9The first thing you need to know about the fashion industry is that everything you see is a lie. The beautiful woman who looks up seductively from the cover of a magazine may very well only be a child.10
At the height of the supermodel era, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington famously said that they didn't get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day. And why should they? At the time of the unprecedented supermodel fame, badasses like them had it all: glamor, riches, a jetset lifestyle and worldwide admiration -- even the sky was not the limit for their meteoric rise.
What you need to know is that before the time of the multimillion-dollar supermodel, there was Ford. This woman single-handedly groomed some of the most renowned supermodels of the 70s and 80s. Having been a model herself, she was also fiercely protective of her models, being well aware of the predatory nature of the industry.
This meant a strict code of conduct for the models. Ford made sure they attended shoots with chaperones (to fend off the creepos), were strictly forbidden to use drugs, and enacted curfews and morality clauses.
Ford made sure her models were compensated fairly, including for their fitting time and screen tests. But the models still didn't make a lot, and they wanted more. They knew they could have more.
Enter John Casablancas -- a wealthy, charismatic playboy born in New York to Spanish parents and lived in Milan. When he came onto the scene and founded the seductive Elite Model Management, he poached many a Ford model with his diametrically opposite approach. Modeling became a culture of hedonism, late night partying, rampant drug use, and most importantly: lots and lots of money.
With Elite, modeling was dangerously sexy, intoxicating, glamorous, and glitzy. The best models could earn riches beyond their wildest dreams.
But the casualties were high too. Two of Elite's top models would be found dead within its first year due to drug use and sexual assault, though none of these tampered Elite's seductive image.
The harsh reality was that only a handful of models ever reached the megastar status of Naomi Campbell or Brooke Shields. That's the allure of unchecked capitalism -- overnight riches are attainable, but only ever so few get so lucky.
(Photo below depicts 10-year-old Brooke Shields' infamous shoot, for which she was nude (cropped here) and wearing a full face of makeup)
At the height of Elite Model Management, the gatekeepers that selected model wannabes openly bedded children as young as 12. Their abusive practice cemented a new golden standard of the era: very young models who aspire to big dreams had to strip in the agents' offices to be weighed, measured, inspected.
This pretense for older men to spend time alone with very young naked girls went on unquestioned. Casablancas set himself up as the brazen evaluator of very young girls who would funnel in and out of his office with dreams of making it big.
(Recent Vogue photos (above and below) that depict a hypersexualized 10-year-old Thylane Blondeau caused a stir when they came out in 2011)
Casablancas met Stephanie Seymour when she was 14, and by the time she was 16, she had moved into his place and began a relationship with him.
Eventually Casablancas' abuse began to catch up with him. By the 80s, the general public became a lot less tolerant of child sexual abuse, and several high-profile investigative articles exposed the rampant underaged abuse going on in the modeling industry.
John Casablancas was fired from his job at Elite, took a step back from the limelight, but his taste for underaged and teenaged girls never faded. At 51, he moved to Brazil and married a 17-year-old beauty queen.
NEXT: Trump crosses paths with Casablancas, dives into the modeling business