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Model Student: A Tale of Co-Eds and Cover Girls [NOOK Book]

Overview

It’s the late 1980s—hair is big, Lycra is rampant, and supermodels rule the earth. Every girl in America dreams of becoming the next Cindy, Claudia, or Naomi, and seventeen-year-old Emily Woods is no different. She looks different, though—striking enough to start a career. Despite the protestations of her hippie parents, she plunges into the glamorous but grueling world of professional modeling. But Emily is more than just a small-town beauty with stars in her eyes: She’s been accepted to Columbia University, and...
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Model Student: A Tale of Co-Eds and Cover Girls

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Overview

It’s the late 1980s—hair is big, Lycra is rampant, and supermodels rule the earth. Every girl in America dreams of becoming the next Cindy, Claudia, or Naomi, and seventeen-year-old Emily Woods is no different. She looks different, though—striking enough to start a career. Despite the protestations of her hippie parents, she plunges into the glamorous but grueling world of professional modeling. But Emily is more than just a small-town beauty with stars in her eyes: She’s been accepted to Columbia University, and she’s not about to let couture and klieg lights get in the way of an Ivy League education.

Thus begins Emily’s double life: cramming for a final at an exotic swimsuit shoot in the Caribbean; fighting the freshman fifteen to avoid the wrath of her agent; owning a closet full of Versace but nothing to wear to a frat party; sitting in a women’s studies class while ads featuring girls she knows are picked apart; juggling the attention of both college guys and the sought-after fashion photographer of the moment.

But as Emily pursues her chic fantasy of Vogue covers and prestigious cosmetic campaigns, her priorities start to shift. In the ultra-competitive quest for supermodel fame and fortune, strutting off the runway to study Shakespeare might mean letting another pretty face snag her stilettos, and Emily’s thisclose to getting a leg up on her dreams.

Before long, the seamier side of the fashion industry—cocaine and cads, collagen and implants, fad diets and eating disorders—becomes close up and personal. All of a sudden, Emily realizes how far she’s strayed from her dream of having it all. With sliding grades that threaten her future at Columbia and spotty bookings that put her career as a model in question, Emily is finally forced to make a choice between style and substance.

Dazzling, dramatic, and as real as it gets, Model Student shines a spotlight behind the scenes and reminds us why you can’t judge a book by its cover girl.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
It's 1988, and 17-year-old Emily Woods is on the threshold of becoming both a student at Columbia University and a "run-of-the-mill six-figure"-earning model. So begins Yale grad and former model Hazelwood's debut, a revealing romp that has its share of catwalks, catfights and cocaine. Milwaukee-born Emily awkwardly climbs the modeling ranks after a photo shoot with a famous Chicago fashion photographer, discovering quickly the differences between catalogue, advertising and editorial (magazine) modeling; why eye makeup should be applied before foundation; and how to survive on Metamucil and Diet Coke. The dialogue is bright and authentic, and the pace is as breathless as Emily's ascent (or descent) into the modeling world. Despite the support her zany college friends offer, Emily slips further into modeling's dark side, dabbling with drugs, purging and the possibility of breast enhancement. An experienced model gives her the secret of success: "Become a bitch." Good advice, Emily knows, but can she follow it? This appealing character will have readers rooting for her all the way. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Emily tries to make a go of attending Columbia while pursing her dream of being a couture model. However, she learns that it's hard to juggle the books and bronzer at the same time. And leaving for a photo shoot in the Caribbean right before Finals Week is not the best way to get your grades up. Former model Hazelwood's debut is just right for fans of America's Next Top Model. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A first novel, from a former model who graduated from Yale, about a model who goes to Columbia . When she leaves Wisconsin for Manhattan, Emily doesn't just start a new life, she starts two (not entirely harmonious) new lives: as a student at Columbia and as a model. Like many a freshman, Emily packs on a few extra pounds during her first year of college, and her story has a similar weight problem. It's bloated with inconsequential incident. Emily trudges from shoot to shoot. She does catalogues. She does advertising. She remains a nameless face. Emily takes exactly one turn on the runway, and it's a disaster. As a lesson to aspiring young models seeking nonstop glamour and free couture, Emily's tedious tale may have value. As entertainment, it's a bust. A model who worked during the early late '80s and early '90s-during the days when models were first becoming "super"-Hazelwood might be expected to deliver a little dish. Sadly, she offers nothing more than generalized tittle-tattle-models do cocaine, models have eating disorders, models have plastic surgery-that will come as a surprise to no one who has any knowledge of the fashion world. As for Emily's Columbia stint, it barely registers. School is mostly a scheduling conflict, and the only characters who challenge the ethics of Emily's job are pitiful caricatures of political correctness, easily dismissed. Nothing in Emily's education causes her to wonder if there's an inherent connection between her choice of careers and the abuse-physical and emotional-she suffers pursuing it. When Emily finally decides that she's had enough, her rebellion seems arbitrary: Why is listening to an Italian designer mock her cellulite worse than beingsexually assaulted by her costar in a commercial or being drugged by an agent? Readers looking for a front-row seat at Fashion Week will have to look elsewhere: Lacking glamour, devoid of thrills, this is the literary equivalent of a Sears catalogue.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307347107
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/4/2006
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,139,760
  • File size: 421 KB

