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Artful Meanderings

Jane Badler is easily best known for her role as Diana in the 80s sci-fi series, V, where she played a villainous alien lizard posing on earth as a friendly, stunning-looking human. The specific scene she's best remembered for is one in which she...
JS
Κείμενο Jesse Shepherd
01 Μάρτιος 2010, 12:00am

PHOTOGRAPHER: STEPHANIE BAILLY

STYLIST: HANNAH BROOKS

Hair and Makeup: Mae Taylor

Photographer's Assistant: Kelli Morris

Jane wears Gareth Pugh Hematite strip leather jacket from L.E.F.T.

Jane Badler is easily best known for her role as Diana in the 80s sci-fi series,

V

, where she played a villainous alien lizard posing on earth as a friendly, stunning-looking human. The specific scene she’s best remembered for is one in which she swallows a whole, live, hamster. Try un-etching that one from your mind after you’ve seen it once. Since being awarded the title of best ever sci-fi villain, in a poll of professional television critics, Jane has continued acting on television as well as in plays and cabaret shows, but it’s as the lead singer of the incredible and incredibly dramatic Melbourne band Sir that we first came to know her and found ourselves blown away by her grace, beauty and dedication to all things creative.

Jesse Shepherd is the key mastermind behind Sir and he agreed to interview Jane for us the day before we shot the photos you can see over the next five pages.

Vice: What were your New Year’s Resolutions?

Jane:

Well, to be less scattered and not to allow too many distractions in my life. Also to be more disciplined in my song writing and to practice piano between 12 and 2PM everyday. My other one was to let go of my anxiety.

How many other years have you had that same resolution?

I’ll have you know this is the first year I’ve made these resolutions. My birthday’s on New Year’s Eve and I blew out my candles and made that wish like I could be as free as a bird and let go of all my fear and anxiety

That sounds empowering. What’ve been your other favourite New Year’s Resolutions?

Getting rid of bad men in my life. Bad, carcinogenic relationships. That was about ten years ago and I finally stuck to that one. I think so anyway.

So, we hear you were once a beauty queen. Can you tell us about your first beauty pageants?

The first was for Miss Teen America, I was sixteen and ended up runner-up in my city, more as a result of my academic abilities than anything else. Then I was a Snow Carnival Queen, where I rode in a float waving to people in the snow. That was more of a carnival style of pageant. Then I was in a few local pageants; Miss Manchester and then Miss New Hampshire and finally I competed in Miss America.

Oh really, and what was your special talent?

Well, it’s funny, but I played the flute in Miss Teen America and then in Miss America I sang “You’re Just Too Good To Be True” and “What The World Needs Now”. I did a medley.

Amazing. Were you envious of any of the other girls?

Actually, very envious of Miss Wisconsin, who won when she sang one of those big Streisand ballads. At the time it seemed like she had the most extraordinary voice and I

was

a bit jealous of her. But she was a bit Godly—we had to say prayers before everything and she would hold everyone’s hands—so she had a bit of an edge in that respect. I’m an atheist or agnostic or whatever.

And what was next? What did you do after the pageants?

I made the cover of a magazine called

Teen Confessions,

which was like a who-is-sleeping-with-who gossip rag, a few times. Basically I was on the cover twirling a finger in my mouth—that was the height of modelling career. Not a great modelling career, I’ll admit. But, I had a huge commercial career with hundreds of commercials; I worked with O J Simpson and Bob Hope, all with the intention of selling products as broad ranging as English leather and Playtex Bras. It wasn’t rocket science but I had a great time.

Then came television, right? You were involved for something like 15 years from the late 70s right through the 80s. The 70s is remembered as an indulgent decade, did you feel it was?

It was definitely a time of sexual freedom and because it was pre-aids, people weren’t as wary as they are now so orgies were pretty common. There was a crazy swingers club called Plato’s Retreat in New York, which was right near where I lived, and it was very popular; people were going there and having group sex. I never went, but I wish I had now. People were exploring. There was a lot of freedom.

Crazy times indeed. And the 80s?

The 80s were when I started working on

V

and it was definitely evident that people had a lot more money to spend. Our budgets were really large, all the sets for the show were unbelievable and we were working on the Warner Bros. lot with thousands of extras and everyone was getting paid a lot. The 80s were definitely more excessive in that respect.

Jane wears Arnsdorf dress, Caracus earrings from Alice Euphemia, model’s own shoes.

What allowed you to remain focused and stable working in a field and at a time when a lot of actors and performers fell apart?

Well I think I did fall apart for a while; I’ve often been on the edge of falling apart. Looking down at it, willing myself not to go there. I think I had very good resilience though thanks to a difficult childhood. It’s all about having a sense of humour or not taking yourself too seriously I think. Someone looks after me, maybe Miss Wisconsin rubbed off on me after all.

What were you wearing back in the day?

When I moved to Australia I wore lots of crazy things I considered normal then—like purple suede boots and colourful jumpsuits with these white patent leather boots. My husband thought they were pretty tacky. I wish I’d kept those white patent leather boots though. I also remember I had a really great outfit I used to sing in which was all crocheted, green, with wide leg hipster pants and a short halter top. Also a beautiful gold lame gown that my mum made for me.

When did you start singing?

I started singing really young when mum put me into a talent contest in the Catskill Mountains. Keep in mind that this was where all the comedians performed; people like Rodney Dangerfield, Woody Allen and Mel Brooks. Anyway, they held a talent contest and I sang “You Can’t Get A Man With A Gun” and I won. That was the start of some sort of career. Then in my teens I went to New York and sang at the Playboy Club but then I got into acting and let singing go for almost 12 years. I started singing again after coming to Australia.

Right, you sing in my band SIR. How would you describe what you’re doing now?

I take people on a dark journey into the human psyche but I do it with a sense of humour, so no matter how sordid or depressing the tale is there’s also a twisted, funny edge.

What attracts you to a song?

I think I probably tend to be attracted to overly emotional songs, songs that deal with being hurt or mistreated by someone. Songs about your lover being drunk or leaving or waiting for your man to come home, they’re my favourite kind of songs. I’m always attracted to a broken heart.

How have your audiences changed over the years?

It’s strange, as I’ve got older my audiences have got younger. At the Playboy Club it was all middle-aged men and now I’m middle aged, I look out and see a crowd of young, arty things. Nothing makes me happier.

What are your plans for 2010?

Well, as you know, to release the new Sir album,

Snow Carnival Queen

, which is all about the journey of a faded beauty queen and the little things that have happened to her along the way to cause her demise. It’s a series of songs that are dark but kind of upbeat in a dub reggae way. It’s been amazing working with you and the new line up—Tim Picone on bass, Phillip Romerill on guitar, Rohan Ribero on drums and you on synth with Paul Grabowsky producing.

So they’re remaking V right? Is it strange for you watching it?

Very strange. Here is the deal, you have to understand that when you are at the forefront of creating a character, and it comes back without you, it’s painful. But because I’m an extremely magnanimous person and I read lots of self-help books I’ve learnt to keep a smile on my face. I pull out my best Miss America smile and tell myself it’s all good. Of course it’s painful though and I will be very pissed off if I’m not asked to do cameo.

Jane wears Arnsdorf trenchcoat, Caracus earrings from Alice Euphemia, model’s own boots.

Jane wears Julia deVille rhinestone necklace and rosary necklace.

Jane wears Arnsdorf dress from Alice Euphemia, Julia deVille necklace, model’s own shoes and veil.

Jane wears Gareth Pugh Hematite leather mini dress, tights, necklace and earrings model’s own.