Star Tracks: Monday, May 16, 2016 42 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
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People Top 5
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- March 05, 1979
- Vol. 11
- No. 9
Bettina Cato, 25, was probably the only child in the world whose mother praised her efforts when she painted all over their living room walls. "She was very proud," recalls Bettina. Cato is still painting—and still being praised. Her delicate watercolors of flower arrangements, shells, antique porcelains and old-fashioned fabrics are being sold (prices range from $400 to $500) exclusively at the Staircase Gallery in Beverly Hills. She now has a six-week waiting list for commissioned pieces. The daughter of a fashion model and an art director (abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning was a family friend), Cato was born in Manhattan and raised in tony Southampton, Long Island after her parents' divorce. Her mom pushed her into modeling as a child, and she appeared in McCall's and Harper's Bazaar. But "I hated it," she says. "I was a tomboy and I would much rather have been riding a horse than wearing a dress." After deciding against college, she worked at the Yves Saint Laurent boutique in Manhattan, then went to South America to gather fabrics en route to California. There she tried living in a mountain log cabin in Mendocino County with a since-departed boyfriend and began painting wild flowers. "I never thought," says Cato, pleased by her success and busy schedule, "I'd make my living from painting."
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