Meet the Author

Robin Hazelwood, a graduate of Yale, was a professional model in New York, Paris, London, and Milan throughout the 1980s and 1990s. This is her first book.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Northern Lights



Frauke, the studio manager, adjusts her glasses, moving them lower on her nose. Wordlessly, she extends her hand.

I cross the foyer. The soles of my tennis shoes squidge against the marble. I give her my modeling portfolio. My heart pounds.

"Chicago Inc," she murmurs, scanning the cover.

"It's-a-new-agency-Louis-is-my-booker," I say in a rush.

Silence. The pages start to turn: one, two. When Frauke gets to page three, a three-quarter of me peeking through the strings of my tennis racquet, the first of my two "sporty" test shots, her eyes rotate.

"You're how old?"

The pages of my portfolio continue to turn. I watch myself go by, unseen.

"Seventeen. I'll be eighteen soon. In a month. July 5th actually."

Oops. Louis told me to stop doing this. "Models should never call attention to the aging process," he has said. Then again, Louis also told me to stop being such a motormouth. "Do you think of Marilyn Monroe as chatty?" he asked me once. "I think of Marilyn Monroe as dead," I replied. "Exactly," he retorted. "Icons don't talk." I get it: Shut up. But I can't help it; I'm nervous. I've been nervous ever since I got within twenty feet of this place, my fifth and final stop according to my list of appointments:

Conrad Fuhrmann (photographer)

25 W. Burton Pl. (xDearborn)

Ask 2C: Frauke (studio manager)

It looked harmless enough on paper, I thought. What did I know? I arrived at 25 West Burton Place to discover not a grungy fourth-floor walk-up, an "industrial space" filled with loose wires, dust bunnies, and futon seating, as per usual, but a large town house, a mansion, really, smack in the middle of Chicago's swanky Gold Coast District. Cream-colored and modern with a gravel driveway and sculptured trees, it looked like it belonged in Paris. Not that I've ever been. It looked like what I imagine Paris looking like. It looked imposing.

The inside is imposing, too. Or maybe it's Frauke. With glittering, ebony eyes, and glossy black hair, she sits in the all-white marble foyer looking more than a little like a spider in her web.

Wham. My portfolio cover slams shut. With sudden and surprising crispness, Frauke rises up and leans forward, her red nails gripping the desk's edge, her eyes skittering up my Adrienne Vittadini ensemble (a carefully chosen navy-and-white-striped skirt with matching sweater) and across my chin, nose, cheekbones--every inch of flesh--until they lock with mine.

"Follow me," she says.

