Rosie Vela

Rosie Vela was born Roseanne Vela in Galveston Texas on December 18, 1954.

Vela’s family later moved to Arkansas, where she attended the University of Arkansas. Whilst studying art and music, Vela also began modeling. She married the Arkansas born musician, Jimmy Roberts, but he died of cancer shortly after. Following this, Vela moved to New York where her modeling career took off. She is inarguably one of the supermodels of all time, and graced the covers and pages of various magazines from the 1970s onwards: Vogue, New Woman, Glamour, Living Fit, Ultra, Town & Country, Woman’s Day, New York. She appeared in numerous cosmetic advertisements for Revlon, Coty, Max Factor, Elizabeth Arden, Avon; print ads for: Gianni Versace, Valentino, Gloria Vanderbilt, Napier, Halston and many television commercials.

At the height of her career she was in a relationship with the artist Peter Max. Max hand painted a hat she wore in a Vogue spread in the mid seventies for the issue.

Turning her attention to music, Vela built a home recording studio for herself and signed a recording contract with A&M Records. She released her debut album in 1986. The entire album was written or co-written by Vela, and was produced by Gary Katz.

It is also notable for the fact that it included contributions from both Donald Fagen and Walter Becker (two of Vela’s musical heroes) – five years after they had disbanded their group Steely Dan. Though the album went largely unnoticed in the U.S., it fared better in Europe and a single from the album, “Magic Smile”, was a Top 30 hit in the UK Singles Chart. The album itself peaked at #20 in the UK Albums Chart, and was certified silver by the BPI in March 1987. Further singles, “Interlude” and “Fool’s Paradise” met with less success.

Following Zazu, Vela did not release any further recordings, but has since become a backing vocalist for other musicians: including ELO on their 2001 album; Zoom. Vela also toured with the band, and was (for a time) in a relationship with ELO’s then frontman Jeff Lynne.

Vela has also appeared in several films, including Heavens Gate, The Two Jakes, and co-starred in Inside Edge opposite Michael Madsen.

Rosie Vela-SMI

Magic Smile


33 Responses to “Rosie Vela”
  1. Eva Voorhees says:

    Yes. Her hair was often straightened for editorial, but when I worked with her for all the Bride bookings, and we did our own hair, it was always curly, and she would scrunch it to make it curlier. Believe me-she has the most gorgeous hair! Really soft and shiny. Beautiful color too. I always thought she looked like a princess.

  2. eva voorhees says:

    I love that story Harry, and always loved Rosie. Your Vogue spread with the “heartbreakers” is another favorite!

  3. Cesar says:

    I remember seeing Rosie in Glamour magazine and wondering why such a beautiful model was not in Vogue. Few months later, there she was on the August 1975 cover. To this day, that cover and her April 1976 cover are two of my all time favorite Vogue covers.

  4. Eva Voorhees says:

    Rosie is also a favorite of mine and she was since long before I started modeling. Her look reminds me of a princess; her delicate features, dainty body and golden locks are etherial.

  5. stephen says:

    I love the story Harry tells about Rosie on the go see at Scavullos studio. I wonder if Waye Bandy was doing makeup that day. In 1975 when Rosie first started I was only 14 yrs old but I do remember drawing her face in the late 70s from magazine pages. Was she in the movie “The Eyes of Laura Mars” starring Faye Dunnaway? I think Sean Casey was also in that movie. I do remember when Rosi came out with her album, she has a nice voice. I also saw Janice Dickenson launch her pop single that she performed at Studio 54 in 1982, does anybody out there remember that? She forgot the words to the song! Lol

  6. Eva Voorhees says:

    I’m pretty sure Way was a constant at Scavullo’s studio. He loved working with Way and Harry together, especially on the Cosmo covers.
    Rene wasn’t in “Eyes of Laura Mars.” Maybe you’re thinking of Anna Anderson? Lisa Taylor and Darlanne Fluegel were also in it, as were John Sahag and Joey Mills.
    I never heard that story about Janice; you must have a lot of stories to share too, thanks!

  7. stephen says:

    Oh it was hysterical! I went to Studio 54 with Julie Wolfe, I did her makeup that night, we met Sheila Johnson there. I remember seeing Christie Brinkley sitting upstairs in the theater seats. Janice came on around midnite in a hot pink spandex outfit with big hair and hot pink lipstick. I wish I could remember the song! I wonder if she even does lol. Anyway..half way through she forgets the words and just starts puckering her lips and blowing kisses out to the audience. Some drunk boooed her and she stuck her middle finger up! Very Janice right? It was so embarrassing. Interesting though because her performance and styling was very Madonna like and this was before Madonna was even out yet. Her earlier look and songs were very much like the way Janice appeared that night. I wonder if Madonna was there? You know, I bet if I really look in my old memorabilia I’d find that invitation for Janices debut at Studio 54.

  8. eva voorhees says:

    I always say I think it’s great that Janice was able to market her own persona, and was quite successful at it. Her books and reality shows alone must have earned her millions-good for Janice; nothing defeats her!

  9. stephen says:

    Yes Eva, hats off to Janice and she has another reality show coming up. I did her makeup once for a Micheal Volbract show in 1980. Such beautiful vibrant colors hand painted on fabric. She looked breathtaking and told me no one has ever given her such amazing arches on her brows lol. It was just when bushy brows became in style. I’ve never done Rosies brows though. I used to draw her face from magazine covers, and yours as well when I was a young art student. I’ve got to look for all these keepsakes!

