Janice Doreen Dickinson (born February 15, 1953) is an American model, fashion photographer, actress, author and agent. By the 1980s, she was considered a supermodel in the fashion industry, and later expanded her profession to reality television by judging for four cycles on America’s Next Top Model. She subsequently opened her own modeling agency, which was documented as The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency.
Janice Dickinson was born in Brooklyn, New York. She was raised in Hollywood, Florida and grew up in a dysfunctional household; her father was abusive and violent, and her mother was abusing drugs. Primarily to disassociate herself from her parents, Dickinson adopted an ambitious attitude at an early age.
In the early 1970s, Dickinson moved to New York City and began to pursue work as a model.
Dickinson’s modeling pursuit was successful and led her to Paris, where her “exotic looks” secured her notoriety within the European modeling industry. She returned to New York in 1978, and spent the next several years working steadily and, reportedly, partying with celebrities such as John Belushi, Andy Warhol and Truman Capote.
By the 1980s, Dickinson was considered a supermodel, as she “possessed the kind of name and face recognition” that the majority of women in the modeling industry strive to achieve. She appeared within and on covers of magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and Playboy, and worked with some of fashion’s best-known names, including Giorgio Armani, Gianni Versace and Calvin Klein.
Dickinson is the self-proclaimed first supermodel. Dickinson’s claims for coining the term “supermodel” and being the first one to represent the title are disputed. The term “supermodel” was already known in the 1940s. The writer Judith Cass used the term in 1942 for her article in the Chicago Tribune, which headlined “Super Models are Signed for Fashion Show”. The term was popular throughout the 1960s to 1970s. In 1968, an article in Glamour described Twiggy, Cheryl Tiegs, Wilhelmina, Veruschka, Jean Shrimpton and fifteen other top models as “supermodels”. Jean Shrimpton was also described as a supermodel by Time in 1971, as were Beverly Johnson by Jet in 1977, and Naomi Sims in the 1978 book Total Beauty Catalog by K.T. Maclay.
Dorian Leigh is recognized as being one of the 20th Century’s first supermodels, and whose career began and ended before Dickinson was born. Gia Carangi has also been called the first supermodel, as well as Lisa Fonssagrives.
Dickinson has appeared on the cover of Vogue (both American and international editions) 37 times.
In 2002, Dickinson, in need of money, wrote her first book, the autobiography No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental Life of The World’s First Supermodel…Two years later, she started the writing of her second book, Everything About Me Is Fake… And I’m Perfect!, in which she describes her life in modeling, her experience with plastic surgery, and her battles with anorexia, bulimia and alcoholism.
Dickinson reemerged to the forefront with her four-cycle stint as a judge on the reality series America’s Next Top Model and her subsequent reality show and modeling agency The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency.
In 2005, Dickinson was a regular on The Surreal Life for its fifth season. She appeared with English model Abigail Clancey in Abbey & Janice: Beauty & The Best, a reality series detailing Clancey’s attempt to break into the American modeling market. The show debuted in Britain on May 14, 2007 and premiered in the United States on the Oxygen television network on February 19, 2008.
In November 2007, Dickinson became one of the celebrities taking part in the UK reality TV show I’m a Celebrity…Get Me out of Here!.
Dickinson was also a contestant for series two of the American version of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, which began airing in June 2009. She was eliminated from the show on June 18, 2009.
Dickinson has been married three times. Her former husbands are Ron Levy, Simon Fields (1987 – 1993), and Albert B. Gerston (February 1995 – 1996; also recorded as Alan B. Gersten). With Fields she had a son, Nathan Fields. She has a daughter, Savannah Dickinson, by former boyfriend, Michael Birnbaum. Initially, Dickinson claimed that Sylvester Stallone was Savannah’s father. However, two paternity tests proved that the biological father was not Stallone, but Birnbaum. In her books and in interviews, she has also discussed her numerous sexual relationships with male and female celebrities.
Dickinson’s most recent book is Check Please! Dating, Mating and Extricating and is labeled as showcasing a lighter and tender side of Dickinson. In the book, Dickinson discusses the men in her life, and prescribes her rules for dating.