Our Cover Stars Posed in 1994. They’re Still Hot.

Photo-Illustration: Joe Darrow; Source artwork: Victor Gadino; Lettering: McCandliss and Campbell

The day after New York published its latest cover story on nondisclosure agreements in American life, we got an email from a man who knew a few things about the tongue-in-cheek but still totally beautiful spread on the front of the magazine. “My name is Anthony Linzalone, I am the model from that cover,” he wrote. “Just thought I would let you know.”

Back in 1994, when the cover was shot, Linzalone was a 36-year-old Bronx native and in-demand hairstylist who found a niche modeling for the covers of pulpy novels for obvious reasons. He was picked for the shoot by an artist named Victor Gadino, who created an oil painting of Linzalone and famed romance-cover model Cindy Guyer (whose Wikipedia will make you gasp) for a book called No Other Man. I reminisced with Linzalone and Gadino about the paperback glory days and the surprise second life of this shoot.

Victor Gadino, artist: Almost all the romance-novel covers for all the publishers in New York were done by this one guy named Robert Osonitsch. He had a studio on Fourth Avenue and 12th Street. He had a big old space on the top floor, and he had a great setup because he would take the shoot, they would set up the models, you’d go there and book models, and they’d even help you with finding the costumes.

Anthony Linzalone, model: I got my start with modeling around 26 or 27.
I always wanted to model, but I went around to the agencies when I was like 20 years old, and they always told me I was too ethnic because it was like the blonde, blue-eyed models that were making it. I’m Italian, but they weren’t looking for Italian-looking guys. So in the mid-’80s I decided to grow my hair and it took off from there. I’ve done commercials with Fabio, and we used to do shows together because I wasn’t commercial looking. The long hair was sort of like specialty modeling, so I never gave up my day job. I’ve been a stylist since I was 18.

Gadino: Anthony was a good friend of mine from Fire Island and New York, a very well-known hairdresser in Manhattan at the time, did all the socialites and a lot of events, and he was pretty well known. Plus he was big and gorgeous, tall. Great body, long hair.

Linzalone: At the shoot, Victor was trying to fix Cindy’s hair and he knew I was a hairdresser full time. So he was like, “Come on, fix it for me.” So I helped him and I put the piece in.

Gadino: These women had so much hair on and wigs and falls and things — usually the wind was blowing and the skirt’s blowing and the shirt’s blowing off. Everything’s moving. But the hair was too heavy, even though we used a big fan on the figures to try to blow the fabric around. The hair didn’t move because it’s just too many pounds of hair. So I would stand off-camera with a big long stick, and I’d be whacking the wig the whole time. We struggle every time you would take a shot. It’s a lot of curls, but I’m pretty sure I probably did the same thing for this one as well

Linzalone: They were turning out romance novels every couple of hours. I was in and out of there in an hour.

Gadino: We shot this in black and white. I never shot in color for these romance novels. It was easier that way for me to imagine the dress being blue or pink or whatever it was going to be.

Linzalone: I’m retired now. The last modeling job I did, this was in 2017, and it was for the shingles shot. It was pharmaceutical. They paid me $10,000 for three days work, and then I’ve gotten royalties every two years, which ended up to a total of 20 grand. For that book cover, I got paid a flat fee of $125. And I didn’t sign an NDA.

When a friend sent me this cover, I was just shocked. I was like, “Oh my God, they’re going to kick around that picture until the day I die.”

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