Video vixens tell all about the ‘wild west’ MTV days of the ‘80s and ‘90s

In the ’80s and ’90s heyday of MTV, video vixens — women with beauty-queen looks and sultry moves — got as much screen time as the male acts they supported. Some even became stars in their own right: writing books, hosting TV shows and ­appearing in movies.

Others got caught up in sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. Tawny Kitaen, who died on May 7 at age 59, was an MTV icon thanks to the 1987 Whitesnake video for “Here I Go Again” — in which she cartwheeled and preened atop the hoods of two Jaguars, hanging out the window of one driven by her then-boyfriend (and later husband), singer David Coverdale. But she also battled the same demons that often afflict rockers. In 2006, Kitaen was charged with possessing 15 grams of cocaine. In 2019, she was arrested for her second DUI.

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Jeana Keough, a ZZ Top video siren-turned-“Real Housewife of Orange County,” recalled Kitaen as “a talented actress, beautiful and sexy. Chuck [Finley, Kitaen’s ex-husband who played baseball for the Anaheim Angels] would be pitching and she’d distract him.”

Bobbie Brown, who gained fame as the hot blonde in Warrant’s “Cherry Pie” video, met Kitaen five years ago when they hosted a rock festival together. “She was like a woman-child who had naiveté,” Brown told The Post. “She was hurt by a lot of s–t on the inside [but] she lived in a bubble. She was amazing.”

Here’s what five video vixens are up to today.

Jeana Keough, the ‘Legs’ girl

Of the four women featured in “Legs,” only Jeana Keough was trusted to drive ZZ Top’s signature 1933  Ford Eliminator. “I was the only one  who had a nice car: a $127,000 Mercedes-Benz, given to me by the head of Televisa —  a gift for putting Kenny Rogers together with Julio Iglesias for him.”

Such was life in the 1980s for Keough, now 65 and known for “Real Housewives of Orange County.” A Franklin, Wis., native, she moved to to Los Angeles, acted in commercials and graced a Playboy centerfold in November 1980. “I lived a few blocks from the Playboy Mansion,” said Keough. “My life was dinner at expensive restaurants and going to the Mansion for movie night” — where Hefner would sometimes play her ZZ Top videos ahead of the feature films. “He told me I was smart like a fox.”

Keough got recruited in 1983 for “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” her first of four ZZ Top shoots, but wasn’t exactly a fan of the band. “I thought their songs all sounded the same,” she said. “The guys seemed really old. They were all married, if I remember right, and sweet Texas boys.”

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She was paid $5,000 to $10,000 per day, but broke Screen Actors Guild rules as the videos were non-union jobs. “Because it was non- union, I didn’t get residuals,” she said. “Those videos played so often, they would have made me rich.”

But other good things did come from the jobs. After her second husband Matt Keough watched one of the videos, she recalled, “He told a mutual friend, ‘I want to meet that girl.’”

But she also missed an opportunity with one of the world’s most esteemed musicians. “I thought I was told that I had an invitation to go to Minneapolis to meet a prince,” said Keough, now a divorced mom and real-estate broker in Southern California. “I said there are no princes in Minneapolis. I later heard from Apollonia that Prince told her I wouldn’t even audition for his movie. I was so stupid. I didn’t know that Prince lived in Minneapolis.”


Melyssa Ford: The ‘Big Pimpin’ girl

Melyssa Ford turned down the champagne while shooting Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin’” video on a yacht in Trinidad. “[Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder] Damon Dash, a f–king drunk degenerate at the time, started pouring champagne on girls during that shoot,” she told The Post of the 2000 production. “I told him that if he came near me with that fucking bottle, I would break it over his head. I had never seen anyone pouring champagne on women before — and it became a signature move in Roc-A-Fella videos.”

Ford was studying forensic psychology at York University in Toronto when she was discovered by video director Little X. Nw 44, she acknowledged that women on set had to watch their backs because of predatory men. “It was like the Serengeti, with lions picking off antelopes,” recalled Ford who has acted on shows like “Tough Love: Los Angeles” and “Entourage” and is currently hosting a podcast called “I’m Here for the Food.” “If you wanted sex with the artist or drugs or drink it was available. If you were looking for trouble you would find it. I was there to work.”

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Nevertheless, in at least one instance, the trouble came to Ford. She was at the Parker Meridian Hotel in Midtown, where Ghost Face Killah’s “Cherchez La Ghost” video was being shot. “They hired over 50 girls … running in and out of hotel rooms,” Ford recalled. “Entourage and homies from the ‘hood showed up and started trying to paw [female models] and put their hands where they didn’t belong.”

Ford ducked into  an empty room and eight men followed. “These guys started touching my thighs and face and hair. I froze,” she said. “What saved me was a grip  who walked in . . .  and told me that I was needed on set.”

While Ford, who is single, had her share of good experiences — including gigs with Jadakiss, Sisqo and Pharrell Williams — she remembers the video world as being a #MeToo nightmare. “It was the Wild West,” she said. “There were no boundaries and no f–king human resources to call.”


