The chicest, shriekingest skull in all the land, Naomi Campbell, ran the gamut of human emotions on last night's episode of Oxygen's reality modeling competition-cum-sorority rush The Face. As coach/mentor for three of the show's aspiring models, she ranted, she raved, she condescended, she laughed manically, she cried crocodile tears of cold-blooded joy, she rounded corners ominously.
Approaching today, the first anniversary of the death of Whitney Houston, I have been thinking about the way the pop star voiced her displeasure with her career during the last 10 years of her life. She became increasingly irritated by the attention she received, ranting about it in song and on reality TV. She was sick of sharing her amazing gift with the world, a gift that she neglected over time by smoking things like cigarettes, marijuana, and cocaine. She had been one of the most famous, most objectively talented people in the world and she got sick of it.
Jerry Ford,* the (dapper!) fellow pictured here, is dead at 83.** Ford founded Ford Models, one of the leading agencies in the seventies and eighties that legitimized the industry and gained renown for discovering Lauren Hutton, Christie Brinkley, Rachel Hunter, Vendela and sundry other blonde ubermodeltypes and OMG I totally forgot about Xuxa. Ford is slightly less famed for its canny picking of future Mouseketeer Gone Wild types: the agency represented Lindsay Lohan and Mischa Barton, Ashley Tisdale, Courteney Cox, Ali Larter and ha ha ha we will forgive him for this but Paris Hilton. Because Jerry Ford was the first genuinely decent boss in a business characterized by predatory "robber barons." A lot has changed since Ford's heyday, and not for the better!The robber barons, for one thing, are back. As our anonymous industry friend and Jezebel contributor Tatiana tells us, most modeling agencies these days are glorified human traffickers that occupy a place on the "usury" spectrum somewhere between Payday Loan shops and actual armed robbers. Agencies stick them in overcrowded model apartments and gouge them on rent. When they are not in "demand," they're forced to work for either clothes or nothing at all; when they are in demand, they're forced to walk 28 shows in a week and that sort of nonsense. Ford was different. He instituted a five-day workweek, paid models every Friday even when clients didn't pay up, and ran a practically Victorian institution wherein models weren't allowed to host gentleman callers. I don't even think he knew how to get coke! Obviously all that shit is gone today. In any case, Ford sold out to a private equity firm in December and his son who is still involved in the company is apparently (duh) a modelizer. We welcome any and all old Ford Model cards, hot Courteney Cox pix, links to that cute Lindsay Lohan-Mischa Barton catalog picture that surfaced sometime last year and/or clips of that retarded Xuxa show. Jerry Ford, Man Behind The Models
I mean, it's probably mostly all well and good and I hope it makes people with disabilities feel more recognized and enfranchised. But, sigh, are we the only ones hearing the feint lilt of a carnival freak show organ grinding? Once the victor is done with her four-page spread in the UK edition of Marie Claire, will she be welcomed into the ranks of the modeling world? Or will she just be the girl missing an arm who won that weird show once?
As Tyra Banks loves to remind us, modeling is hard, okay? Sometimes you have to sit in chairs for really long amounts of time while people make you look pretty, and sometimes you even have to get out of those chairs to stand up and move your arms and stuff. But after seeing these pictures of Gisele Bundchen getting her ass squeezed by a fluffer while shooting a fashion spread, it turns out we didn't know the half of it. Apparently, sometimes, models even have to endure butt massages while they work! A closer look at Bundchen's behind, and the men assigned to perfect it, after the jump.
In honor of Project Runway's return tonight (and just in the nick of time, as the prospect of nothing but new episodes of The Rachael Ray Show made us want to plunge the closest shish-kabob skewer into the spongy centers of our brains), we thought we'd salute the competition's unsung heroes: The models, blank canvases called upon week after week to strut down the titular thoroughfare looking far sexier and more confident than anyone forced by a mentally unstable designer to wear a chain-basket hat has any right to be. And with a nod to our previous Runway guessing game , we'll throw out another puzzler: Which of these models loves the New York Mets, is addicted to chick flicks, and simply abhors tardiness? The answer is here.