If anyone needs to be reminded of how horrible the modeling industry can be, it sounds like Carre Otis‘ new memoir Beauty, Disrupted will do a tremendous job. Although we’ve already mentioned one of the more nightmarish aspects of her rise to fame–her brutal account of being raped by her agent as a teenager–she gave an interview to The Fix this week and talked specifically about her abuse of cocaine, how she was introduced to it by that same agent and just how stupidly commonplace it is in fashion. …And how overcoming anorexia was more challenging than kicking heroin. Jesus.
The Fix: You wrote in your memoir that your former agent, Gerald Marie of Elite, gave you cocaine as a means to help you control your weight. Do you think that kind of thing still takes place in the modeling industry, or was it a product of being in the 80s and 90s?
Otis: I’d love to say that’s not going on now, but I’m not a great barometer for what’s happening now in the industry. I do think that in the 80s and 90s, there was sort of this sort of unprecedented fast decadence. Cocaine was just what people were doing. You’re getting ready for hair and make-up and people are doing blow off the table. On top of that, you’re exposed to this grueling pace where your life is given up. You’re working until 2 AM and then going on go-sees all day. People used cocaine for weight maintenance, but also as a way of adapting to that lifestyle.
But perhaps more disturbing? Otis is then asked if it was harder to kick the drugs (including, later, heroin) or her eating disorder. She answers:
The anorexia. With drug addiction, you just can’t do that anymore. The one time I took pain medication after having surgery, I was so violently ill between nausea and constipation that I was like, “This sucks! I can’t believe this was such a big part of my life at one point.” My eating disorder was so woven into my everyday life, though. With eating, you have to find a way to gain that freedom and eat with the emotions of feeling fat, of feeling out of control for having that cake and not saying, “I’m not gonna eat for three days because I had that cake.” It took a while, but I have a great relationship with food now.
Although we think (hope?) Otis’ situation was particularly horrible, reading this kind of stuff just makes us believe mamas shouldn’t let their little girls grow up to be models.
Read the rest of their harrowing conversation over at The Fix.