Friday, July 19, 2013

The Girl in the Video: “Take On Me” (1985)

Introduction to series “The Girl in the Video” (including list of interviewees).

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.

Did you appear in other music videos after that?

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 womaneven 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).


Anonymous said...

that was awesome!!!!! thank you for featuring her

Anonymous said...

Thanks Marc!
Always nice to read an article about my favorite band!

Anonymous said...

That was great , I attented Aha's last show in Oslo and wish Ms Bailey could have been there on stage when they sang, for the last time Take On Me...! That would have been amazing.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

That is a nice thought, Anonymous #3. Maybe they will reunite - and reunite with Bunty, too.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the interview! I was wondering for a while what happened to Miss Bailey and it's good to see and hear that she's still around and fine. And still a beautiful woman I must add. It's good to read that the video has left positive memories for her and the hustle and bustle around these times did not harm her.

Ellen from Germany

Ivette Martinez said...

Fue muy interesante saber sobre estas chicas grandiosas de los videos de los 80. Muchas gracias por toda ests informacion, muy buenas las entrevistas realizadas.Saludos desde Puerto Rico

Unknown said...

The girl you are looking for that appeared in the Richard Marx video is named Ava Fabian.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Samuel - I know it says that online, but the woman in "Should've Known Better" is not Ava. If you compare the woman in the video to photos of Ava, they look nothing alike, plus Ava is still in the public eye so it would already be documented that she was in that video. I appreciate your time and help though!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the interview. I have never forgotten her after all these years.

Efrem said...

Great research. I played the video of Don't Cry by Asia and they had some beautiful ladies in those. Maybe you can check what happened to them.

Richard Arte Digital said...

Definitely, Miss Bailey was a very important factor for the success of "Take on me". Thanks for the article! She seems a very down to earth person. Congratulations for your blog too! Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Que increíble trabajo, realmente notable, no sabes cuanto me has ayudado con tu investigación, si bien, mi interés no son las chicas busco información de las chicas sino, del video como dispositivo, es decir, como montaje, narrativa, propaganda, difusión, etc. En el video de Dan Hartman i can dream about you aparece una chica echando una moneda a la maquina que pone los videos musicales ¿sebes como se llaman esas máquinas? Saludos y felcitaciones. Un bonito trabajo de género "las mujeres a través de los videos" jamás se me habría ocurrido ¿pero porqué te fijaste en las chicas?. se despide una fanática de los videos de los ochenta e historiadora en proceso. Saludos desde Chile

syndicate.001 said...

dear mr. nobleman:

did you get my email, regarding the
inquiry that i had on the video vixen from the music video, entitled "relax", by Frankie goes to Hollywood?...

Anonymous said...


Unknown said...

She is still so beautiful, i was 15 when video came out and I felt in love with her immediately. Wanted to know who she was and now I know. Thanks for great interview. This video music is stil a leyend, it combined animation with real people. It was so great and music fantastic. Take on me is my clock alarm to weak up everyday. 80's good music and fastastic memories. Bunty I love yiu

Your fan from Venezuela now living in Brisbane


Unknown said...

Who is The blonde model in a taxicab from The a ha video "you are The One" do you know Mark?

Unknown said...

Would like to see one done with the girl from the come on Eileen video.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

"Come on Eileen" said no: (I should have then said, "Come ON, Eileen!")

pedro3dynamite said...

Love reading all the info on these video girls/women. What about the girl in the Glenn Medeiros video : Long and Lasting Love? She looked like she coulda went far into the acting business with that 'look'. Very attractive!

scott said...

In the book, I Want My MTV, they say Ms. Bailey and Morton hit it off during the video. Someone said they were both shy, Morton's first real relationship and first time in the spotlight, but after the hand-holding scenes, they would still hold hands and asked to do more scenes together. Also, A-Ha didn't want to be the band that was known for just this video, but in the USA, that's what they became.

Thomas said...

awesome... this is great...

ummm.... I'm available! :)

Bad Ronald said...

You had asked Bunty Baily if she'd ever met any other video girl. She said she hadn't. She must've forgotten that when she was in the film Spellcaster, her co-star was one of your other interviewees, Traci Lin (from the Lou Graham video Midnight Blue).

Unknown said...

Good Memories

philip astore said...

Will never forget her Cuteness... <3

Unknown said...

Milestone moment. 1 Billion YouTube views. Only the 2nd band in history to achieve.

Alex said...

Just to say that in the '80s, she was my ideal icon of how one's girlfriend should be.

Unknown said...

Thank you Ms. Bunty I have a research project of sorts on the song and your sincere interview was so very helpful . I wish you well ,,Your angel shows thru is in large part the success of this epic music vid ... ((( Please Forward this message in a bottle to her for me someone . . tnx ,, Ral

Don Reed said...

This is the most intelligent interview I've read in decades. It's good to hear that she landed on her feet and is satisfied with her work and her life (to the extent that any of us can be). Thank you doing this (I hear that after the interview, the video of it had to be rotoscoped for nine months before it could be released into print HAR). Don Reed (12/09/21 USA).