One Spy Doesn’t Live Up to the Fantasy

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Published July 7, 2010

Usually reserved for sexed-up action flicks and plot-oriented pornos, the tale of recently arrested vixen-cum-(alleged) Russian spy, Anna Chapman, is almost too seductive to be true. A busty 28-year-old temptress with pouty pale lips and bottle-red hair, the supposed Russian agent, who was snagged along with 10 other slick spies by the FBI last week, has captivated the media and evoked a romantic Cold War-era nostalgia with her espionage antics. But Chapman’s seemingly half-hearted spy games, winning moments of which include registering a cell phone to the address “99 Fake Street,” passing notes to fellow agents in invisible ink (Really? Invisible ink? In the age of the iPad?) and communicating via coded conversations about the Hamptons, seem more like the plot of a spoofy spy-themed comic book than a threat to national security.

In fact, it would seem that Chapman, whose father was a member of the former KGB, was more successful at balancing her jam-packed social calendar than obtaining American intelligence. A fixture on the Meapa club scene, she was the bell of May’s FDNY Foundation Dinner and spent more time cavorting with models and millionaires than infiltrating the US Government. Her passion for Facebook rivaled that of a giddy college freshman and her numerous cameos on Patrick McMullan, while always attractive, were less than stealth.

She bears an uncanny resemblance to The Spy Who Loved Me‘s (1977) voluptuous femme fatale, Major Anya “Triple X” Amasova (played by Barbara Bach), and Chapman reportedly is obsessed with Bond flicks. However, considering her affinity for the social set, her intentionally epic failure to keep a low profile and the topless photographs that were conveniently leaked earlier this week, her life more closely parallels that of a Bravo Housewife than a Bond girl.

“She’s simply not some Mata Hari,” said her ex-father-in-law, Kevin Chapman, in an interview with the UK’s Daily Mail.

He has a point. Mata Hari, a Dutch stunner who, along with seducing as an exotic dancer in Paris and posing nearly nude long before Playboy, was allegedly recruited as an agent for both France and Germany during WWI and served as a courtesan to the era’s big-wig diplomats, politicians and soldiers. Not to mention, she was quite the glamorous little devil in her bejeweled belly-dancer bras, Shiva-worthy head dresses and lush, carefully placed robes. Yes, she was a spy worth talking about. Even until the end when she was arrested in Paris’s Plaza Athenee and executed by a firing squad in 1917, which is likely why she was portrayed by a vampish Greta Garbo in the racy 1931 film that bore her name.

With Mata Hari as the ideal, the romantic notion of a sexy modern-day spy lurking among us is indeed alluring. But Chapman seems like little more than an entertaining imitation of espionage’s true femme fatales—and a suspicious one at that. Needless to say, our new Chapman-inspired fervor will undoubtedly aid the ticket sales of Salt, Angelina Jolie‘s new film (out this month) in which she stars as a suspected Russian agent. Coincidence?