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Janice Dickinson in Miami
Sagamore Hotel, Miami Beach, Fl
by Mark Thompson & Josh Head
September 26, 2007 Bookmark and Share

The call came.  Janice Dickinson and her modeling agency were coming to the sandbar.  Were we available to do an interview? Are you kidding?  We’d have been camping out in front of her hotel anyway.  The legendary Janice—for whom the word “supermodel” was coined—and that stable of hot models: Sorin with his prodigious assets and the sensitive hottie (and out) JP Calderon—and a plethora of newbies from seasons two and three.  Of course we’d be there.

But first, what to wear.  And what to ask?  And what to bring.  A bag of gifts, to be sure.  We’d heard Janice likes gifts.  Our friends were gagging when they heard we were interviewing La Janice.  So into the gift bag went their inscribed and autographed books—as well as a pink leather… well, it could be used as a condom holder (or not).  And chocolate.  Of course.

All morning, it rained.  Hell, it had been raining for three days—ever since the Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency had pulled into town to scour Miami’s beaches for fresh-faced and fierce Latinas and Latinos.  In this weather, the search for fresh was more likely to produce fresh fish for dinner. 

La Janice and her agency were not deterred by the weather.  La Janice waded into the ocean.  The woman will wade into anything.  They got their shots in front of Casa Casuarina (formerly Versace’s home).  And now they were all ensconced at the Sagamore Hotel, fending off the paparazzi who’d managed to follow her through the monsoon.  The press scrum sat patiently, waiting our turn for face time.

We worked our looks.  Shades and man-bags—even in this weather.  Our cameras and voice recorders at the ready—and then, there she was.  Striding through the lobby of the Sagamore: as slender as a Somalian, as forceful as an Amazonian.  A retinue of minions following in her wake, texting furiously, scribbling on notepads, whispering into cell phones. 

A presence like that could make a body nervous.  We took yogi breaths—and then we were summoned.  The green curtains parted, and there she was, seated in a white leather Arne Jacobsen egg chair—from which she rose like a praying mantis unfolding—and graciously extended her willowy arm. 

The two of us were in awe.

Janice:  I turn all gay men on.

Josh:  You do.  You’re hot.

Mark:  Definitely the legs, honey. 

[At which point, Janice in her chair extends her legs and folds her body into a perfect closed-jackknife—her long legs nearly scraping the ceiling.]

Mark: Ohmigod!  Look at that!  You’re in yoga and Pilates, right?

Janice:  No, I was a ballerina for about eighteen years, before I decided to become a model.  That’s why I put all my models through the trials and tribulations of dance, exercise, diet, nutrition.

Mark:  Exactly, the holistic approach to training.

Janice: You know what, it’s important to always have balance in my profession.

Mark:  Definitely.  And you have it.  One of the things we were thinking about is how you’re able to juggle the roles of mother, producer, model, and writer—which would seem to imply that you’ve got a lot in balance in your life.

Janice:  You know what?  Lately, it’s getting a little rough, guys.  I’ll be straight up.  Let me just really tell you… [whispers]  It’s not easy. It’s really not easy. My kids are driving me fucking crazy.

Mark:  Your birth children?

Janice:  Yeah, my birth children.  You know, the two natural…  Natural!  Can you imagine my perfect little hips squeezing out a ten-pound cannonball like Nathan?

Mark:  Nathan was ten pounds?

Janice:  It was trauma.  I was in labor for 32 hours.

Mark:  No way!

Janice:  It was insane.

Mark:  And the other one?

Janice:  Well she was seven pounds.  She was a one-two squirt.  You know, the greatest achievement in my life is the fact that I have two children who are not homophobic.  Who embrace their gay uncles and aunts.

Mark:  Thank you.

Janice:  No, no, don’t thank me… thank them!

Mark:  You’re the one who taught them.

Janice:  It comes from the families of all my gay friends.  They’ve given back to me, and my children are able to give that and spread that around… I’m not lying… I’m not just saying this for your interview.

Mark:  Incredible.  That’s so great to hear.

Janice:  You know my son will come up to you and hug you and look in your face and ask you how you’re doing and mean it.

Mark:  I’m telling you, that means everything to the gay community.  You have such a strong and supportive gay community and you can see why when you look at the footage of JP Calderon.  You’re so maternal with him as he comes out publicly on the show.

Janice:  I have to say, my partner Stuart Krasnow, the executive producer of the show—

Mark:  We met him.  He’s lovely.

Janice:  Stu’s an integral force in the industry, not only because he’s sitting right in back of you, and staring right at me…  Say hello, Stuart… I just have to say; actually, it was his idea.  When he introduced me to JP on Survivor and asked, “Janice, how do you think it will play out?”  And without going into the details, it was more about Stuart having the understanding and the compassion, and having discussed with JP to allow this to happen… for allowing me to facilitate it.  So I can’t take credit for it, I have to give it to Stu.

