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She wasn't just a model. She was a supermodel.
In the 1970s—before her star turns on the The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency and America's Next Top Model—Janice Dickinson was the lush-lipped, long-stemmed, dark-eyed brunette who became the icon for a new breed of beauty. She was voracious in everything—from her affairs both passionate and casual to her endless partying and a drug habit that dogged her through twenty years and three husbands. Her glory days were spent working ...
She wasn't just a model. She was a supermodel.
In the 1970s—before her star turns on the The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency and America's Next Top Model—Janice Dickinson was the lush-lipped, long-stemmed, dark-eyed brunette who became the icon for a new breed of beauty. She was voracious in everything—from her affairs both passionate and casual to her endless partying and a drug habit that dogged her through twenty years and three husbands. Her glory days were spent working with Gia Carangi, Christie Brinkley, Valentino, and Versace, and her nights with the likes of Warren Beatty, Mick Jagger, and Sylvester Stallone. No Lifeguard on Duty is her story—an electrifying roller-coaster ride of fast times through three decades of fashion, fame, drugs, sex, and excess.
My father was a tall, slim, handsome man with a thick head of silver hair, buzzed flat, and gunmetal gray eyes. People liked Ray. He had an easy smile. A pleasant laugh. He was a good storyteller, a good listener, popular with the neighbors.
But I didn't often see that easy smile. Or hear that pleasant laugh. I saw, instead, the way his eyes changed color when he got angry, the whites glowing red. Or the way he balled up his big, freckled fists when he came after me, like a bull in heat. I hated him. I hated his eyes; his hair; that acrid breath; the wife-beater, Fruit of the Loom T-shirts. I hated him with every fiber of my being.
I hated my mother, too; hated her because she was numbed into oblivion with the pills she'd been prescribed for an old back injury. She would come home at the end of the day, floating, and she stayed aloft with the help of those lovely pills. She would glide through the house on a cushion of air, in slow motion, unaware, unseeing, her voice soft, her mind elsewhere, always smiling this benign Hare Krishna smile -- like she was At One With God or something; which she was, I guess, at least chemically.
Those were my parents. So I ask you -- my two sisters and I -- what fucking chance did we have?
They met, appropriately enough, in a bar. My mother, Jennie Marie Pietrzykoski, was the eldest of nine children. Her Polish-born father owned a little pub in Plymouth, Pennsylvania, right next to the railroad tracks, and I guess she felt comfortable around booze. She went to nursing school in Manhattan, and at night she'd hit the elegant nightclubs with her fellow nurses.
One night, at a Midtown watering hole, some asshole came by to harass Mom and her fellow nurses. Ray Dickinson intervened, decking the guy and tossing him into the street. My mother and her friends were so grateful they asked him to join them. He looked good in his Navy uniform. He was a radioman. Mom couldn't stop staring at those gray eyes. Three days later they went down to City Hall and got married.
The following week they ran into the "asshole" from the bar. Turns out he was a friend of Ray's; they'd set the whole thing up to make my father look like a regular hero. My mother thought it was funny. I would have had the marriage annulled.
They got an apartment in Brooklyn, and I guess those first few months were pretty hot. My mother was a looker. She wore stylish pumps and blood-red lipstick -- not particularly original, true, but it worked. She loved the camera and the camera loved her back.
Alexis came along a year later. She didn't love the camera. There's a picture of her I'll never forget: She's about five years old and sitting stiffly on my father's lap, and she has a look in her eyes that's a caught-on-film cry for help. He was already into her. I guess five was old enough. I don't know where that picture is today, but I've got it imbedded in my brain. I wish I could erase it.
I came along five years later. My mother was working as a nurse in Manhattan, already dabbling with prescription drugs, and my father was grumbling about his nowhere career with the Navy.
Now there was more bad news: another daughter. Ray was devastated. He'd been hoping for a boy and made no secret about it. I swear to God, I remember him hating me when I was barely a few weeks old. I know that seems unbelievable -- I was way too young to be forming memories -- but his hatred was the air I breathed from birth.
When I was just eighteen months old, in 1957, the family moved from Brooklyn to Florida. "Ray dear" -- as my mother called him -- had been tossed out of the Navy for assaulting an officer. He was going to start again, in sunny South Florida. Become Captain of his Own Goddamn Ship.
