A Little Australian Know-How

Charlie’s Newest Angel – With a Little Australian Know-How

The Dean at exclusive Smith College in Massachusetts, on America’s east coast, claimed he had never heard of Sydney University, laughed Shelley Hack, 26, the newest of TV’s “Charlie’s Angels.”

But they have certainly heard of it now.

“They’ve even hired a College president from Sydney University,” said the bubbly, long-legged, blue-eyed strawberry-blonde, who spent a year in Australia studying archaeology and learning how the other half lives.

The all-American-looking Charlie Girl – fresh from the TV perfume commercial - has turned into a Charlie’s Angel. Shooting for the new series of the all-girl cops-and-robbers show began this month.

Shelley won’t tell how much she’s being paid for her part in the popular show but a good bet is about $30,000 an episode, according to those on the set.

“Why did I want to go to Australia?” Shelley asked. “Well, you went to Smith and you lived with Smith girls and your classes were mostly in English.

“I felt I was sitting there with all those girls in the middle of nowhere.

“I looked around and settled on the archaeology course at Sydney University. My parents said ‘okay’ and the Dean of Smith said ‘what?’

“I told him I wanted to get away for a year on my own bat and Smith College had a fit.

“At first they wanted me to leave and not give me the remainder of my tuition.

“The Dean said he’d never heard of Sydney University. Their attitude is that there is no way to learn anything unless it’s at Smith.

“I said the good Australian word to that, and in the end they gave me credit for the course and I went back to graduate,” she said.

Six months after she graduated, the Dean of Smith wrote to Shelley asking her advice on a programme similar to hers, for girls who wanted to attend Sydney University. Later still she received a letter informing her, with some pride, that Smith College had hired a president from Sydney University.

“You just shouldn’t listen to people. I could have dropped out of school and made a lot of money full-time modeling, but I believe education is a must.”

Says Eileen Ford, owner of one of the world’s top modeling agencies: “The thing I remember best about Shelley was that she was really determined to get an education.

“Modelling was just a vehicle she used to get educated. It was never a thing where she wanted to be the best model in the world. She simply became one of them despite herself.”

“When I was accepted at Sydney I bought a round-the-world air ticket,” said Shelley. “I spent a month getting to Australia and two months coming back. One of the great things about travelling alone is that you can pretend to be another person.”

The eldest of six children, Shelley grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut. Her father was a chemical engineer and: “We always had people with weird scientific ideas round the house.

“My family was very strict. When everyone else was wearing flats, I wore heavy shoes. Dad used to check out movies before I was allowed to attend them.”

Shelley’s good looks and charisma appealed to American actor and director Woody Allen, who gave her a bit part in the Academy Award-winning movie “Annie Hall,” and that small start shot her into stardom in a new movie, “If I Ever See You Again.”

Now Shelley has an apartment in New York City’s Greenwich Village, but spends her weekends on a 99-hectare farm outside New York City.

After commuting for two hours, she relaxes in her 20-room Victorian mansion, dressed in overalls. She Swims in a pond, drives to the local township in a jeep and breakfasts outside on a picnic table.

She grows flowers, herbs and roots for brewing tea, jogs three km each morning and looks after her diet.

“I keep clear of red meat and stay with fish and poultry, fresh vegetables and salads.

“I’ve got the dry skin blondes tend to have, so I cleanse morning and night, and use lots of moisturizer.”

Shelley loved Australia so much she still has a part of it with her.

If you should catch her in “If I Ever See You Again,” note the big, mannish shirt she wears. It came from a Sydney army surplus store and she calls it “my favorite friend.”


by Les Wilson The Australian Women's Weekly June 27, 1979

“You just shouldn’t listen to people. I could have dropped out of school and made a lot of money full-time modeling, but I believe education is a must.”

Shelley Hack