The video: “Take On Me” by a-ha.
The girl-now-woman: Bunty Bailey.
How old were you when you appeared in the “Take On Me” video?
Where were you living at the time?
What music videos, shows, or movies had you appeared in prior to that?
Before that I was a dancer in West End shows in London and in various TV shows, commercials, videos, etc.
How were you cast?
I was in a TV commercial and the costume designer said a director called Steve Barron was looking for a girl to cast in a video with a new band. [MTN: Poignantly, Steve also directed what a-ha said is their final video, in 2010, and it hearkens back to “Take On Me.”] She asked me if I would like to meet him. I said I would and when I met him he showed me the storyboard and asked me to act out a few things. That was it. I got the job.
Do you remember what your reaction was when you were cast?
At the time I was pleased I got the job but that was it. I had no idea it would be such a huge success or that it would still be popular all these years later.
Where was the video filmed?
In a film studio in Fulham, London.
How long was the shoot?
It was a two-day shoot. But the animation was done in America and took nine months. It was done by Mike Patterson and his wife Candice.
Got milk. And milky white hand.
How did you feel making the video?
I enjoyed it very much.
What was the hardest part of the shoot?
Crying at the end.
How was it to work with the band? What were they like?
The band were all extremely nice. Really lovely to work with.
What did you think of the video?
When I saw it nine months after the shoot after the animation was completed, I thought it was amazing. I thought Steve Barron had been very innovative to have thought of the idea and create such a piece of work.
What did your parents think of it?
They were very impressed and proud.
What did your friends think of it?
They thought it was very good.
Did the video ever affect your dating life in any way (i.e. when you first told boyfriends you were the woman in it)?
No, I don’t think so.
Did you receive fan mail? If so, do you still have any of it?
Yes I did. And I still have the letters in my loft. I did not reply to a lot of it at the time as I didn’t think I deserved it.
Did the video generate any controversy that you know of?
No, I don’t think so.
What were you paid?
I can’t remember.
Did you watch the MTV World Premiere of the video, and if so, where and how did that feel?
No, I don’t think so.
Were you ever recognized in public? How often and when last? Any stories about that?
I was recognized when I was out with Morten. But it was mainly girls wanting to chat to him.
Yes, many. Billy Idol’s “To Be a Lover”; Duran Duran’s “The Wild Boys”; [ones by] Status Quo, Cliff Richard, David Cassidy, AC/DC, to name a few.
If you ever met other women who were female leads in a mainstream ‘80s rock video, who?
If you went to college, where and what did you study?
I did not go to university.
What are you doing these days?
I work for a company called Eaton Power Quality. I [am] the executive PA—organize flights, hotels, and travel arrangements for some of the managers [and] other admin duties. It’s a big worldwide company and the job is very varied so I enjoy that each day there are different tasks and the people are great fun to work with.
I read that you are teaching dance as well?
I did teach children street dance for a few years but no longer do that.
Do your colleagues know of your history in music videos? If so, any fun stories about that?
Some of them do. It can be quite funny. For instance, I did an interview on a TV program called The Big Fat Quiz of the ‘80s. When I went into work the next day, they were ribbing me about it, making fun of me in a friendly way. They joke with me is that they want to get me on Celebrity Big Brother or Strictly Come Dancing.
Where do you live?
I live near a town called Windsor in England.
If you are/were married, what was your future husband’s reaction when he learned you were in this video?
I was single when I made the video and met Morton whilst shooting it. We then dated for a couple of years. I am not married and never have been. So I’m still on the market if anyone is interested. Ha ha. (smiley)
I have two boys aged 16 and 17 years old.
What do they think of the video?
They are very impressed with it.
Has anyone else ever interviewed you about this? If so, who, when, and for what publication?
I have been interviewed for many publications and TV shows.
What did you think when you first heard from me?
I was flattered to be asked to do another interview.
Have you appeared at any fan conventions to sign autographs? If not, would you?
No, I have not and I’m not sure if I would.
Did you stay in touch with the band after the shoot?
Yes, for quite a while.
When was the last time you were in touch with them?
A long time ago.
How do you look back on the experience?
Very fondly and I feel honored that I was part of such an amazing project.
Anything you’d like to add?
Thank you for your interest. I hope this has helped your task and that you have found this useful.
Tweet about this interview to @aha_com, @mortenharket, and @mfuruholmen!
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: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Don’t Come Around Here No More” (1985).