Angela Harry: Trans-Pacific Supermodel

Yes, schoolgirl fantasies do come true — sometimes with a vengeance.

Angela Harry is that rarest of beautiful birds — an international supermodel who’s been making a six-figure income every year for the last ten years. She’s one of Nina Blanchard’s top five models, in the ranks of Rachel Hunter of Sports Illustrated fame and Rod Stewart’s wife Deborah Harry seen regularly in Vogue.

In some ways, Harry’s success is even more spectacular than that of her Nina Blanchard comrades in beauty. Every Japanese consumer instantly recognizes Harry as Japan’s number one model and every American with an eye for beauty remembers seeing her in ads and commercials selling everything from cars to pantyhose. (What GoldSea visitor can help but notice her memorable face gracing our pages?)

“I didn’t really think I would become one,” recalls the half-Corean (Korean), half-English Harry though in high school she would practice modeling in front of the mirror and filled scrapbooks with clippings from fashion magazines. “I certainly didn’t imagine I’d be so successful at it.”

Perhaps her most memorable Tokyo hit was the Diet Coke poster that graced every subway station for most of the 1990s. On this side of the Pacific Harry became best known as the L’eggs Sheer Elegance model. Harry was delighted that the commercials were calculated to show off what she considers her best feature. It also plays up her Asian features which, sometimes, isn’t so obvious, especially as she sheds the last traces of babyfat. Ironically, when she met L’eggs bigwhigs for a second time before the contract was inked, she was told they were looking for someone “more Oriental”. It wasn’t until nearly a year later that they decided she was “Oriental” enough.

Proving that not even the most beautiful of us is exempt from racism, Harry recalls being called “Jap” many times as a girl, even at the school on the U.S. military base in Tokyo. Having suffered that kind of painful discrimination, Harry remains uncomfortable about looking too “Oriental”. To this day she resists wearing red nail polish and bright red lipstick against a pale foundation because, she says, it makes her feel like a geisha.

Harry’s other U.S. jobs have included the memorable Caffeine-Free Diet Coke commercials in which she wore a green-sequined dress, “being a typical James Bond girl.” She also appeared in the Clairol Ultress commercial with Linda Evans and on the catalog pages of Olga lingerie. In a Sterling car commercial Harry showed up in full scuba gear, projecting the “strikingly beautiful, sexy and also sophisticated and intelligent look” that the director said he wanted.

Almost every major California department store chain, including I Magnin, May Co and the Broadway — have consistently used Harry for catalogs and print ads. To top it off, runway work keeps her shuttling between Milan, New York and Madrid. At one Chanel show the director came up to her and said, “I remember your face when you first came out — you were cute then. Now you are beautiful.” That’s one indication of the unforgettable look that only Angela Harry can deliver.

Harry has even done some acting, appearing for five days on the original daytime soap Santa Barbara. She played a “bad guy’s girl” who gets arrested. But even that brief glimpse was enough to generate letters demanding more of her.

“It’s fun and I think I can do it,” she said a few years ago, “but there are too many things more important in life than forever trying to be a star in Hollywood.” By 1995, however, acting would move to take up center stage in her ambitions.

Harry traveled to Japan at least once a year until 1996. The demand for her remains so strong that she can call the owner or head booker of any agency in Tokyo and say, “I need to get away but want to maintain an income. Can I come?” She’s welcomed on a moment’s notice, air fare included, of course. Next

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