Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Sweet Valley Guy

Over on my Facebook page recently, a reader (hi Chrissy!) posted a link to the website of James L. Mathewuse, the artist who created the gorgeous book covers for Sweet Valley High. I know I rip the piss out of the cover art in my recap posts, but it's done with affection, as I genuinely love these pictures. I'd frame every goddamn one of them if I could. Mathewuse created over 250 paintings for the Sweet Valley series, each one a pastel-coloured vignette of 80s teen hotness, emotion and questionable pants. His are the classic covers, and when the series started using photos of blonde models, or the Daniel twins from the TV show, they lost some of that original charm. His website is here, fyi, and it's a testament to his work that I can actually forgive the liberal use of Comic Sans all over it. Because he's the man responsible for doozies like this!

via jimmyart.com

Also, there's this excellent photo of him at work, which I absolutely adore. GIANT WAKEFIELDS!

Also via jimmyart.com
Anyway, while I was trying to find a bigger version of that great photo, something even better happened. I ended up on 80s book blog CliqueyPizza, and more specifically, on their post titled "I'VE FOUND THE REAL JESSICA AND ELIZABETH WAKEFIELD!" They had a tip-off from a commenter that an actress called Jonna Leigh Stack was the model for the pictures of the Wakefield twins and she was in some old soap series called Santa Barbara. There was a video clip of an episode showing her in action as her character Summer Blake, however the video clip in the post was no longer working. Boo. So I did a quick search for the actress in question...



I actually can't get over her face. She's Elizabeth! She's Jessica! She's blowing my fucking mind!

I couldn't find any quotes or interviews with her that actually confirmed that she was the model for the cover art, but there really isn't any denying that face, to be fair. Jonna's iMDB page is pretty sparse, the only credits on it are for her Santa Barbara episodes (in a most un-Wakefield turn of events, she was eventually killed off) and something called Paradise Motel. She ended up going to law school and nowadays she lives in Florida, providing legal services and mediation, dabbles in photography and runs an anti-aging and skincare company. (TOFU-GLO!)

Here's a working clip from Santa Barbara, so skip to 2.20, 6.20 and 10.50 to see a real life, three dimensional Wakefield twin, walking around and talking and generally being the face of my childhood reading obsession.

Also, here are two more recent photos of lovely Jonna and her lovely face, essentially showing us what Elizabeth and Jessica would look like now.

Still cute. Good job, ladies. I mean, lady.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Omgosh!! This made my morning. Lol.

  3. OMG OMG
    Chrissy here! Hi!!!
    *squeals like a fangirl*

    1. High five, Chrissy! I never would have found Jonna and her amazing face if you hadn't sent me the link for James's site! :)

  4. So, what you're telling me is that Jessica and Elizabeth still look flawless? Of course they do.

    1. A friend told me to "google" my name. It is 2018 so I'm a bit late for this conversation and so surprised to see it!
      I loved the artist. He really captured the photos and he did add a charm to the images. such So surprised at seeing this! Thanks very much for the compliment.


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