IN A WHIRLWIND SIX MONTHS, 17-YEAR-OLD JULIE ANDERSON WENT FROM HER RESTRICTIVE HOME LIFE AS A CENTRAL FLORIDA TEEN TO THE COVER Of COSMOPOLITAN. IN THE ENSUING YEARS SHE WOULD GO ON TO A FURTHER 30-ODD COVERS, BECOME THE INCUMBENT LA PERLA GIRL, SHOOT WITH SOME Of THE GREATS, HAVE CHILDREN AND TRAVEL THE GLOBE WITH SAID CHILDREN. THEN SHE MET BLACK MAG EDITORAT-LARGE AND PHOTOGRAPHER PAUL EMPSON, AND THE REST IS HISTORY. JULIE TALKS TO GRANT FELL AND RACHAEL CHURCHWARD ABOUT MODELS, MOMS, FEMININE COLLECTIVE, OUR RACH AND TYRA Photography: Paul EMPSON Fashion Editor: SAMRANGER Hair: Kuni at See Management NY Make-up: markedio at See Management NY Model: Julie ANDERSON at LA Models
Grant Fell: Let’s start at the beginning Julie, when and where did your modelling career start? Julie Anderson: It started in Central Florida in 1987, and it’s actually a miracle that it started at all. I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. I don’t know if you are familiar with that religion, but it’s pretty restrictive. Anything that involved the outside world, relationships with non members of the church, listening to certain music, going on a date without the intention of marriage, or being involved in after school activities were frowned upon by the elders of the church—not a normal childhood filled with relatively harmless experiences. Right? GF: For sure… When I entered high school, in 9th grade, I crawled into a shell. I had two or three good friends. One of my friends would always bring in fashion magazines. One day she brought in Cosmopolitan magazine with Paulina on the cover … Paulina Porizkova? Exactly. I remember looking at her and thinking, my eyes are kind of like hers, and my neck is kind of like hers. I always felt awkward, ugly, and didn’t fit in anywhere. Then, I heard on the radio about an Elite Modeling competition happening in Orlando. My parents took me to that competition—a bold move. The universe stepped in, and my destiny was changed forever. I was courted by agencies around the world, but I had never been away from home before. I decided to go to Chicago first. It seemed less daunting than New York or Europe. I was only seventeen. When I arrived in Chicago, I was lucky enough to work straight away with the great Victor Skrebneski. He launched Cindy Crawford’s career. His photographs are iconic, old school—fabulous. Shortly thereafter I secured my first major booking with American Vogue. I went from small town America to Vogue magazine. Wayne Maser was the photographer for that shoot. Kara Young, a supermodel in my eyes was my buddy on the shoot. I remember walking in and seeing Polly Mellen, do you know who Polly Mellen is? Rachael Churchward: Absolutely! She was the stylist on that shoot. RC: Wow, my hero! … She took one look at my arms and said “Her arms are too hairy!” I was immediately shuttled off to get my arms waxed. It was hysterical. I was this doe-eyed kid. I remember Wayne Maser suggesting that Kara and I act like lesbians, and I actually had no idea what a lesbian was! Gf&rc:hahaha… Shortly after my career took off in NYC, I met a man who rocked my world. However, the indoctrination of my youth was still ingrained in my head, and being in a serious relationship without the seal of a marriage certificate bothered me. I ended up getting married at a very early age, already pregnant with my first child. The industry frowned upon both my union and the impending birth of my child. They said it would ruin my career … GF: It obviously didn’t … No. But I was always very stubborn and headstrong, I did what I wanted to do, which definitely made it harder, but I had an epic adventure. Even though my marriage didn’t last, I was blessed with an incredible son who travelled all over the world with me. GF: It seems the fashion industry views things a bit differently now. Karl Lagerfeld made