Rebecca Blake: A Multifaceted Artist Who Left Her Mark on Music, Fashion and Cricket
Rebecca Blake was a talented and versatile artist who excelled in various fields, from music video directing and fashion photography to cricket playing and sport science. She passed away on September 17, 2022, at the age of 57, due to a rare heart disease.
Blake was born in Antwerp, Belgium, but moved to the United States at a young age. She attended the High School for Music and Art as a piano major, before studying music and art history at New York University.
She started her career as a commercial photographer, working with some of the world’s most prestigious fashion and beauty brands, such as Estee Lauder, Revlon, Yves St. Laurent and Victoria’s Secret. She also collaborated with some of the top models, musicians and actors of her time, such as Angelina Jolie, Claudia Schiffer, Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, John Travolta, U2, Duran Duran, Debbie Harry and Prince.
She was hired by director Irvin Kershner to work as a special photographic consultant on the feature film The Eyes of Laura Mars (1977), starring Faye Dunaway as a New York fashion photographer who has premonitions of murders. Blake also created a series of erotic photographs that were featured in the film, alongside work by German fashion photographer Helmut Newton.
She soon moved into directing commercials for various clients, such as L’OrÃ©al, Pantene, Shiseido, Guess, Maybelline, Citroen and Volkswagen. She was one of the few women who were able to break into the male-dominated field of advertising and music video production at that time.
She was perhaps best known for her collaborations with music artist Prince, whom she met in 1982. She directed several of his music videos, such as Raspberry Beret (1985), Kiss (1986), Mountains (1986), Girls & Boys (1986) and U Got The Look (1987). She also shot the cover art for his albums Around The World In A Day (1985) and Parade (1986). She had a close friendship and creative partnership with Prince until his death in 2016.
Blake was also a passionate cricketer who played for the Romanian women’s national cricket team as a right-handed batter and offbreak bowler. She was born in Romania to a Romanian mother and an English father, and lived there until she was nine years old. She later moved to France, where she was introduced to cricket at a picnic when she was 11 years old. She joined the Saumur Cricket Club and later the Nantes Cricket Club in France. She also captained the French national team from 2011 to c. 2016.
In 2017, she moved to England to study sport science at Solent University in Southampton. She played for the Hursley Park Cricket Club in Hampshire alongside Shami Mosweu, captain of the Botswana national team. In 2022, she switched her allegiance to Romania and became the captain of the Romanian team. She made her Women’s Twenty20 International debut on September 9, 2022 against Greece. The next day, she scored the first WT20I century for Romania against Serbia. She also worked as a laboratory technician at Solent University and as a sport scientist for the GB Speedway Team.
Blake was a trailblazer in many ways, being one of the handful of women who were able to break into the traditional “boy’s club” of advertising and music video production at a time when females were relegated to lesser roles. Her photography is in the permanent collections of the International Center of Photography, The Brooklyn Museum and The Mellon Collection of Surreal Art. Her work has been exhibited at various galleries around the world. She was also an accomplished musician who played piano and guitar. She was married to Dicran (Deke) Donelian, her creative partner and fellow director/photographer. They ran their own