Friday, May 31, 2019

"Come to the Park and Play" - Interview with Kathy Good

Photo courtesy of Kathy Good

It's been over 25 years since Kathy Good went in search of Prince in New York City. Trudging over snow and ice in the dead of winter, she asked passersby where he might be. Visits to Central Park, the zoo and even a rooftop proved fruitless.

That was the story line for Good's audition tape for Prince's 1994 video, "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World." A huge fan since the early '80s, the New York native saw Prince's vague newspaper ad--"Eligible bachelor seeks the most beautiful girl in the world," it read--and sent in a couple snapshots at the behest of her friends. Selected as one of the finalists, she was asked to submit a video.

Then, Prince called her at home.

Kathy Good's audition video for "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" 

"He said, 'Who did your video?'" Good recalled, laughing. "Those were the first words. ... And he asked what I was wearing."

With a background in sound recording and experience managing post-production for commercials and film, Good's audio/visual skills were evident. Prince saw something in her and invited her to be in his music video.

Prince's newspaper ad for "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,"
courtesy of Kathy Good

According to Good, original plans to host the shoot in Los Angeles were derailed by the massive 1994 earthquake. To her delight, production was moved to Prince's home, Paisley Park.

At the airport, she met a woman who was also en route to the video shoot.

"I was like, 'Wait a minute, there are other girls?'" Good said. "'I thought I was the only one.'"

Correspondence from Paisley Park,
courtesy of Kathy Good

In fact, Prince featured several women of myriad colors, shapes and sizes in various roles (singer, mother and even president).

With her dreadlocks and signature top hat (she wears one every day), Good felt out of place. She was also one of the oldest women there.

"I'm this funky girl and there were all these girls with beautiful hair and long eyelashes," said Good, who did her own makeup for the shoot. "I'm just not that kind of girl. I'm a nerd."

But in the video, Good, who portrays a director, is striking. Though Antoine Fuqua was hired to direct the video, Prince ended up coaching Good through her performance. They also formed a bond on set.

"I followed him all around," she recalled. She also stood in for his lighting and held his cane while he filmed his scenes.

"After a while he just gave it to me," she said.

At the end of shoot, Prince pulled her aside. "I want to work with you," he said. Nothing ever came of that desire, but she did see him again at one of his shows in New York.

"He's like, 'Hang out and we'll dance together,'" she said. But she didn't want to be a hanger-on.

"I'm just not about being in that scene," she said. "What did I have to show him? I didn't have anything. I didn't have music."

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Now that Prince is gone, Good has her memories--watching him walk up the stairs in pants that exposed his behind through a layer of mesh; that time he told her not to dirty up his bathroom; that other time he joked about disliking peanut butter and chocolate cookies.

But she has so much more. Like others who have interacted with Prince, she has been inspired beyond measure.

"After the whole thing happened, I was like, 'Well, what was that all about?'" Good said. "'It's gotta be something more.' And I thought, 'Well, maybe it's to come into my own. I never was doing what I really should be doing because I'm a creative person. And I was doing a job that wasn't creative at all, and it was very frustrating to me. But when he died, I thought, 'You know what? You just have to go for it.'"

Today, Good is fully committed to her work as a watercolor painter and writer, creating whimsical, Gothic characters for children. She recently completed her first art show at her local library.

Painting of Prince by Kathy Good.
"It's small, just like him," she said.

More than 25 years after being found by Good, Prince remains a steady presence in her life.

"I think he just had such a big, powerful soul that touched so many people in a cosmic way," she said.

Follow Kathy Good on Instagram @kgoodart

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