a feature of NZ model Ashleigh Good’s pregnancy in the latest Chanel show … When I was pregnant, Tyen photographed me before and after for British Vogue. I am pretty sure I was one of the first people ever to be published in a major magazine completely nude and pregnant. I just covered my nipples. After that, Demi Moore famous Vanity Fair cover hit the stands. GF: I was going to ask if that was pre the famous Demi Moore cover… Oh, she probably got the idea from us …(laughs) … so anyway, yes, that’s how I started. GF: We have been through a bit of a list of photographers you have worked with and the list is outrageous; Patrick Demarchelier, Irving Penn, Avedon, Gilles Bensimon, Helmut Newton, Arthur Elgort, Bert Stern, Albert Watson, Tyen … legendary names … any anecdotes? I have one that just popped into my mind with Albert Watson. His photographic eye is exquisite, and his studio was something else. At the entrance to his studie, a 20 foot high angel floated in his courtyard. It had been brought in with a crane. That Angel always had our backs. Albert was very kind … intense. I remember him showing me images as they came out of the darkroom—those were the days when you actually had a dark room! Everything has changed so much … I loved that about Albert, he was inclusive. Gf:what about Avedon? Avedon shot Estelle Lefevre and me on the same day for a Vogue cover try. That was so intimidating. Being in the same room as Estelle was surreal, she was one of my idols. Me, a kid from nowhere who found herself in this creative genius atmosphere—avedon’s world—was too much to bear! I remember feeling like I was under a microscope. Frankly, I did not feel like I belonged. Avedon struck me as someone who was very mathematical in his approach to capturing an image. Clinical almost. He was focused. GF: Was Irving Penn similar? That was intense. He was such an unassuming man, very gentle. Someone told me once that he didn’t sleep more than four hours in a night. He was insanely creative with a great team around him who supported and protected him. You could certainly never question anything he asked you to do. If he wanted you to put dog poo on your face for a photo you had to do it (laughs). Inevitably, the photo was always a masterpiece. GF: On your personal website you have around 30 covers, do you have a favourite cover or one that stands out for you? I think the Cosmopolitan cover, my first cover. Me, the geek that was never invited anywhere, leaves town without farewell and turns up six months later on the cover of Cosmopolitan - that was pretty special. Things moved pretty quickly once that cover came out. There were a lot of invitations to the high school prom after that! GF & RC: Ha ha, we bet there was! You worked with legendary make-up artist Kevyn Aucoin as well, right? Yes. After Kevyn Aucoin did my make-up, I would keep it on for as long as possible. I once did a shoot with him in NYC and I said, make sure it sticks because I am going to a party tonight, in Los Angeles! When I got off that airplane in Los Angeles, some 6 hours later, my face was still on! RC: Ha ha that’s brilliant… Looking back though, at that Cosmopolitan cover, I was way too thin, But now, the girls in the industry, look at them … can you believe the girls on the runway now? RC: One of the problems is that half of them are about 12-years-old…gf: And shipped, en masse, from Russia …RC: … and physically underdeveloped … and, unfortunately, in those fashion capitals there is an element of being encouraged to be far too thin … It’s ridiculous. When Paul and I were in New York, last fashion week, I was gobsmacked…
“THE GEEK THAT WAS NEVER INVITED ANYWHERE LEAVES TOWN AND SIX MONTHS LATER IS ON THE COVER Of COSMOPOLITAN, THAT WAS PRETTY SPECIAL. THINGS CHANGED PRETTY QUICKLY WHEN THAT COVER CAME OUT, THERE WERE LOTS Of INVITATIONS TO THE PROM!”
