The video: “C’est La Vie” by Robbie Nevil.
The girl-now-woman: Kathy Foy-Asaro.
How old were you when you appeared in the “C’est La Vie” video?
Where were you living at the time?
A place called Beachwood Canyon in the Hollywood Hills.
What music videos, shows, or movies had you appeared in prior to that?
“C’est La Vie” was actually [the] first music video that I filmed. I’m Jay Jay in the video—the woman with the dark, shoulder-length hair [in a] bathing suit dancing in the beginning and throughout.
Crystal Lujan called me into Limelight for the casting. I had to meet with Peter Care, the director. I remember he was very sweet and put this song on the boom box and asked me to dance in from of him. It was kind of strange dancing all by myself, but it was such an easy song to dance to, and I love to dance, so it actually ended up being fun. I remember leaving the casting with a good feeling, like I may have booked the job.
A few days later, I got the call for the booking and was very happy shoot my first music video. I remember staying up for hours that night watching the music videos that were on MTV at the time, hoping this one would make it on there as well.
Do you remember what your reaction was when you were cast?
I was excited and couldn’t wait to shoot. It was a very exciting time (the mid-’80s) for music videos. I was also happy to have been booked as the main female.
Where was the video filmed?
The video was filmed in Long Beach in a place called San Pedro. This is where all the oil well images were shot. We shot the interiors in a place in Hollywood somewhere. The majority of the shoot was in San Pedro.
How long was the shoot?
I shot for two days. I think it was only a two-day shoot.
How did you feel making the video?
I felt very excited during the filming. [This] being my first video, I didn’t have much to compare it to, but I knew that we were working with a talented crew. I could feel the energy. Most of the crew—director, DP, set designer, editor—had just moved from London to California. This was their first job in L.A., so they were all extremely talented and wanted to do something amazing with this song, which I think they did. Peter didn’t have the same sensibility as a lot of the video directors who were shooting at that time. There was a different look, style, and elegance that Peter brought to this video.
Nothing was hard about filming this video. It was a ton of fun and we all worked very hard for something we thought would turn out really well.
How was it to work with Robbie Nevil? What was he like? Did he hit on you?
Robbie was very shy and professional. He didn’t try [to] hit on me! Some of the other crew did, though. ;) When we met, someone had said he was from Europe, then I heard he was from somewhere in the Valley. We all laughed about that! I also remember him practicing his dance moves by himself!
Any funny stories from the shoot?
Well, the director and the hairstylist [met] on this shoot, and [ended up getting] married sometime after that. They are still together and have two boys! I remember us trying to set them up! It worked.
Anything go wrong on the shoot?
Nothing went wrong on the shoot, at least nothing that I was told about.
What did you think of the video?
When Peter Care called me and asked me to go to Limelight to get a sneak peak of the video right after it was edited, I was super excited. It was just the two of us in the editing room and he turned on the TV and wow, I was really blown away. I loved how it was shot and edited. I thought it was very tastefully done, especially the way the women in the video were portrayed. We were both very happy and excited to see what was going to happen with MTV. We knew the song was a hit, so it was a matter of time…
What did your parents think of it?
Funny, my dad thought it was a bit racy, me dancing around in a 1950s bathing suit! My mom loved it and they both showed it to all our family and friends. They were both very proud.
All my friends really loved it, too. I ended up booking a lot of work from this video. It was played all over the world because the song was such a catchy tune and a huge hit. I received tons of exposure from this video.
Did you watch the MTV World Premiere of the video, and if so, where and how did that feel?
I didn’t watch a world premiere. I’m not sure there was one, since Robbie was so new to the scene.
Did the video ever affect your dating life in any way (i.e. when you first told boyfriends you were the woman in it)?
Yes, it sure did. Actually, I met my now-husband because of this video. He was living in Italy at the time and had seen the video. He had actually wanted to interview me for Italian TV as the “girl in the video” and when he finally did a few years later, he told me the video was huge in Italy. After this video I booked the lead in David Bowie’s “Day-In Day-Out” video directed by Julian Temple. My husband was friends with Julian, so when Julian was editing the Bowie video, my husband said, “Who’s the girl? I want to meet her!” Romantic, huh?
