One of the year’s most attractive documentaries is at hand.
“About Face: Supermodels Then and Now” makes its HBO debut Monday, July 30, after showings at this year’s Sundance and L.A. Film Festivals. Christie Brinkley, Cheryl Tiegs, Paulina Porizkova, Carol Alt, Beverly Johnson, Isabella Rossellini, Kim Alexis, Christy Turlington Burns, Lisa Taylor, Marisa Berenson and Jerry Hall are among the models who give filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders (“The Black List”) their thoughts on their industry past, present and future.
“I don’t dwell on my career a lot,” Tiegs tells Zap2it about re-examining her past for the project. “I am usually thinking forward, and certainly thinking of today. The nicest thing about doing the documentary was to catch up and see some old friends I hadn’t seen for a long time.
“When I was modeling,” Tiegs says, “I reached the point — and most girls who rise to the top do — where I started to work on my own. They don’t really book other girls with you, and it’s kind of a lonely career in that sense, so it’s nice to get together with the others.”
A three-time cover girl for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, Tiegs also is a former spokeswoman for the CoverGirl cosmetics line.
“I think Lauren Hutton was the first [model] to do that, with Revlon,” she says. “I worked with CoverGirl for many years, and they didn’t want me doing any other cosmetics ads. We just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
Similarly, Czechoslovakia native Porizkova says, “I got incredibly lucky. The Flavor of the
Moment is not up to me; it’s not even up to any individual. It just so happened that I had a face and a body and an attitude that worked at the time. I don’t think I would have worked very well, say, 20 years earlier or 10 years later.”
By the mid-1980s, Porizkova also was a Sports Illustrated fixture, appearing on the swimsuit issue cover twice. After scoring a big-paying Estee Lauder contract, she made People’s 50 Most Beautiful People list twice in the early ’90s. While she respects other models, she admits she doesn’t know many of them well.
“There’s sort of a timeline to modeling that all of us are aware of, whether the public is or not,” Porizkova says, citing Brinkley and Tiegs as “the ones who paved the road for me. Then it was me, then Cindy [Crawford], so it kind of goes in a line.”
As many other models have, Porizkova tried acting, notably with Tom Selleck in the 1989 movie “Her Alibi.” Tiegs resisted that path, and she was glad her tenure on NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice” last winter was only one episode.
“I didn’t think I’d be a very good actress,” Tiegs says. “I didn’t really want to be one, so that’s when I got into designing clothes and building my own company. There is a future if you’re careful about building your own brand.”
The wife of Cars music frontman Ric Ocasek, Porizkova now is a novelist and blogger who’s also had reality show stints on The?CW’s “America’s Next Top Model” and ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”
“I wasn’t aware of the word ‘supermodel’ until probably Christie Brinkley.” she says. “There’s no question there were plenty of supermodels before her; it’s just that the actual word wasn’t applied.”