“I ARRIVED FOR THE GO SEE WITH MY YOUNG SON, A NANNY AND A MENAGERIE Of ANIMALS. I STEPPED OUT Of THE CAB, LOOKED UP AND LOCKED EYES WITH PAUL. WE BOTH SWEAR THAT CUPID SHOT HIS ARROW THAT DAY. LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT”
RC: We are quite lucky here in New Zealand, where body shape, in general, is a little more healthy. We have a healthy lifestyle here: the food and exercise is part of life and, generally speaking, we prefer healthier looking girls. Sometimes girls come through here, en route to Australia or even to do a stint in New Zealand, and they have just done fashion week up there and they are quite often just skin and bones … The pressure is insane, these girls are swallowing cotton balls. RC: I think it is mainly built around runway, the girls that get to your level have to be healthier, they can’t be super skinny. The girls we have on our covers, for example, they can be lean, but they have to be healthier than the runway girls you are talking about … those are the jobbing models, the ones that are neither here nor there. They book shows sometimes but are not really getting much attention … Yes, that’s the curse of the industry. Even somebody like myself that has enjoyed quite a few highs in my career, I still suffered extreme self-worth issues. I never really felt that good about myself right up until I would say about two years ago. Even with the campaigns and everything, I still had huge doubts. My confidence was very low. You are right when you say that it takes a little more to be successful nowadays in fashion. There are a lot of models at the top right now who look great but who do not live healthy lifestyles. They have a team of people telling them they look phenomenal, but in the long run they are not really interested in their actual health and well being. Models are a commodity. I find it remarkably sad and really heart-wrenching. RC: I do feel lucky being here in NZ. It is a small place and Grant and I and our Black teams, we really, really nurture the models. They are the kids we never had, and we see it as really important that they feel safe and secure… There is stress on the models throughout the high fashion capitals, but the worst place, in my opinion, in terms of stress placed on models, is Japan. The Japanese aesthetic for beauty is extreme. I agree with you about New Zealand. A phenomenal country where its citizens are loving, family-oriented and truly human—embracing life and all its glory. In all my travels, it’s just so rare. GF: One of the highlights of your modeling career must have been your role as the global face and body of La Perla, for five years. What an incredible brand with a rich history … five years in a row. They kept coming back to you … They were the best. I was working with a man named Nadir and his wife Alexandra and for some reason they just loved me. I was constantly booked for La Perla. We did shoots in Lake Como, Milano and Paris. It was off-the-charts fabulous. I mean that’s an investment you want to make! Every woman should buy herself some La Perla underwear (laughs).withmycareerskyrocketing,ithink, at that point, I turned into a bit of a diva. I began requesting to be flown to Paris via the Concorde, and they obliged. They were dream clients. GF: Wow, the Concorde, what a plane! It was insane! The Concorde, first of all, was a majestic bird wasn’t it? Being able to cross the Atlantic in 3-and-a-half hours was a dream! GF: In the nineties, at one point you were officially designated as a supermodel … Apparently, I was. I don’t really like that term; I think it’s kind of cheesy. The real supermodels are obviously Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista—we know who they are. I find it embarrassing when I am called a supermodel. The title does not belong to me. GF: You had this huge modelling career, which tapered off a little around the millennium, that was when you came to Australia. In 2001, we gave America the big flick because of political reasons and our addiction to travel, next stop, Australia. In the early 2000s, I was raising three kids, living in Sydney. I really just didn’t worry about my career anymore. I was focused on being a mom. After having my youngest child Jalen, I realized that I missed the fashion business. I missed meeting people from different walks of life, and traveling to exotic locations. I LOVE it! RC: I do too …GF: Same … And that spiritual connection thing, you meet someone and think “my God, we must have been separated at birth, you must be a distant relative.” GF: What about your husband Paul, who is the photographer in this story. Tell us about the time when you met Paul … Okay. Well, as you know, you are only as good as your last tear sheet in this business. It’s brutal. When Kate Moss came on the scene—all