|Penthouse July 2002---ANGELYNE - Portrait Of A Hollywood Princess
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What do you make of a rumored sixty something woman who regards Clarabelle and Barbie as her heroes, and the color pink as an integral part of her persona? Billboard babe Angelyne is such a woman.
Armed with a tiny waist, impossible cleavage, a penchant for skin tight pink outfits and a matching corvette, her images beckon from a billboard empire that saturates the Los Angeles skyline.
Angelyne is part femme fatale and part all-American showgirl. A unique hybrid that's also a Los Angeles cult icon, living testament to the Hollywood dream. Her self made billboard campaign harks back to the early eighties, when she fronted a publicity hungry LA rock band called, what else - Angelyne?
“I like to do things on a very big scale and ultimately the band was not,” Angelyne says.” “We played the Whisky and several other key venues, though things weren't happening as fast as we wanted. So one day out of desperation we made a series of posters featuring me as a symbol of the band. The reaction to it was really strong, with approaches from the press and offers from venues. After the band were over it made sense to build upon the poster idea as a progressive career move“.
Triggering an innate sense of curiosity in the viewer - particularly the male viewer, the billboards feature sexy images of Angelyne and a phone number for her twenty dollar annual fan club membership.
To the uninitiated the raunchy billboards underscore the limitless power of suggestion; they could be selling anything; an ad for phone sex? a promo for a porn star? a prostitute hawking her wares? though Angelyne insists the accent is on sensuality, not sex.
Aided by her flirtatious tone, fantastic dress sense and surgically augmented proportions (as yet unconfirmed) Angelyne exudes a definite air of sexuality, though she insists its lateral not literal when it comes to the crunch.
She is keen to emphasize an anti-porn stance and overall abhorrence for anyone who “compromises” themselves sexually for career gain.
Angelyne's posters also serve as her agent, attracting media interviews, offers for film roles, video clip cameos, advertising opportunities and more. The billboards have also become synonymous with the Hollywood landscape and are often used in films.
Rented from outdoor advertising companies Viacom and Clearchannel, the billboards have featured in some thirty five different movies and TV shows, including; Futurama, Where The Day Takes You, Jimmy Hollywood, The Fan, Another You, Volcano and Get Shorty featuring Tommy Lee Jones. "For Get Shorty, they bought two Billboards and set them on fire as part of a big Hollywood destruction scene. I remember my posters went up quicker than any of the others which really meant something to me "Angelyne recalls.
Now, with the likes of CNN praising her for being "as Hollywood as the Hollywood sign," Angelyne has truly defied the path of the archetypal rock and roll wannabe with a healthy revenue stream firmly in place. In addition to her billboards, there are two websites www.angelyne.com and www.angelyneart.com, which allow you to take a Hollywood tour with Angelyne or purchase an assortment of merchandise, including T-shirts, posters, videos, cassettes, postcards and buttons. You can also sign-up for her fanclub, which, for a fee of twenty dollars offers a personally autographed photo with a real kiss imprint.
Asked where her earnings stem from, Angelyne confides, "The majority of my earnings come from investors and stocks, getting hired for cameos and the billboards getting hired for cameos". Angelyne says she also has an art career, selling $100,000 reproductions of billboards and a range of self-portraits in various sizes, seventy five in all.
Contrary to rumors of a rich husband come benefactor fuelling her career, Angelyne's first billboard investor was a Hollywood entrepreneur named Hugo Maisnick who did a deal with Angelyne back in 1986, financing the billboard in return for half the earnings it generated.
"People think I've got a benefactor for the billboards, some big rich sugar daddy, but that's not so. Besides, why confine myself to one rich benefactor when I can have hundreds or even thousands?. I can get men to do anything I want," she adds.
