Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hawaiian Venus: Nelia Cozza

Exotica for the winter

Well, its another cold and bleak day in Britain's answer to Beverly Hills.  Apparently, our winter so far is the coldest in Britain since 1683 and we are now on course to have our coldest winter for 1,000 years!  The whole of December had a below freezing average temperature.

Nelia gets touched up for her shell-hugging shot in the sea

In which case what we need is one of our regular trips to the South Seas to warm ourselves up.   So here, from  1980, is Nelia Cozza, a part Filipina girl photographed in Hawaii.

Nelia, looking rather magnificent in 1979

Nelia had appeared on the cover of Oui magazine the previous year, in April 1979, but she returned as the centrefold in this February 1980 offering.

Oui magazine, which was supposed to be Playboy's answer to the naughtier Penthouse was struggling financially at this time and within  less than two years Hugh Hefner would quietly sell it off.

Still, for a decade, from its first issue in 1972, it would present some peerless photographs of some of the most beautiful women in the world taken by some of the top photographers in the world.

Jeff Dunas does Brian May of Queen

On photographic duty for this pictorial was big-haired lensman Jeff Dunas who took, part Filipina, part Cuban, Nelia to a private island in Hawaii for her centrefold shoot.

Dunas and Nelia go boating

Dunas was born in Los Angeles in 1954 and started working on Penthouse in the Seventies; contributing his first pictorial, a boy/girl set, for the April 1973 issue.  Two months later he shot his first Pet of the Month, Paula Francis for the June 1973 issue.

Off to the island

He would continue to shoot regularly for Penthouse for the next five years before moving on to other magazines.  Dunas never shot a centrefold for Playboy but did work for Playboy Germany. He would take photographs for a number of men's magazines but now he doesn't mention this aspect of his career on his website, concentrating instead on the artier magazines he worked on in the eighties.  Many of these were French, as he was splitting his time between Los Angeles and Paris.

Dunas and Nelia on the rocks

During most of the eighties he was involved in publishing; setting up his own company to issue photographic books but he returned to fashion, commercial and fine art photography in 1989.  He is now mostly known for his portraits of actors and musicians 

Nelia is stranded as Dunas searches for a good vantage point

He is also the father of actress Alexa Davalos, most recently seen as Andromeda in Clash of the Titans (2010).  

This rather splendid photograph of Nelia also featured on the contents page of Oui magazine that month.  Below we can see Dunas setting up the shot.

Dunas and Nelia spent all day on the small island shooting this pictorial, which they had waded across to earlier, but then the tide came in and they got cut off from the land and had to be rescued by some crab fishermen.

Still, the results are suitably tropical with twenty year old Nelia complementing the Hawaiian scenery very nicely.

Nelia was a Bunny girl at the Playboy club in Los Angeles.  She appeared in a pop video for a song called Belly of the Whale by a group called Burning Sensations in 1982 and also had a brief appearance in a 1986 film called Hell Hunters starring Stewart Granger (!), Maud Adams and George Lazenby (yes, he did make other films!).

Nelia climbs a rope ladder for the music video for Belly of the Whale by Burning Sensations

By 1980 Oui had become much less explicit than it had been in the late seventies so Nelia's pictorial is comparatively modest compared with what Penthouse was doing at the time.

Even so, we still get some lovely tropical, island girl bush on display.

Although, unlike its parent magazine Playboy, we don't get to know much about the lives of their centrefolds Oui does inform us that Nelia was 34-24-35.

She has a nicely soft-looking bust which is displayed to great effect in a number of these pictures.

Nelia sets off the Hawaiian scenery very nicely and, even though she is not a local, gives off the right sort of South Seas island vibe.

Lovely smile!

Dressing to impress

So, if you are suffering from horrible winter weather, put on some Arthur Lyman music and make yourself a ridiculous cocktail like the Blue Hawaii so you can drink to the tropical loveliness of Miss Cozza.  

In fact, the Blue Hawaii was created in 1957 by a barman at the Kaiser Hawaiian Village resort (now the Hilton Hawaiian Village) where Lyman, who played in the resort's Shell Bar, recorded most of his albums.  The bartender who created the drink, Harry Kee, was asked to do so by a representative of Bols who had just launched their new Blue Curacao liqueur.  So its Tiki credentials are impeccable!

Agent Triple P feels warmer already!

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