Reel Gems | Denise Matthews (Vanity)

by Tim Gordon

Happy Heavenly Birthday to singer, model, and actress Denise Katrina Matthews, known professionally as Vanity. Known for her image as a sex symbol in the 1980s, she became an evangelist and renounced her career as Vanity in the 1990s.

She first burst on the scene as Vanity the lead singer of the female trio Vanity 6, which was created by the Prince. Known for their 1982 hit song “Nasty Girl”, they disbanded in 1983, when she decided to embark on a solo career. Vanity released two solo albums on the Motown Records label, Wild Animal and Skin on Skin. She had minor hit singles with “Pretty Mess”, “Mechanical Emotion”, “Under the Influence”, and “Undress” from the film Action Jackson. Vanity also had a successful career as an actress, starring in the film The Last Dragon, 52 Pick-Up, and Action Jackson.

After years of drug abuse, which caused health issues, Matthews became a born-again Christian in 1992. She later devoted herself to her church in Fremont, California. Matthews died on February 15, 2016, at age 57, due to kidney failure.