On the phone with … jan­ice dickinson / 202

Schon! - - Contents - In­ter­view / Sheri Chiu

Model / Jan­ice Dickinson Photography / Ad­ina Do­ria Cre­ative Direc­tor / War­rent Satt

Styling / Naila Make Up / Simon Ri­hana

@ Phal­lon Ri­ley Hair / Inna So­gomonyan @ Fer­nando Romero Sa­lon Photography As­sis­tant / Mon­tel C. Joiner

Jan­ice Dickinson was drip­ping in Givenchy as she took the in­au­gu­ral Con­corde flight from Paris to New York, mod­el­ling for Air France. Pho­tog­ra­phers snapped images of the leg­endary su­per­model with the Prime Min­is­ter of France as a host­ess handed her a large bag of caviar and cham­pagne. It was the epit­ome of a model get­ting star treat­ment. How­ever, it wasn’t all smooth sail­ing. Dickinson had to fight to get where she is to­day, af­ter cop­ing with phys­i­cal abuse from her fa­ther and bat­tling a drug and al­co­hol ad­dic­tion. She talks us through her hard­ships and re­cov­ery, her surg­eries and how, de­spite the rush of it all, per­haps the fastest but­ton is pause.

What was the most valu­able les­son you learned in mod­el­ling school?

I learned make-up, hair and poise. I prac­ticed run­way. In fact, I won a huge com­pe­ti­tion in New York for the Miss High Fash­ion Award when I was 16. I went around all the agen­cies and pho­tog­ra­phers, beg­ging them to take my pho­to­graphs, but to no avail. It was very dif­fi­cult for me.

How has your per­spec­tive of the fash­ion in­dus­try changed since you first started mod­el­ling?

The rates were dif­fer­ent and mod­els weren’t as revered as they are to­day. Af­ter be­ing re­jected by Eileen Ford, who said my look wouldn’t sell, I chal­lenged that and got an air­plane ticket to Paris. There were five or six mod­els to a room. It was won­der­ful, like go­ing to col­lege. We were go­ing on Vogue in­ter­views. So, I ac­tu­ally got a PhD in Vogue. It took me all over the world.

What makes a good model?

Move­ment. Study­ing dance. Main­tain­ing a bal­anced life. Be­ing flex­i­ble and be­ing kind. Re­main­ing true to your­self and re­mem­ber­ing that mod­el­ling isn’t ev­ery­thing. Giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity. Mod­els should take the time to smile and [not] act out as a diva be­cause it will be dam­ag­ing for young girls who think that mod­els are un­ap­proach­able.

How do you feel about the mod­el­ling in­dus­try’s stan­dards on how thin a model should be? A model has to be pro­por­tion­ate. Per­son­ally, in my case, I was flab­ber­gasted be­cause – be­fore I had my breasts done at the end of my ca­reer and af­ter I had my first child – I re­alised what it meant to be thin. Mod­els on the cov­ers of mag­a­zines are air­brushed. There’s hair, makeup and light­ing. Photo re­touch­ers could dig­i­tally ma­nip­u­late a healthy girl… to the point that it’s ab­surd. It sends the wrong mes­sage to teens that could de­velop body dys­mor­phia at a very young age.

I’ve seen a lot of mod­els smok­ing cig­a­rettes, try­ing to re­main thin. Co­caine was preva­lent. Back­stage, there was al­co­hol. In my days, we had to do run­way dur­ing the day – some­times six or seven shows a day, then shoot the ed­i­to­rial at night. It was a vi­cious cy­cle and I got lost in it for a few years. I be­came ad­dicted to drugs and al­co­hol. With the help of the twelve-step pro­gram, I’ve come through on the other end. I think that young girls should re­ally pay at­ten­tion and not be­lieve that An­gelina Jolie or Cara Delev­ingne or any­one looks like the way they look.

What was the first cos­metic surgery you had and why did you do it?

I had a pro­ce­dure on my breasts and that was in my 30s. It wasn’t un­til my late 40s or early 50s that I had a mini facelift. I was quite vo­cal about it. Not many women talk about it. I just de­cided to say that I do have Botox and I did have plas­tic surgery. It was… like go­ing to the den­tist.

Af­ter be­ing a judge on Amer­ica’s Next Top Model and hav­ing your own show The Jan­ice Dickinson Mod­el­ing Agency, what did you hope to ex­press in tele­vised mod­el­ling com­pe­ti­tions?

Tele­vi­sion was amaz­ing for me be­cause Tyra Banks read my book No Life­guard on Duty, which was a cau­tion­ary tale of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. She re­alised that I was the only judge that had more ex­pe­ri­ence than she ever will. Tyra wanted me to be the mean judge, the Simon Cow­ell of the panel. I was fa­mous al­ready, be­ing the world’s first su­per­model. Tele­vi­sion taught me to be kind and gen­er­ous to the public, be­cause at a very young age, I re­mem­ber go­ing up to Sean Con­nery and ask­ing him for his au­to­graph when I was on a lo­ca­tion shoot with Pa­trick De­marche­lier. Sean Con­nery told me to go fuck my­self. Since then, I said if any­one asks me for an au­to­graph, I will be kind, pa­tient and ac­com­mo­dat­ing. I wanted to be a men­tor for young girls so I started a mod­el­ling agency. It gave me a chance to help them un­der­stand self-es­teem and the things you can achieve by get­ting an ed­u­ca­tion.

How do you man­age to jug­gle all your projects?

By re­main­ing me. I un­der­stand there’s still more in life to achieve, such as re­duc­ing our in­take, try­ing to re­main as green as pos­si­ble and giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity. It’s hugely im­por­tant for me to speak around the world in re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tres. [It’s] such a ver­boten thing for peo­ple to ad­mit they have dark prob­lems. It’s OK to seek out­side help… My fa­ther was a pae­dophile: he ver­bally and phys­i­cally tried to abuse me at a young age. I didn’t re­solve it, so I acted out in my 20s. I went to re­hab, got my shit to­gether and be­came a mom.

Did you re­solve th­ese is­sues with your fa­ther?

Yes I did. The only way I could do it was through for­give­ness. I for­gave him be­cause he mo­lested me, and I was able to for­give my­self for be­ing the vic­tim.

What do you think about to­day’s ob­ses­sion with speed?

I think tech­nol­ogy is danger­ous. The art of let­ter writ­ing is al­most non-ex­is­tent. Even for shop­ping, you can’t sup­port the lo­cal econ­omy or lo­cal busi­nesses be­cause ev­ery­thing is be­ing shipped to the house by th­ese blogs and shop­ping net­works. I was glad that I was born in 1955 and I ex­pe­ri­enced real mu­sic [as] op­posed to dig­i­tal crap.

What is next?

I am go­ing to con­tinue writ­ing. Presently, I’m work­ing on a movie. I’ve met the love of my life, Dr. Robert Gerner, on a blind date set up by his son Rob Ju­nior. We’re en­gaged. We’re go­ing to get mar­ried in my next TV-movie project that I’m presently writ­ing and pro­duc­ing. I’m work­ing on my projects, be­ing a fi­ancé to Robby, and giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity. That’s it for me.

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