When the new season of The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency bows Aug. 26 on Oxygen, expect to see our favorite supermodel turned superagent up to her ears in some supersized changes.
For one, she’s helming the agency by herself, with a boost from a brand new partner. For two, she’s sold the agency at Hollywood and Highland to take up residence in a surprising spot. But the, uh, biggest adjustment of all, says Dickinson, comes at the hands of her own 21-year-old son, Nathan Fields, who runs the agency’s commercial division. The lad decides it’s time for his old-school mama to do some new-school thinking and sneaks some plus-size beauties into the house … and the business.
If you think you know Janice Dickinson, read on. Sure, the woman is outspoken and frequently unedited — it’s kind of her job. But she’s also a whole lot smarter than you think. Smarter than me. Maybe even smarter than you.
Channel Guide: Any hints about what we can expect for Season 4?
Janice Dickinson: Lori, I want to tell your readers to hold onto their hats! Season Four of The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency show on the Oxygen Network is going to rock your socks off! I move into a house to save money. I sell the old agency at Hollywood and Highland, because I figured, back in the day when I was the world’s first supermodel — the original — I moved to Paris and I stayed in a room as big as your closet. As big as a closet! There were, like, ten girls lined up on futons, like sardines in a can. That’s exactly how close we were. And if I remember correctly, those were the best years of my life.
We had no money growing up — I was poorer than a church mouse — but I got to be in Paris. I was living my wish-dream to become a model. When I saw Lauren Hutton on the pages shot by the late, great Richard Avedon, that’s what I wanted to be. I wanted to be that model.
Yow! Any second thoughts about the new living arrangement while you were packing up your stuff?
I figured the only way I could get these kids in model boot camp shape is to move them into a house — and I move into the house together with them. And I surveil them 24/7! Unbeknownst to them, they’re being surveilled! It’s hoot and a holler, because I wake them up in the morning and General Janice makes them make their beds. Half these kids are slobs!
I teach them. I am teaching them about photography, about lighting. I mean, I asked Maurice, my African American hunk, “What’s the last book you read?” And he said, “I don’t read books; I’m an entrepreneur!” So I said, “Well what do you want to be?” And he says “I want to be P. Diddy.” I said, “P. Diddy’s a smart guy — he reads!”
To that end, as more and more reality shows are churned out, it seems like the people who try out for them are more interested in becoming famous than actually winning whatever the competition might be. Are you finding that among your prospective models?
Some of the kids in my agency want to be celebrities, but those are the kids I throw out. I want models who want to be models. I really am looking for the next Kate Moss.
[This season] I’m also encountering an issue that I’m vehemently against — the plus-size issue. I am against that, as far as modeling goes. It doesn’t work in this industry, I’m sorry. I love men and women of all sizes — don’t get me wrong. But in the modeling industry, designers first start with the sketch and it’s about a silhouette. I’m sorry, that’s just the way it is.
Valentino, Versace, Azzedine Alaia, Yves San Laurent, Calvin Klein, Halston — I was their muse. They start with a sketch. And they don’t start sketching for plus-size models.
But you gave them a shot … ?
Listen, Nathan Fields snuck some of these plus-size girls in the house, and I gave them a shot. But this was against my will.
Here’s the way it is. These girls were in my face going, “You don’t understand — big is beautiful.” I said, “Big IS beautiful.” But listen … as soon as I’m done with this interview, I’m going to go for a run. I’m disciplined. It’s part of my code, my ethic. I wake up and get on my knees and meditate and do yoga. Then I get up and go for a run. And then I clean the house and check my daughter’s homework, make sure her books are in order. I make sure everything for my children is in order. And THEN I go to work.
My son, Nathan Fields, runs the commercial division — the plus-size division — and he will continue to do that. But I want high fashion! I want couture! Can you put that in capital letters — I WANT HIGH FASHION!
