Apollonia Talks to Rabbits Black – An Interview: Purple Rain and Life After
Once upon a time, a beautiful young aspiring actress stumbled across the leading female role in a movie, she would audition for and land the part in her first ever feature film. Little did she know that a music phenomenon was about to supervene, and her face would be at the center of it. You might know of the film. It stars a rock n roll “Prince” with his purple motorcycle, an iconic lake purifying scene, an epic Grammy award winning sound track and a gorgeous “Sex Shooter” that burst upon the screen shootin’ love in every direction. That timeless blockbuster hit film is Purple Rain. The seductress that was hand picked by Prince to costar with him, the woman who stole Prince’s heart in the film and ours, is the ravishing lustrous Apollonia.
After now thirty-one years, Purple Rain still reigns as an undeniable classic. It is mostly acclaimed for the monumental soundtrack, titled the same name as the film Purple Rain, but no one can forget the magnetic chemistry between the legendary onscreen couple, Prince and Apollonia. Just their names alone make for a recipe of sizzling deliciousness. I mean, just take a moment and re-watch the infamous daring scene where Prince gets Apollonia to jump in the almost frozen water of not-Lake Minnetonka, followed by Apollonia holding tightly onto Prince on his custom purple motorcycle as they ride off into the sunset together, Prince gleaming as Apollonia tenderly kisses his cheek all while their dynamic romantic hit, ‘Take Me With You’ plays in the background. This is what music videos wish they could be.
The acclaimed soundtrack was the truly driving force behind the film. Purple Rain is widely considered one of the best movie soundtracks in history, and Rolling Stone magazine ranking it the second-best album of the 1980s. The film won an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score and two Grammy awards. Though Prince, a rising musical genius at that time, was the initial star of the film, a tremendous amount of credit must be given to Apollonia for contributing profoundly to the film and soundtrack’s worldwide success.
Apollonia quickly became the envy of everyone’s affection. Women idolized her fierceness and sultry dance moves, men fantasized about her. In fact, till this day when I want to channel my inner Goddess, I look to Apollonia for inspiration. I just want to put on some black lace gloves, wear a corset and dance around like a diva.
So when we got the chance to catch up with the queen of Purple Rain, we couldn’t be more excited. It’s been over three decades and Apollonia is still just as alluring. The most common remark made each time Apollonia’s name is mentioned is, Oooh, I love Apollonia. I wanted to be her, she’s so beautiful.
I am utterly pleased to confirm that this Santa Monica born and raised California girl’s interior is just as beautiful as the exterior.
The Most Unique REAL Name – Apollonia
It’s almost as if you’re destined to be a super star if you are so uniquely named, (your real name), Apollonia. It’s simply unforgettable and Apollonia made it certain that we will forever remember her name. We had to ask, since the name is simply to good to be true. Apollonia is in fact her real middle name (or Apples), her first name is Patricia or “Patty” for short, since “Patricia Apollonia Kotero” didn’t sound very Hollywood-ish, explains Apollonia.
Rabbits Black: So just how did Apollonia come to be? Can we thank Prince for that?
Apollonia: When I auditioned for Prince, he looked at me and said, “Well, you don’ t look like a Patty.” And I responded, “Well, you don’t look like a Prince.” We had a little stare down and he asked if I had a middle name. Once he heard “Apollonia”, he instantly said, “That’s It! That sounds better. From now on, you’re Apollonia”. And so that was that, Apollonia was born.
Here’s an amusing legend behind the name Apollonia that you might just recognize. One that Apollonia reminded us of, a fun fact that was brought to her attention from one of her many loyal supporters. In the iconic hit movie, The Godfather, one of the most tragic scenes is that of Michael Corleone’s first wife, named Apollonia Vitelli.
But Apollonia, Did You Date Prince in Real Life? Be Honest!
Who hasn’t thought it? Who still doesn’t think it? It’s been an urban legend for years, one that won’t be put to rest. However, I hate to burst the bubble on this fantasy that I, myself have taken pleasure in rooting for. Contrary to the rumors, Apollonia gave us the crushing fact that they were never a real life item.
