She drops to the ground, sprawls on her back, gathers her famous lips into a pucker and smolders at the lens. Dickinson, who worked with everyone from Irving Penn to Avedon during her Eighties heyday and coined the term supermodel, is having a good time. Her legs snap into a series of seductive attitudes, luring a group of gaping guests, the cook from the kitchen and a maintenance man to watch.
Of course, it isn’t long before one of the hotel’s administrative types stumbles upon the scene. "Excuse me," the mousey exec says, "but do you have permission to —"
"How dare you interrupt a supermodel at work!" Dickinson snaps with mock outrage, sending the exec back where she came from.
Moments later the director of security arrives, "All right," he says in thick New York-ese. "What’s going on over here?"
"Ooooh," says Dickinson mockingly. "Somebody’s from Brooklyn. Wait until you see me dangling from the chandelier." She wins the security guard over in two seconds flat.
Dickinson is a real diva. But when she finally sits on the lounge’s once-offensive couch to talk about her autobiography, "No Lifeguard on Duty," she gives the act a rest and becomes Janice the Survivor. For the last 46 years, she has starred in the painful and glamorous tragi-comedy otherwise known as her life, escaping a criminally abusive father, enduring the trials of the modeling industry and surviving all the drugs and danger she could handle. When she became sober two years ago, Dickinson, now living in Los Angeles and a mother of two, began to put the book together. "This is a cautionary tale about incest and Studio 54 and fashion, fashion, fashion," she says.
Of course, the book also details Dickinson’s many romantic escapades with photographers, artists and the men whom she refers to as "Academy Award winners." But what keeps the book from becoming too tawdry is Dickinson’s sense of humor. She applies a healthy dose to both her conquests and disaster’s alike.