60/70 Verushka • Vera Gottliebe Anna Gräfin von Lehndorff-Steinort • 1970
Vera Gottliebe Anna Gräfin von Lehndorff-Steinort (born May 14, 1939 in Königsberg, East Prussia, now known as Kaliningrad, Russia) is a German model, actress, and artist who was popular during the 1960s. Better known simply as Veruscka or Veruschka von Lehndorff, she is a daughter of Heinrich Graf von Lehndorff-Steinort, a member of the German Resistance. Veruschka studied art in Hamburg and then moved to Florence, where she was discovered at age 20 by the photographer Ugo Mulas and became a full-time model. Back then tall models were not considered desirable in Paris, but there she met Eileen Ford, head of the prestigious Ford Modeling Agency. In 1961, she moved to New York City, but she did not score any bookings. To stand out, she returned to Munich and told people that she was really from Russia and changed her name to create a mysterious persona, which earned her many bookings. Veruscka had also garnered attention when she made a brief five minute appearance in the 1966 cult film Blowup by Michelangelo Antonioni (Premiere named the scene the sexiest scene in film history although there was no nudity). In the same year, Veruscka did her first shoot wearing nothing but body paint, which she would continue to do for years. She once worked with Salvador Dalí and photographer Peter Beard, who took her to Kenya, where she painted herself with black shoe polish to resemble surreal plants and animals in an attempt to "go native". At her peak, she earned as much as $10,000 a day. In 1975, however, she departed from the fashion industry due to disagreements with Grace Mirabella, the newly appointed editor-in-chief of Vogue, who wanted to change her image to make it more approachable to average women. In 1985, she entered the art world, putting on a body-painting show in Tribeca; on her naked body, she was painted with different outfits transforming her into wild animals and several archetypes, such as film stars, dandies, gangsters, and dirty old men. Filmography * Blowup (1966) * Veruschka: Poetry of a Woman (1971) * Salomé (1972) * Cattivi pensieri (1976) * Couleur chair (1978) * Milo-Milo (1979) * Bizarre Styles (1981) * Dorian Gray im Spiegel der Boulevardpresse (1984) * Vom Zusehen beim Sterben (1985) * The Bride (1985) * Orchestre rouge, L (1989) * Veruschka - Die Inszenierung (m)eines Körpers (2005) * Casino Royale (2006)