Rabbits Black: Please make us happy and tell us the rumors are true about you and Prince being an item at one point.
Apollonia: When you look at the chemistry Prince and I have in Purple Rain, and still to this day, we make each other laugh uncontrollably, I can see how it’s easily assumed that we were a couple. But it’s that friendship, a form of longevity, a mutual respect and love that we have maintained for over thirty years that makes that chemistry so real. We can just look at one another and bust out laughing. He makes goofy faces and I snort when I laugh. There are all these rumors that Prince is so intimidating and I never saw him that way. Listen, I look at it as when I die and when he dies, we are all going out the same way we came in: bare ass naked. No one gets to take their fancy cars or their fancy guitars with them. We’re all the same in the end. Prince and I remain close, and sometimes a true partnership and chemistry is built from that and best to keep it at that, just friends.
So crushing! I might just go on pretending they were a couple. Oh well. A girl can dream.
Life After the Skies Rained Purple
After embarking on a world tour as the lead singer of “Apollonia 6”, a group that Prince formed for Purple Rain, Apollonia left Prince’s camp to pursue acting, her initial passion. She went on to star in movies such as Ministry of Vengeance, Back to Back, along with two Italian productions, La Donna di Una Sera (A Lady For A Night) and Cattive Ragazze (Bad Girls).
In her early career, Apollonia appeared in various TV shows. After spotlighting the big screen, Apollonia returned to her original roots of television, leading her to a role on the hit prime time soap opera series Falcon Crest, playing “Apollonia”, the girlfriend of the character played by then teenage heartthrob Lorenzo Lamas.
Alongside acting, music wasn’t entirely off the table for Apollonia just yet. She released her first solo album, simply titled ‘Apollonia’ and also performed several solo songs on Falcon Crest. Paying tradition to her Latin roots, she also released a ballad in Spanish.
Rabbits Black: Over the course of your career, you have covered fields of acting, singing, dancing and also tackling the business world. What was your initial passion? Was it to be an actress or a singer in particular?
Apollonia: My first passion and what I set out to be and consider myself first and foremost is an actor. I have known I wanted to be an actor ever since I was a little girl. When I auditioned and was cast for Purple Rain, the role required for me to sing and dance. So as an actor, I portrayed that character based on the script. I don’t consider myself as a vocalist or a dancer. I like to dance. I do street dance. But my whole thing is that I’m an actor.
Some Apollonia Time for Apollonia
Always the busybody, multitasking between film and television, Apollonia also took some well-deserved time out of the limelight to go back to school and focus on being a newlywed after marrying screenwriter Kevin Bernhardt.
Rabbits Black: Purple Rain was such a whirlwind success. Why did you decide to take a break at such an explosive time in your career?
Apollonia: After awhile, it just got so unpredictable. Some things weren’t as I expected and it was absolute craziness. I just needed to catch my breath and regroup. I thought I needed to know the behind the scenes process, the business aspect of it all and I wanted to produce and direct as well. So I went back to school to the American Film Institute. Then I got married. I took time out to travel. I just didn’t want to do anything and needed a break. It was a beautiful time for me to get away, be married and travel. I didn’t have to worry about the next movie or the next album or appearance. I was told by an agent back in the day to stop trying to be a businesswoman, to just act and sing. And I thought, No…I want to know exactly everything that goes into putting a contract together, percentages, over and above the line money, I want to know all of it. I’m glad I did it.
Just last year I produced and pretty much directed a video in Paris for the singer Rachael Sage, her track ‘California’. While in Paris, I came across the beautiful model turned cameraman, Dabo Kadimo, in which I gave him director’s credit for the video and it turned out really nice working together. I really enjoyed that whole process, having creative control, calling the shots and making the process happen.
Boss Lady Apollonia – Kotero Entertainment
After going back to school and taking a break, it was business time for Apollonia to become the ultimate businesswoman. She formed a multi-media entertainment company, Kotero Entertainment, partnering with Producers to produce television series and feature films, and managing young talent.
Rabbits Black: So you really are behind the scenes now. Can you tell us about Kotero Entertainment and the talent you currently manage?
