Vanity - Denise Katrina Matthews

anity, who now goes by her real name Denise Matthews played the lovely Laura Charles in The Last Dragon. I was around 9 or 10 years old when I first watched The Last Dragon so Vanity was one of my original celebrity crushes. I know she is the reason a lot of guys love The Last Dragon. 

When and Where was Vanity Born?

She was in born Denise Katrina Matthews January 4, 1959 in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

What is Vanity's ethnicity and family background?

Denise Matthews is Canadian mixed with Black and White the daughter of a German mother and a Black Father. She has two sisters Patricia & Renee. Patricia was a model and had a small role in Coming to America has the devil worshiper that Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall  met in the club when Prince Akeem was looking for his potential Queen. 

Denise Matthews with her sisters Renee and Patricia

Denise Matthew with Sisters Patricia and Renee

Before The Last Dragon

In the late 70's before moving to Toronto, then New York to model, Matthews competed in beauty pageants in the Niagara Falls, Ontario area. In 1978 she competed for Miss Canada. At the 1980 American Music Awards she met Prince; who renamed her Vanity because he said he saw his female reflection in her. Prince made Vanity the lead singer of the group "Vanity 6". The group's biggest hit was "Nasty Girl" in 1982. 

Denise "Vanity" Matthews lead singer for Vanity 6 1986

 She was the cover model for two of Cameo's Album's "Alligator Women" in 1982 and "She's Strange" in 1984. She was to play the role Apollonia ended up playing in Prince's 1984 movie "Purple Rain". Due to a dispute with Prince (with whom she was romantically involved) she refused the role and took the role of Laura Charles in The Last Dragon instead. 
She put out one album with "Vanity 6", 2 solo albums and few soundtrack singles including "7th Heaven" on The Last Dragon Soundtrack (1985). Her biggest hits after "Nasty Girl" where: "Pretty Mess" from her 1984 album "Wild Animal", "Under the Influence" (Skin on Skin 1986), and "Faraway Eyes" from the Action Jackson Soundtrack (1988).  

Denise Matthews' TV and Movie Career after The Last Dragon

She co-starred with Carl Weathers (Apollo Creed from Rocky) in another 80's Classic "Action Jackson" in 1988. After  The Last Dragon she also starred in "Never Too Young To Die" with John Stamos, "52 Pick-up" with Roy Schneider and "Neon City" with Michael Ironside and many TV Shows like "Miami Vice", "Friday the 13th", "Tales from the Crypt" and "Highlander" right through the 80's and into the early 90's.  I've included several links at the bottom of this page to YouTube videos of some of  her work. Vanity also blessed the cover of Playboy twice once in May 1985 and again in April 1988.

Vanity April 1988 Playboy Cover - Denise Matthews

Vanity's Love Life

In the 80's and 90's she was romantically linked to several rock stars including: Billy Idol, Adam Ant and Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx. In 1995 she married NFL player Anthony Smith who played defensive end for the LA/Oakland Raiders. They divorced in 1996, a good thing because in 2011 and 2012 Smith was charged with 4 murders occurring between 1999-2008.

Denise Matthews Short Lived 1995 Marriage to NFL'er Anthony Smith

What is Denise "Vanity" Matthews doing now?

Denise became a born again Christian in 1994 after her "Rock-star" lifestyle almost took her life. After a kidney transplant in 1997, she decided to devote her life to evangelism. She now speaks at churches across the United States and worldwide and lives in Fremont, California

She has written an autobiography entitled "Blame it on Vanity:  The Autobiography of Evangelist Denise Matthews formerly known as Vanity " For more information on her book and how to get a copy go to:
 Blame it On Vanity

Some great pictures of Denise "Vanity" Matthews

Vanity's Signature Lip Bite as Laura Charles in The Last Dragon

Vanity - The Last Dragon Premiere in 7th Heaven Blue Dress (1985)

Sexy Denise Vanity Matthews 80s Collage

Vanity looking great in Action Jackson 1988

Vanity in "Action Jackson"


 For Denise "Vanity" Matthews check out these Outside links and Video: