See "World's First Supermodel" Janice Dickinson Now at 67
The fashion icon and reality TV star has lived a rollercoaster life.
Notoriously brash supermodel Janice Dickinson rose to fame in the 1970s after being discovered by photographer Jacques Silberstein and his girlfriend at the time, actor Lorraine Bracco. Dickinson was, for a time, one of the busiest and most highly paid women in the fashion industry.
Today, the star is more famous for her career in reality TV, owing mostly to her stint as a judge on the early seasons of America's Next Top Model. But even after leaving that show under a cloud of controversy in 2008, she has hardly vanished from the public eye. Keep reading to learn what Dickinson has been doing since her heyday as "the world's first supermodel."
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She lived the glamorous life of a supermodel.
During the '70s and '80s, Dickinson was one of the most in-demand models in the business, appearing in ads and on countless magazine covers. That success was hard-earned, according to L'Officiel, because the aspiring star didn't fit in with the blond-haired, blue-eyed look popular at the time. However, after she was taken on as a client by famed agent Wilhelmina Cooper, she began working steadily, earning as much as $2,000 per day and working with the likes of Versace, Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, and Calvin Klein.
She later referred to herself "the world's first supermodel," though the veracity of that claim is disputed (with citations) in a lengthy section of her Wikipedia page.
She's struggled with addiction.
Dickinson's glamorous public life hid struggles no camera lens ever captured. She partied hard and regularly used drugs, she told the Evening Standard in 2012, and lived a "hedonistic lifestyle," sleeping with, by her estimate, more than 1,000 people. While under the influence during a show, she once fell off a runway into the lap of actress Sophia Loren.
Her addictions also included a plastic surgery habit. "Everything about me is fake, and I'm perfect," she said in a 2007 interview with Glenn Beck. "Fake breasts, fake teeth, fake nails, fake hair. I'm perfect. Restylane, Botox, you name it. I'm the first to sign up for it."
Dickinson was married and divorced three times between 1977 and 1996 and gave birth to two children. Her son Nathan (with her second husband, TV producer Simon Fields) was born in 1987, and her daughter Savannah in 1994. At the time of Savannah's conception, Dickinson was having an affair with actor Sylvester Stallone and named him as the father, though a paternity test eventually revealed he was not, as reported by People.
Eventually realizing her drug use was impacting her career, in July of 2000, Dickinson decided to get sober. She swore off drugs and alcohol and began penning her first memoir. No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental Life of the World's First Supermodel was published in 2002 and provides a no-holds-barred account of her tumultuous time in the modeling business and a harrowing account of the abuse she says she experienced growing up at the hands of her father. The memoir was well-received by critics, who praised her candor; a review in Publisher's Weekly noted she seemed willing to grapple with her past mistakes, making it "easy to relate to her positive message…[the book] should inspire readers searching for solutions to career and personal conflicts."
A second memoir, Check Please! Dating, Mating, and Extricating, was published in 2006.
She was fired from America's Next Top Model.
The positive reception to the book caught the attention of supermodel Tyra Banks, who was in the process of creating the reality series America's Next Top Model. Dickinson was brought on as one of the judges who would offer critiques to aspiring models hoping to break into the industry. The job put her back in the spotlight and introduced herself to a younger generation of viewers.
"When I was hired to do America's Next Top Model, Tyra hired me to be like a female Simon Cowell, to be feeding, in a negative fashion, things about the girls," Dickinson told Oprah's Where Are They Now? in 2015.
After four "cycles" of the show, however, Dickinson was fired from the series in 2008. She claimed at the time that she was being punished for being too honest with the contestants about the rejection they would face in the real world of modeling, which conflicted with the narrative the TV series was trying to sell.
For years afterward, Dickinson and Banks were in something of a public feud, sniping back and forth at each other in the press. Dickinson accused Banks of poor treatment and criticized Top Model as being "rigged," as reported by Entertainment Weekly. However, they finally mended fences in 2014.
'The one regret I've had is badmouthing Miss Tyra Banks when I was not speaking with a sober mindset,' she told Us Weekly that year. "I'm terribly sorry for any of the antagonistic things I've said about her in the past. It was just because I was hurt from being fired from the show."
She embraced reality TV stardom.
During and after leaving Top Model, Dickinson dove headfirst into reality TV, appearing on one series after another in quick succession.
She debuted The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, a series that went behind the scenes of her business working with aspiring models, on Oxygen in 2006. She was a houseguest on The Surreal Life that same year, mentored a former Top Model contestant on Janice and Abbey in 2007, appeared on the U.K. and U.S. editions of I'm a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! in 2007 and 2009, and went to Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew in 2010.
In 2014, she appeared on Botched!, a series in which people have plastic surgeries reversed and corrected. She signed on to correct a breast enlargement she'd had done 30 years prior. (She later claimed this corrective surgery was also incorrectly performed.)
In 2015, she appeared on Couples Therapy and Celebrity Big Brother, and in 2020, on Season 24 of The Bachelor.
She dealt with financial issues and testified against Bill Cosby.
Amid her appearances on TV, Dickinson experienced financial troubles, filing for bankruptcy in 2013. According to the Los Angeles Times, she owned $1 million to creditors including the IRS and multiple plastic surgeons. She also faced an eviction lawsuit for failing to pay the $5,900 a month rent for her Los Angeles home, according to The Cut.
"I had some trouble, so yes, it is true," she told Radar in 2013. "I am upset and taking every step to pay everyone back and I feel terrible about it."
In 2013, Dickinson, who claims she was assaulted by Bill Cosby in the '80s, became one of the first of many accusers to speak out publicly about her experiences. She also testified at Cosby's trial (involving another accuser) in 2018.
Dickinson told Entertainment Tonight in 2014 that she'd tried to include the incident in her 2002 memoir but was pressured not to by Cosby's lawyers. She later sued the comedian for defamation and settled with his insurance company. She spoke about the vacation of his conviction on a process technicality and subsequent release from prison in the 2022 documentary, Cosby: Walking Free.
Now, she's going back to reality.
At 67, Dickinson is currently in production on a new reality series, Model Court with Janice Dickinson, and still dishing out critiques of the next generation of supermodels.
She called famous sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid "Instagram models" (rather than supermodels) on a 2021 episode of the Behind the Rope podcast, as reported by Page Six. "They have one look, they don't really diversify their movements," she said. "They just stand there. And get paid millions of dollars. They are not fierce walkers."