When Apollonia burst onto the scene in the Oscar-winning, blockbuster film “Purple Rain,” an international star was born in both the film and music industries. Critics hailed her as an overnight success, praising her natural beauty along with her singing and acting performances. However, that was not the beginning. Apollonia was already a former Los Angeles Rams Cheerleader and a successful working model and actress when she starred in “Purple Rain.”
For Apollonia, born in Los Angeles with a heritage in her parents’ native Spain and Mexico, “Purple Rain” was a continuation of a career that began as a youngster in Europe and Latin America (she is fluent in Spanish and Italian, and an expert dialectician). Apollonia continued her work in the United States, training with famed instructors, Stella Adler, Peggy Fury, Vince Chase, Shelly Winters, Roy London, and Sondra Seacat.
After winning the Miss San Pedro beauty competition in the early 1980s, Kotero began acting in films and television series such as “CHiPs, Tales of the Gold Monkey, Fantasy Island, Matt Houston,” and “Knight Rider.” She appeared in the ABC television film “The Mystic Warrior” as the Native American woman, Wicahpi. Apollonia also appeared in music videos for "The Other Woman" by Ray Parker Jr. and "Shakin'" by Eddie Money.
In 1983, Apollonia landed the leading role, opposite rock star, Prince in the 1984 film “Purple Rain” after Denise "Vanity" Matthews quit the female lead role. Vanity 6, which was renamed Apollonia 6 for the film, also featured singers, Brenda Bennett, and Susan Moonsie. Apollonia 6 embarked on a worldwide tour to promote their hit single, "Sex Shooter," Apollonia 6 originally recorded a version of the song "Manic Monday" for their 1984 debut album, Apollonia co-wrote the lyrics, along with "The Glamorous Life" with Prince for the self-titled debut. The song later became a worldwide hit single for The Bangles. Prince's song "Take Me with U" featured vocals by Apollonia and reached #25 on the Billboard Top 40 chart in the United States.
In 1985, Kotero left Prince's camp to appear on the CBS prime-time soap opera “Falcon Crest,” playing Apollonia, the girlfriend of the character played by Lorenzo Lamas, for ten consecutive episodes. She performed several solo songs, including "Red Light Romeo," written and composed by Jon Lind.
In 1988, Warner Bros. Records released Kotero's self-titled first solo album, Apollonia. Three singles were taken from the album, "Since I Fell for You." "The Same Dream," and "Mismatch." Apollonia also became the first Latina of Mexican heritage to host and perform on “Showtime At The Apollo,” filmed at the historic Apollo Theatre in Harlem performing songs from her solo album.
She went on to appear in such films as “Ministry of Vengeance” (1989), “Back To Back” (1990),” Black Magic Woman” (1991), and two Italian productions, “La Donna di , Sera (A Lady for a Night”) (1991) and “Ragazze” (1992). She returned to television on such shows as “Sliders” and “Air America” (which co-starred Lorenzo Lamas, her former co-star from “Falcon Crest”), and hosted The Jazz Channel's Latin Beat program. During this period, an exercise video entitled “Go For It” was also released. Apollonia could also be seen on E!'s Celebrity Homes, The Test, Rendezview, and MTV Cribs.
In 1998, Apollonia formed a multimedia entertainment company, Kotero Entertainment, which enlisted several producers to produce a children's animated television series, as well as feature films and reality TV with celebrities. Kotero Entertainment also began managing young talent such as television and film star Sascha Andres and young pop singer Nikki Barreras, also known as Nikki B.
In 2009, Kotero's vocals appeared on The Twilight Singers cover of Prince's "When Doves Cry" for Spin magazine's 25th-anniversary tribute to the Purple Rain album, entitled Purplish Rain.
In 2016, Apollonia appeared at AMPAS (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) for a special screening of “Purple Rain.” Apollonia joined Director Al Magnoli, Producer Rob Cavallo, and co-stars Jerome Benton and Jill Jones to discuss the making and impact of the film in the wake of Prince’s passing.
In June 2019, Apollonia spoke to Rolling Stone and Associate Press for the first time since Prince's passing to discuss his demo version of Apollonia 6's hit "Sex Shooter" from the film Purple Rain which was included on the 2019 release of Prince's "Originals."
In December 2019, The National Film Registry inducted “Purple Rain.” An excerpt from Rolling Stone Magazine reads, “Apollonia Kotero, Prince’s co-star in Purple Rain, added, “As a young Latina actress, being cast in Purple Rain was the opportunity of a lifetime. Roles for women that looked like me were scarce in the Eighties. Prince was never afraid of taking risks. He created a melting pot of cultures and racial interactions within his purple worlds. … Prince would be thrilled.”
Apollonia has consistently been a humanitarian with her involvement with Project Angel Food, AIDS Project, The Wall Las Memorias AIDS Monument, and other worthwhile foundations. She has directed PSA's for Haven House and Operation Cuddles. She has also been a host, contributor and mentor for Bogart Pediatric Cancer Research Program, Violence Intervention Program, GLAAD, American Heart Association, Los Angeles Children's Hospital and Homeboy Industries.