Fashion & Dyke Icon Jenny Shimizu 【Modeling Years】

By Yuki Keiser April 2008

Jenny Shimizu

5.Kate Moss & the new face of modeling

--Did you make friends in the modeling scene when you started?

Well, I tended to hook up with other models. They would become my girlfriends, and then my best-friends. I had just been transplanted to New York so I didn't know anyone. I knew nothing and these girls would show me around everywhere. They'd travel with me, too. They showed me how everything worked.

--Was there anyone in particular you were close to?

Kate Moss was in my agency. When I first arrived in New York I worked one weekend with Bruce Webber. After that I figured, "I'm ready to go back to California", because I thought that was all I had to do. But they said, "No, you're going to go to Italy." It turns out everyone had already left for Milan, and so I went there a day late. Next thing I know, they wanted to see me at Versace, and I walk in to this one room and I see Claudia Schiffer, first thing, naked! I see Naomi Campbell and Tatiana, too. I see every single top model and I'm dying. I'm so scared. I feel so sick that I want to go home (laughs). Then my agent takes me over to Kate, who's sitting on the ground smoking and drinking beer. My agent says, "Kate, this is Jenny. Jenny, this is Kate. You guys are in the same agency. Kate, you take care of her." So, I've always had a soft spot for Kate. I've always thought she was an angel. She's beautiful, with the most wonderful voice.

Kate Moss

※Kate Moss

--Are you still in contact with her?

No, but you know what? Just recently I heard that someone is doing a book on her and they were trying to contact me. I'm not sure whether this book is really going to come out or not, but all I could ever say about Kate are nice things.

--What are your best and worst memories of your modeling days?

There are so many "best" memories. I think one of my best memories is from this one night after a Viviane Westwood show. We all went back to our rooms at the Ritz Carlton to get ready and then we head out. We have a driver. It's Kate, me, Christie, Naomi, and our agent in this car with a sun roof and it's night time. We're drunk and we're going to Viviane Westwood's after-party. I remember thinking, "It's Paris", and I can see lights sparkling everywhere in the night. Then, Patty Smith comes on the radio and Kate starts singing, "Because the Night". Everything seemed like a dream.

I looked around and Christie had a big scab on her face because shed fallen out of a limo the day before - she just fell straight on her face while drunk (laughs). We were so crazy at that time. At that moment I said to myself, "No matter how drunk I am right now, I have to remember this moment," because it was one of the most beautiful moments to me. The whole world - everything - made sense. Just for that second. I'll always remember was a beautiful night.

That was during the beginning of the waif models. Kate came and changed the face of modeling. And I was there because all the "different" girls entered the modeling scene. All the old girls were getting really mad (laughs). It was like models had been split into two different clans - there was Tatiana and then the cool girls on the one side, and all the old school models on the other, looking down on us. Silly.

--What a terrific story! You were right there in history! Can you think of any worst memories?

OK. One time I had a drink before going on a runway. I had never done that before, and it was the worst thing. I was already a little self-conscious about being a model and suddenly I felt more so. I had to wear an outfit designed by a huge Asian designer known for catering to all the socialites of New York. He dressed me up in an outfit that was yellow, black, yellow, black...and I had yellow Converse on. I felt like a bumblebee! So I was buzzed and thinking, "I'm a fucking bumblebee." I freaked out! (laughs)

--And you had to do the runway!

Yes. I had to go all the way down it. I was freaking out! It was complete torture. I will never do that again. (laughs)

--Finally, I'm sure you hear quite often from people who'd like to know more about your rumored relationships with Angelina Jolie and Madonna. Could you tell us anything, or would you prefer not to comment?

Well, usually I choose not to comment, but there is one thing I can say. Both of them have come out and said it publicly: Angie (Angelina Jolie) appeared on Barbara Walters saying she had a relationship with me, and Madonna said as much on MTV. But, the thing is - people make up so much stuff when it comes to this! I find myself quoted in magazines that never approached me.

But, do you know what?! The 90's were very good to me...VERY GOOD.

Jenny Shimizu

※Shimizu modeling for Shiseido in Japan.

★TW's interview with Jenny Shimizu will continue in a second part, to be posted shortly. Check back to read more about Shimizu's current life and love!

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