of a sudden people had to lose a thousand pounds, cut their hair and embrace grunge. I jumped on that bandwagon as well. Cut my hair off and dyed it various colors. Doing anything it took to look grunge. I needed new photos for my portfolio, and fast! Fortunately, I ran into my friend Alexander Becker, a make up artist. He showed me his portfolio and some of his pictures blew my mind. I asked him who shot those images and he said Paul Empson. So I said, (adopts diva voice) “Tell Paul I would like him to take my picture.” (laughs). It turns out Paul knew who I was. … Apparently, he had seen me at parties and thought I was a diva. He told Alexander that he was not interested in shooting me. As luck would have it, shortly thereafter, he had a shoot where the lead model was based on John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. At the last minute, the model that was booked for the shoot pulled out. Paul remembered that I wanted to work with him. He thought my face structure would fit the androgyny look that the shoot required. He took a chance and arranged a meeting with me. I arrived for the go see with my young son, a nanny and a menagerie of animals. I stepped out of the cab, looked up and locked eyes with Paul. We both swear that cupid shot his arrow that day. Love at first sight … G&r:awwww… GF: Let’s talk about where you are at now and Feminine Collective, your website. We really like the site … Really? You are not just saying that? RC: No. Really, we like it a lot …good messages! Just yesterday, I was talking to a successful Australian model and she said to me, “Julie, I’m 36 years old, and it’s hard to work. I don’t understand, we’re not old!” Personally speaking, we are just now feeling better about ourselves, but the industry tells us we are not sexy anymore. Like you mentioned earlier Rachel, most media for women over 35 is boring as hell. Resigning ourselves to a matronly persona, at this point, is really all that is available to us, in my opinion. That’s just not where I am at. Forget it! RC: It’s not over. Just because you hit 30, 40 or 50, there are a whole bunch of new things to be excited about! In Australia I started working again, I did a few commercials, a few spreads and campaigns there. I had fun, but mainly I was still just a mom. I think in the Southern Hemisphere being a mother is very important. It’s valued and respected. You don’t feel like a loser.
In America, motherhood is not deemed as important as having a high profile career. The bar is set incredibly high. As I emerged from being just a mom, I started searching for my passion. I thought about going back to school but then it dawned on me that by the time I would have finished and paid off the student loans, I would have been 75, you know?! (laughs). So, when we returned to the Northern Hemisphere, I reconnected with all of the people I had lost contact with. All of a sudden, after all of these years, I had this network, this incredible network, of insanely fabulous women and men. There where a handful who helped bring me back to my former courageous self, helped me conquer my inner demons if you will. They said “Julie, c’mon, you feel like that? Look at you, you look amazing!” And then I thought to myself, “Jeez, if I feel like this, there must be other women out there who feel just like I do.” GF: Was that the genesis for Feminine Collective? Yeah. I started thinking that it would be great to tap into this amazing group of women that I know, from the fashion, music, and entertainment industries. People with their experiences, their backgrounds, who have something positive to give back, whether it be a little make-up tip here or there. People who could be brutally honest about beauty, about life, about experiences and tell their stories. For example, being honest about always having a belly issue until they realized, “Wait a minute, I have been sucking in my belly all my life, right up until I was 50. I’m letting it go man, I’m in my bathing suit and I feel hot!” People need to hear real stories, like the unsung hero, a little Chinese lady who lives up the road and is always passing food out to the homeless – maybe it would be nice to know about her … all we know about, it seems … are the Kardashians (pauses) RC: Ohgod… Imean,c’mon,itmakesmewonder whatiswrongwithsocietyandwhytheworld is going to hell in a handbag. So, I reached out to perhaps my closest, and perhaps first friend in the industry, Marla Carlton. She was an early model buddy in Chicago. When I told her about the Feminine Collective idea, she jumped onboard immediately. She is an award-winning graphic designer and art director. My partner in crime, we are both fulfilling our dreams, writing and curating for Feminine Collective. We launched at the end of January, since then it’s been