Mark:  But you conveyed that compassion to JP and it came across in footage that was beautiful to see.

Janice:  I wasn’t acting.

Mark:  It felt real.  It looked natural.

Janice:  Well, you’re giving me such—

Mark:  We’re stroking your ego too much, right?  [Laughter]

Janice:  No, no, no.  It’s not stroking ego.  I’m overwhelmed.

Mark:  With everything?

Janice:  No.  I’m overwhelmed with what you just said, gentlemen, because JP has now become a real role model for all the millions of men and women that need to come out and need to address their sexuality and hopefully [this] can help people get over the difficulty of how tragic it is not to be able to come out in the first place.  The fault of the parents and environment and society… especially our fucking president.

Mark:  Ah well, let’s not get into that.  Do you want to get into that?

Janice:  I’ll probably be murdered.  [Huge laughter.]

Mark:  Well, in that case, let’s steer clear of politics.  Is there anything you can tell us about the show, the upcoming season or anything you want to tell us about the show?

Janice:  What would you like to know?

Mark:  What we’d like to know is why you’re here in Miami.  If you’re here looking for a particularly fierce model or if you’re looking for a cliffhanger to happen here or if there’s some other reason that you came to Miami?

Janice:  Miami is the ONLY place to be.  First of all, the weather [for] photography.  [Grins]  [Because outside, Miami’s in the midst of a monsoon—an aberrant rain cloud which has stalled over the beach for three days now…]  Second of all, we’re looking to spread our wings for Latin American models.  We are here to embrace Latin American culture—to finally give a kick-start like you would a motorcycle.  To give a kick-start to the modeling industry that absolutely deserves Latinas and Latinos to be discovered and to hopefully get it out there through the Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency to give Latinas and Latinos the chance that they deserve.

Mark:  That’s great.  So good to hear.  Have you been able to do any recruiting since you’ve been here?

Janice:  Well, that would be giving away the candy shot.  But I would say that we did have a huge open call in Los Angeles and we shot AMAAAAAZING men and AMAZING women for the agency.  We brought them down here.  You’ll be seeing them later at the party.  I don’t think that you will be disappointed.

Josh:  You never disappoint with your models.

Janice:  Well, I guarantee you, they just keep getting better, younger, hotter, ripped and more [whispers] fuckable!

Mark:  Woof!

Janice:  Which is what you want out of a great fashion photograph.

Mark:  One thing we noticed in researching you was your comedic ability and we were wondering if you could talk a little about that.  We were thinking specifically about your appearance on the Jonathan Ross show.  I don’t know if you remember that show but you were absolutely hysterical.  You have such a gift for comedy.

Janice:  Excuse me… [She turns to the production people and shouts, “Shut the fucking door then.  I’m working here.”]  I’m sorry.  Can you say that again one more time?

Mark:  Researching this interview, we were watching footage on the Jonathan Ross show, which I think is the British equivalent of Jay Leno or…

Janice:  Jonathan Ross is probably one of them most important talk shows in the United Kingdom and…  What’s your question?

Mark:  You were so hysterical.  You walked out in that slinky black dress and Sir Webber was there…

Janice:  Sir Lloyd Webber… [with a thick British accent]  Andrew Lloyd WEBBAH.

Mark:  And you lay flat out on that desktop…

Janice:  First of all, they have the audacity to pretend they’re not out of the closet.  It was like going… “Andrewwww Webber?????  If you could be so kind…  If I married you, I’d be Lady Dick.”  He looked at me and he was sort of… But you have to laugh because he’s like one of THE most important theatrical producers in the world.  And he has this partner who recently came out so I wasn’t outing him.  So I just sat there and watched.  But if I have comic talent it’s because some of my greatest friends in the world are comedians, stand-up comics and… The late great John Belushi was a friend of mine, Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray, Tim Allen, Bob Saget, John Lovitz…

Mark:  You channeled them all in that particular segment, I’m telling you.

Janice:  I will say, throwing my legs around Johnny Ross did seem to get on his good side, didn’t it?  [Laughter]

Mark:  [Laughter] He seemed fine with it.

Janice: I’m doing his show again in December.

Mark: Another one?  Oh, that’s going to be perfect.

Janice: BBC just loves me.

Mark:  It was riveting television.

Janice: Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it.

Mark: It made me think of Lucille Ball and the physicality of her comedy.  You’re continuing a legacy of great female comediennes.

Janice: Oh, you think I’m a comedienne?

Mark: Yes!  You work it well.  You’re very good.

Janice: Well, you know what?  The Lucille Ball thing is what we’re trying to do on the Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency Show on the Oxygen network.  You know, the Oxygen network is owned and operated by and for women—and especially for gays.  Without my team, without production, without the help of the recently single Stuart Krasnow... [Glances over to her producer behind us] Who’s packin’ big time and he’s REALLY RICH! [Laughter]

Janice: [to Stuart] You know what? If you were fucking straight, I’d have you in a heartbeat.


