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Andrea Ireland Stapley ’69

June 1, 2021, in La Mesa, California.

When Andrea walked across the stage at Reed to receive her diploma, the waterfowl in the canyon burst out in a chorus of quacks and peeps. “I felt that Nature was applauding my success!” she said.

She wrote her thesis, “Andre Gide: Sublime Style,” advised by Prof. George Mulford [French 1968–71]. With sublime style, she posed as a centerfold for the Quest and participated in a film about Prof. James Webb [literature 1965–71], in which cast members played themselves. The film received an award at the Bellingham (Washington) Film Festival and was exhibited at dozens of colleges following its 1969 debut. When Andrea attended a psychedelic drugs symposium on campus, Timothy Leary singled her out and inquired about her sexual experiences on LSD. “They’re blue,” she replied, to hoots of laughter.

While at Reed, a fellow student gave her a life reading with cards. Andrea soon discovered she had a talent for reading tarot cards. After graduating, she often entertained at parties, doing card readings as “Madame O.”

“My years at Reed were the happiest of my life,” Andrea said. “Two things I learned at Reed have formed my life: unstructured independent study and the Honor Principle.”

She studied batik, jewelry, and weaving at Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, and then worked in an interior design and craft studio. Upon deciding to pursue a modeling and acting career, Andrea moved to Hollywood and studied with acting coach Lee Strasberg, worked as a bunny at the Playboy Club in Century City, and picked up modeling and acting jobs on the side.

The tragic death of her brother, Kim Stapley ’68, drove her into a deep depression. She moved back to Arizona, where she worked as a legal secretary. After returning to Los Angeles, she did card readings and worked as a Vedic astrology healer and private counselor at several new age bookstores in Los Angeles.

“Richard Ireland, known as the psychic to the stars, initiated me as a professional after I read the cards for him in the early ’70s,” Andrea recalled. “From then on my work just snowballed. I loved every minute of it!”

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2021

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