Face on mural ID’d

Her name is Regina Burton, and three years ago she stood in a field in Germany during a break in the rain, raised her arms to her sides, lifted her face to the sun, closed her eyes and smiled.

Photographer Johanna Pagels snapped her picture, creating the image that now adorns a huge door on the front of the Boeing Co.’s massive Everett factory.

It started out, Pagels said, as part of an ad for a cookie company.

“Yes,” she said by e-mail, “these healthy cookies are supposed to make you feel so light and free you can almost fly.”

Now it’s part of the world’s largest digital graphic, stretching across the six doors of the Boeing jet-assembly building, which itself is the largest building in the world by volume.

Pagels said she was “delighted.”

“I would love to see it (for) real,” she wrote. “My biggest open-air exhibition!”

In March, after Guinness World Records declared the Boeing mural the largest of its kind on the planet, workers began to ask just who was that woman on the door, and whether she might have been a Boeing employee.

Attempts to reach Burton via e-mail were unsuccessful, but her Web site has a lot of information.

It turns out that she’s a German-based fashion model, and while she may not be as famous as Heidi Klum in America, Burton seems to have built a nice career modeling in Europe.

According to her Web site, www.regina-burton.de, she is 5 feet 7 inches tall – which makes her image on the Boeing factory door at least 20 times life-size. Her eyes, when they’re open, are a brilliant green. She’s a size 6. (You can look up the rest of her vital statistics yourself.)

She’s done a range of fashion modeling, and according to the Web site, lingerie is one of her specialties – which will no doubt be welcome news to the guys who build 747s behind the picture of her face.

Burton has appeared in a number of TV advertisements, including one for Kostritzer beer. In an ad for the German-based, mail-order retailer Tchibo, she whips a roomful of guys at a game of strip poker. (As each one loses, they take off a shirt, belt or watch – each of which just happens to be on sale that week.)

She’s also appeared on the TV show “Wolff’s Revier,” a long-running German police drama.

The cookie shoot was the only time Pagels and Burton worked together.

The client “made these new ‘wellness cookies’ and wanted some suitable pictures to promote them,” Pagels said.

Photographer and model got together in a field “somewhere in the German countryside close to Hannover in Lower Saxony,” Pagels recalled. “We were praying for some sunshine and blue skies, because it was raining all morning. Just the moment I started shooting, it cleared up, and when I finished, it started raining again.”

Pagels has had showings of her photography in Berlin, London and Tokyo. But she’s never had a photo displayed bigger than the one of the Boeing door.

She had no idea the photo from that day had been used for the Boeing mural. They’re part of a collection of her photos distributed by Getty Images of Seattle.

“Usually, I don’t know what happens with the pictures Getty is marketing for me until I get the monthly report,” she wrote. “And even then, I can only guess what it looked like. So it was very nice to actually see one of my images in the way the client used it.”

Pagels, who is in Scotland working on a book project, said she travels on Boeing planes often and would like to see the mural for herself someday.

Oh, and those wellness cookies? That turned out well, too, Pagels said. “The cookies are actually really nice.”

Reporter Bryan Corliss: 425-339-3454 or corliss@heraldnet.com.

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