Thursday, October 2, 2008

femme fatale

Christa Päffgen is said to be born October 16, 1938 in Nazi-controlled, Cologne, Germany. She was raised by her mother in Berlin after her father had been taken to and died in a concentration camp. By the young age of 14 her mother had found her work modeling with a local fashion house. Within a year she was off to Ibizia working with photographer Herbert Tobias, who christened her "Nico" after his ex-boyfriend, filmmaker Nico Papatakis. From this point her career really opened up. Besides working for Vogue and Elle she found small parts in the films For the First Time and La Dolce Vita. She moved to Paris and signed with a bigger agency and by 1960 had relocated to New York to study at the Actor's Studio and continue modeling. During the early 60's she did some more film work and even made some of her first recordings with Serge Gainsbourg, Brian Jones, and Jimmy Page. She also found herself pregnant with Alain Delon's son during this time. In 1965, while in Paris again she met Bob Dylan who in turn, introduced her to Andy Warhol with whom she began working on Paul Morrissey's films with. From this liason she came to know Lou Reed and The Velvet underground. Within 3 years Nico and the Velvets parted ways. The reasons are cloudy-some say she was asked to leave for having to much of a presence in the band while some site the love triangle between Lou, Nico, and John Cale. It was around this time Nico had a short but very intense affair with Jim Morrison. She went as far as dying her hair red because he preferred redheads and she believed they were connected for life after cutting their thumbs one drug induced night and becoming blood brother & sister. He also encourage her to start writing her own songs. In the 70's her solo career took shape and she continued to appear in underground independent films. After hearing of Morrison's death in 1971 it is said Nico dyed her red hair black and kept it that way. She battled with heroin addiction throughout the 70's and early 80's but just before her death, she had managed to kick the habit and had embarked on a regimen of exercise and healthy eating. In 1988, she took a holiday in Ibiza with her son and had a minor heart attack while riding a bicycle, and hit her head as she fell. She did not receive medical attention quickly enough to be treated and passed away. A true beauty, a dark mystery, a sometimes strange and complicated woman, that lived a thousand lives.

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