‘After all, we are a young nation and vanity is a fault of youth’ – Rebecca Harding Davis
HBO Spotlight, About Face: Supermodels Then and Now (July 2012) – Beauty is one of the most sought after attributes in society. With plastic surgery procedures and cosmetic sales on the rise, HBO will air About Face: Supermodels Then and Now, a revealing documentary showing the obsession with beauty in the fashion industry–and the lengths some go to preserve it. Numerous fashion icons such as Calvin Klein, Christine Brinkley, Beverly Johnson, Kim Alexis, and Esmé give candid insights into the fashion world and their careers.
Supermodels have different views on cosmetic surgery; some endorse it, while others take pride in aging gracefully. Carmel Dell’Orefice believes that surgery is similar to home improvement, Isabella Rossellini feels plastic surgery is damaging to the self-esteem of women, and suspects this new trend could be a symptom of misogyny. China Machado stands as the world’s oldest model, at 81 years of age. Machado gained popularity in the 1950′s during her stay in Paris, and alleges she was the highest paid model in Europe at the time.
While modeling is seen as a glamorous profession in today’s world, decades ago it was seen as something trivial and inappropriate. Legendary model/agent Bethann Hardison reveals her mother previously thought she was a prostitute up until her appearance in a television ad.
Then there is also the darker side of fashion–drugs and insecurities. Several models reveal they attended parties with iconic artists Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali during the 70′s and 80′s, where cocaine and other substances were in abundance. This practice was hindered with the arrival of the AIDS virus. Race issues are said to be prevalent in the industry, despite the booming careers of Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell.
About Face also gives insight into the differences between the industry years ago and now, with commentary from the models concerning fears and obstacles they faced–including sexual harassment. On a lighter note, some of the ladies will speak about the pleasantries of aging from focusing on their new business opportunities and having a pleasant home life.
Timothy Greenfield-Sanders is the director of About Face, and is known for his portraits of world leaders and significant cultural figures that are up for public viewing in various museums. He has worked on other documentaries which have aired on HBO, including The Black List series and The Latino List. Sanders received the 1999 Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video for the documentary Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart.
About Face: Supermodels Then and Now premiers exclusively on HBO Monday, July 30 at 9PM EST.
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