radio. It was incredibly sad.
Mak: A friend texted me. Was very sad to hear it.
Julia: National television.
How do you look back on the experience?
Julie: With a smile.
Patty: The experience is and was just fantastic. It is such a funny little detail to have about oneself. Not everyone can say that they were lucky enough to participate in a piece of music history. I feel blessed!
Kathy: With pride to be part of video history.
Mak: I had no idea at the time it was to become so iconic or such a pivotal moment in music videos. I was very successful at the time and it didn’t register for me, as I was more focused on getting high-end magazine covers and big campaigns. In hindsight, of course, I acknowledge it. It is a legacy I am proud to be a part of.
Julia: Now that I’m older I think it was an amazing thing to have been part of and I’m so glad I got to work with Terence Donovan and four of the coolest girls I have met.
Anything you’d like to add?
Julie: A few years ago, a student from Australia asked for help with his college project about iconic women of the ‘80s. I don’t have his questions but [here are excerpts from my] reply:
I did this video at the beginning of my modeling career and it was a great introduction for other work. I got jobs directly as a result of the video but also because of working with Donovan. I was the keyboard player in the video.
At the time of filming, nobody had any idea that it would be so iconic. RP had apparently released the song previously without a video, and it had bombed, so they were taking a big financial risk by re-releasing it.
The director Terence Donovan came up with the concept for the video and his intention was to portray strong and confident women—hence the black dresses, slicked hair, and red lips—known at that time as “power dressing.”
But there were two issues of protest. Firstly there was a feminist uproar. They felt we were portrayed as sexual objects and as such, exploited. We didn’t feel we were doing womanhood an injustice! From our perspective, the image of us Donovan had hoped to portray in the video was indicative of the assertiveness of women in the UK during the ‘80s. We had a very strong female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who was an inspiration for many women.
Secondly, the musicians union initially banned the video from mainstream television because we were models, not musicians, playing instruments. From what I understood at the time, we were not allowed to imitate playing instruments.Patty: Good luck! Let’s get all of the girls together. I have a feeling you could do it!
Donovan (now deceased) was a very successful photographer/director since the ‘60s. He tended to select models that were both good looking and confident, and that criteria was applicable to this video.
The song is about addictions. Due to the nature of the lyrics, we were directed to show little expression. RP sang of obsessive emotions and in contrast we reciprocated with little emotion.
RP shot the video with us and was quite shy!
RP did not want to be remembered for the “Addicted to Love” girls. He had a successful career prior to the video, but this video (and the subsequent videos) definitely revived his career and brought with it a whole new audience. But the videos tended to eclipse him, and for that reason he did not appreciate the attention we were getting. Rather ungracious considering he made millions from the songs to these videos!
We were asked to do a show with RP in Spain but all declined due to work commitments. We have done occasional TV appearances/press.
On the whole we have not outwardly sought publicity. Tons of girls have claimed to be in the video. Generally this doesn’t bother us but we did complain to a UK press for publishing high-profile articles about Susie Verrico, a contestant on the UK Big Brother program. They printed an image of me alongside her claim to be the keyboard player. The British press also published that she was a stripper, so naturally we didn’t want to be associated with her!
6/14/14 addendum: Last night, all five did indeed reunite for the first time since the 1986 shoot.
Tweet about this interview to @_ms_mak and @Juliabolinoslap!
Copy and tweet to help me find more 1980s music video girls:
Real research question: if you know the Annie Hubbard who was in 1984 Night Ranger video “Sister Christian,” pls contact @MarcTNobleman
Real research question: if you know the woman—even just her name—in 1986 Cinderella video “Shake Me,” pls contact @MarcTNobleman
Real research question: if you know woman—even just her name—in ‘87 Richard Marx video “Should’ve Known Better,” pls contact @MarcTNobleman
Next: The Outfield, “Your Love” (1986).