Do You Think I'm a Nasty Girl?
by chris lee

When I was like 14, I was OBSESSED with Prince's proteges. I remember talking to my mom about them, and she asked, "So which one is his girlfriend?" As the disembodied heads of Vanity, Wendy, Lisa, Apollonia, Sheila E, Suzannah from The Family, etc., flew around in my mind, all I could answer was, "Well, all of them." I don't think my mother thought too much of Prince after that. Still, I loved every lingerie-clad one of them, and while Sheila E. and Wendy & Lisa seemed more talented, my personal favorites were the nastier Vanity and Apollonia.

Van and Apples were definitely the sexiest and trashiest of them all in the most fun way. They both practically invented the genre of "the classy singing whore". Looks-wise, they could have been sisters and were practically interchangeable. In fact, both fronted Prince's girl trio side project at different times, the puzzlingly-titled "6" band, which was originally supposed to be called The Hookers. (how's that for subtle)? The 6 band introduced demi-proteges Susan and Brenda to the scene. Susan's deal was that she was supposed to be the YOUNG one, and they made her carry around a teddybear to prove it. Of course, she is the one with the major moustache, so I dont think she was actually fooling anyone but herself.

Brenda on the other hand was a sheer powerhouse of whitetrash with a mouth as foul as her underpants.

Vanity came first. Her Vanity 6 album (1982) is a little slice of Heaven -- if your idea of Heaven is a raunchy, private party in the middle of Fredrick's of Hollywood! The album's hit was "Nasty Girl," a paean to anonymous, casual sex on limousine floors with sailors and various other strangers. This is only the first cut on the album, and Vanity's sexual braggadocio is already in overdrive telling a guy to "take it out/I'll do it like a real live nasty girl should!" and moaning a request for "seven inches more." What a whore!

But the jewel in the bustier of the Vanity 6 LP is the first track on "Side 6." On "If A Girl Answers (Don't Hang Up)," Vanity and her bandmates swap hilarious no-reason telephone disses with a skag played by an uncredited, and very unfeminine Prince! Later in the song Prince deals deadly blows on Vanity's hair being "a motel for roaches, ants and lice, dogs and cats.." and just when you think Vanity's gonna hang-up in hairshame, whitetrash bandmate Brenda busts in for a jive-talkin foul-mouthed duel with the purple lady, Prince. Brenda turns out to be so deliciously trashy that you begin to wonder why the band wasnt called Brenda 6.

At the height of her fame, Vanity was offered the prized co-star role in the classic film PURPLE RAIN, but she stupidly decided she could do better, claiming, "They wouldn't pay me enough money to go through with the crap I would have to go through." Patricia Kotero, however, DID take the crap as well as a Prince-"suggested" stage name, and Vanity's old band, hence the birth of Apollonia 6 and the basic end of Vanity's career. (Why the "6" anyway? I'm still convinced it had to do with their breasts, since there were three women.)

Post-prince, Vanity went on to make a few solo albums and campy B-movies like "Never Too Young to Die" with dog-boy John Stamos and Gene Simmons of KISS as (big stretch) an evil hermaphrodite rock star. Then she found God, ran the talk show circuit, and went back to calling herself Denise, turning her back on "that Vanity person" -- which makes Vanity even cooler, cuz she doesn't exist anymore! She's like mythology now! A real legend.

As for Apollonia, Prince apparently got bored with the trio, and jerked Apples around while making the album. The Apollonia 6 LP (1984) was supposed to contain the career-making hits "Take Me With U", "Manic Monday", and "The Glamorous Life". But the ever-fickle Prince changed his mind, choosing "Take Me With U" for PURPLE RAIN and giving the other songs to new friends like The Bangles and Sheila E. (Just think what could have been! Poor Apollonia.) And while Apollonia always seemed second best, like a watered-down Vanity, the Apollonia 6 album does contain "Sex Shooter" and a few other raunchy gems that rival Vanity's original heights of nastiness.

And while the memory of young Apples being tricked into getting naked in Lake Minnetonka survived, Apollonia's career slowly faded out with the '80s. Like Under Cherry Moon, Lovesexy, and Morris Day and the Time demonstrated, everything Prince-affiliated turned sour. In an attempt at "serious" acting, Apples did a stint on the wannabe Dynasty tv series known as FALCON CREST and later released a solo LP in 1989, when she said, "...there's no way that any woman could attain respectability travelling around the world in her undergarments." (obviously she had not heard of Madonna)

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