impetus came about after I returned from Europe where I modeled professionally for six years. This was a time when young women, deprived of the convenience of cell phones, or the warehouse of knowledge easily found on the Internet, faced an avalanche of choices and invitations to enter an exciting lifestyle. With little or no experience to draw from, some tried drugs, drank expensive alcohol and partied until problems surfaced. With parents and family thousands of miles away, some of these young women turned to agents who wanted to make money off them for advice, or to men who wanted to sleep with them. One of the best support systems available was other models, but even then good advice and intentions were sometimes ignored.
Even though a murder did occur while I was living in Milan (when a model shot
her playboy boyfriend), I decided to write about the day-to-day stories that started out innocently enough, but took a bad turn. Nothing criminal… at least it didn’t seem that way at the time. They are fictionalized accounts of what I saw and heard––situations that angered me because there was no one around to protect the innocent.
I’ve been asked on several occasions, which one of my characters takes after ‘me.’ The
answer is none. I came out unscathed by my experiences except for a few mishaps like the Saturday I booked a job an hour outside of Milan, and then was dropped off at a bench on the autostrade (freeway), handed some money and told to wait for a bus that didn’t run on weekends. I did spend twenty minutes––with cars whizzing past me at outrageous speeds––before taking a ride from a stranger. Contrary to the urban legends I grew up on, the vehicle’s window knobs still rolled down (remember those?) and the door handle opened when we returned to the city. But no one wants to read about a nice man giving a pretty girl a ride home that ends without incident, so I wrote about the stories that made me furious—the young women who were exploited, ripped off and abused—while images of them in glossy magazine ads were highly deceptive. Growing up Beautiful is their story.
About the author:
Lori Jones had a sixteen-year modeling career from 1981 through 1997. Her career began after graduating from the Barbizon School of Modeling, and signing on with the Wilhelmina Agency in Los Angeles. Bookings included runway, print for magazines, catalogs, TV commercials, and an album cover for Kool and the Gang’s Ladies Night. Always interested in writing, she kept journals of her work experiences, extensive travels throughout Europe and Africa, and the people she met along the way. GROWING UP BEAUTIFUL is her first book. She is currently working on the sequel.