Apollonia: I absolutely love what I do. I mentor and guide talented young people on the path to success. I work with and look out for a handful of people, currently a couple of actors, a writer and some children. I take on those I truly believe are doing the work. There’s only so much I can do. It’s really all up to you. I’ve managed and mentored a lot of people that will think, Oh, Apollonia’s going to call Steven Spielberg, or she’s going to get me a part or put me in the studio. You know, I don’t do that. I know how to open doors, but it’s up to you the particular artist/entertainer to do the work. A lot of people have illusions, or are battling some drug/alcohol/eating problems or have ego issues. I’m not Rehab. I’m not Steven Spielberg. So if I open the door, I’m going to expect you to really work your ass off and bring it.
Apollonia On The Current Music Industry
Apollonia: So true. The music industry is in a constant state of change with technology and artists. With musical and viral downloads, such as ITunes, and everything else out there, I feel that possibly ten years from now or even five years from now, record companies will be obsolete. People don’t want that old fashioned record contract. Evolution of music is always changing.
When you see how advanced music has become, but then look back to the elementary of real raw music, let’s say music from the 60’s and 70’s. That’s real music; music that I don’t hear that today. I know it’s a different time. We’ve got new kinds of artists.
Young kids are doing stuff that’s overly provocative. Just the other day, somebody put up a montage of all these singers with their legs open with their microphones and they’re touching themselves. This was put up by two African American twins that I used to dance with, the Mclain twins and talking about how it’s not about the music anymore. Of course, sexuality has always been there. Don’t get me wrong, I sang in a corset and it was sensual. But when you look at the extremeness of what’s going on today, super young kids are using sexuality and they’re supposed to be role models?
It’s just not about music anymore. I’m perplexed. Then again, back in the day they wouldn’t film Elvis from the waist down. I guess there’s always been that theory of sex, drugs and rock n roll. But today, I look at some young girls from on television and think to myself, I never knew a vagina could sing into a microphone. If that girl can make some great tunes out of that vagina, it’s a done deal. I’m impressed. I just don’t know. What is that all about?
Apollonia’s Musical Discovery and Inspiration – The FULCOS
Rabbits Black: Is there any talent that you are currently working with that stands out to you?
Apollonia: It’s been a decade now that I’ve had my company. I’ve been in this business for about 40 years now. It’s taken me this time to really access my business and my production company. In the course of doing that, I was pretty much ready to give up on people, actors and entertainers. I just wasn’t feeling it.
Until one day, I found an amazing musical family composed of four siblings, two boys and two girls ranging from a nine-year old drummer to eighteen-year old lead singer. The Fulcos are a real life musical family rock band that rocks hard and composes original music. They are the real deal. They play music, write and sing. We just sold out at the Whisky A Go-Go the night before the Oscars. We just did an episode on Oprah that will air in April. We’re about to go in the studio and record, we’ve been approached by production companies to do all sorts of shows and reality shows.
Rabbits Black: That was my next question. Have you yourself ever been approached to do reality shows, such as Dancing with the Stars? Can we anticipate seeing you on something like that?
Apollonia: I’ve been asked several times to do all sorts of reality shows including Dancing with the Stars. I’m flattered and honored, but that’s just not for me. It’s fun watching. I’m looking forward to seeing Suzanne Somers and Patti Labelle, who I absolutely love.
But my whole thing is that my accolade lies in acting. To dance on live television and stand there and be judged every week is so nerve wrecking. But if you put me on a film set or theater is where my confidence is, as an actor.
People always want to put a show together for me, whether it’s scripted or non-scripted. I would do something different, like a Rockumentary perhaps. I would have to feel really comfortable in those situations and have some type of creative control to do it.
Rabbits Black: Back to the Fulcos, you were telling me about the new music sensation you are managing.
Apollonia: YES! All my efforts are currently with the Fulcos. I’m putting together a format of what I’m going to be producing for the Fulcos, more like a Rocumentary. I don’t want to do something mindless and stupid or annoying and vulgar. That’s not what I’m about or what these kids are about. This is all about the music, as they are.My nine-year old drummer has longer hair than I do, hair like Jared Leto. He just kicks ass.
