What happens to the beautiful people when they grow up?
Lisa Taylor was perhaps one of the most beautiful of the very beautiful of the 1970's scene. Among many other models, including Paulina Porizkova, Christy Turlington, and Jerry Hall, Taylor is the topic of a recent HBO documentary by Timothy Greenfield- Sanders, a portrait photographer, titled About Face: Supermodels Then and Now first debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012 and made its television premiere over the summer. The film examines a close up look of a glittering exterior.
Lisa Taylor had it all on the outside. The blonde goddess hailed from Oyster Bay, Long Island and was swept into the Ford Agency for her classic American good looks. She dated Tommy Lee Jones and had a cameo in his 1978 film Eyes of Laura Mars. Her weight during filming bordered on anorexic. She also eventually dabbled in cocaine use. She attributes the rampant drug use to constant pressure to lose weight as a model.
The idea that you have to stay young is knocked aside by these gorgeous women. Serene Isabella Rosellini is featured. She looks ageless. Silver-haired model Carmen Dell’Orefice, at 81-years old, talks openly about maintaining your confidence when rejected by a designer or model agency. Beverly Johnson proudly discusses being the first African American model on Vogue. Yet she admits with chagrin, the industry does have a downside: "When I was modeling, the career lasted three to four years."
While the New York Times called Greenfield-Sanders film essentially surface deep, it does touch on some interesting points about racism, ageism, and feminism in the modeling industry. Perhaps there are too many points to be explored for a two hour documentary and his plethora of a dozen mega famous names can't explore the topic. Their star making looks do the talking, as always.
Perhaps the most important legacy of these aging supermodels is their photos. One of Lisa Taylor's most famous stints was a Dior ad. She holds her tanned arm in the clutches of a black Doberman Pinscher. The photographer was notorious bad boy Chris Von Wangenheim, famed for his sensuous portraits of doomed Gia Carangi. He captured her innocence in picture perfect quality. Chained to a brutal animal, it was a symbol of the dark side of the business.
Hopefully, the models in this documentary are a testament to survival, and that anyone can get out of the business with their hearts unscathed.