Only it never quite happened for him. He got a gig with the Coast Guard, but he didn't think much of those "pussies," so he ended up with the U.S. Merchant Marine. He hated taking orders, but he loved the sea. And he loved the long trips he got to take. So did we. Life was different when he wasn't around. At night I'd kneel next to my bed and pray that the Seaman's Union would call in the morning and drag him off to some remote hellhole, where he'd fall overboard in a storm and get eaten by a shark. Alas, all my prayers went unanswered. Ray always returned to the family. He couldn't get enough of his family. Ray dear had a problem, see. He liked to be serviced. And with four women in the house, he felt entitled.
I was nine years old when he came to my room one night and told me we were going to play the lollipop game, a special game for a father and a favorite daughter. And -- We have a winner! -- I was that favorite daughter ...No Lifeguard
Posted November 9, 2003
I agree with the fellower reviewer who said to treat it as a tabloid read. While I don't doubt her trysts with the infamous, I couldn't help but chuckle when she said she coined the phrase 'Supermodel'. Every Model you have ever heard being interviewed has said that THEY coined the phrase. Here's my quesion: What exactly is a Supermodel? Janice endured a rough childhood and it seems, finally reached a place where she is happy, and I was glad that she did. However, if you could have any man you wanted, why oh why would you pick Sylvester Stallone? Ewwwww
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 19, 2008
Posted August 25, 2008
Janice Dickinson¿s Accidental Life of the World¿s First Supermodel is a thrilling, and hair-raising autobiography. From growing up with a pedophiliac father and non- present mother to meeting Calvin Klein and befriending Christie Brinkley Janice Dickinson lets us deep inside the exhilarating and nightmarish life of a super model, as well as the difficulty that comes with juggling children and modeling. It is a definite must read for any male or female who have always wondered what a supermodel in the 70¿s, 80¿s and 90¿s goes through on a day to day basis. Janice Dickinson makes it evident that to get into the elite business of modeling she had to deal with ridicule, sarcasm, and the idea that she will never be pretty enough. This book shows us how strong and determined Janice was to becoming a model. From eating disorders to sleeping on floors, J. Dickinson also shows us the dark side of modeling. She hypnotizes her readers with the glamour that comes with modeling as well. She takes us to New York, Paris and Milan and describes the great confidence she gets when going down a runway. What really makes this book scandalous is how open she is with her addiction to drugs as a model. I feel that the autobiography is such a page-turner because of the way she gossips with such detail. Whether she is talking about her relationship with Mick Jagger, her fixation with Jim Morris or the insane nights on the Sunset Strip at Studio 54, this autobiography never has a boring chapter. She thoroughly takes you through the nightclub life where she meets and socializes with celebrities like Andy Warhol, Iman, Liza Minnelli, and Richard Gere. She describes Studio 54¿s nonchalant vibe of snorting cocaine and having sex with one another. Janice lets us deep inside her crazy and jaw dropping life as a model. The book is definitely upbeat and chaotic. The different emotions she goes through as a model are endless, but what makes this book so great is her sense of humor, especially towards the plentiful amount of sexual relations she has had.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 12, 2007
Posted January 3, 2007
this was by far the best autobiography i have ever read! i chose it to do a book report on for school and i am actually enjoying doing the report! this books also helps you find a little of your self, as janice does in the book. thanks for a great read janice!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 23, 2006
Posted May 28, 2006
Posted January 2, 2006
I have to give it up for Janice Dickinson. This was a great read. One in fact that I couldn't sit down for even a minute. I found Dickinson's bluntness fabulous! At times, it felt like she was in the room with me telling her outrageous stories. I didn't mind her often times conceited remarks. I think she has the right to them, considering everything she's been through to get where she is. If you want to read something exciting and outrageous, this is the book for you.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 19, 2005
If you thought some tabloids are misguiding you should Janice Dickinson's Biography. For awhile I thought she was a older Paris Hilton. Her life was the true American Rollercoaster. Through it. she went though abuse from her dad, drugs and rehab. This woman has a lot to say and I feel that reading this book has made me want to understand people rather that stereotype them. Because they might end up being itelligent, smart, ans sensitive human beings.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 27, 2004