I have this family now, the Fulcos that I look up to and admire and I think, WOW, this is really the American Dream. These are hard working people with family values and morals and real musical talent. I learn something new from them each time I hang out with them. Myself, coming from a divorced family and raised on welfare, the Fulcos are what I aspire to be.
Their family structure is beautiful. That’s what I want the world to see, that the family system is not dead. I don’t really see that out there right now. I’ve never known an entertainer or aspiring actor that always keeps me on my toes, and the Fulcos do. It freaks me out every time.
Rabbits Black: So how do you develop and manage them? What’s your structure and process:
Apollonia: I manage and develop. I get hairstylists and photographers. I get them assigned with great agents that are geared towards teens/kids. We work with a group of people that creates a safe haven for them and these kids are protected. I fight ferociously on their behalf. I’m a big children advocate. Nobody messes with these kids. You know, everyone has been screwed over at some point, we all have been screwed with and people might try to screw with us again. The fact that we have such a great team, and we have the best interest at heart for one another, we are protected. That to me makes me happy.
You know what? You should interview them. You would love them.
Rabbits Black: We would be so happy to get to know the Fulcos. Interview coming soon.
Before Purple Rain, there was a rock star named David Lee Roth
Rabbits Black: You have been linked to your Falcon Crests Co-star Lorenzo Lamas. Is there any truth to that? And is it true you dated the legendary David Lee Roth?
Apollonia: Ah, you know, Lorenzo and I were friends for many years. We had the same agent. So one weekend we went with our agent to Del Mar to the racetracks and they put all the “actors” up in the hotel. And, you know…I’m just going to say it. We made out.
Funny thing is that about two years later, I get cast on Falcon Crest and we had to make out again and that time it was awkward. It was like, really? We have to do this? Lorenzo is a sweetheart. But no, no! Nothing else ever formed. We’ve always just been great friends.
Rabbits Black: And rock star David Lee Roth?
Apollonia: David Lee Roth, YES! We were madly in love and we dated off and on for quite a long time, I would have to say for several years. We would see each other, go out and travel. I remember when he used to live in the penthouse at “Empire West” in West Hollywood. We would actually have spit contests outside his balcony. We would sit there and see whose spit would hit the ground floor. He would tell me, “Babe, I want to see you in the movies.” And I would say, “Yeah, hello? Me too!” He had this thing at the Warner Bros. studios and he would say, “Let me help you set up some demos and get you a deal at Warner Bros.” I just never agreed to it. I just wanted to do it myself. A little after that, I was cast in a movie with that guy, Prince. When Apollonia explains this, her voice is playful and mischievous.
I was so young and determined. So that was different. That was fun, doing it on our own. I didn’t let him David help me. There is great satisfaction knowing you succeeded on your own. You go, girl!
But yes, David Lee Roth and I were in love and that was a fond time.
Rabbits Black: Though you’re no longer married to Kevin Bernhardt, do you two till remain friends? How does that work with an ex?
Apollonia: We spent some amazing years together. We are still best of friends. We hang out now and we’re family. I love that. You just make it work. We’re very respectful of one another. You don’t want it to be awkward when you run into each other on the street. Thankfully, we don’t have that issue. I like to keep it friendly.
Rabbits Black: Are you currently dating anyone? I think our readers would love to know if one has a chance to be with Apollonia.
Apollonia: Apollonia’s responds with a playful and mischievous giggle. Oh, I’m keeping that on the down low. Let’s just say, I’m having fun. Playing the field, they call it? I am having loads and loads of fun.
Tender Moment Between Apollonia and Prince – Thank You
Rabbits Black: To still have this amazing bond with Prince after all these years, what does that feel like?
Apollonia: Isn’t it crazy? I remember this tender moment right before our thirty-year reunion celebration of Purple Rain. Right before I headed out there, Prince and I had a conversation and I said to him, “You know, it’s been THIRTY years and I want to thank you for picking me.” I started crying and was so emotional. I said, “After all these years, look where it carried us, look what’s happened. I just wanted to say THANK YOU. You picked me. You decided on me. You took a chance on me. I love you.” Then Prince said, “ I love you very much. I love you more.” It was a beautiful moment. I just love him.
