Betty, 78, nude Air NZ starlet

By Celeste Gorrell Anstiss

Betty Messent features in the NZ Air safety video. Photo / Janna Dixon
Betty Messent features in the NZ Air safety video. Photo / Janna Dixon

They've starred cabin crew clad only in bodypaint, rude rodent Rico and the All Blacks.

Air New Zealand's latest on-board safety briefing features a 78-year-old streaking nana.

Betty Messent appears at the end of the film - running naked down the aisle of a plane packed with rugby fans.

"After the streak I thought, what are all my Christian friends going to think? But they were my biggest fans. Even my pastor thought it was great."

Betty, who has been deaf most of her life, was approached by talent scouts five years ago outside her local supermarket.

Before the Air NZ video, she also featured in an ad for The Warehouse - flicking knickers at singer John Rowles as he performed on stage.

"I always play the role of the little old lady," she said.

"But I don't mind, I live it up. It's a real day out when we go on these shoots. We get treated like stars."

Coming out of retirement has enabled Betty to travel New Zealand with her close companion, Russell.

They have known each other since 1945 when they attended Avondale Intermediate School, aged 13. "I took a fancy to him, I must admit," said Betty.

They lost touch, but reunited 65 years later when they moved into the same retirement village.

Russell accompanies Betty to auditions and shoots and has even been roped into playing the occasional background role.

Betty had no previous acting experience but said: "I was always a bit of a lark at school, I always used to play up and enjoy that sort of thing."

She doesn't have any jobs lined up but is quietly confident her acting career has a few years left.

"There's always the need for the little old lady."

- Herald on Sunday

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