Those were the pre-9/11 flying days. Hildegarde Archuleta, an 85-year-old one-time fashion model with a truly resplendent name, is today happily retired in the Palm Springs area. The Southern California native recently spoke with the Desert Sun about her career, which began when she replied to a post-World War II Vogue talent search.
Archuleta went on to cross paths with Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Sinatra, Jack Warner and many more. She also recalls in the article the thrilling way her professional life took off:
She became a Vogue model in her mid-20s and that first trip to the Big Apple is a favorite memory. It was her first time flying, and the Pan Am pilot invited her into the cockpit.
“I went and sat in the co-pilot’s seat with him and flew all the way to New York,” she says.
Someone might want to consider writing a screenplay about this life. Archuleta was also a concert violinist and on the personal side, at the urging of her late sister’s children, married her sister’s former husband, an architect who designed the Betty Ford Center. He passed away in 2010.
Read Desert Sun arts reporter Beth Roessner’s full, fabulous piece here.