Did you receive fan mail? If so, do you still have any of it?
I never received any fan mail, but was asked for my autograph a couple times when someone recognized me.
Did the video generate any controversy that you know of?
Not that I know of. I do remember being at a dinner party and the West Coast Editor of Vogue was there. She complimented me on my portrayal of an elegant, sexy female in a pop video. I was extremely flattered by this, as she has wonderful taste.
What were you paid?
I was paid $200 per day, which was the standard rate at that time. You didn’t do it for the money, but for the exposure and the potential work to come.
Were you ever recognized in public?
I was recognized in public quite every once in a while. I remember being at a runway casting in San Francisco for a Moschino show. When I did my little walk, Franco Moschino went to another casting person and they started talking about me. Then Franco said, “Are you the girl in the video?” I [asked if he meant the Bowie video, which] I had recently completed filming. He said, “No, the Robbie Nevil one.” He ended up booking me that entire weekend for all the shows and his TV appearance as well. He was an amazing designer. Definitely one of my favorites.
Did you appear in other music videos after that?
I appeared in several videos after that. This video really kick-started my career.
- “Day-In Day Out”—David Bowie
- “Strap Me In”—The Cars
- “Father Figure”—George Michael
- “UHF”—“Weird Al” Yankovic (the Robert Palmer spoof portion, with Susan McNabb)
- “Don’t Argue”—Cabaret Voltaire
- ?—Simon F. (?)
- ?—House of Lords
- “Kiss My Love Goodbye”—L.A. Guns
- ?—Litfiba (Italian rock band)
- ?—The Pooh (Italian rock band)
- ?—directed by Rocky Schenck
I was offered Tone Loc’s “Wild Thing”—turned it down because it wasn’t paying. I wish that I didn’t because I really liked the song and video.
Did you ever meet other women who were female leads in a mainstream ‘80s rock video?
I worked with many models who appeared in music videos. I can’t remember all their names but I do remember Susan McNabb (my bestie!), Audie England, Janice Dickinson. I studied five years in college before I started modeling. I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in nursing in 1984. I went to California State University, Long Beach. I ran the 400 metres hurdles during my first two years in college. After my college graduation, I started modeling full-time; I retired from modeling in 1994.
What are you doing these days?
I am a mother of a lovely 14-year-old daughter. I’ve been married to the same man for almost 23 years. I work for L.A. County as a Public Health Nursing Supervisor and love my job! My daughter is starting modeling now and loves working.
What does your daughter think of the video?
She likes it. It’s not her favorite one, though.
Which is her favorite?
“Day-In Day-Out.” A lot of her friends think Bowie’s awesome. (They have good taste). It was my all-time favorite [of mine] as well! But, there is no one who can top Mr. Bowie. And what a complete joy to work with. Really, the best. Super cute, funny, sexy, and sweet.
What did you think when you first heard from me?
Susan told me about you. I was excited to do this interview because I love hearing about what people are doing these days. Remember Pop Up Video? I loved watching that show. Of course I checked out your references…
Has anyone else ever interviewed you about this?
I don’t think so.
Have you appeared at any fan conventions to sign autographs? If not, would you?
I’ve never appeared at any fan conventions to sign autographs. I guess I would consider doing it if it wasn’t creepy!
Did you stay in touch with Robbie?
I never saw or spoke with Robbie after the shoot. I did stay in touch with a lot of the crew, though.
How do you look back on the experience?
I look back at the experience with extremely fond memories. It was definitely one of my favorite jobs. Probably being that it was my first music video shoot, I had the star part, the song was super catchy, and the crew was so much fun, easy to work with, and very enthusiastic about doing something fantastic with this song.
Anything you’d like to add?
I think I covered most of it! Thank you so much for doing this!
Next: REO Speedwagon, “That Ain’t Love” (1987).