FREEMONT, CA – Denise Katrina Matthews, who was best known as Vanity, died at a Fremont, CA hospital yesterday, February 15th, The 57-year-old lead singer of Vanity 6 and who was mentored by, Prince, unfortunately suffered from kidney problems for a number of years.
Vanity was alleged to have been dealing with a crack addiction since the 1980’s and in 1987, she remarked that she and Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx were getting married and that she would become Vanity 6 (Sixx) once again. Though they never married, Sixx wrote in his 2007 autobiography titled, The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star, that his 1987 drug use with Vanity.
In 2015, she put up a GoFundMe page, revealing that she was diagnosed with sclerosis encapsulating peritonitis, an inflammation of the small intestines.
Vanity began her career by entering local beauty pageants and eventually won the Miss Niagara Hospitality title in 1977. She went on to compete for Miss Canada in 1978 and at age 17, she moved to New York. Her modeling career was limited to commercials and photo shoots because she was short in stature. Matthews appeared in ads for Pearl Drops toothpaste, before completing a modeling stint in Japan.
As Vanity, she posed twice for Playboy magazine, in May 1985 and again in April 1988. Throughout the 1980s to the mid-1990s, Vanity appeared in many magazines around the world. Additionally, she was the cover model for the funk/R&B band Cameo’s 1982 album Alligator Woman.
She met Prince at in 1980 at the American Music Awards and formed the sexy girl group, Vanity 6. The group’s hit “Nasty Girl” was a big success, but the group disbanded after only 3 years in 1983. Vanity released two solo albums, which included hits “Pretty Mess” and “Under the Influence.” Vanity also found success in the acting world, with roles in films, Action Jackson, The Last Dragon, and 52 Pick-Up.