I catch up with Frauke's dark form just as it enters a room. My eyes adjust: small study. Two suede couches. Dozens of glossy books. A smattering of silver frames with beautiful people in them.

"Conrad, this is Emily."

And a man. Conrad Fuhrmann lifts his glasses from the V in his cashmere sweater and hooks them around his temples. "Hello."

I swallow. "Hi."

Rising, he clasps his hands together like a dance instructor. "Turn around."

I twirl.

He laughs. "Not so fast. Again. So I can see you."

I spin around slowly, feeling very revolving cake, until I'm facing the couch again, facing Conrad and Frauke, who's now seated beside him. Physically, he's the antithesis of her: small, almost petite, with cornflower blue eyes and delicate features. Surprisingly, I find myself relaxing in his presence.

"How old are you?"

"Almost eighteen," Frauke answers crisply, as if my own might have been different.

When Conrad sits down again, his body tips forward--a question mark of keen interest.

And then it begins.

"Do you exercise?

"Do you dance?

"Do you eat?

". . . A lot?

"How often do you drink:

"--Milk?

"--Soda?

"--Alcohol?

"How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

"How tall are you?

"How tall are your parents?

"How much have you grown in the last year?

"How much do you weigh?

"Do you wear contacts?

"Do you use sunscreen?

"How would you describe your hair?

"Please state your morning and evening skin-care routine, beginning with your cleanser."

And on and on. It's like one of those nightmares where, suddenly, it's finals and you're being grilled by a panel of experts on a topic you haven't studied, only this test's for models, so it's not that hard.

Finally, we've exhausted the Health and Beauty category. Conrad gets the distracted look of someone doing complex numerical calculations in his head.

"So . . . almost eighteen. You've graduated, correct?"

"Yes."

"Are you going to college?"

"Uh-huh."

"Where?"

Not here, too. This is the question plaguing every single one of my classmates this summer, the question asked by every parent, every relative--everyone, that is, except people in the fashion business.

"Columbia University."

Conrad's back on his feet again, stepping toward me. "What about Northwestern?"

What about it? "Umm, it's a good school," I say. Did he go there? "But I want to be in New York."

Conrad eyes me steadily for one beat. Then another. "We'll see," he says.

See what? As far as I know the admissions process is over, thank God. But we don't discuss this further; instead Conrad takes me by the hand and guides me into the photography studio, which is vast and white, of course, and nice. Very nice. Against one wall, thick art books and scores of spindly magazines are interspersed with sculptures. A sweep of calla lilies rises out of a crystal vase next to a sleek leather sofa, one of a pair. A lacquered coffee table gleams. Chrome equipment glints in the bright light.

As I look around--really take it in--my stomach roils. From one thought in particular: This guy is major, really really major, in a totally different league from anyone I've ever worked with.

And that's before I see the photograph. Hanging right in front of me, only a couple of feet from where we've stopped, is a small black and white, that I stare at and gasp. Because, there, wearing nothing more than a few ounces of Lycra and a sultry smile, is the one and only Cindy Crawford--America's superest of supermodels. Only I've never seen her like this; with her short spiky hair and big soft cheeks, she looks about seventeen. My age.

Wow. I knew Cindy was from Illinois but . . . I turn to Conrad. He's still smiling, his blue eyes still soft and glowing. Slowly, he extends his hand toward my face. "Let's see: if we moved this . . ." A fingertip lightly touches a mole near my hairline before sliding down my cheek ". . . we'd have her." Then taps the location of the famous Cindy sweet spot.

No way. In Wisconsin, where I'm from, it's always been Brooke. We don't really look that much alike except for the eyebrows, but that doesn't stop people from accosting me, convinced I really am Miss-Nothing-But-Her-Calvins, though why the famous star would be wandering around the Midwest in a Balsam High sweatshirt was a mystery to me, unless it was a very earnest attempt at going deep undercover. Still, it's a compliment and who doesn't love compliments? Yet it's nothing like being compared to Cindy--and by someone who's actually photographed her! This is huge. I grin from ear to ear, even though it's not exactly ladylike. I can't help it.

