I was very intrigued by HBO's documentary "About Face: Supermodels Then and Now." The modeling industry has undergone such a change that it was interesting to get some perspective of some seasoned models and quite frankly some legends in my book. After watching the film, I found these women beautiful inside and out. They had some strong opinions about some controversial topics:
Where the modeling industry is today
Back in the day, no one wanted their daughter to be a model. It was thought of as the same level as a hooker. Bethann Hardison told her mother she was a model and she blew it off for awhile. Then her mother saw her in a commercial and was like oh thank goodness you're actually a model because I thought you were a hooker.
Christy Tieg said she probably wouldn't get a job today because all the models are exotic and her look was more All-American girl. Many left the modeling industry to pursue careers or become women. Christy Brinkley says she gets called "former supermodel" even though she still models. The modeling world is a different career, you have to be your own brand and get involved with different mediums. Much more business focused.
In the past it was not just a beautiful face but a personality or light that shined through. Modeling was your career, you didn't think about other things. Most didn't go to college. Bethann was one of the unique ones who worked a full-time job as well.
There were three iconic black models: Beverly Johnson, Bethann Hardison and Pat Cleveland who were interviewed. Both called out the industry for parading dozens of white models and sprinkling ethnic models here and there. Bethann who worked in the fashion district in New York City, would get calls from designers to find them "a really great black model." Then she would clarify just one and ask how many were on the runway, "36." "So you want me to find one black girl out of 37? Something is wrong with that." Pat Cleveland who is mixed of many races would struggle fitting in with the black models but wasn't white enough either. Was denied a Vogue cover.
China Machado who is Asian-Latin mixed also talked about looking too exotic. She was told she would never work catalog and would be limited to a few commercials and editorial. She went to own her own business and became Fashion Editor at Harper's BAZAAR three years after the company refused to run her photo. How kick ass is that?
Drugs & Sex
Eileen Ford, founder of Ford models, had a mansion where the models lived. There were strict rules; however, many of the models like Jerry Hall and Christy Turlington knew how to get away with breaking them. The culture of the '70s was to party. Pat Cleveland said that fell you in love with next beautiful person you saw whether it was a woman or man.
Lisa Taylor was glad she survived because of all the drugs she did. She explained that in the '70s, no one thought cocaine was addictive. Jerry Hall, who was famous for partying it up at Studio 54, said that it went along with the lifestyle. Lisa escaped the city and moved to the suburbs where she's glad to have left that lifestyle.
After some reflection, Jade Hobson, Vogue Fashion Editor for many years, felt some responsibility for using models like Gia who famously died of AIDS. Many remembered their friends become thin and frail then disappearing. AIDS ended that free spirited culture of the '70s.
|Carmen Dell'Orefice, oldest working model at age 81|
The ones who had plastic surgery were very open about it. Carmen Dell'Orefice, who has been modeling since 1947, said that if the ceiling was falling, wouldn't you lift it up again? Karen Bjornson who came out of retirement to walk the runway at 50 says she gets some botox because she doesn't want to look tired.
Christy Turlington said that she admires other women's beauty but wouldn't want someone else's nose on her face. Christy Brinkley has been very frank that she hasn't had any plastic surgery. I don't know what she does, but I want it! Jerry Hall hilariously called them freaks and said how they take injections from the butt and put them in the lips so you're kissing their ass "so gross!" China Machado says she never dieted, never worked out and that plastic surgery erases what makes someone unique - their expressions.
Isabella Rossellini, Elsa Schiaparelli and Paulina Porizkova were opposed. Paulina said that in her late 40s she's trying to attract something/someone different than in her 20s, so why would she want to look 20? Isabella who was fired by Estee Lauder once she hit 40 to be replaced by someone younger says that it projects to women that being young is beautiful which simply isn't true. Women are beautiful at all ages. Jerry Hall says she felt a since of accomplishment when she turned 50 and you're allowed to be a little more eccentric.
They all had amazing stories. I highly recommend watching this film if you're interested in strong, beautiful women or the fashion world. It's available on HBO Demand right now.