Talani Rabb: The ‘Doin’ It’ girl

Talani Rabb was just a kid from Englewood, Calf., when she started modeling. By age 16, she was signed with Ford and traveling the world for fashion shoots. Then she met video director Hype Williams — famous for his work with DMX, Beyoncé and the Notorious B.I.G. — and quickly became an MTV staple via star-turns in clips like Black Street’s “No Diggity” and Dr. Dre’s “California Love.”

Rabb’s mother typically accompanied her underage daughter to these jobs, but didn’t for the LL Cool J video “Doin It.” As Rabb, who was 17 at the time, recalled, “Hype had to call my mom before I went on set. My mom said, ‘Take care of my baby. Make sure everything is kosher.’ He always made sure everything was proper and respectful.”

Well, usually. “They had the lead girls try on bikinis and decide who would do a particular scene. They chose me and I was, like, ‘Crap. I don’t want to wear a bikini,’ ” Rabb recalled. “Then they told me I had to act like a cat and lick LL’s face. I was, like, ‘What?’ ”

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Despite her tender age, Rabb had the wherewithal to ask for the set to be cleared – “Some people thought I was being bougie. But lot of extra people, friends and friends-of-friends, were standing around, staring at me,” she said. “I was nervous as heck and LL was nice. He wanted to make sure I was comfortable and we did it in one take.

“My mom saw the video and said, ‘Wait a minute…’ And then she said, ‘Well, I guess that’s acting.’”

Rabb, now 44, gained notoriety as “the ‘Doin’ It’ girl,” getting recognized by strangers on the street. She also caught the eye of Robert “RZA” Diggs of the Wu-Tang Clan, who is now her husband. They have four kids and she helps manage his career.

Though LL Cool J was impressed enough by Rabb’s performance that he asked her to audition for his next tour, she turned him down: “I would have missed my high school graduation.”


Betsy Lynn George: The ‘Cradle of Love’ girl

Actresses dream of working with David Fincher (“Seven,” “The Social Network,” “Gone Girl”). But in 1990, when he directed Betsy Lynn George in Billy Idol’s “Cradle of Love” video, Finsher was still an unknown quantity. George’s manager even discouraged her from going to the audition — “He said it would be a cattle call,” George, who, by then, had already appeared on “Days of Our Lives” and “Baywatch,” told The Post — and she showed up wearing a trench coat and without a trace of the bright-red lipstick that became a signature of the video.

“Fincher told me to take off my coat and a casting agent whispered that I should put on makeup,” said George, who was 18 at the time. “I was shy and didn’t want to show myself. I think he wanted to see what I was shaped like … Fincher is a control freak – in a good way. I think he saw that I could take direction and deliver.”

Idol was on crutches during the shoot, having nearly lost his leg in a motorcycle accident, and only seen from the shoulders-up on a TV screen in the video. So it was built around George playing a hot girl, knocking on a nerdy neighbor’s door and asking if she can use his stereo. She then whips off her shirt, kicks off her shoes and dances with abandon.

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“The video shoot was grueling. Fincher wanted perfection and so did I. We’d do it over and over again,” said George, adding that it reminded her of being coached for competitive gymnastics back home in Pennsylvania. “After doing the sexy part a few times, where I have to crawl around, I went [away] and cried a little bit. I got nervous and felt like I exposed some of myself.”

After it was done, Idol asked her out for dinner. “I was wearing these clunky black men’s shoes that I thought were cool and he made fun of them,” she recalled of the platonic date. “After dinner we hung out with a friend of his at his pool and the friend drove me home.”

George, who moved back to Pennsylvania, runs an Etsy store called ArtistryVintage and recently produced and co-starred in the indie movie “Occurrence at Mills Creek,” deems the video tame by today’s standards. “I’d want nothing to do with most of the current music videos,” said the 49-year-old mother of three who has not owned a TV for decades. “They’re way overly sexualized. I don’t want my kids watching people twerking.”


Bobbie Brown: The ‘Cherry Pie’ girl

By the time she received an invitation to audition for Warrant’s 1990 “Cherry Pie” video, former Miss Louisiana Teen USA Bobbie Brown had already been a regular on “Star Search” and in two videos for the band Great White.  She may have been jaded. “I was hung over and didn’t go to the audition. Then I was told to meet the band at Jerry’s Deli,” said Brown, who was requested by singer Jani Lane. “I stole a fry off  Jani’s plate, which he hated. But I got the job.”

The video shoot was not without drama. “They wanted me to be naked in a tub full of whip cream. I told them I’m never doing that,” she said. “Then they hosed me down [with water]. The pressure of that thing, straight in my face, peeled back my eyelids . . . But, I was, like, ‘You’re paying me seven grand? Sure.’ ”

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Eight months later, Brown began dating Lane. They had a child together and were an item for three years. “Jani told Tommy [Lee of Mötley Crüe] he was going to get with this girl,” Brown said. “They made a bet to see who would get me first. Tommy got me second.”

Brown has written two memoirs — “Dirty Rocker Boys” and “Cherry on Top” — and appeared on TV shows such as “Task Force: Back in Black” and is pursuing a career in stand-up comedy. She has no regrets about doing the Warrant video, which was banned in Canada for its lascivious content. “It was in heavy rotation and blew the top off my career,” said Brown. “That’s how people know me: ‘Cherry Pie’ girl!”

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