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Where Are They Now: “Addicted to Love” Robert Palmer Girls

by Jim H

Robert Palmer Addicted to Love Video

“Addicted to Love” earned Robert Palmer the 1987 Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. Jump back a year and you have the debut of its music video, featuring the Robert Palmer girls, a quintet of identical women on instruments. Guitarist Patty Elias, one of the video’s models, jokes that the video may have been more popular than the song itself. In addition to Palmer and the five women, five musicians, off-camera, were miming what the models were supposed to do with their instruments due to British media production laws.

robert palmer girls

Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” became one of the most popular videos of the 1980s.  From left to right, Julie, Patty, Kathy, Mak, and Julia.

The song was a Billboard Hot 100 number one hit in May 1986, partly due to the popularity of the video. There are multiple reasons why this video is so enduring. Mak Gilchrist, the bassist for the video, joked that with the trend of depicting women as objects, director Terence Donovan playfully depicted the women as store mannequins. Another interpretation, taken by some ardent feminists, was that the video simply elevated the objectification of women. Yet another perspective is that Donovan sought to portray the women as strong and intimidating creatures unconcerned with the audience; while the song is about addiction, with lyrics filled with emotion, the women are soulless and nearly robotic.

Who Were the Girls on the Addicted to Love Video?

robert palmer girls

A fresh look at the Robert Palmer Girls. Unfortunately, we can’t locate a clear shot of drummer Kathy Davies.

The Robert Palmer girls, listed in order from left to right, are:

  • 21-year-old, Julie Pankhurt on the keyboard. She also appears on both versions of the single’s slipcover.
  • 20-year-old Patty Kelly, then Patty Elias, on guitar.
  • 24-year-old Kathy Davies on drums. Although obscured by Palmer for most shots, she enjoyed having his butt frequently in front of her.
  • 21-year-old Mak Gilchrist on bass guitar.
  • The sole non-twenty-something, Julia Bolino, age 19, on lead guitar.
robert palmer girls

There was no clear photo of Kathy Davies on drums, but here she is today.

All But One Are British

During their time as Robert Palmer girls in the video, Pankhurt, Kelly, Gilchrist, and Bolino were living in London. Davies lived with another model in Hampstead. Where most of the girls were English, Kelly was the sole American, hailing from Long Island.

Prior to their stint as the Addicted to Love Girls, Pankhurt had never worked in media and Elias was still feeling her way around the industry. Davies appears in the beginning of Zaine Griff’s “Figures,” a music video for The Simeons directed by Paul McCartney and had a minor role as a Bond girl in “Octopussy.” Gilchrist’s face appeared in several commercials. Bolino appears in two music videos: one with Rod Stewart and The Outfield’s “All the Love in the World.”

I still can’t watch it. But I’m proud of it now. I’m really proud that I did it.  I’m proud of all the other girls I did it with.  They are all fantastic girls.  I get on with them very well and we are still in contact.

Julia Bolino

What Happened to the Robert Palmer Girls?

While their appearance in the video only earned them £250 for two days of work, these women have gone on to do many more things.

  • Julie Pankhurt continued appearing in music videos like Harry Connick, Jr.’s “Recipe for Love” and Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible” Pepsi commercial. Professionally, she’s transitioned from modeling to a nanny to a photography agent and even a director for commercials. She also has a son and has dabbled in a variety of merchandising opportunities for objects like leather journals to an online mail-order company specializing in children’s gifts. She continues to call London her home.
  • Patty Kelly continued work with Robert Palmer, specifically with his “Recipe for Love” and reunited with Pankhurt for Palmer’s Pepsi commercial. She went on to study at UCLA during the 90’s with a focus on art history.  She returned 15 years later to take up horticulture. Currently, she works with landscapers and architects around Los Angeles, is the mother of two children under her previous marriage, Lilli, and Jack, and re-married on June 22, 2013. Patty’s ex-husband, Jonathan Elias, wrote the first jingle for MTV and had worked with Duran Duran; her current husband, Michael Rosenfeld, works in Los Angeles’ real estate industry.
  • Mak Gilchrist worked on a music video with Bryan Ferry and moved on to continue her education at the London College of Printing, Graphics, and Design. While she still does the occasional modeling work, her attention has shifted toward “Edible Bus Stop,” a project that encourages renewable edibles. Prime Minister David Cameron commended the project and it received a nomination for the Observer Ethical Award. She resides in the Brixton area of London.
  • Julia Bolino currently works as a hair and makeup artist in the city of London. She has two daughters.
  • Kathy Davies moved to Thailand in 2001, after her husband found work in the country. Despite having no children, she is the proud godmother of nine. She lives in Phuket, serving as board member of two charities:

* The “Phuket Has Been Good to Us Foundation” teaches English to underprivileged children.
* “The Good Shepherd Phuket” educates the children of Burmese migrants and offers general assistance to female victims of human trafficking.

A Video Still Worth Watching

Although the Robert Palmer girls have moved on with their lives, the Robert Palmer “Addicted to Love” video continues to play over 30 years after its introduction.  So let us sit back and take another look at this video that took 1986 by storm.

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