Originally created 05/11/04

Book Review: This model's life was no model life



"Everything About Me Is Fake ... and I'm Perfect!" By Janice Dickinson. ReganBooks. 260 Pages. $24.95.

Supermodel Janice Dickinson has survived a punishing childhood, various addictions and a truckload of bad relationships. She's done everything to excess - and lived to tell about it.

A recovering alcoholic ("... even today, in my darkest moments, I want to drink so badly my entire body is screaming"), Dickinson found it therapeutic to write down her feelings about the abuses she'd suffered as a child, and the life issues she's suffered since. That writing became her first memoir, "No Lifeguard on Duty," which told the story of how she became one of the world's top models during the 1970s.

Now she's back with "Everything About Me Is Fake ... and I'm Perfect!" in which Dickinson writes about some of her not-so-glamorous modeling jobs (swimming in a shark tank, passing out while wearing fur on an oppressively hot day) and being under constant scrutiny, even when she was eight months' pregnant.

Eating is strictly forbidden when you're the world's first supermodel, Dickinson says. Has she had plastic surgery? You bet.

As for the men in her life, Dickinson vents about several famous ex-boyfriends, including Mick Jagger and Sylvester Stallone. "I believe in kissing and telling; I figure I've earned the right. We're talking about my memoirs, for God's sake."

Now a judge on "America's Next Top Model," a reality TV show about the making of a new supermodel, Dickinson offers beauty tips, including how to apply individual false eyelashes, extols the virtues of exercise and admonishes readers to "please learn how to walk in high heels."

The book's most heartfelt moments are the glimpses Dickinson offers into life with her two children, Nathan, 16, and Savvy, 10. After stewing for weeks because Nathan failed to give her a Mother's Day card or present, she came to this realization: "In my own compulsiveness, I was trying to write a script for everyone in my life. ... I've got to stop that. We all have to stop that. And I'm trying. Really."

Just don't expect insight and sobriety to turn her into a shrinking violet - or a woman who doesn't hold a grudge.

"In case you're reading this, Mick? I'm Janice, babe. The original. Don't forget it. Don't underestimate it, either."