[Dickinson’s manager, celebrated New York PR maven Lizzie Grubman, interjects:]
I have to interrupt! Her whole life she was brought up in a different era of modeling. [Janice: “Old school!”] This is “new school.” She cares about bringing up her children and these kids and showing them a healthy lifestyle. [Janice: “A healthy life!”] When you see these girls in Janice’s eyes — you know, I was there during the shooting — she can’t really relate to it.
Here’s the deal. [My daughter] Savannah — she’s 14 and she helps out — said, “You know, Mom, you can be nice to them.” And I said, “I am being nice — but they eat too much!” She goes to an all-girls school and she’s very fair and she’s very correct. She’s a phenomenal girl for 14. She’s everything I’m not.
But I think part of what sets your show apart from other modeling shows is that you do invest yourself in your models and you stick with them, season after season.
Absolutely! We accumulate — we don’t eliminate.
We have Crystal Trueheart, an amazing girl — all the models in the house, that’s their favorite. Crystal Trueheart is still back with us after four seasons. Before your eyes, the duckling has turned into a swan. She was a little plump. But we started getting her going on a healthy diet and Pilates and yoga. This season, I’ve got a woman in the house teaching these girls how to dance with a chair — it’s very sexy. We’ve got the kids dancing with a chair and a feather boa. So I make it fun.
I’ve got another girl that I’m crazy about — Hazuki — from Japan. They threw her out; I’m going to make them pay big yen to get her back. And we’ve got another girl, an African American girl, who’s amazing. When she smiles, forget about it!
My problem is I fall in love with each and every one of them — even the bad kids. I mean, one girl — CC — came to the shoot two hours late. She got the job, though! She got the job because she was right for the job. But still, I couldn’t believe it! I was ready to bite her head off, because I was the only agent that goes to the shoot just to check up, just to watch their attitude, just to see. I’m an agent who also cares about their finance, not just their romance … or anything else that ends with an “ance.” Their “new-ances.”
It’s about reading, writing, arithmetic. It’s about reading the newspaper, casting a vote. I’m teaching them to go to the public library and rent a book. I don’t know what their parents have done with them!
Kids today have lost sight of their instinct due to the onslaught of the computer, and their BlaaaackBerries! Their BlaaaaackBerries, Lizzie Grubman!
Due to the onslaught of modern technology children have lost sight of one thing — instinct. They have forgotten how to think. “Oh My God! OMG!” And all that stuff on the Gossip Girl, and texting and all that crap. I don’t believe in it. I still write everything longhand and I remember telephone numbers in my head. People have lost sight of instinct.
What about your own kids?
Nathan just turned 21 and he’s running the commercial division. He also goes to Loyola Film School at the same time. And he’s a producer on the show. It’s tough! I’m really, really proud of him.
So would you ever consider letting the cameras into your home, your “behind the scenes” life, a la Dina Lohan or Denise Richards?
I’m not interested. Nah. No.
I’m interested in staying in the picture. Like Bob Evans said — the kid stays in the picture. I LOVE what I do. I love the art of the photograph — that’s why I became a model. I love being in the picture, and I love taking pictures.
And now I’ve rented this dumb house with a helicopter outside and a motorboat in the pool — it’s such a joke. But it makes for great photographs.
And you’ve really fired Peter Hamm …
I fired the Hamm! He wasn’t kosher. He’s gone!
Is that a relief?
Uh, hellz to the yezzz? [Laughs uproariously] I’m running the show myself, now. And I’ve got great partners in Otto Models. We pay our models 48 hours after they do the job. And no one is strapped for models.
We also cut one model’s hair off — Hazuki’s — and donated it to Locks of Love. We still donate to AIDS research. I’m not just jumping on a soapbox — I actually practice what I preach. I have to teach the models that they must know about charitable giving, they have to give back — it’s not just about them.
We also have a green episode where the entire house goes green. I am teaching the kids to recycle. My kids have been recycling since their binkies went into the recycling bin. It’s about AIDS. It’s about Locks of Love. Every penny I make, I give half away.