  10. Eva Voorhees says:

    Oh, I didn’t know that Janice has another reality show coming out. What’s her new show about?
    Do you have a website of your work? I’d love to see your make up, and I’d be happy to post your work on the fan pages if you want me to. I want to see your keepsakes too!

  11. stephen says:

    She has a show coming up that’s kind of like The Bacherlorette. Its these young handsome studs that all compete for Janices heart. I’m sure its goin to be very entertaining! My website is Thank You! That would be great if you could post it, I can send you some samples from my line if you’d like… I have just the colors for you! I can also scan some of my old drawings and swipes which I treasure and send you those as well. I’m loving this site btw! I will tell friends from back in the day and I’m sure they’ll love it too. Thanks Again, Stephen

  12. Eva Voorhees says:

    For the first time ever I find myself jealous of Janice! I posted your link yesterday, but I don’t know if you saw it-things get buried quickly.
    If you send me your email through contact I can cover the rest of the things I want to tell you. Thanks Stephen!

  13. Bernie Migas says:

    All i can say is from Buffalo NY ! Besides good looking girl ! Great Voice and Talent Singing! Man did she add alot of GREAT WORK TO ELO ! Besides her own music is great ! But she has so much Talent ! All I can say is Very Gifted !

  14. Eva Voorhees says:

    Rosie is so special! I agree with you, and what a model! One of my all time favorites-I love Rosie!

  15. Mike Phillips says:


    I was a good friend of Roseanne in high school ,she used to wear my jeans, and have not talked to her or seen her since, just wanted to say hi, anybody know how to get in touch with her.

    Thank you

    Mike Phillips

  16. Eva Voorhees says:

    I don’t have any contact info for her, but am pretty sure she is still in LA singing back up. Lovely person, one of the greatest, and one of my favorite, models!

  17. Bernie Migas says:

    Thanks for posting my Post above ! Would be nice if she could bring her music to Buffalo NY !!

  18. Eva Voorhees says:

    Of course! Thanks for checking in and making comments!

  19. Bernie Migas says:

    Eve ??? Where you at! ??? I’m in Buffalo NY Wanna get a hold of ya besides talking on here ! Thanks Again!

  20. Eva Voorhees says:

    Do you want to send me an email address? I’m getting off for tonight, but will look tomorrow. Good night!

  21. Bernie Migas says:

    EVA ! Thanks for getting back to me ! Hope to talk to ya soon! Get some sleep ! Ya work to Much! hehhehehehe Check your email ! Love ya sis ! Goodnight ! Bernie!

  22. Bernie Migas says:

    To Stephen above Partial Bio !

  23. Bernie Migas says:

    Loves Eva for responding and hopefully Get that Moral Support ! Thanks Eva ! Bernie M

  24. eva voorhees says:

    I try, but it’s spread a bit thin these days!

  25. aurelia says:

    Omigod, Rosie Vela looks so so much like Rachel Hunter. In one pic (the one with the purple orchid in her hair) I thought it was Rachel. Just the colour of the eyes were more hazel and rachel’s are blue. They even have the same strawberry blonde curly hair. Does anybody remember those “unforgetable” Revlon ads way back years ago. They paired rachel when she was a youngster with the older model rosie.

  26. Eva Voorhees says:

    All I can say is Rosie was and still is my idol! I love that woman!

  27. James Sandy says:

    Dear Eva,

    I love the fact that you chose to feature Rosie’s June 1978 American Vogue cover – it’s always been one of my very favorites, and appears in “Polly Devlin’s Vogue Book of Fashion Photography” (Conde Nast, 1979) along with many of the other greatest fashion photos ever taken up to that point (including several of you, Eva!). Thanks for sharing the fact that you consider Rosie your “idol” – very cool!

  28. Eva Voorhees says:

    That was when I wanted to become a model-when I saw Rosie, whom I considered to be breathtakingly beautiful, in the pages of Vogue.

  29. Christopher says:

    How tall was she? She looks like such a spitfire! Have you any fairly recent shots of her? What a lovely woman!

  30. Eva Voorhees says:

    I do have some that are more recent that I will be adding when I make changes to her album. I want to say about 5’81/2. I adore Rosie! She’s my favorite model from that era. I thought she was breathtakingly beautiful, and then I got to work with her! I was in awe!

  31. I can’t but agree. I always wanted to write in my site something similar to that but I speculate you’r faster.

  32. Rachel says:

    I loved Rosie Vela for her relaxed and “lady-like” poses, which were in stark contrast to other models in her era. Looked through all the magazines in the 60s, 70s, and 80s for inspiration in making my own clothes. I also loved Janice Dickenson’s exotic look.
    If you read Janice’s first book, she describes her on-stage melt-down. She was singing and looking into the audience. She saw her mother and sister with her incestuous pedophile (vicious and abusive) father. She despised him and went to great lengths to avoid him — so when her sister evidently invited him to come along, it really threw her. He was smiling at her. She was so shocked and enraged that the song was forgotten. There went her singing career.
    I think what she had to deal with as a kid (he preyed on her two sisters, and threatened Janice) made her into the angry and reactive person that she seems to be. Something of a Valkyrie. Her mother and sisters went on to constantly deny what had been happening, which is even more reason for rage, if you ask me. She’s still beautiful and courageous, even if an awfully tough character! — She reveals that she sent her father to his grave. She’s got guts. (He later had Alzheimer’s and was punching her mom.)


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  1. […] that tragedy, she landed a modeling job and appeared on the cover of Vogue 14 times before she decided to focus on her music (and a bit of […]

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