Vanessa Angel was born in the United Kingdom. She began her career at age 16 as a model when she was discovered by world renown agent Eileen Ford. She admits to gaining life experience when, at such an early age, she relocated to New York, traveled the world and appeared on magazine covers from "Cosmopolitan" to "Vogue."
Her transition from modeling to acting came rather suddenly when, in 1985, she was chosen by director John Landis to play a Russian spy in the film, "Spies Like Us." She quickly mastered a Russian accent and was later featured in the Paul McCartney video of the same name. A versatile actress who has studied under Sondra Lee and Frank Casaro at The Actors Studio in New York,
Vanessa was the original choice for the title role in "Xena: Warrior Princess" (1995) but due to an illness Lucy Lawless scored the role.
She almost changed her name because she was worried about being mistaken for a porn movie star.