Its contradictory, but Angelyne's brazen, pyramid styled self promotion defies the conventional notion of celebrity. Through the neon glare, tourist kitsch and smell of urine that is Hollywood, Angelyne is a romantic personification of the star ethos. As a celebrity, she recounts a former era, one of heightened authenticity, unclouded by contrived demographics and industry oligarchy. Its not that Angelyne is particularly spiritual or revelatory, (are Dolly Parton, Barbie or Divine messianic?) but more the fact that she is self made rather than the product of cookie cutter studio or label manufacture.
"Everybody has a genetic code of destiny,” she confides.” I wanted to be a celebrity since I was a young girl, though at that age I couldn't actually explain it. The last scene in the Moby video, We Are All Made Of Stars, where he is walking away under the galaxy of stars captures a childhood vision I had of the concept of celebrity and star energy“.
Paradoxically, unlike the corporate Hollywood machine and its endless mire of marketing sycophancy and nepotism, Angelyne has achieved a sense of celebrity not for a particular talent or commodity, but for simply marketing her own persona.
"I'm often asked what it is that I do. Being judged by what I do rather than by what I am is a sore point with me. Its very difficult to just be famous for being yourself. I could have been famous for being in a rock band, though ultimately, through some strange twist of fate I became famous for just being good, famous for just being me".
“The thing is, I can do anything. I can dance, I can sing, I can do the splits, but I don't just want to be associated with doing just one thing. I don't want to simply hide behind one thing. I'd prefer to be famous for my own persona which is a lot more costly and more respected than being known for possessing a particular talent“.
Are you comfortable being perceived as a Hollywood icon?
Of course. I revel in the notion that I am a Hollywood icon. I have lots of celebrity friends and I often socialize in a Hollywood circle, though I don't want to gloat. I get invites to all the parties, but I'm very selective about what I attend. I do find some fellow celebrities can be a little patronizing towards me, asking for my autograph at events and motioning me over as if they know me.
Does the celebrity thing have a downside?
The downside of being a celebrity would be failing to realize your ambitions, that certainly doesn't relate to me. As a celebrity my seed has completely blossomed, but it is now firmly rooted and still growing. I’ve had to initiate a range of restraining orders from some obsessed fans which has been really painful. I’ve also had to deal with an ongoing tide of jealous wives and girlfriends, some women have even threatened to blow up my billboards. I’ve also had fans telephone me from jail, which actually isn’t a negative, but interesting.
What advice do you have for those who want to pave a showbiz career?
They really need to ask themselves how bad do they want it and go from there. That's the rule of thumb, what would you do for it? and then they just have to be true to themselves. Women should be particularly weary of having to compromise themselves or use sex to get somewhere. You never have to compromise yourself to get somewhere and people should always remember that there are alternatives. Also, If you don't succeed with one game, go into another.
What’s your feeling on age and growing older?
I still don't see myself as having grown up. What does it mean to be grown up anyway? I am in touch with myself in the same way as when I was a three year old. I was always so cute and I always got my own way. Now I just want it to always be that way.
What are your fondest childhood memories?
My parents died when I was five. It was a very happy time, I got everything I wanted. Later I was weaned by fairies and aliens.
How do you feel about pornography ?
Wherever there is people, there is porn. I have received many offers to do porn and the offers continue, though its not my chosen path. I was asked to pose nude for Playboy in the early nineties, I seriously considered doing it, but my lawyer advised me not to. At the time I had a pending role in a kids cartoon show, and we didn't want to jeopardize that, maybe I would consider doing it again if a similar offer came up.
Porn is a nasty business, though it is in huge demand and promises big dollars. I had a male friend who was a porn star, and a saw the dark side of the industry through observing his experiences, he ended up dying of a drug overdose. I often wonder if animals get off on visuals (looking at her stuffed pink panther). I wonder what gets my pets off, do they look at each other and get turned on ?
Are you a feminist ?
