The Model On Duran Duran's 'Rio' Album Cover Has Been Discovered

12 June 2024 | 1:24 pm | Mary Varvaris

"That smile has been an iconic piece of Duran Duran history for decades."

Duran Duran

Duran Duran (Source: Supplied)

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A keen art historian has discovered that former model Marcie Hunt is the face behind the inspiration for Duran Duran’s Rio album cover.

Illustrator Patrick Nagel worked on the album artwork for Rio. In a new Instagram post, Patrick Nagel historian and art broker Monica Moynihan revealed that the fan account @nagel_angel spent “countless hours” and cash to unveil the real-life inspiration behind the Rio album art.

Today, we know that the Rio album cover was inspired by a 1981 issue of Vogue Paris… particularly by model Marcie Hunt.

“Today we publicly reveal Duran Duran’s Rio May 1982 album cover image source from Vogue Paris, February 1981,” Moynihan wrote on Instagram before adding that the image stemmed from a multi-page editorial in the magazine.

Barry Hahn, the technical art assistant for Nagel, confirmed that the identity of the Rio album cover indeed belongs to Hunt.

Moynihan continued, “We suspect the model and maybe the band Duran Duran had no idea Nagel was influenced and used this image to create the cover of their musical masterpiece, ‘Rio’. He certainly changed many things, most specifically removing her glasses, but he obviously loved her smile. And that smile has been an iconic piece of Duran Duran history for decades.”

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Duran Duran got involved in the thrill of the reveal, reposting the Instagram post to their profile.

Hunt, a former Top Model in Paris, is currently an artist for Dos Lagos Vineyards wine labels and canvas prints. She also shared the post, writing: “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.”

Rio, the band’s second album, peaked at #3 on the Australian Albums Chart (Kent Music Report) and went Platinum.

Last year, Duran Duran released the album DANSE MACABRE, with Roger Taylor telling The Music’s Cyclone Wehner: “We just wanted to kind of explore our darker side a little bit. There was something quite dark about the roots of the New Romantic movement, just the way that people dressed and the music they listened to was quite stark – like Kraftwerk and Berlin-era Bowie.

“So, I guess the movement was a little bit dark at the beginning. But we just really wanted to explore our darker side and have some fun with it – because it is a fun record as well; it's not all about doom and gloom.”