Whatever Happened To The Girl From A-Ha's Take On Me Video?

The Norwegian pop group A-Ha scored a huge international smash hit in 1985 with "Take On Me," a single taken from their debut album which hit No. 2 in the U.K. singles chart and in the U.S. reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100. As the years have passed, A-Ha's breakout song has proven to be one of the most timeless works of the 1980s, with younger generations continuing to be seduced by its charm.

There is a lot to love about the song: the instantly recognizable opening drum pattern, the irresistible '80s synth, and of course vocalist Morton Harket's sublime falsetto. But for those of a certain vintage, especially those who came of age in the mid-'80s when MTV ruled supreme, it is impossible to hear even a few bars of "Take On Me" without visualizing the song's award-winning music video. In it, a girl in a diner is reading a magazine from which a drawing of Harket winks out at her. In the next shot, a hand reaches out from the page and takes hold of the girl's before drawing her into an animated world unlike anything seen before on '80s television. The girl in question is Bunty Bailey, a British actress and dancer for whom the iconic "Take On Me" video understandably remains her best-known work, which passed 1 billion views on YouTube in 2020. A few months later, Bailey also featured in the video for A-Ha's follow-up single "The Sun Always Shines on T.V.," after which she has continued to use her acting and dancing talents.

A late '80s movie star

Bunty Bailey had only a few screen credits to her name before she became a famous face with the release of the music video for A-Ha's "Take On Me," but after becoming a near-constant presence on MTV Bailey's career went through a major upturn. She featured next in the music video for Billy Idol's 1986 song "To Be A Lover," and in the years that followed, she became an in-demand actress and appeared in several Hollywood movies.

For example, in 1986 Bailey starred alongside another '80s icon, the musician Adam Ant, in a horror called "Spellcaster," but due to financial difficulties the film was only finally released in 1992 and went straight to video. As Bailey herself recalled on X, formerly known as Twitter, in 1987 she was cast in the part of Isabel Prange in Stuart Gordon's horror movie "Dolls," though her role was limited due to her character being transformed into a doll early in the film. She later appeared in the 1988 movie "Glitch." However, after these roles, Bailey appeared in the spotlight far less often, with her only credits for many years being retrospective TV shows focused on A-ha and '80s music more generally.

She still occasionally appears on TV and in movies

In 2009, a local newspaper named the Maidenhead Examiner based near Bunty Bailey's hometown of Wraysbury printed an article claiming that the '80s star had been to have breakfast with the U.K.'s Prime Minister at the time, Gordon Brown, though the meeting had nothing to do with her former celebrity. In fact, she had been chosen because she was one of the first people to take advantage of a new government scheme that paid drivers to scrap their old cars. The article gave an insight into Bailey's private life, including the details that she lived in Wraysbury with her two children, and that she teaches children's dance classes there.

Though Bunty Bailey was not as prominent in the entertainment industry in her later years as she was in the 1980s, she did continue to have some occasional roles in both TV and film. In 2008, she appeared in the movie "Defunct," while she was also the guest on the British panel show "The Big Fat Quiz of the '80s," with guests having to try and work out her identity, which you can watch above. In a 2023 interview published on wraysbury.com, Bailey reveals that she and her husband, Doc, also made an incoming buying and selling property and that she is now retired.