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After 40+ Years, the Woman on Duran Duran’s Rio Album Cover Has Been Identified — What to Know About the ’80s Icon

She had no idea she was the covergirl until now!


Duran Duran’s 1982 album Rio is one of the definitive pieces of ’80s pop. The hit record features classic singles like the title track and “Hungry Like the Wolf” and the Rio album cover is instantly recognizable, immediately conjuring up decadence and glamour.

That cover, which features an eye-catching image of a beautiful woman with a bright smile, flanked by abstract graphic swooshes, is basically a time machine to the ’80s in visual form, and it looks just like Duran Duran sounds: elegant, seductive and fun.

The cover art is by Patrick Nagel, an illustrator who rose to prominence during the time thanks to his vivid imagery of fabulous women. Nagel created art for Playboy in the ’70s and ’80s, and designed a number of advertisements. His work had a major impact on the culture, as posters featuring his women were ubiquitous in the ’80s, and salons frequently took inspiration from him in their storefront signage and graphics.

Sadly, Nagel died at just 38 in 1984, due to a heart defect, but his legacy lives on 40 years later, as many salons still feature Nagel-esque art, and his illustrations have adorned clothes from Forever 21, Gucci and other brands.

Recently, Nagel enthusiasts had an exciting moment when the cover model for Rio, long believed to be anonymous or imagined, was discovered. Read on to learn who the Rio covergirl really is — and the surprising way she was found.

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Rio album cover
The cover of Duran Duran’s Rio (1982)@duranduran/Instagram

Finding the woman on the Rio album cover

Just recently, an ’80s mystery was finally solved, thanks to the magic of social media. Mark Walker, a Nagel expert, had long been looking for the girl on the album cover, and knowing that Nagel frequently used contemporary fashion magazines for reference images, he began buying every copy of an ’80s magazine he could get his hands on.

It was a long process of sourcing magazines, looking through them and checking them against Nagel’s images (leading Walker to identify the inspirations for many other Nagel works along the way), and after countless hours, he found Rio in the February 1981 issue of Vogue Paris.

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The photo didn’t immediately resemble Rio, as the model was wearing sunglasses and a hat, but as Walker wrote on Instagram, “The sunglasses and fedora initially threw me off, but I focused on that smile and those eyes. Even through tinted glasses, I recognized those eyes. I’d gazed at her hundreds of times, hundreds if not thousands of times by this point in my life. I’ve been entranced by this magical woman for over 40 years. I knew it was her.”

Walker then digitally overlaid the magazine image on the Duran Duran album cover, and found that it lined up perfectly. He contacted Nagel’s former assistant, Barry Hahn, who confirmed the source image, calling it a “great catch.”

Who is the woman on the Rio album cover?

The Rio cover image discovery made major waves among ’80s fans on Instagram, but one question remained unanswered: While the magazine credited the photograph to François Lamy, there was no credit for the model, and she wasn’t instantly recognizable.

Monica Moynihan, another Nagel expert and a dealer of his works, shared her friend’s discovery on her own Instagram page, saying, “While one mystery is revealed … another mystery still presents itself. Who is the model for our modern day ‘Mona Lisa’ ?”

A user with a private account by the name of @ser.sarah.bastos responded to Moynihan’s post, identifying the woman as Marcie Hunt. Hunt, a former model who appeared in many magazines of the era, had no idea she was the inspiration for such an iconic image.

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Marcie Hunt in Vogue Paris, 1981
Marcie Hunt in the 1981 Vogue Paris photo that inspired the Rio album cover@patricknagelarts/Instagram

In an Instagram post, Hunt wrote, “Thanks everyone for the big reveal! It’s so exciting to know that I am also Rio on the cover of Duran Duran. One of my all time favorite groups. And that the smile brought so much luck to these multi talented musicians. Thanks to Patrick Nagel the illustrator, who is no longer with us.” In another post, she revealed that she even danced to songs from the album at her wedding!

Marcie Hunt in the '80s
Marcie Hunt in an ’80s photo by Hans Feurer that appeared in Stern magazine @marciehunt1/Instagram

What is the Rio covergirl doing now?

Today, Hunt, now known as Marcie Dinkel, is retired from modeling, and is an artist who owns a California winery, Dos Lagos Vineyards, with her husband. She’s fully embraced her status as the ultimate ’80s muse, saying, “I am just so honored by everything, by being connected with the band and its members, and I hope for even more of that in the future as well. It’s just been so much fun, and I feel so blessed,” in an interview.

Marcie Hunt today
Marcie Hunt still has a lovely smile today!@marciehunt1/Instagram

We’re excited that this gorgeous ’80s lady has finally been identified, and we’ll definitely be giving Rio a spin and grinning right along with her “Cherry ice cream smile” in her honor.

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