Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Janice Dickinson, superannuated supermodel

THE term "maneater" is an oft abused one, but, in the case of Janice Dickinson, the self-anointed "world's first supermodel" and one of the cast of the latest series of I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! which kicked off on ITV last night, it may just be accurate. Storming into a room on the I'm A Celebrity ... set last weekend, Dickinson, 52, eyed up 32-year-old Declan Donnelly, one half of the show's presenting duo Ant and Dec, and seemingly oblivious to his identity declared: "Another hottie! Hi, where are you from?"

But then why would you expect anything but terrifying boldness from the woman who recently claimed on the US radio programme The Howard Stern Show to have slept with more than 1,000 men (including Mick Jagger, Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, Sylvester Stallone and Frank Zappa), has been divorced three times, and proudly calls herself "big-lipped Janice"?

While not yet a household name in the UK, Dickinson has been delighting gossip columnists in America since the early 1970s, when she became one of the first celebrity models, gracing the covers of Vogue and Elle magazines by day and partying with Andy Warhol and Truman Capote at Studio 54 by night. By 1979 she was one of the world's most recognisable models, the face of Revlon and a muse to Versace, Valentino, Alaia and other leading couturiers.

After three marriages, two children, copious amounts of substance abuse and the inevitable ravages of time, her modelling career was generally perceived to be on the wane - but then she was cannily hired by fellow former model Tyra Banks in 2002 to be "the Simon Cowell" of reality TV show America's Next Top Model, and Dickinson's frank, bitchy persona found a whole new audience. Her breathtakingly catty remarks ("you're too fat for modelling, honey") and all-or-nothing attitude ("you're dead to me now") made her an instant star, equally loved and loathed by millions of viewers.

In the end, she was allegedly fired from the show by Banks for her mouthy attitude, but, undaunted, went on to star in a rival show, Janice Dickinson's Modelling Agency, in which she attempted to sign up her own army of models, berated 19-year-olds for having miniscule amounts of cellulite, and jumped into swimming pools wearing thousands of dollars' worth of designer clothing.

She is remarkably up front about having had plastic surgery, saying that "without the fake breasts and the face lift, there'd be a middle-aged gray-haired lady staring at you". She was even filmed getting Botox injections for her show.

What you see is what you get with Dickinson: "I will never, ever respond to anybody - man, woman, vegetable or mineral - who tells me to keep my mouth shut." she said recently. Exactly, one imagines, what the producers of I'm A Celebrity... are hoping for.

This article: The Scotsman

Last updated: 13-Nov-07 00:40 GMT

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