Rabbits Black: That is so wonderful and so nostalgic to have such history together. Is there any works for you and Prince to work on something else in the near future?
Apollonia: Oh, no! We never talk about that. When we get together, we talk about life and catching up. We goof around and it’s just about silly fun together. There is no talk about business. I think what made Purple Rain such a classic is that it remained just that one time. I don’t see anything like that happening again.
Purple Rain 30th Anniversary – The Purple Majesty Serenades Apollonia
Rabbits Black: What a journey. Thirty years and Purple Rain still remains epic. Congratulations! Just last year you celebrated the thirty-year anniversary of the release of Purple Rain, reuniting with Prince on stage. How did that go down?
Apollonia: Oh, it was so wonderful! I went back to Minneapolis, the first time in thirty years actually. I went to host an event for MyPurpleHeart.org and I performed ‘Take Me With You’. That was so great. Afterwards, I went to see Prince at Paisley Park. It was just Prince and myself. He had the girls there. You know, his band “3rdEyeGirl”.
They did a two and a half hour show for me, like a private concert. I mean…it was so cool. Prince put a stool by his microphone on stage. He sat me on the stool and as I sat there, he did all these amazing songs. It was just spectacular. I couldn’t go to sleep that night. I was so high from the music; so flabbergasted that this was for me. I so badly wanted to bust out my IPhone and film it all, but it was impossible. I wasn’t going to be rude and disruptive on my behalf. So it’s pretty much stored in my heart forever.
Apollonia’s voice describing this event and her bond with Prince is so genuine and heartfelt, I melted a little.
Rabbits Black: WOW! That must have been such a nostalgic moment to be a part of. You were his muse and somewhat still are it seems.
Apollonia: It’s funny. A little before the reunion, Prince told me that he wrote and recorded a song that was inspired by a meme of us from Purple Rain where we are seen riding on the motorcycle, captioned “This could be us, but you playin”. He told me that he’s going to send me all the songs that he has written about us. I was just so excited. I thought, OMG do I fling myself ferociously across the floor like they do on ‘The Price is Right’ show? The song, ‘This Could Be Us’ was released last year. So the saga continues.
Rabbits Black: You are constantly on the go. What do you do to unwind?
Apollonia: I live in LA and part time in Oahu, Hawaii. So I work between both states. I’m blessed in that sense and very grateful. I love the ocean; it’s like my thinking tank. I go in the water and surf a little bit and regroup. Some people go to therapy, but I like to surf. I leave my problems in the water and come out feeling detoxed. It’s very therapeutic.
Apollonia – The Eternal Beauty
Rabbits Black: You are still such a beauty, Apollonia. When I think of Purple Rain, really it’s YOU that stands out to me. You still are just as stunning. What’s your secret?
Apollonia: Aww…thank you. That was so sweet. You know, my grandmother just passed away recently at 106 years of age. She never needed to wear glassed. Her skin was amazing, like porcelain. I asked her once what her secret was and she smiled and said to me, “Honey, I had a good man that took great care of me.” So I thought, uh…okay! Where’s my man?
I do workout four days a week, stuff like regular/light weights. I do yoga. My whole life I have been like that. No matter what rain or shine, I work out. I’m not a fanatic about hopping into a bathing suit and being cut. My core is feeling good and you know, (she says with a chuckle) having a thirty-year old body mentality.
I take care of my skin. I’m careful of what I eat. I try to eat mostly all organic. I try to stay away from red meat so much, but I will have it and do enjoy it time to time.
Thanks so much Apollonia, for taking the time to chat with us.One thing after all this time remains certain. Apollonia still makes our heart run purple.
For more information on Apollonia, please visit her direct website: http://www.koteroentertainment.com/about/
For a little Apollonia flashback, take a look at the video for her hit track from Purple Rain, ‘Sex Shooter’: