Fad­ing face of su­per­mod­els

Celebri­ties have taken over cov­ers of ma­jor fash­ion mag­a­zines, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION -

THERE was a time when mod­els re­ally were su­per. Cindy Craw­ford, Elle Macpherson, Christie Brink­ley, Claudia Schif­fer and Nikki Tay­lor were house­hold names, plas­tered on mag­a­zine cov­ers, dom­i­nat­ing ad­ver­tise­ments.

Now that ev­ery model is called a su­per­model, the list of recog­nis­able names is much smaller and mostly re­tired. Giselle. Heidi Klum. Any­one else?

‘‘The cov­ers have been taken over by the celebri­ties and all of the make-up and hair ads have been taken over by celebri­ties,’’ model Kim Alexis says. ‘‘And we want our jobs back.’’

The new Amer­i­can doc­u­men­tary About Face: Su­per­mod­els Then and Now doc­u­ments the rise of these mod­els from the ’40s through the ’80s, when Alexis said ‘‘You would see me on the cover of Glamour and Vogue and Made­moi­selle and also do­ing a Cover Girl and a May­belline ad all in the same mag­a­zine.’’

The doc­u­men­tary pre­mieres in the US on Mon­day and shares the mod­els’ per­sonal ca­reer and beauty sto­ries.

Di­rec­tor Ti­mothy Green­field-San­ders came up with the idea for the doc­u­men­tary at a party for su­per­mod­els from the 1970s and ’80s.

‘‘I walked into a party that my friend was giv­ing and I looked around the room and saw these gor­geous women and thought, ‘Geez, that’s a photo or some­thing. No one’s shot them in a while – it would be an in­ter­est­ing group shot’. And as I got to know them I thought, ‘Oh, this is ob­vi­ously a film’.’’

About Face also in­tro­duces view­ers to a time when mod­el­ling wasn’t glam­orous, says Green­field, like when Car­men Dell’Orefice be­gan mod­el­ling in the 1940s. She started as a teen and is still mod­el­ling to­day at 81 years old.

‘‘Car­men talked about how (mod­el­ling) was re­ally not a pro­fes­sion you’d ever want your child to go into, and that changed and by that time mod­els be­came celebri­ties and then par­ents thought, ‘Oh, this is a good pro­fes­sion for my daugh­ter’. ‘‘That’s a big change in 50 years.’’ The film also shows how even mod­els worry about signs of age­ing such as wrin­kles and changes to their fig­ure.

Karen Bjorn­son, who be­gan mod­el­ling in the 1970s, ad­mits in the doc­u­men­tary that she had an eye lift be­fore walk­ing in a 2002 Ralph Rucci run­way show.

Race was also once an is­sue in the in­dus­try.

China Machado, who also be­gan mod­el­ling in the 1950s, is half Chi­nese, half Por­tuguese.

She first found suc­cess as a house model in Europe where she would model cloth­ing from fash­ion col­lec­tions such as Givenchy for prospec­tive buy­ers.

It wasn’t un­til she be­gan mod­el­ling in the US that her eth­nic­ity be­came an is­sue.

‘‘ Harper’s Bazaar pub­lisher didn’t want to pub­lish my pic­tures be­cause they thought sub­scribers in the South would all can­cel.’’

Iron­i­cally she ended as their fash­ion ed­i­tor from 1962 to 1972.

Bev­erly John­son, who made his­tory as the first black model to ap­pear on the cover of Amer­i­can Vogue in 1974, be­lieves the doc­u­men­tary will pull back the veil on the mod­el­ling in­dus­try in a way that hasn’t been done be­fore.

Com­ing soon. 8.30pm, One

PG. 1973. Clos­ing chap­ter on the five-film apeepic in which the apes and the hu­mans bat­tle for sur­vival. Who knew there were so many in­stal­ments in this se­ries? And how much was di­rec­tor John Hus­ton paid to ap­pear briefly as the Law Giver? Per­haps the worst of the se­ries. Roddy McDow­ell, Claude Akins.

Claudia Schif­fer.

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