After 42 years, the Patrick Nagel Mystery Model Who Inspired Duran Duran’s ‘Rio’ Album Cover Has Been Identified

British pop group Duran Duran smile and laugh while posing on a lawn, England, c. 1983. L-R: Brothers Roger and John Taylor, Nick Rhodes, Andy Taylor (unrelated) and Simon Le Bon.
Express Newspapers/Getty Images

Her name is Rio and she dances on the … vineyard? For well over 42 years, Duran Duran fans have always speculated who the source of inspiration was for the woman on the cover of the band’s acclaimed 1982 album Rio.  The album cover featuring the mysterious girl with the “cherry ice-cream smile” was designed by the late artist Patrick Nagel. Well, that mystery has finally been solved and her name isn’t Rio either, it’s Marcie Hunt and she owns a winery in Napa, California.

The surprising discovery was made by Nagel expert Mark Walker and art broker Monica Moynihan and they announced the big revelation on Instagram. According to their post, Walker said he stumbled upon an editorial spread featuring Hunt while purchasing vintage fashion magazines and flicking through the pages of the February 1981 issue of Vogue Paris. When he saw her grinning mug (even though Hunt wore glasses in the photo), the resemblance was uncanny.


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“I saw that smile. I saw those eyes, those eyes that I’d stared at hundreds of times by this point in my life, hundreds if not thousands of times,” he wrote in the Instagram post. “I’ve been entranced by this magical woman for over 40 years. I knew it was her.” He also points out that Barry Kahn, Nagel’s former technical art assistant, confirmed that Hunt was indeed the inspiration for the cover art and commented on their finding with “Great catch!”

The discovery also comes as big news to Duran Duran, who clearly had no idea who the Rio cover model was this entire time. They reacted to the news by sharing Walker’s post on their official Instagram account and commenting with a simple yet ecstatic “WOW!” The band has yet to comment any further.


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A post shared by Marcie Hunt (@marciehunt1)

As for Hunt, she responded with a surprised reaction on her own Instagram account, expressing her love for Duran Duran. She even comments about how “Rio” was played at her own wedding three decades ago. She wrote: “I am amazed that after 42 years, I am also ‘Rio’ on the famous album cover for Duran Duran in the early 80s. I love Duran Duran, and Tom and I had a DJ play ‘Rio’ at our wedding—now almost 31 years ago. Still so impressed by the tours and music Duran Duran has created, and continues to create. So amazing!” What’s even more amazing is how she never recognized herself on the cover after all these years.

Duran Duran’s Rio album spawned big hits like “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Save a Prayer,” as well as the title track. The Fab Five were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in late 2022 and they released their sixteenth studio album Danse Macabre in October 2023.

Patrick Nagel, best known for his art-deco pop-art illustrations featuring stylish, dark-haired women, rose to fame in the early ‘80s. He died on February 4, 1984 at the age 38, just a couple of years after the release of Duran Duran’s Rio.




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