I'm SO glad I purchased this used (it was cheap). The only thing better would've been to borrow it, but I doubt if anyone I know would be caught reading this. Okay, I was just looking for something entertaining for a bit of mindless escapism, something 'fun' to read. This is very 'tabloid-like,' & on the simplistic side, which wasn't far from my expectations. Sure, lots of name dropping... but the writing bothered me. This is a very fragmented book, and it's a shame. It could've been so much more interesting. The woman ran into so many pivotal people (in art,fashion and entertainment)and had an eventful life, yet produced a book that was lackluster and tiresome to read, just because of the way it was written. I'm passing this on to my mother, who adores the National Enquirer.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 10, 2004
This book is a clear example of what can happen and does happen when parents aren't parents. Janice tells the full story of her life; in which she completely comes full circle. With a pedophile father and a doped up spaced out mother Janice still manages to land on her feet. She embarks on a international modeling career and has all kinds of crazy escapades many including drinks and drugs. With many distructive relationships and a few failed marriages; Ms. Dickinson goes into a deep inevitable psychological emotional exploration of the damaged little girl she was inside. With the gift of motherhood she turns it all around and sometimes upside down. With punctual comedic timing and constant name dropping Janice is a master story teller and ultimately the master of her own destiny.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 2, 2004
I have been fascinated by Janice Dickinson for a while, so I begn reading this book, and I couldn't put it down! She tells her story at a quick pace, with so many fun details. I heard they're going to make a movie based on her life...I can't wait!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 26, 2004
this is one of the best books i have ever read. janice was and is the first supermodel ever. twiggy wasnt a true sypermodel,but janice truly is. u should totally read this book. it was so good i couldnt put it down!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 20, 2003
The books seems interesting initially, but after a chapter or two you can't help but wonder how much of this is actually true and how much she is adding to try and aim for the bestseller list. It's hard to imagine that all these men she discusses (Bill Cosby, Mick Jagger, Belushi, Bruce Willis, ect) just had to have her in every single way. It seems like there has been a lot of fantacy added to the book. If you're going to read it, I think its best to treat it the way you would tabloids: believe that the story MIGHT be true, but KNOW that a ton of misinformation and lies have been added to make it interesting.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 11, 2003
I couldn't put this book down. This is more than just a memoire with a peek inside the industry, this is raw, honest, funny and heartbreaking. What distinguishes this book is seeing how she comes by everything so honestly and holds nothing back in relating it to the readers. Sometimes I wanted to smack her, but all the while cheering her on. An excellent read!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 20, 2003
i wish janet had an official website because i'd really love for her to know that her book is amazingly honest and an inspiration to all who read it (and i will take the liberty to say all). i hope that when i look back at the many challenges i've had in my life i i will be able to share as much as janice has allowed us to share in her book. it couldn't have been easy , so for that, i think she is Simply Beautiful and Amazing.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 13, 2002
Janice's story is one of realization--the realization that YOU are the only one that can make yourself content! Her story has its ups and downs, and you are carried along in an I-want-to-read-it-all-in-one-night frenzy. Beautiful photography accompanies a great life story.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 8, 2002
Posted October 9, 2002
This book was filled with curses, brutal honesty and humor. Janice Dickinson is one amazing lady with a life interesting enough to be able to write an autobiography about it. She broke the norm of the modeling world in the 70's. She wasn't blonde and blue-eyed as the other models, but her strong-willed attitude kept her going and she became as famous and adored as the rest. One minute she was on top of the world and the next she hit rock bottom because of her alcohol and drug abuse. Her journey is an amazing one. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the world of modeling and the secret lives many models lead.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 30, 2002
Janice was and is still a true beauty. A bit mad and boastful but still a great, fun read. It is very much like Bebe Buell's book "Rebel Heart". Both woman possess the ability to profess their faults and really tell it like it is. Dickinson was a super-model, unlike Buell who was an "IT" girl who did some cool modeling. They both hung out w/ a lot of the same guys and they both come out swinging and standing tall. What I like about this book and Buell's and even Anne Hesche's tome, is that these woman learned from their mistakes and become well rounded, smart, family loving real WOMAN. They grow up on the pages. I still don't understand why they got so much flak from some critics because I learned so much from all three of these books. If you like beautiful pictures, this delivers. Also, Janice and Bebe are the only bios I have ever seen with nudes in them. Have fun- I sure did!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.