in paris and down under
“Yo Dutch, remember,” Janice calls after me, “I’m Super model and you're Stupid Model.
Set in Paris and Australia in the sexist mid seventies, Stupid Model traces the troubled but often hilarious tale of seventeen-year-old Dutch fashion model Bee Berger, as she learns that modeling and international travel are a minefield of groping, grabbing, horny men and the fashion world is not so glamorous after all. In Paris she finds herself sharing a model apartment with the world's first supermodel Janice Dickinson and deals with over-sexed men who constantly try to talk her out of her clothes. From photographer Jean Loup Sieff, who is casting an YSL campaign to Andre Courreges who kicks her out into the street when she finally fights back. After this upsetting start in Paris, Bee's agency sends her Down Under to compete in a shady modeling competition, and she ends up alone below Sydney Bridge with a Trump-like man who takes her passport away, dresses her in provocative designer clothes and claims that she needs his "protection", presumably from abusive men like him.
Unlike most model memoirs, Stupid Model is a satirical inside look at the fashion world, where young women are treated like mere things that can be groped, manipulated, used and abused without recourse. Bee enters this world with enthusiasm, faith and naiveté as well as a healthy dose of Dutch feminist righteousness that gets her both in and out of trouble. She blunders from one calamity to the next while trying to fit in, acting stupid and taking her top off as requested, until she’s had enough and plots her way to independence. Based on the original journals of the author, former top model Barbara de Vries, all 224 pages of Stupid Model are filled with sexy, funny and beautiful fashion photographs, doodles, drawings and snapshots. This fast-moving, witty narrative is especially relevant in #metoo 2017, when Barbara has her own tale of being Weinsteined by the man himself. True to her character Bee in the book, Barbara is one of the few women who exacted revenge by challenging Harvey's virility in an elevator packed with movie people - full story here:
the back of the book is where you usually read what famous people have said about the author (hoping it will make you buy the book).
This is what I came up with:
"Lysette told me to keep my hands off you..." Harvey Weinstein (NYC, just before he ran his hand up my skirt)
“You were such a cute model” - Kate Moss (at the Hollywood Bowl, LA)
“I can’t shoot you today... or ever” - Helmut Newton (by a British swimming pool, in the rain)
“You are very talented” - Calvin Klein (when I worked for him, NYC)
“I’m Super Model and you’re stupid model” - Janice Dickinson (Paris)
“Did you two, you know, do it?” - George Clooney (Bahamas, wondering if Hugh Laurie and I had sex back in 1985 )
“You look beautiful” - Patrick Demarchelier (on my wedding day, Hamptons)
“Sortez! Get out!!” - André Courrèges (Paris)