Ass From the Past #3 – Vanessa Angel

While I was flicking through the TV channels the other day I came across a classic film and the next lovely lady that I decided who I was going to write about. The film was Kingpin and the part was the cold nipples scene. After a quick Google search for her name (my memory is not as good as it used to be), it suddenly came back to me when the results returned as Vanessa Angel.

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Vanessa Angel started off as a model back in the 1980’s and managed to model for certain magazine covers such as Cosmopolitan and Vogue. She then tried her hand at acting and got her first role in 1985 in the film Spies Like Us, studied professional acting after the film finished and went on to appear in small roles for films (Kings of New York) and TV sitcoms such as Melrose Place and Baywatch along the way. Vanessa then got the part as Lisa in the popular TV series Weird Science, in which was the show that brought my attention to her existence. I’m not too sure of the plot behind Weird Science as I mainly watched it to look at the ridiculously stunning woman during the times of fashion wearing tight clothing with no bra , but I remember the show being an all-round enjoyable experience, including a catchy theme tune. I jest of course, with the show being about two guys who make the perfect woman on their computer who just happens to come to life! During the high times of Weird Science, Vanessa got the part of Claudia in Kingpin and got to work alongside the likes of Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid and Bill Murray.

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I got to work trying to find a way to contact Vanessa and noticed that she had a Facebook page. I was dubious at first whether it was actually her or not with there being fakes and fan pages out there, but after scrolling a fair bit through her status history, there were (what I would deem) personal photos i.e. birthday photos that I couldn’t re-find on Google search. I therefore came to the conclusion that it was actually her and messaged her asking if I could ask a few questions. She responded willingly and so this was our little “interview” if you like:

Did modelling always come first in your heart? Or did you always want to be an actress when you was growing up?

I never thought about being a model. I was awkward and skinny and not particularly confident in my early teen years! I loved acting and was part of my school drama club. We had a wonderful teacher who inspired me greatly and we put on plays, some quite advanced for our age, like Brecht’s “The Caucasian Chalk Circle’. I never thought about doing it as a profession though. At 15 I blossomed a bit and I was discovered by these ladies who ran one of the top modeling agencies in London. They sent me out on some ‘go sees’ and I was very lucky to start working right away. It was a fun way to meet interesting people, travel and make money but for all upside there are a lot of difficult things that you have to deal with at such a young age. I was then fortunate enough to meet the director, John Landis, who cast me in “Spies Like Us’ and that opened the door to my acting career. I guess it was meant to be and I got given a chance to take my earlier interest in acting and turn it into a career.

A question you probably get asked a lot (as I find it on most bios about you) and that is about the Xena audition. Do you feel disappointed to miss out doing Xena? Or a slight relief that you don’t have to do the high pitched Xena war cry to fans every day?

Ha! Yes, looking back I’m a bit disappointed I didn’t end up playing Xena, war cry and all. The role became an icon of strength and has fans all over the world. When I signed on, they were introducing her in a 3 part episode of “Hercules’ and I was on hiatus from Weird Science. After people responded so well to the character, they then spun it off into a series, so I wouldn’t have been able to do the series anyway. I really believe I got so sick before the shoot so I could make room for Lucy Lawless to get the role. They had to replace me quickly and find an actress already in New Zealand. She ended up marrying the show runner, Rob Tappert, so it was destiny for them!

What is your most memorable moment from your acting career?

I don’t think I have one most memorable moment from my career. Each job has it’s own special experience and I’ve met some amazing people along the way. However, I was very excited when I got Weird Science and Kingpin was a big win for me.

Has there been anything that you have been told to wear in a film or model shoot where you thought to yourself “This is embarrassing/ awful”?

Yes! I’ve worn too many skimpy outfits in my career! When you’re young and impressionable, you just kind of want to please everyone and agree to things even though you feel otherwise. I feel good that I’ve never done any nudity in films, contrary to what people think. I had a body double in an early film I did. I think we evolve over time and feelings on things can change. Not that I think it’s shameful but I never felt comfortable enough and I’m a mom to a 12 year old daughter now too.

What does the future hold for Vanessa Angel?

Hopefully the future brings continued good health and opportunities. I’m a mom, so a lot of my energy centers around my daughter. A good part of my future will be supporting her and her journey. Career wise, I would love to continue acting. It gets more difficult at this stage and opportunities are less frequent but I hope I’ll have the chance to do a another series. I also have a small clothing line, VANE LA, that keeps me creative and I would like to expand that at some point.

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Being in the modelling and film business for 30 years shows no toll on Vanessa (and that includes having a child too!) as she looks just as incredible as she did the day she started. You would never believe she is 47 and will probably have most women envious of her prolonged youthful looks. She came across wonderfully kind and treated me like a human being, as you sometimes wonder about how the celebrity world comes across to your average Joe, but there was no sign of snootiness and arrogance at all. Feel free to visit her on Facebook as she communicates with people and her fans regularly, as long as you don’t slobber all over her profile! Or if you are into fashion, then keep an eye on her VANE LA website.

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