As someone who is beyond obsessed with David Bowie and equally beyond devastated that he is gone, I have followed not only his music career but his muses too. Among some of his well known muses who have inspired, entertained and loved him, Romy Haag is by far one of the least known or publicized. Haag claims that during one of his tour dates that kicked off in Berlin, he was with her and didn’t want to leave, sparking his long love affair with Berlin.
Romy Haag has worn many hats in her colorful life: a Dutch born transgendered performance-artist, dancer, singer, actress, former nightclub manager and David Bowie’s muse.. Exberliner and many journalists refer to her as one of Europe’s queens of the underground. A very early spokeswoman for the LGBT community, Haag was bravely playing with her sexual identity throughout the 60s and 70s.
Bowie and Haag first met after she opened her infamous nightclub Chez Romy Haag. There she met all the pop star icons in the mid 70s: Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Bryan Ferry and of course Mick Jagger and David Bowie. Romy is said to have pushed David Bowie’s penchant for bisexuality and gender fluidity. A key sign of this, is the triple Bowie drag queen chorus line in his videos “Boys Keep Swinging.”
With Bowie’s recent passing, I have thought about his long lost muse Romy and wondered about things like how did they meet exactly? Thankfully, a good acquaintance of mine Martin Biallas has some of these answers as her friend and manager.
Foxylee: First of all, what’s going on in the photo of you and Romy?
Martin Biallas: I used to manage and produce Romy Haag in the 80s. This photo was taken in 1986 during the housewarming party of my new office in Berlin. At the time I had offices in Berlin and New York and after 1984 in Los Angeles.
FL: What do you know about her relationship as a muse/friend/lover of David Bowie?
MB: They were close friends. Bowie lived and worked in Berlin for a while and produced and recorded an entire album there. Bowie, among other pop icons at the time, frequented her then popular nightclub “Chez Romy”. Other celebrities were: Mick Jagger, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop…
FL: Did you get to meet Bowie during your rapport with Romy?
MB: I did, a couple of times, but I also met him in LA when he was continuously visiting our mutual friend Klaus von Ott. I am sending you the photo I took when he and I were at Klaus’ home in LA back in the mid-80s.