- Also Known As:
- Denise Katrina Matthews, Denise Matthews-Smith, D.D. Winters
- Date of Birth:
- January 4, 1959
- 5' 6"
- Niagara Falls
Vanity (born Denise Katrina Matthews in Niagara Falls, Canada on January 4, 1959) was a Canadian singer, songwriter, dancer, actress, and model who, later in her life, turned away from acting and music to concentrate on evangelism. Vanity’s career lasted from the 1980s until the early mid-1990s. When Vanity was 17, she moved from Canada to New York City to follow a modeling career. She signed with Zoli Model Agency but due to her height, her career was limited to commercials and photo shoots. As Vanity she posed twice for Playboy magazine (1985 and 1988). However, Vanity was mainly a performer and was the lead singer for the female trio called Vanity 6 from 1981 until 1983 when the band broke up. The group was most known for their 1982 R&B/funk hit titled “Nasty Girl.” Vanity also had a solo musical career, which included two albums on Motown Records titled Wild Animal and Skin on Skin. She also had hit singles, “Pretty Mess,” “Mechanical Emotion,” and “Under the Influence.” In 1980, Vanity had a small role in the horror movie Terror Train, which was filmed in Montreal a year earlier. She then went to Toronto to film the lead role in the B-movie Tanya’s Island. As Vanity she starred in a number of movies, including The Last Dragon and Never Too Young to Die opposite John Stamos. She went on to appear in 52 Pick-Up and 1988’s Action Jackson, her highest profile role, in which she starred opposite Carl Weathers, Craig T. Nelson, and Sharon Stone.
Best Known For:
Vanity is best known for her career as a singer in the 1980s.
Vanity was linked romantically to Prince, Adam Ant, and Billy Idol. In 1987, she stated that she and Mötley Crüe were engaged. However, they never married. In 1995, Vanity married football player Anthony Smith of the Oakland Raiders, but they divorced only the following year. In 1994, Vanity overdosed on crack cocaine and suffered from near-fatal renal failure. She recalled that after being rushed to the hospital, doctors said she had three days to live while on life support. She claimed that Jesus appeared to her at this time and spoke to her, saying if she promised to give up her Vanity persona, he would save her. But due to the effects on her kidneys of years of drug use while a performer, she had to undergo peritoneal dialysis five times a day (each session was 20 minutes long). Vanity lived in Fremont, California until her death on February 15, 2016.