GIRLS OF YORE: HAJI

In the late Sixties, a filmmaker named Russ Meyer made ultrahipster status with his love of film and beautiful girls with impossible proportions. “Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!,” “Motorpsycho” and “Good Morning…and Goodbye!” were a few of his classically terrible-yet-equally-fucking-awesome films shot out in the American Southwest where it seemed that cleavage, bad taste in cars, a shallow script and a taste of early slasher flicks needed no permit to produce and rule us with, some fifty years later.

And one of the truly God-given gifts Meyer plied often was his ability to find some of the most trance-inducing, exotic women and retain them for said films. So, it makes perfect sense that he’d cross paths with a go-go dancer named Cerlet Catton or Barbarella Catton or, as she’s known to most, Haji.

Something out of a Martin Denny album cover or the mens room wall in the Enchanted Tiki Room design studio at Disney, Cerlet or Barbarella was apparently given her more well-known name by her brother when they were kids growing up in Quebec or Nova Scotia. What we are certain of is that she was Canadian and Haji was a fitting name for such an exotic beauty.

Another thing we know is that, in the absence of facts, all kinds of speculation will make up a biography. And in the world of Haji, not a whole helluva lot has been written about her life outside of her acting career. It’s been said that she dabbled in witchcraft, psychedelic drugs and we’d like to add that she was actually the product of a cellular fusion of fairy dust subparticles, cardamom powder, oil of nightshade and the same stuff in Freesia stripper lotion that Victoria’s Secret put out in the Nineties. We’ll stand by that statement as we honor the life and career of Haji on her passing over the weekend.

We get into this discussion alot – especially when we work on our hot rod pinup photoshoots: Why don’t women look like they did in the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies? The natural curves, the long legs, the absence of silicone…the look that Russ Meyer made a career of? Is it the steroid-pumped chicken that kids have been fed for the last 20 years? Is there something in the water? Is it a terrible diet of Papa John’s Pizza and tramp stamp tattoos and too many seasons of “Glee?” What happened in these last two generations that we can’t find a young Haji? Welp, we’ll keep looking.

In the meantime, enjoy a few captures of Haji’s beautiful career and get in touch with us if you know a girl who’s a fitting tribute to the trail Haji blazed five decades ago…

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