'I always knew,' Miss Piggy once told TV Guide, 'that I was destined for le top.'
Glamorous, stroppy and single-minded in pursuit of her frog, the perfect frock, and worldwide fame, Miss Piggy has been showing tarts how it's done for nearly thirty years.
The most famous martial arts practitioner since Bruce Lee -- and one who looks a helluva lot better in pearls and elbow-length lavender gloves -- Miss Piggy lives life according to her own rules: 'Eat what you want, exercise your prerogative, and find a good plastic surgeon who gives frequent-flyer miles'.
She hogged the limelight on the first Muppet series, which aired in Britian in 1976. Executing a karate chop with her now-signature, 'Hi-ya!' during a duet with Elton John, she was quickly promoted from chorus line to star. The TV series was a hit. Movies, a self-help book, 'Miss Piggy's Guide to Life,' her own action figure and perfume followed, along with another television series and numerous advertising endorsements.
Miss Piggy has proved that a big snout (sorry, nose) and an ample figure are no bar to becoming a sex goddess, and that there's absolutely no place that a determined porker with a talented dressmaker cannot go. She has sung, danced and rustled up wicked sexual tension with some of the most luscious leading men of our times: Michael Caine, Pierce Brosnan, Tim Curry, Dennis Quaid and Gene Kelly -- to name just a few.
Yet asked by the New York Times if fame had changed her, she said, 'I am still just little Moi, the same gorgeous and supremely talented pig. Beauty is my curse'.
Miss Piggy admits that she could not have reached the oxygen-thin heights of success without the screen role models that she had while growing up as a pulchritudinous piglet on a farm in Hog Springs, Iowa. 'Moi saw Carole Lombard, who was extraordinarily strong and extraordinarily beautiful and full of vivacity. And then Moi knew what Moi wanted to do. It's important to have strong woman as models for young girls. Moi is a strong, yet fragile creature, a vulnerable but aggressive person.'
Her aggression is well-documented. Her fans might be less aware of the cause of her vulnerability. Her beloved father died in a tragic tractor accident, and her official biography records that Miss Piggy found her only solace in the dream that she would one day be a star. Her first job after graduating from charm school was selling gloves in a department store. Her salary was insufficient for her 'extensive' wardrobe costs, and she was forced to pose for ads ... including one for bacon. It's a time that she prefers not to speak of, although she insists that she never took her clothes off for a job.
Eventually she became a successful advertising spokes-pig and, to protect herself from overzealous admirers, completed a correspondence course, "Karate by Cassette". She moved to London to make the original Muppet Show and became a megastar and role model for millions.
She attributes her rapid rise to: 'Talent, Beauty, Intelligence, Wit. And Modesty.'
But her life is not all work and jewels. Her famously documented romance with Kermit the Frog continues to be the source of media fascination. Miss Piggy says that they have married, although Kermit is 'in a wee bit of denial about the exact nature of our marital status'.
Whatever the legalities, the couple has provided a discreetly classy example for lesser stars like Brad and Jennifer about conducting a relationship in the white-hot media spotlight. Of their romance, Piggy says that it is 'private' and 'an inferno'. For his part, Kermit is on record as saying he doesn't know whether children are in their future as he is not sure he wants to be the father to a bunch of 'Pogs'.
One thing he is sure about, Miss Piggy tells anybody who asks, is that Kermit does not want her to lose an ounce. 'Moi is not a skinny, skinny girl. Moi is what Moi am -- full figured. And Moi's frog thinks that is gangbusters!'
However, as a seasoned star, she is often asked about the market realities of competing for parts with chopsticks like Lara Flynn Boyle and Calista Flockhart. 'I do enjoy working with actresses like Lara and Calista,' she says sweetly, 'there's never a line at the craft-services table'.
A new Muppet show is set to air in Spring 2003 on the Fox network in the US, there are more movies in development and her selling power is such that Miss Piggy can be seen bossing her Muppet minions around New York City in the latest Mastercard ad, so it might be that we have not yet begun to see what the divine swine can achieve.
But despite her accomplishments and talent, Miss Piggy knows that the ultimate professional prize remains out of reach. As a result of blatant and unapologetic species-ism on behalf of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, she will never take home an Oscar. The fine print in the rules states; 'no frogs, no pigs, no bears, no chickens'.
'Moi was upset,' she says. 'But Moi got over it.'
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Chris Niles is the author of four novels: Spike It, Run Time, and Crossing Live featuring London radio reporter, Sam Ridley. Hell's Kitchen, her stand-alone is set in New York and has been optioned by a German film company. She also has a short story in the latest Tart Noir anthology which she is very excited about, mostly because of the opportunities it affords to have book readings that double as great parties with Lauren Henderson and other fabulous Tarts.
Read more about Miss Piggy:
Online and On Location with Miss Piggy.
The Official Jim Henson site
Character and Episode Guides to the Muppets
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Her novels have been translated into German, Dutch and Portuguese. And she's working on a fifth, another stand alone, that she hopes to have finished very, very soon. Really.