Nearly ten years later, Jenny Shimizu is still being hounded by the tabloids about the brief relationship she shared in the ‘90s with actress Angelina Jolie. In January, a British tabloid claimed that Jolie – who is currently in a high-profile relationship with actor Brad Pitt – was still seeing Shimizu on the side. And just last month, another British rag wrote that Jolie had asked Shimizu to be the godmother of her children.
“I’d love to be that responsible that someone would ask me to do that, but even I was shocked,” says Shimizu about the godmother rumor, offering that “maybe [Angelina] called me and I didn’t get the message.” But she says she’s still friendly with Jolie, and thinks it was admirable that the actor, who knows how sensitive Shimizu is, gave her a heads-up about the January rumor.
Shimizu has more important matters to focus on these days. The mechanic-turned-model-turned-actor is about to have her own show, Full Throttle. It’s being picked up by a queer cable TV network that she can’t yet name because the deal is still in the works. Q Television was originally slated to host the show, but in February the network halted all production for more than a week and laid off the majority of its staff, according to reports. Shimizu is happy with the latest turn of events, however, and excited about her show’s new home.
She is also happy about what she describes as a big change in her life this year: settling down.
In addition to Jolie, Shimizu has dated Guinevere Turner, Ione Skye and Carla Bozulich of the L.A. punk band Geraldine Fibbers, among others. But the woman who once boasted she had French-kissed Christy Turlington and been with “every fine girl there is in the world” is currently “happy in love” with the first steady girlfriend she’s had in almost three years.
In addition to doting on her new girl, Shimizu also cops to a soft spot for ferrets. A friend of hers has an entire room in her house dedicated to a herd of the critters, and Shimizu regularly keeps new members for a two-week quarantine period before they can join the others. “I’m like a halfway house,” she says.
Now 38 and still striking, Shimizu was just 23 when she was scouted while hanging out in front of a club in L.A.. Soon she was appearing in music videos, guest-starring on Ellen, and eventually modeling for Calvin Klein. In the early ’90s the five-foot-seven Angeleno was living in New York, and could be seen on the covers of fashion magazines, in the pages of modeling’s legendary Pirelli calendar, and on the catwalk for Jean Paul Gaultier, Anna Sui, and Gianni Versace.
Shimizu’s foray into acting started in 1995 with queer director Todd Hughes’ indie flick Ding Dong, about lesbian serial killers who sell cosmetics door-to-door and give their victims one last makeover before offing them. She was later in another Hughes movie, The New Women (2000), in which the world’s female population wakes up after a decimating flood to find all the men in comas, conveniently sporting erections every 45 minutes.