And that's it, or a minute later it is. I say good-bye, walk along the gravel driveway, and through the iron gate, which purrs shut behind me. It's raining and a bit brisk, so I shove my hands in my pockets before trudging down the wet, gray avenue, turning at the red light for one last look. In contrast to the dull brick buildings surrounding it, the town house twinkles captivatingly, almost magically, like one of those shiny stones you find on the beach, the ones that look sprinkled with gold. The inside was like that, too. I think of the bright gleam of the foyer, the cozy glow of the library, the clean luminescence of the photo studio--light emanated from every corner of that place, and the world outside seems flatter, duller in its wake.

I have to work there, I think as I continue on. I just have to.

>

I guess I feel this way because so far my career hasn't been exactly what you'd call stellar. How could it be when it started with cheese? Not cheesy photos. Cheddar cheese. Foam Cheddar cheese.

You see, my father is the Woods in Woods and Wacowski, a small Milwaukee-based advertising agency. While the firm creates plenty of standard slogans, what they're famous for are bovine double entendres. You know: "Moove on Over," "Cream the Competition," "For a Good Cowse," that sort of thing--the kind of taglines that are perennially popular in the state that declares itself America's Dairyland right on its license plate.

Last fall, as part of his pitch to the state tourism board, Dad came up with a hat--quite a hat. It's called the Cheesehead and maybe you've seen it? If not, picture a wedge of yellow foam--the cheese--glued to the brim of a baseball hat, then picture someone actually deciding this is a good way to be seen in public, preferably drunk at a Packer game. Bad, right? Well, you should have seen the prototypes. I certainly did; it was either Swiss or Brick that capped off my modeling debut one cold winter day when Dad offered me $72 bucks--the amount in his wallet--to wear them for two rolls of film for his client.

Dale, the agency photographer, shot the two rolls, then asked if he could shoot one more, without the cheese. "You have good bone structure," he said, after he'd instructed me to loosen my fists, turn slightly profile, and look at the lens. "And a killer smile."

I beamed.

After we finished, Dale said something else. He was on his knees, packing away a reflector, when he rocked back on his heels. "I think you could be a model, Emily, I really do," he said, before offering to pass my photo along to a local agency.

I think you could be a model. Those were his exact words. I acted surprised, blase even, but truthfully? I was thrilled.

And I was ready. As anyone who has visited my room in the last five years can attest, I love fashion. I can't get enough of it. I subscribe to most beauty magazines; the rest I pick up at the newsstand. This is no exaggeration: if the cover features a smiling beauty next to the words "Ten Terrific Tips!," "Looks You'll Love!," or if the issue's simply hefty, it's mine. Every time I bring one home, I follow the same routine. I carry it up to my bedroom (flat so as not to bend the pages and face up with nothing on top so as not to scratch the cover), then I plunk down on my rug and slowly thumb the pages. When I find just the right photo, of Famke maybe, or Rachel, or Elle--I know all their names--I take an X-Acto knife (scissors are too messy and tearing it? Please), care-ful-ly slice the picture out, and hold it up to the wall. Usually, it takes several tries to find just the right place. When I do, I tape it up, flop down on the rug, and stare up at my new addition. At her. She's usually running or leaping--inside, outside, it doesn't matter, just as long as she looks like she's going somewhere. Some place that I want to be. Some place else. And lying there, looking up, I know, I just know, that if I could hop up there and go along with her--no, become her--then my life would be perfect.

Given all this, I guess it's not a surprise that one week later, when the Tami Scott School of Modeling called to ask if I wanted to enroll in a modeling course, my reply was an enthusiastic "Yes!" I jotted down the details, hung up, and immediately called Christina, my best friend since the third grade who's always right about everything. She told me to go for it.

There was only one obstacle.

"You want to do what?" my mother said. I had walked downstairs and joined her in the kitchen. She had just checked the loaf of bread baking in the oven and the room was still warm.

