This Year's Model: Fashion, Media, and the Making of Glamour

By Elizabeth A. Wissinger | Go to book overview

7
Scouting
The Hunger for New Faces

Sitting in her Park Avenue apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Gail, a model of a certain age, served me tea, as I sat on a white couch. She was a regal-looking woman with pronounced cheekbones and a lovely complexion. There was some speculation at the casting agency that put me in touch with her that she had a tendency to wear a wig. Wig or no, her elegance was undeniable, as was the wealth of her experience in the industry.

I asked her how she got into the business. When she started out, unlike teenagers of today, she didn’t know much about models or modeling and didn’t care much for it until she met one face to face. She related her first encounter with a model, as a goggle-eyed fourteen-year-old:

An apparition came into the house, with her cousin. They were both
models, and they were the most gorgeous things I’d ever seen. It made a
huge impression on me.

Bitten by the bug, although introverted by nature, at fifteen she went to the big city:

I was supposed to see about a trip to Europe, but instead I checked on
Robert Powers. I came down [to New York City] and stayed at the Y. I
went to his office. I knew nothing about it, and I walked into this gigan-
tic office, and the man was at this desk, and I leaned over and grabbed
the desk and said, “I want to be a model, but I don’t want to go to your
modeling school.” And he laughed and had me walk up and down and
looked at the pictures I’d brought and sent me upstairs to learn about
makeup. I went home and told my mother, I’m going to be a model! And
she said okay, but don’t tell anybody.

-185-

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