The Dark Side of the Modeling Industry

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 23, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight, on the surface modeling looks like a glamorous industry, but over the years, there have been a number of sordid scandals involving super models. For example, Naomi Campbell has been arrested a number of times. She's currently facing charges of assault. Kate Moss got in trouble with cocaine during a turbulent relationship with a British punk rocker.

Christie Brinkley has had in trouble in her personal life finding men she can trust. And Gia, a supermodel in the late '70s, became a drug addict and died from AIDS.

With us now is model Robin Hazelwood, a graduate of Yale University and author of the book "Model Student: A Tale of Co-eds and Cover Girls".

Reading your bio, you got into the modeling industry at age 14, which is not unusual, right?

ROBIN HAZELWOOD, AUTHOR, "MODEL STUDENT": No. I would say that's the most — 14, 15 is the most common time.

O'REILLY: Is that the reason that a lot of these girls go wild, because they're immature and they're unsupervised over in Milan and Paris and New York City here, and they just succumb to temptation?

HAZELWOOD: Yes. I think that does have a lot to do with it. What happens is the agencies find these girls quite young. The story that that they tell the parents is, "Have your daughter come, you know, a nice summer abroad. We are bookers, you know. The agents will stay with them, will look after them. They will be chaperoned. And then often they go to these cities — and it's not exactly like that.

O'REILLY: Look, you've got photographers. You've got young people in proximity to each other. You know what's going to happen. But didn't your parents — I mean, you're a Midwest girl. You're from Milwaukee, right?


O'REILLY: OK. Didn't they know that having you at age 14 in this business was kind of risky?

HAZELWOOD: Well, I didn't come to New York at 14. To be fair, what happens typically is for the first year or two, I would say, a girl is sort of cutting her teeth in a smaller local market.

O'REILLY: You were in Chicago.

HAZELWOOD: I was in Chicago. She doesn't usually come to a big city like New York, Paris or Milan until the ripe old age of 16.

O'REILLY: Sixteen!

HAZELWOOD: But, keep in mind, what happens, there's a little bit of collusion. The agents are telling the parents, you know, the whole thing I just said about the chaperones. And the child, who wants to model, because she thinks it's quite a glamorous thing, is typically...

O'REILLY: Was it fun for you?

HAZELWOOD: At first I thought it was fun. And it was glamorous. But of course, I didn't come home to my parents and say, "Oh, by the way, I saw a model doing some 'blow' in the bathroom today."

O'REILLY: Why didn't you do cocaine? Or did you?

HAZELWOOD: I didn't do it. I didn't do it to the extent that most models do, I would say, and that my character in the book does. But I included a lot of it in my book because I feel like it's typical.

O'REILLY: You did the cocaine a little in this stuff?

HAZELWOOD: It's -- the industry is full of it.

O'REILLY: But why didn't you get addicted like Kate Moss? Was there something holding you back from going over the edge?

HAZELWOOD: I definitely, you know, had my head screwed on straight.

O'REILLY: You did?

HAZELWOOD: Possibly to the detriment of my modeling career, I would say.

O'REILLY: You think so?

HAZELWOOD: Sure! Absolutely.

O'REILLY: You wouldn't do certain things that people wanted you to do, sleep with them and stuff?

HAZELWOOD: Yes, definitely an agency. You know, it's an industry where, you know, for example, in Milan, a lot of the agencies are owned by these wealthy individuals — these men.

And you get there and the moment you get there, the bookers are saying, "Come to dinner. Come to dinner." You show up at dinner and a string of 50-year-old men sitting next to 15-year-old girls. It's sort of understood that it's going to help your career if that dinner extends into the night.

O'REILLY: What percentage of the young girls go into the drugs and go with the guys, would you say?

HAZELWOOD: High. Very high.

O'REILLY: Fifty, 60, 70? What would you say?

HAZELWOOD: Yes. I would say 60 to 70 percent.

O'REILLY: Really? That many?

HAZELWOOD: You have to understand, there's a huge attrition rate. Every summer that I modeled and for the years afterwards, I can't tell you how many girls I encountered and I worked with for a summer. And you never really saw them again. They either, you know...

O'REILLY: Yeah, they wash out, they don't make it.

HAZELWOOD: They wash out. See, you know, in Milan, a lot of them, they start having these affairs with people. Or you know, the bulimia. I mean, it's — there's a lot of pressure put on people at such a young age.

O'REILLY: Did you have any eating disorders?

HAZELWOOD: I did not have any eating disorders but I would say at that time I was extremely preoccupied with every calorie that went into my mouth.

O'REILLY: Did you eat nutritionally, or did you just, like, have a salad once a day?

HAZELWOOD: I wouldn't say, you know, I ate as nutritionally as would be optimal.

O'REILLY: So it's an obsession to keep yourself reed thin.

HAZELWOOD: It's very hard to be thin naturally.

O'REILLY: Drugs are everywhere?


O'REILLY: And guys are trying to hit on you 24/7?


O'REILLY: All right. I think, look, people should read your book, and parents should absolutely know this is the industry, this is the modeling industry. Because I know some models and they say exactly what you're saying.

HAZELWOOD: It's true. And yet, there's still — you know, people still seem to think it's so glamorous.

O'REILLY: Right. All right.

Well, we appreciate you coming in, Robin. Thank you.

HAZELWOOD: Thank you for having me.

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