I don't really understand it at all. Some woman feel oppressed and inclined to follow that political line, though I'm separate from all that and I don't need to pursue it. I'm just a person who goes out and gets what she wants, so it doesn't quite relate to me. I've never actually encountered any sexual or gender politics in relation to my work. Women generally approve and I'm often approached by wives who urge me to kiss their husbands. I did have one billboard vandalized near a children's school once, though that was it. All the kids at the school likened me to Barbie, and loved me, it was just some hung up adult who disapproved of the billboard and graffitied it.
What are you're attitudes towards men? If you were a man who would you be ?
I would have to create a new man in that case, there are none I can think of that Id like to be or that reflect what I want, men of the planet need to improve overall. I prefer male assistants as it's a protective thing. I have two, both named Scott, and I tell them apart by their special names, one is named Scottie cat, the other Scottie dog. I also like them tall so I can see what's going on.
I like to drive my men to the edge, so they break out of their shell and become someone intensely feeling and passionate, I like to give them the Angelyne experience. I have boyfriends and I like switching them around. I do have a thing about musicians, they have another world of understanding, a level of depth and maturity that most men don't. I wont say any more about my love life other than all of boyfriends always do something for my career.
How do you feel about US politics?
The country is now being run by reptiles (Republicans). Hopefully that will change and the doves or positive forces will rule in the future. I think that September 11 was possibly planned and maybe it could have been prevented. Though the current political climate is something that must be played out, and when it is, the doves ( positive forces) will come back to power. I do think the American flag is associated with good luck though.
Do you have a thing about the color pink?
The color Pink has a thing about me. Pink is part of my persona and extension of my character, it helps me express the fact that I do something because I like it, I love it and I've got to have it. If men are beasts then seeing the color pink transforms them into being something sensuous. The color pink has the power to promote higher thought patterns, it can spark vibrations and waves. I don't have any violent friends and I really believe that the color pink has something to do with it, wielding the power to calm aggression.
Do you have any religious beliefs ?
I'm not aligned to any particular denomination. I believe that you can connect with the higher god self. That connection can deliver us into a higher existence. Whatever you choose to tune in to you will get something out of. I have a charmed life and my luck tends to come in series of seven. Generally I will have six out of seven instances of luck, after that the experiences aren't so good.
What is the perfect night out?
That would be one where I go out dancing and dance with every guy in the place. You never know what will happen. I am always approached by people whether its for an autograph or a compliment, and its great, I see it more as flattery rather than just inconvenience.
What was her first ever job?
What’s a job? Would that be singing on stage? I have a very strong work ethic, and I'm actually extremely driven.
Do you have a solid career plan?
I do have strategy when it comes to my career, though I usually don't plan everything and like to leave some things in the hands of destiny. Yet when I do plan things they seem to work out better".
What has your film career consisted of?
I am currently in negotiation for several movie roles for films that will be made over the next couple of years. Throughout my career I've done bit parts in a range of movies. I'm now working on own project, tentatively titled, 'Angelyne - Passion for a Pink Princess'. It's a day in the life styled surrealist docudrama, a pseudo documentary that embodies my very own outrageous and glamorous style.
What’s the story?
It sees Angelyne kidnapped by a wicked, greedy corporate head who has designs to clone her and take over the world. It's a big departure from the typical cookie cutter formula used by so many Hollywood studios. Its now 20 per cent complete and will be finished by 2003.
How about your music career?
I’ve made four CD's and one of my earlier works included a CD featuring Sergio Moroda who has been working for BMG in Italy. For the soundtrack of the film, I invited an assortment of famous bands to collaborate, sorry but I cant name them. The CD has various tracks and remixes from commercially aware electronica through to melancholic rock and roll. Lyrically, my color obsession rears its head again, ‘Pink is the color of an angels tongue, pink is the color of a mad, mad mind, pink is the color of the universe’.
How was it working with Moby?
