DEY YOUNG: SCULPTRESS & ACTRESS
Dey (pronounced “day”) Young bears a name comprised of her grandfather’s initials. She was born in Michigan and in 1979 starred as Kate Rambeau in the cult classic Rock’n’Roll High School directed by Allan Arkush and starring The Ramones. Young’s TV credits also include Melrose Place and Star Trek, to name a few. Her role as the bitchy saleswoman who kicks out Julia Roberts’ character in Pretty Woman is one of the most memorable moments in the film. In 2017 she played the role of a mentally and physically abused alcoholic mother in Unbridled.
While she has spent much time in front of the camera, posing as a pin-up model was a first for her and I was lucky enough to be the one to shoot it. Digging these photographs out of my archives I fell in love with the images all over again.
As well as being a talented actress and a beautiful model, Young is a sculptress who has exhibited her work in over 20 fine art galleries in California and surrounding states and is a proud member of the Art Museum Counsel at LACMA.
I met Dey Young at the Hollywood Forever cemetery in 2005, and later that year we got together for this photoshoot. Portraying beauty ideals through the ages- the roaring 20’s, the 50’s beehived mother we all wish we’d had, the 60’s mod styled beatnik cool chick, right up to Kate Rambeau getting ready to blow up the high school – I give you the timeless beauty of Dey Young!
An Interview with Dey Young (Sept 2019)
I read that you began sculpting in 1977, what type of sculptural knowledge had you acquired by the time you filmed Rock’n’Roll high school.
Dey Young: I took a sculpting class in my senior year at Scripps College and loved it. I was given a block of plaster and I carved a Lotus Bud, a piece that I made a mold of and still sell today in acrylic and bronze. My teacher Aldo Casanova was so encouraging that I enrolled in a class in L.A. a few years later after returning from LONDON ACADEMY OF MUSIC AND DRAMATIC ARTS. At first I approached it as a hobby to have when not working as an actress. By the time I filmed Rock n Roll High School, I was still a novice. I never really acquired any formal training. As years went on, my sculpting grew into another profession…I started selling and being represented in galleries. I have always considered my sculpting a gift.
What do you remember most and what did you take with you from your studies with Aldo Casonova?
Dey Young: Aldo instilled me with confidence…he told me I had a natural gift with stone. He helped me see the shape within the stone and not to let perfectionism get in my way…something I still grapple with. I’m eternally grateful to him.
Tell me about the sculpture Sky is Falling. How long did that piece take, from start to finish. What was your inspiration on that one.
Dey Young: I made SKY IS FALLING right after 9/11. That devastating event inspired me to create a woman nude, standing in rubble, arms raised to protect herself from the falling world. I’m often inspired by devastating events like Hurricane Katrina inspired a Martha Graham pose which epitomized the extreme movement of a hurricane. My process of creating SKY IS FALLING was using an armature and then applying clay…it was an additive process as opposed to working in stone which takes material away to create the form. A mold is then made from the clay and the end product is bronze in this instance.
How do you prepare for sculpting? What inspires you when you create.
Dey Young: Each piece is different depending on the materials used. With clay, I usually have an idea or a commission has come forward. With stone, I like to listen to the stone and see what’s inside. Many of my figures are inspired by the female form and abstractions of it. I also love to create movement in my work if I can. The hardest part of the process is the beginning and allowing myself to let go and trust.
Being a Leo, a powerful fire sign, do you believe your sign plays a subconscious or conscious role in your sculptures.
Dey Young: I have never thought about that. Obviously my artistry is an extension of my thoughts and interpretation and being a LEO only helps fuel the flame of the passion for my work as a sculptor and actor.
I’ve noticed the Goddess’ look very fire like. Your sculptures are very powerful, there’s so much strength in the female form that you embrace. Evident in the movement, there are so many layers of depth. Please tell me more…
Dey Young: I did a Goddess series with Artemis, Athena, Aphrodite and some lesser Gods…they are all portrayed with strength and dimension and coupled with their animal or ‘element’ counterpart. They grew out of my love for mythology and being read as a child bedside stories of the trials and tribulations
of the Olympians. I often try to identify my acting roles with different Deities…both their strengths and flaws.
As a multi talented artist, you have made your mark on the TV screen with an impressive resume including appearances on such programs as CSI, and the X Files, Star Trek, Pretty Woman..
Dey Young: Yes, I have been very fortunate to play some powerful, complicated women…some good and some evil and it is most rewarding when I can bring dimension to a role. I am part of the Actors Studio so I am always working to deepen my craft. I love the theater and also enjoy working in new plays.
Top 5 Hollywood movie stars and top 5 classic cinema favorites.
Katherine Hepburn, Meryl Streep, Vanessa Redgrave, Catherine Deneuve, Marlon Brando Godfather, ET, Camelot, Dr. Zhivago, Babel, Love Actually…so many…
Dey Young goes back to Rock’n’Roll High School as Kate Rambeau
You played the character Kate Rambeau in Roger Corman and Allan Arkush classic aka the greatest film of all time Rock n Roll High School. What is your greatest memory from Rock’n’Roll Highschool? What was it like to work with Roger Corman and Allan Arkush. Tell me about The Ramones.
Dey Young: I was the last lead character cast in “Rock n Roll High School” literally a couple days before principle photography. I hadn’t even read the script but was so excited after I met with Allan Arkush. I hate to admit, I didn’t even know who The Ramones were let alone Punk Rock. So I was perfect casting because literally Kate’s reactions of awe at the Roxy were mine as the actress…I was stunned and at times scared by the audience and the frenzy over the Ramones. I didn’t really meet Roger Corman til later…I think once the movie began he trusted Allan to bring it home. I loved working with Allan…he was my first film director and he had such enthusiasm and love for what he was creating. It was so much fun going to work everyday and believe me it was long, arduous hours. I also loved working with PJ, she was a pro and took me under her wing and made me feel so comfortable. Off stage, the Ramones were quiet except Johnny who did most of the talking. As I said, I was a bit intimidated and felt out of my element around them. I now have such appreciation for their impact on the music scene of my generation…they were innovative and not afraid to take music in a new direction.
Tell me about the scene in Rock ’n’ Roll High school at the end where you’re mixing the chemicals to blow up the school with your counterpart Riff Randall (PJ Soles).
Dey Young: It was such a fun colorful scene and it was radical that Kate gets to be the mastermind behind the bomb. The most I remember about that scene was that we were on a time crunch so I think we got it one take. In retrospect, I can’t believe we got away with it…we certainly wouldn’t have been able to today and rightfully so!
What is your all time favorite dish to cook?
Dey Young: Oh Maggie, my creativity has never been in the kitchen. I rely on my boyfriend, Hugo to create the holiday meals and the main ingredient in all the deserts is always excessive whip cream! I love preparing the table and the house…it’s the artist in me. I’m in charge of decor and salads…I make a mean salad!