BEAUTY BONUS: Don’t assume that anything left on the cutting-room floor is inferior to the finished product. At least that’s the case with the DVD of “About Face: Supermodels Then and Now,” a documentary directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. In the film, Carol Alt, Marisa Berenson, Karen Bjornson, Christie Brinkley, Pat Cleveland, Carmen Dell’Orefice, Jerry Hall, Bethann Hardison, Beverly Johnson, China Machado, Paulina Porizkova, Isabella Rossellini and Lisa Taylor discuss their careers, the current state of modeling and their views on aging.
“About Face” originally aired on HBO in July. The DVD, $29.99, is available on Greenfield-Sanders’ Web site, greenfield-sanders.com. It includes a 43-minute extras section of footage from supermodel interviews, two trailers, behind-the-scenes photos and a slide show of Greenfield-Sanders’ portraits, which were initially exhibited at the Steven Kasher Gallery.
Some of the best lines, which may have been deemed “too sensitive” and left out of the original film, are contained in the extra footage. Cleveland, the African-American model whose daughter now walks the runway, said, “When I started modeling I had to wear white [paste] on my face to hide my color” and “[Fashion] is all just as gay as you can imagine. Everybody in fashion is gay. Did I say that the right way?”
Machado criticizes today’s models as uninformed and lazy. “If you were to talk to them about Claire McCardell and the history of fashion, you ask them and they haven’t a clue. This is your business, learn about it.” Nor do the young beauties go to the trouble of caring for the clothes they wear, ironing out wrinkles, which Machado and her generation took pains to do. “They just put on the goddamn wind machine. The wind is blowing and they’re showing their tits and everything.”
Eileen Ford, founder of Ford Models, gets teary when she says, “I’ve read from time to time that I’m cruel, that I turn down models. If I did say no, it’s the best thing I could do,” explaining that telling a short model that she could get work would be dishonest.
None of the models look excessively nipped and tucked. Rossellini says that a childhood operation for scoliosis has made the idea of going “through another operation to attempt to look younger [horrifying]” and Nancy Donahue admits, “We all may have had boob jobs, but there was nothing else touched.”