Suzanne Lanza (born 12 March 1965) was one of the Victoria's Secret models during the golden age of the supermodel from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s. Suzanne later branched out into acting and is probably better known for that than for her modelling. However, many remember her gracing the cover of Victoria's Secret catalogs back in the day.
Suzanne had a great presence on the runway and also is part of film history, so let's learn a little more about this charming pioneer in the Victoria's Secret universe.
Suzanne is from Los Angeles, and took ballet as a girl. She took an acting class and, thanks to her teacher, wound up signed by Wilhelmina.
Apparently, the teacher thought that as an actress, Suzanne was better as a model, which is kind of wack, but it worked out. Suzanne became a model, and had huge success.
Before long, Lanza was working in the fashion capitals of London and Paris. Suzanne was a top model by the mid-80s. She did Dolce & Gabbana in the Spring/Summer 1991 show. She did everything there was to do as a model in those days.
Suzanne is a Pisces. She also had a Harley. Yes, she had a Harley, which she rode around New York. Maybe she still does.
Right from the start, Suzanne was making television appearances. Her first was as a co-host of cable show "15 Minutes" in 1987. The show was also known as "Andy Warhol's 15 Minutes." It was an avant-garde show, wherein Andy would sit with his co-host and just, like, chat. About whatever. And watch the same show you were watching, with you, and kind of comment on it, or his comments would lead to the next segment in a kind of train-of-thought way. The topics were topical, whatever film was out that week, who had an interesting show in a local gallery, what the co-host or Andy liked to do late at night (Andy liked to watch reruns of the news), the perspective of bartenders at local clubs, whatever.
Suzanne was in Episode 3, which featured a violin solo by Regina Beukes, philosophy from designer Miriam Bendahan, performances by the Fleshtones (a Queens, NY garage band, they're actually not bad, replete with all sorts of pretentious posing popular at the time, and they are still around!), Anita Martire and Michael Schmidt's Moto-Fashion biker fashions, and Tunnel (that was a club) director Rudolf (only first names in the '80s for club impresarios, natch) summarizing his plans to pipe club music into train stations (real train stations, not clubs), among many other weird interludes. Bo Diddley appears and tells how important it is to change! Ian McKellen - yes, that Ian McKellen - comes on to recite poetry at some length, then grooves to the Fleshtones. It's a must-see for the pure camp value, with people declaiming how important it is to not have any goals in life because, well, what is left to do when you achieve them?
Suzanne herself begins (by reading from it) and ends a performance of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" performed by Joseph Papp's The Opera at the Academy (the show was a lot longer than 15 minutes). Suzanne reveals that she sometimes goes out with photographers (weren't you dying to know?) but was working all the time, so didn't have time to date on the weekends (apparently she worked a lot on weekends?). Anyway, Suzanne gets to ask Andy some rather random questions, they kibitz, and they watch the show. It's all a scene, man, and it's just sheer exquisiteness of the highest '80s magnitude.
A large part of the intro to the episode is simply Suzanne tossing and turning in bed in true Warholian style (by herself, the show is 1000% innocent). Toward the end of the episode, Suzanne eventually drifts off to sleep next to Andy, and Andy books. The episode concludes with Lanza tossing and turning in bed - the episode was all just Suzanne's dream! Such is life.
Suzanne has a lot of covers. Some from Lanza's prime include:
- UK: 'Vogue' - June 1984; 'Vogue' - November 1984; 'Elle' - September 1988; 'Elle' - December 1990
During the peak of her modelling fame in the early '90s, Suzanne began to focus more on her first love, acting.
As her modelling work took second place, Suzanne's acting took off. She had a small role in the David Duchovny film "Red Shoe Diaries" in 1992. While the film was later adapted into a television series, this Zalman King film was very realistic and featured top-notch acting. It has little to nothing to do with the television show.
Other television work followed, as well as some film work such as in "The Night We Never Met" in 1993.
Suzanne made an appearance on "Friends" in 2000, episode 7.02, "The One With Rachel's Book."
Some other television shows which have featured Suzanne include "It's like, You Know...", "Close to Home," "Ellen" and "Dexter."
Some of Lanza's more memorable film appearances were in "Strays" (1997), with Vin Diesel, and "Swimsuit: The Movie" (also 1997). "Strays" was Diesel's self-produced breakout film project, and the fact that Suzanne was his love interest in the film gives her a real footnote in film history over and above everything else that she has done.
Suzanne is 5' 9" (1.75 m).
Suzanne had a website for a long time, but appears to have removed it (unfortunately, it was cool). She still pops up as a model now and then, such as in the L. L. Bean catalogue, though she may be completely retired by now - not sure about that. Do models ever really retire? It depends on what else they want to do I suppose.
In Chinese astrology, Suzanne's sign is that of the Snake.
Suzanne lived in Paris for a while.
Perhaps Suzanne's most unusual modelling assignment was when she shot a French Vogue editorial for Bill King in the '80s. She posed with a chimp dressed in a tuxedo. Other models in the spread were Renee Simonsen and Tatjana Patitz.
Suzanne later confirmed that, yes, it was a real chimp.
Suzanne has brown eyes and brown hair color.
Suzanne did not have a cute nickname like most models, and just went by, well, Suzanne.
Everybody knows the supermodels of the time, so no need to go through them. In addition, some of Suzanne's contemporaries with whom she worked and socialized included: Renee Simonsen, Talisa Soto, Rosemary McGrotha, Roberta Chirko, Ashley Richardson, Fanny Ardant, Tatjana Patitz, and Karen Mulder
If you are squeamish, don't look up Suzanne's appearance in "Dexter: Shrink Wrap" from 2006. It is very gruesome. Early on, Suzanne commits suicide off-screen by shooting herself in the mouth while sitting in the bathtub. Her body is shown in vivid detail afterwards during the investigation. Suzanne is topless in the scene, but it is not sexy at all - though of course Suzanne does a great job and is sexy, but there's too much blood and gore and, well, you know what I mean.
Out of all the Victoria's Secret models, I think that Suzanne would be one of the most fun to just hang with, a real natural, unassuming talent. Suzanne Lanza posts photos of herself and whatever she finds interesting here. She adopted a baby girl fairly recently, as you can see there, and seems quite happy as well as still beautiful.
Below is a clip from "Strays" which features Suzanne's natural style of acting.