What the girl from the cover of Hole’s Live Through This looks like now
Few albums provide such a perfect couple of album art and musical sound as Hole’s 1994 sophomore album Live Through This. The raw, snotty, painfully open sound of Courtney Love and co.‘s fearsome alternative punk sounds like what’s actually going on behind the facade of the garish homecoming photo on the album’s sleeve.
So much of that comes from the manic smile, bugged eyes, and painted face of the homecoming queen on the cover, whose phoned-in glee seems to hide an ocean of embarrassment, insecurity, guile and rage.
That said, the identity of the model behind this iconic cover isn’t known to everyone; in fact, for some time people wondered if the homecoming queen on the sleeve was Courtney herself. But the woman on Live Through This’ cover is in fact model and wellness entrepreneur Leilani Bishop, and today she looks like this:
We caught up with Leilani about the experience of modeling for the Live Through This cover, what it’s like to be one of the faces of ’90s music, and her new company Botanica Bazaar.
Were you photographed for cover of Live Through This, or was an existing photo used?
“Photographed by Ellen Von Unwerth… the best!”
Were you a fan of Hole and/or Courtney Love when you modelled for the cover?
“I was a Nirvana fan and had at that point only heard a couple of her songs, but was thrilled to be a part of the project, knowing who she was and what she was capable of.”
How did you get that manic smile? What was your direction?
“I believe the direction was ‘the Prom Queen that had stepped on heads and shoulders to get where she was’… pure ecstasy.”
Did you ever get a chance to meet Courtney?
“I actually have never met the band. Courtney was supposed to come by the shoot that day, but her girlfriend had a baby and even though she and I have friends in common, we still have not crossed paths, which I kind of love. The alter ego that is still somewhere out there…”
Did people recognise you on the street?
“Yes and no. Some real fans did and of course friends of mine, when you mention it people see it. I am pretty casual in person, so that is probably an alter ego of mine as well.”
You recently recreated the cover shot for the album’s 20th anniversary. What inspired that, and what went into doing that?
“I was on a shoot in Montreal and the make-up artist Nicolas Blanchett was inspired to recreate the cover. He made the crown throughout the day and they bought the flowers and right before I ran out to catch my flight, we set it up and Chris Nicholls shot it. It was so simple and quick… they posted it and until I came back to work with them a couple months later, I had not realised it had gone viral. It was pretty cool to see that happen.”
Above: Leilani recreating Live Through This in 2014. Photo by Chris Nicholls.
Tell us about your company, Botanica Bazaar.
“I have always lived a pretty clean life and wanting a business of my own and work creatively with a friend. We found our way to opening Botanica Bazaar. Our mission is to curate a selection of products that balance, mind, body and spirit… true story.”
How has becoming a mom informed what you do?
“It has taught me a lot about educating others and children at a young age to be responsible for their health and well-being and to not just turn their health over to professionals, but to really be informed about what is going into your body. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of western medicine as it has saved me many a time, but we also have an amazing operating system and it is great to learn at an early age the best ways to support it.”
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