Janice:  Even though I’m a girl, I could put on a strap-on and just rape him.

Mark:  And he’d be open to that, right?

Janice: Woo-hoo!  [to Josh] You’re over there just giggling.

Josh: You’re hilarious.

Mark: So another question we wanted to ask…  You have a very strong public persona.  Is there a private persona that the public might not know about?

Janice: I would have to say that a lot of the time… I’m speaking to you from my heart now…  I have a huge heart and the aggressiveness and the bitch and the bully that comes out is just a shield for some finally-resolved issues from childhood. I had a really dark daddy.  But then, didn’t we all?  Or a mother, neighbor, or an uncle who was a pedophile?  And a lot of the time when I read in the paper, when I hear stories from my models, when I see people being unjustly treated through beatings, through sexual abuse or rape or murder…  [Pause]  I wear it really…  I take it in and it’s really hard.  It’s really hard for me so, uh…  I have to try to gather my wits about me and come back and try to be that tough girl you see, but I’m basically a big old softy… [Starts singing, jokingly, ruefully, “Every now and then, I fall apart.”]

Josh:  I noticed that when you’re with your models you’re very protective of them. And it’s really nice to see that you’re protective of them.  Are you also trying to teach them how to avoid some of the pitfalls that you had working in the industry?

Janice: Absolutely.  Most models today…  Well, it ain’t what it used to be.  Back in my day, we had great gay bars.  Studio 54.  Everybody was rockin’.  It was pre-AIDS.  It was…  God, you could go to bed with anybody and not be afraid of getting killed.  It was a different attitude.  Today, I’m just trying to teach my models how to have a little bit of instinctive fight about them so that they can protect themselves.  Because you know what?  Unless they’re real tough street kids, they’re not going to have it.  And it’s not just in the modeling industry; it’s everywhere.  I try to help them.

Mark: Absolutely.

Janice: But sometimes you have to push them out of the nest and make them go out and find their own way.

Mark:  Moving on with that thought, when you think about all the ways in which you’ve been influential to so many people and all the things that you’ve accomplished in your roles as mother, producer, writer, model, is there a particular legacy you would wish to be most known for or remembered by?

Janice:  [Long pause] Just to be known as a gay activist. I’d like to go down… Before I go, I’d like them to find a cure for AIDS.  I can’t even say it because I’ve lost so many friends.  I wear it hard.

Mark:  Josh had read somewhere that whenever someone asks you for an autograph, you’ll sign the autograph as long as they give you money for an HIV/AIDS charity.  Is that accurate?

Janice: That is correct.  When I was doing a show over in Europe I got in to a huge fight with the paparazzi who would not leave me alone until finally I left the establishment and there was a big crowd gathering around.  I felt like Al Pacino doing that “Attica” scene [from “Dog Day Afternoon”] when he comes out of that bank.  I was like “You’ve photographed me for the last four hours so I want you to at least give me ten pounds and donate it to AIDS.”  And the photographer goes, “Ah, piss off.”  And I was like, “Piss off???  You know you’re going to make money on my photographs,” and he said, “Absolutely.”  And the crowd started going, “Give her the money, mate.”  Because you know what, you have to donate.  You have to give back, no matter what you do.  I learned that when I joined a twelve-step program—which I should go back to….  [Grins.]

Mark: You’re fine, honey.  You don’t seem like you need to go back on anything.  [Laughter]

Janice: You know, I did learn that in order for me to get out of my insane brain –which is sometimes not such a nice place to be – is to go and help someone who has less than I do.  And that takes my mind off whatever all my fucked-up problems are.

Mark: Absolutely.

Josh: Are there specific charities that you work with?

Janice: AIDS, breast cancer, PETA.  The homeless.  I’m a sucker for just about anything.

Mark: Speaking of PETA, are you a vegetarian?

Janice: [Long and dramatic pause, complete with narrowing of eyes and slight grin.] Is eating dick vegan?


Janice: That’s the title of your interview: “Is eating dick vegan?”

Mark: No, that’s the title of your fourth book. It’s perfect.

Janice: [Screaming with laughter] “Is Eating Dick Vegan?”

Mark: We want to thank you so much for spending time with us.

Janice: Are you going to hang out later?

Josh and Mark [in unison]: Of course.

Janice: At the Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, we have some of the hottest men and women…  You know what, just see for yourself. 

Mark: Thank you so much for coming to Miami.

Janice: Thanks for having us. This has been THE best interview.  I’m not just saying that…

Mark:  Are you coming back to Miami later in the season?

Janice: I’m not fucking giving away the candy shot.  [Mouthing yes.]


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