Mystery Model that Inspired Duran Duran's “Rio” Album Cover Identified 42 Years Later — and She Had No Idea

Model Marcie Hunt said she danced to "Rio" at her wedding, but had no idea a fashion spread she'd done in 1981 had inspired the famous album cover

<p>Emma McIntyre/Getty </p> Duran Duran (L-R Roger Taylor, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Simon Le Bon) in 2022.

Emma McIntyre/Getty

Duran Duran (L-R Roger Taylor, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Simon Le Bon) in 2022.

In 1982, Duran Duran took the world by storm with Rio, an album that featured hits like “Hungry Like the Wolf” and the title track. But for decades, the identity of the black-haired beauty who graced the album’s cover has remained a mystery.

Forty-two years later, a dedicated fan account has tracked down the model who inspired the art — and it’s news to her!

On June 8, an Instagram account called Patrick Nagel Arts revealed that they’d finally tracked down the modeling photo that inspired illustrator Patrick Nagel to create the cover art for Rio.

The image’s source was an editorial for fashion designer Angelo Tarlazzi that was featured in the February 1981 issue of Vogue Paris, and featured model Marcie Hunt wearing a black hat, red lipstick and yellow sunglasses.

Though Nagel, who died in 1984 at age 38, took some creative liberties in creating the Rio cover, like ditching the hat and sunglasses, the resemblance was unmistakable, and his technical art assistant Barry Hahn confirmed the find to the owner of the Instagram account.

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“We suspect the model and maybe the band Duran Duran had no idea Nagel was influenced and used this image to create the cover of their musical masterpiece Rio,” the caption, which credited user @nagel_angel with making the discovery, read. “He certainly changed many things, most specifically removing her glasses, but he obviously loved her smile. And that smile has been an iconic piece of Duran Duran history for decades.”

Duran Duran eventually reposted the Instagram, adding, “WOW!”

It eventually caught the attention of Hunt herself, who commented on the band’s post saying she had no idea her photo was the inspiration, but that she was a long-time Duran Duran fan.

“This is so cool! I absolutely did not know until now that this photo of me was used for the Rio cover,” she wrote. “Very exciting! Love Duran Duran, and danced to their music often in the '80s. And later at my husband Tom’s and my wedding. Thank you all for your wonderful comments. And yes, I’m still alive!”

<p>Fin Costello/Redferns</p> Duran Duran L-R (back): Nick Rhodes, Simon Le Bon, Andy Taylor, (front): John Taylor, Roger Taylor

Fin Costello/Redferns

Duran Duran L-R (back): Nick Rhodes, Simon Le Bon, Andy Taylor, (front): John Taylor, Roger Taylor

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Hunt later shared a longer post on the Instagram account she runs for her wine company Dos Lagos, and said “Rio” played at her wedding nearly 31 years ago.

“Still so impressed by the tours and music Duran Duran has created, and continues to create. So amazing!❤️ Thanks so much to the illustrator of this album cover, Patrick Nagel, who is no longer with us,” she wrote. “And now Barry Hahn, his technical assistant who confirmed that the cover and smile is inspired by this photo. Who knew! “

Rio was Duran Duran’s second album. The band — comprised of Simon Le Bon, Roger Taylor, John Taylor and Nick Rhodes — released their 16th album Danse Macabre in October.

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