The day 60 Minutes called me.

 

Model’s Apartment, real stories from one who lived it.

Episode #2: The day 60 Minutes called me.

Setting: Milwaukee, WI

Model: me

Age: 17

 

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After about a year in Paris and Milan, I decided to call it quits, and go home to get my head back on straight. A life revolving around what I looked like, left me drained of self esteem, along with a removable cast on my leg due to severe stress fractures from exercising my body to a pulp.

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I had been home a few days, and was enjoying one of my notorious 14 hour sleeping sessions, when the blaring ring of the phone startled me out of bed.

 

“Hello,” I slurred.

 

“Is this Heather?” the male voice on the other end of the line inquired.

 

“Who’s calling?” I responded still half asleep. I could tell from the crackly, connection it was an overseas call

 

“I’m a reporter from 60 minutes. We are doing a story on Paris modeling agencies and wondered if you’d help us out. (Hell ya!)

 

I sat up to compose myself, and quickly answered “yes, what do you need?”

 

“We are looking for a girl named Heather, who worked in Paris earlier this year. We found your comp card and saw that you worked for Claude at Prestige Agency.”

 

“Yes.” I answered, still waiting for the punch line.

 

“This Heather I am looking for stated she was encouraged by her modeling agent to take drugs, cocaine in particular, and she was persuaded into a sexual relationship with him. There are accusations that your agency, Ford, and others are engaged inappropriate behaviors with underage models from their agency. Can you tell us your experience?” he inquired.

 

“Nothing happened to me, and I am not the Heather you are looking for…. but I am sure she is out there. What you are describing is par for the course over there,” I explained.

 

“Ok”, he responds waiting for me to continue.

 

“I can tell you this much, it’s not some big mystery that the Paris modeling scene has built its foundation scouting young girls, particularly from the US and Sweden. They herd us all over there, most girls are naïve, and fall victim to the agents and bookers to prey on their weaknesses,” I state, as a smile broadens on my face (the perverts are gonna get what is coming to them).

 

“Can you provide me with more specific information, who I should be taking to, where I should be researching?” he asks politely.

 

This question led to a lengthy conversation in which I spilled my stories, gave him all the leads I could think of, and wished him the best of luck in his research.

 

“Call Heather ____ in Sweden,” I conclude. “She will tell you how our agent Claude (the one who was supposed to be keeping us safe as minors away from home) crawled into bed with her at night. She was “chosen” to live with him along with several other girls, and he forced himself on her. She got the hell out of Paris, and headed home. I heard she told her story to her local newspaper, in an effort to warn other girls and parents about the dangers to be expected if and when they are selected to model with Claude’s agency.”

 

With that he thanked me.

 

“You made my day.” I said as I hung up the phone.

———–

The 60 minutes episode ran a few months later, which I watched with my parents. I was always honest with my parents, they knew all about the sex, drugs, and modeling scene crap….but seeing it exposed on national television was another story.

 

I believe the reason I escaped the sexual prowness and drug temptations is because was unusually street smart for my age.

 

I exuded an aura of confidence and toughness that sent the message to the powers that be – “Don’t even think about it.”

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I felt bad for my parents. I knew they always questioned if they made the right decision, the decision to let me go live in a foreign country, alone, at the tender age 16. It didn’t help that they were continually questioned by friends and other parents in our small mid-western town on why they would let their 16 year old daughter go to Paris by herself. The truth is – they let me go because they had my best interest at heart.

 

They didn’t want me to miss this once in a lifetime experience. Sure, there were risks, followed by a hell of a lot of fall out. But in the end, the things I did, saw, and experienced during my years as a model literally made me who I am today. I mean that. This can not be overstated. Had they not let me go, where would I be today? I can tell you this much. I would not be the happy, content, confident women I am so proud to be today.

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And for that I will always be grateful for my crazy, demented Paris modeling past. And finally, I have come to a place in my life that I am actually proud of it.

Thanks for reading,

-mamaVISION

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15 Responses to The day 60 Minutes called me.

  1. w says:

    Love your stories. Have you read Mary Gaitskill’s novel Veronica? (Or have you been asked this already?)

    Looking forward to more stories?

  2. Jen says:

    Loved the last post. You are really a true friend. I’ve never had an opportunity like that to prove my friendship….Now I’m going to be waiting on a call from my friend saying I need to save her life by snatching her “accidentally posed nude” pics…Haha!

    You really had to deal with some creeps in your career.

  3. w says:

    Er… That last question mark should be an exclamation point.

  4. emilyishere says:

    your stuff is really good. i think you should be a writer. you tell it with such interest that you could just be like, “today i ate a ham sandwich” and i’d still be in awe. you’re strong against drugs and sex. you’re like an idol to me.

  5. Holly says:

    Wow. Every story that you put into words astonishes me. I was just wondering, do you think you could comment some of my blogs and let me know what you think? I know this seems silly, but now that I’ve read a lot of your pieces, it’d be great to get an opinion from you! Thanks so much! You never cease to amaze me.

  6. Holly says:

    ^Especially my post about vanity 😀
    You’re so talented.

  7. Tina says:

    What a great blog – I shall continue reading. It raises some very important issues and really gives me a reality check on those days when I’m feeling “not so confident.”
    You’ve got a lot to say and I sure am glad you’re saying it! :-) Keep up the great writing.

  8. keshuvko says:

    so lively storytelling. I am impressed.

    http://keshuvko.blogspot.com

  9. Misa says:

    Wow. Your stories are great and so is the way that you tell them. I really admire your mission – keep up the great work =)

  10. Drew says:

    Wow, really cool blog. You should be a writer for sure.

  11. sometimes i breathe says:

    It’s sites like this that make the world a batter place.

  12. Thanks for posting, Mama V! You have learned a lot and experienced so much. We can and do learn a lot from you.

  13. :) ur blog is really nice. Ciao!

  14. mamavision says:

    Hi Everyone! Thank you, thank you for the words of encouragement. I have had these crazy stories in my head for years, so I will keep pushing them out to you.

    Please spread the word about my mission which is to help women and young girls struggling with body image, self esteem and eating disorders. I have no doubt that the fashion industry purpetuates all the beauty myths in our society….hopefully I am a voice of reason.

    Take care everyone, and thanks again for reading,
    -mamaVISION

    PS Chasing Beauty podcast launches this week! Check for it on iTunes or at chasingbeauty.net

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