a wild ride, meeting incredible people along the way. Like Michelle Rigby, a brilliant mind, and the author of our first column, Inspired Intel is EX-CIA, working undercover for 10 years in the Middle East. She was like me, raised with a religious, conservative background. In the CIA she literally had to go up against terrorists. As an agent in the middle east, she was a woman in a man’s world, one of the CIA’S secret weapons. She has just finished her book, and will be a published novelist soon. Her takeaway after a decade in the CIA, is with her knowledge she can help to empower both women and girls. She writes bi-monthly, in her exclusive column for Feminine Collective about self-defense, career skills and relevant news. The CIA reviews and approves all of her articles before they are published on Feminine Collective. I think that that is so cool! GF: I like the way you write on the site Julie, you write with a concise, open voice. It is easy to follow and understand what you are saying and thinking. Thank you! I love what you guys are doing too. Black is not your average fashion mag is it?! With Feminine Collective, we have had some remarkable moments already that have just blown our minds. We have jumped on this massive wave of female empowerment, not so much feminist, but rather empowerment that comes from embracing all of our gifts, feminine notwithstanding. GF: Ok, now the near future. Can you tell us about the TV show you are going to be doing with New Zealand’s sweetheart, Rachel Hunter? You know, I had not seen her inovertwentysomethingyears!mynewagent in LA suggested I might want to consider doing a reality TV show—namely one that was casting at that very moment. Being the new kid on the block in Los Angeles, I am always up for a new adventure, and by now, my skin is pretty thick! I soon found myself at Lions Gate, which is, of course, a huge entertainment corporation. The guy I met there for this casting was the creator of wildly successful reality shows like Jersey Shore. He’s a great guy and at 31 years old, he is hot shit in this town. Last year, he sold something like 30 television shows. Anyway, this particular show is still under construction. I can’t say too much about it … other than it involves modeling and motherhood. And that is how I was able to rekindle my relationship with Rachel. She too was tapped to be in the cast. Whatever happens happens, meaning, if could be wildly popular and run forever, once launched, or not at all. I can say that going into that meeting and finding my old friend again, the one and only Rachel Hunter was a gift from the gods! Rachel and I have all kinds of ideas about other potential projects and daydreams of what life should be like. She is a celebrity, a true celebrity that is for sure! The last time I saw her we met at the Chateau Marmont, had a bite to eat and called it a night. Leaving the Chateau heading to my car, she whispers “Run!” All of a sudden Paparazzi appear scuttling around her. I had my handbag. I didn’t know if I was supposed to protect her, but I am swinging it around (much laughing) to cover her face, or to wave it like a weapon in the paps face … it was really odd. I don’t know how I would deal with that celebrity stuff. RC: Oh, I think you would have fun … GF: With your positive attitude to life, I am sure you will … Before we go, I loved the Tyra Banks cover on the last issue of Black, can I tell you a Tyra story? RC: Please do! … Iremembertyrawhen she first started. We did the Chanel show together, Tyra was 15 years-old. Her mother was there. She was the prettiest girl in the room. The sweetest, well-mannered model around. I remember how the divine Miss Naomi Campbell, was not happy about Tyra being there. In fact, she was very unpleasant to Tyra. How Tyra handled herself during what was an uncomfortable exchange was remarkable. She was incredible. Look at her now! What a role model. What a remarkable success story. Girl does know how to smize doesn’t she?
Feminine Collective website The Julie Anderson. com
“I STARTED THINKING THAT IT WOULD BE GREAT TO TAP INTO THIS AMAZING GROUP Of WOMEN THAT I KNOW, FROM THE FASHION, MUSIC, AND ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRIES. PEOPLE WITH THEIR EXPERIENCES, THEIR BACKGROUNDS, WHO HAVE SOMETHING POSITIVE TO GIVE BACK
opening page: Jumper by margarethowell This page: Jumper by CACHEREL, trousers by maison martin margiela, slippers by ROBERT CLERGERIE
Shirt by TURNBULL and ASSER, jumper by BERTHOLD
Coat by umit BENAN
Jumper by LOU dalton, trousers by maison martin margiela, shoes by maxmara
Top row left-right: UK Elle 1990 cover, Spanish Harpers Bazaar cover by Paul Empson, Harpers & Queen cover by Mario Testino This row left-right: Images from Paul and Julie’s first shoot together for Italian Harpers Bazaar