Anya Major (born 1966, in the United Kingdom) is an English athlete, actress, model and singer who starred in Apple Computer's "1984" commercial, and who appeared as "Nikita" in the video to Elton John's song of the same name.
In 1983, the Chiat/Day advertising agency held a casting call in London, on behalf of their client, Apple Computer, for what would prove to be a landmark television commercial. The vision of the agency and director Ridley Scott stipulated an actress capable of running up to a large video screen, swinging a sledgehammer in a wide spin, and releasing it at the video screen. Most of the models and actresses tested could not wield the clumsy hammer, much less throw it; in fact, one errant throw nearly struck a passerby at the Hyde Park casting call. The petite Major, an experienced discus thrower who had been discovered at a local health club, won the role with her ability to handle the hammer convincingly.
The commercial officially aired only twice on American television. Its best-known appearance was just after half-time of Super Bowl XVIII on January 22, 1984. It had earlier been screened in December 1983, right before the 1:00 am sign-off on KMVT in Twin Falls, Idaho, so that the advertisement could be submitted to award ceremonies for that year. In addition, starting on January 17, 1984 it was screened prior to previews in movie theaters for a few weeks. Even with these limited appearances, the ad created such a media frenzy that it gained many subsequent free TV airings and print mentions, as it was discussed in the media.
Major later portrayed "Nikita" in the Elton John 1985 music video of the same name. As a spin-off, she released a single named Moscow Nights using the name Anya, and with that name, in 1987, she released another song named One Word.
In 2006, Andy Hertzfeld of the Macintosh development team incorrectly stated that Major had died of breast cancer in 2000. As of 2009, she lives in England with her husband Kim Rajah and their three children.
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- Hertzfeld, Andy (speaker) (2006-03-15). Andy Hertzfeld at Google New York. Google. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
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