Moby was a real gentleman, he was really nice to work with, though he continually complained that the spacesuit he was wearing in my car for the video clip We Are All Made Of Stars was killing him. The day of the video clip shoot we had this photographer that kept hangin out and bugging us, snapping when he wasn't welcome. After I kept complaining, Moby confronted the photographer and got the film from the camera, as a thank you I gave him an autographed pair of my panties.
You played a role in the Moby video, We Are All Made Of Stars, what's your take on its theme?
I like the song, I see it as being about the concept of the universe and the fact that we are part of a microcosm, we are all tiny stars that comprise the larger star that is the universe. It is good, but my favorite Moby track would have to be Porcelain.
Any thoughts on the music industry?
The music industry is the only true cool industry. Being from Hollywood I observe this continually. The movie scene has style and charisma, but it doesn't have cool. Rock and roll is all about cool, a music person has to have a sense of cool or they can’t function and perform properly.
What is your favorite era for pop culture?
I'm an eighties girl. I like the New Romantic era, with bands like Depeche Mode and Duran Duran. There was lots of pink back then. I also like the punk era and bands like Psychedelic Furs and PIL.
What’s the Angelyne stance on clothes and fashion?
I have all my clothes tailor made to my own design specifications. I have certain rules I abide by in order to maintain my look. I like things to be short, tight, and low cut, its often sexy and pink too. I'm currently collaborating with Pink Kitty Designer, Heathyr Lawrence to design my own lingerie line, it will all be tight fitted and super sexy, and of course there will be lots of pink.
How can Angelyne help people to improve the way they dress?I think for women, today's fashions are too understated. They lack a sense of glamour and aren't too visually stimulating. For men, I like tight, sexy clothes, tattoos are ok too, I don't like the bald and baggy look, it does nothing for me .
You also have a blossoming art career - correct?
I had natural talent as a child and won many arts awards at school. In my early teens I started to take my paintings to art galleries in the hope of having it shown. They responded by telling me that it wasn't possible to show the work as I didn't have a name. I was so hurt and I think that experience embedded a motivation to become someone, to become someone famous, or at least " a name". At the age of 13 I gave up painting but later started to dabble in my adult years.
In 1998 I had resumed it intensely. I have a studio in my house where I paint quite regularly, though I can be a little excessive, I might paint ten at once, then none for a year. I also like extremes in the sizes of my paintings from tiny canvases to huge ones. I had a successful show in 1999 The theme for the show was' Hollywood Satan' with a number of local celebrities including of David Lynch and Robbie Robertson exhibiting their work.
I now have 75 different self portraits that have been reproduced in different styles and on billboards. The selling price of the works start at $2500 and up to $100,000 for anything that has been displayed on billboards. I’ve also infiltrated the world of art academia, having given a lecture at UCLA in November 2001 about my life as an artist. I had most of the staff and students show up, I made them write their questions down on pink paper and I chose the questions I wanted to answer.
What's your attitude towards advertising?
Advertising too has been a source of income, though I prefer to do it overseas only. I don't like to sell out, though doing the job for west cigarettes in Germany was OK as it was highly glamorous and I had creative control. It was also a very lucrative campaign that went for two years. There were five different shoots in all and the ad agency team and their photographer came to LA on each different occasion. I wouldn't do an ad locally as the art direction on local commercials is usually so drab, really lacking any sort of creative initiative, besides I’ve got to retain some sort of exclusivity in a local context.
What concerns, pleases and angers Angelyne?
It's a point of concern that ever since man came onto the planet there has been this innate anger. I'm concerned that at some point this will reach a boiling point and effect critical mass where there will be this massive breaking loose of pain and suffering, a kind of Armageddon, though after this has happened people will be free, and the whole process it will serve as a type of catharsis. What pleases me is the belief that if man keeps making day to day progress, then maybe somewhere down the road there will no longer be any suffering, and disease, poverty and war will be eliminated. When this is realized there will be nothing negative, just pleasure, joy and love. What angers me is that this whole process is taking too long to be realized.
Written by Craig Stephens
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