"I want to take a modeling course," I repeated, this time from the fridge. I was looking for the pitcher of iced tea.

I found the pitcher, got a tumbler, some ice, poured the tea, and returned the pitcher. Mom still hadn't replied.

"What?" I said. But I knew. One look at Mom's hemp drawstring pants, her crocheted halter, her beaded necklaces, one look at her Birkenstocks, her waist-long hair, her unmadeup face, one look and anyone would know: My mom's a "social activist," as she likes to put it, which you are welcome to interpret as "aging hippie." Dad is, too. How my parents got that way, we'll get to soon enough. For now, suffice it to say that the next thing out of her mouth wasn't a total shocker.

"Over my dead body."

"Thanks for being so supportive," I shot back. "Really."

Mom looked pained, but it wasn't from what I had said. "When I refused to let you play with Barbie, I never dreamt you'd try to become one!" she spat.

This merited an eye roll. "Mom, please. Everyone knows Barbies aren't real. Models are."

"Not the ones I've seen," she rebutted. She was scraping dough off the chopping block. Long thin curls shot to the floor.

Hmm. Personally, I couldn't imagine a time when my mother had ever even seen a model. She never set foot into my room, and they weren't exactly stripping down in Mother Jones and Ms. But I let this go, which turned out not to matter much; she had a lot more to say.

"What about your schoolwork?"

"The course is every Saturday. It's only two hours long."

"I'm sure it isn't free."

"It's a thousand dollars."

"It's a what?"

"Mom, I'll pay you back out of my earnings."

"What earnings?"

Our bout lasted several rounds. It took us past the loom in the dining room and onto the sunporch, where Mom watered her plants--mostly jade--in their wide assortment of macrame holders and fondled her wind chimes before heading back into the kitchen to dump the extra water into the mustard-colored sink and examine the spelt barley loaf. Right about the time the crust turned brown and hard, she softened.

"Okay," she said, pulling on her oven mitts, which are normal looking because I gave them to her. "If this is what you want to do, Emily, do it and do it well."

Yes! I pumped my fist into the air and then hugged her.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting yet writing style is a bit unorthodox

    As an avid watcher of America's Next Top Model, I appreciated the inside glimpse into the cutthroat world of modeling. The author took us inside a young, competitive model's head and heart and enabled the reader to fully appreciate what someone in this position goes through. That being said, however, I feel the writing style was somewhat "off." I felt like the setting, time and place was jumbled together and didn't flow like it should have. I felt myself getting dizzy at times. All in all, an ok read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2007

    Quick read, but disappointing

    Very shallow...didn't even begin to scratch the surface with the main character and had way too many supporting characters. I found it hard to keep track of them all at times. I felt like the author jumped around a lot...it made the plot hard to follow.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2006

    great book

    I read this book in 3 days and even skipped out on dinners & parties you can't put it down. While the character is supposedly made up, you can easily tell that this book is 95% non-fiction. It is written with a smart & sassy attitude that anyone can enjoy. I would definately read it again

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2006

    not worth the hype

    this book was boring...when parts would get interesting they would just as quickly turn sour. the author should have taken the time to develop the characters more, especially Emily Woods, the main character. I was very disappointed with this book. dont buy it, get it from the library...save your money!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2006

    real page turner

    I read this book in two days. Thought it was really well written---droll, amusing and interesting, even if you're not particularly obsessed with fashion, which I'm not. If you have a vacation coming up, be sure to put this book in your bag!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2006

    An insiders tour of the wacky world of modeling

    Could not put this book down. I expected an insiders tour of the modeling world, which I got, but this book also is well written and truely funny. It would be a great book club book, as there are many issues relating to self-perception, self-esteem, breaking away from your family's expectations, etc that would make for a lively discussion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2006

    Great Summer Read!

    This book is fast paced and entertaining. It gives the inside story of the glamorous but dark world of modeling told through the eyes of a wholesome college student. More than just a great beach read!

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