Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Eve's Close Shave
Supermodel Eve Salvail talks for the first time about her experiences with women and the brutal attack that forced her to rethink her career
Back in 1996 model Eve Salvail was the undisputed It Girl of the Paris fashion scene. Her signature look--a shaved, tattooed head--had won her a devoted following among fashionistas looking for a bold new expression of feminine beauty: The French-Canadian stunner had become something of a muse for designer Jean Paul Gaultier, who had featured her in countless campaigns; she'd hit the runway for director Robert Altman in his 1994 fashion epic, Ready to Wear; whenever she walked through the streets of Paris, fans waved and shouted out her first name.
But none of that notoriety mattered one day in the summer of 1996 when she and her girlfriend happened into a Paris cab with a mentally unbalanced driver who became irate when she couldn't produce any bills smaller than 200 francs (about $39) to pay her fare. "We were screaming at him, and he was screaming at us," she recalls. "I got out of the car, and I told my girlfriend to run. And he left his car there in the traffic at a red light. He chased us for 45 minutes. He was throwing me to the ground. People were just circling around us to look. My Lacroix makeup was running everywhere. I was begging people to help us--no one helped whatsoever. I went into a pet shop, crying and begging the woman to call the police as the guy grabbed me by the elbow, pulling me out the door."
Finally Salvail and her girlfriend escaped by dashing across an intersection moments before the traffic light changed. Though badly bruised, Salvail was not seriously injured. When she reported the driver to the police, the officers told her they couldn't help "unless I was dead," she says. "That very day I canceled everything and left Paris."
Salvail settled in New York, broke up with her girlfriend, and dramatically cut back on work. Now married for three years to a male singer-model, she is opening up for the first time to the public about the assault and her bisexual experiences during her modeling years. "Everything has changed so much for me," she says. "I'm feeling much better, much more settled these days. …