Some models can read. Some can even write. One would usually expect a memoir to be written by someone who is old enough to drink legally, have wrinkles around their eyes and some notches on their belt. However, Cheryl Diamond seems well beyond her twenty years. She has written a candid memoir about her life as a model which she began writing at the ripe old age of sixteen. She moved to New York at fourteen to pursue a career as a model and found herself fascinated by the colorful characters she met along the way. MODEL: A MEMOIR is a first-hand account of Cheryl’s gradual rise, fall, and successful comeback in one of the toughest industries in the world.
It’s hard to muster any sympathy someone who is gorgeous and gets paid to walk and pose in designer clothes. Yet, somehow you keep reading. Every year hundreds of the most beautiful young girls in the world come to New York to become models and most come home with nothing to show for it. Many have crushed egos, drug problems and eating disorders. At age fourteen, Cheryl Diamond spent her days running around New York on go-sees, runways, and shoots. Alone and living on her own in a run-down apartment in New Jersey, she survived paycheck to paycheck, and like so many models, wanted it all – runway shows, magazine spreads, a coveted opportunity to walk in Fashion Week. That would scare off most girls, but Cheryl is wise beyond her years. A trait that has obviously carried her far. That she kept her head on straight is a minor miracle. But, she had a book to write to keep her in at night while her peers were out clubbing.
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While soaking in everything she could about the competitive and deceitful modeling industry, she watched many other girls make mistakes which ended their modeling careers. Cheryl, however, was determined to avoid being a victim…until a career-altering event nearly ruined her shot at her dream.
Since I am well above the age limit for a career in modeling, it is nearly impossible to read this book without feeling old…or like my mother. I had to keep reminding myself this girl was only 16!
INTERVIEW: Today is the official release day and I had a chance to interview Cheryl about her book.
SCS: How did you get involved in modeling at the age of 14?
CD: I was intercepted on my way to dance class by a scout for a local agency and asked if I had ever thought about being a model. Instead of signing with the local agency I bypassed the middle man and went straight to New York, tagging along with my dad on a business trip. After going up and down a lot of stairs I was taken on by an agency that was very enthusiastic. Maybe even manic. That began my experiences with the larger than life characters in the modeling industry.
SCS: What inspired you to write your memoir at the age of 16?
CD: As a child my family did a tremendous amount of traveling and moving. I had a worry with moving so frequently that I would not leave a lasting impression on anyone and then, if they didn’t remember me, had I ever really been there at all? Before we left a place I often secretly got out a magic marker and wrote: ‘I was here!!!’ in a non-prominent place such as the closet. Writing something in ink has always satisfied me. I never liked pencils. Ink is not reversible, retractable or erasable. It is there – permanently. No wonder I grew up and began writing my memoir, in ink, at sixteen. It was inevitable. The old urge resurfaced and I spent three years writing a book that shouts ‘I was here!!!’
SCS: But why publish the book now when you are still so young?
CD: I thought the characters I met in the industry needed to be immortalized…immediately. Truth is, I also didn’t want to forget and thought it was best to write while this was all still fresh in my mind. It would lose it’s sense of urgency and excitement. I also wanted to do something that would set me apart, something other than modeling. It’s so easy to be typecasted as a dumb model.
SCS: So what do you intend this book to accomplish?
CD: It was more a labor of love. I saw so many girls get eaten up by the industry. They didn’t seem to see there was another way to go. Instead of clubbing I stayed in and wrote my book. I also want girls to know that they don’t have to do anything they don’t want to do. I was remembered because I stood up for myself.
I was surprised there is no inside scoop already published on the
inner-workings of the industry. No guidebook for young girls just
starting out. I am amazed that nobody else gave an overview. So I wrote
this book to help young women and to make people laugh.
SCS: How is the book being received ? You call a lot of industry people out on their behavior and lack of character.
CD: I thought there might be a backlash, but amazingly, every designer and photographer I know laughs hysterically. I even asked…are you offended? "Of course not! We know we’re all crazy!" In fact, many are recommending it to their friends.
SCS: What are your plans for the future?
CD: I am very focused on my book and promoting right now. I still plan to continue modeling because I enjoy it. I enjoy the gossip and camaraderie of shoots and the thrill of the runway. I will also give speeches and interviews as I am pretty good at pontificating. Recent media attention has made modeling a hot subject and I hope my book will make a substantial contribution. I will write another book for sure, but I want to balance both. I might write a novel next and then a follow-up to this book.
GIVEAWAY: I have one copy of MODEL: A MEMOIR By Cheryl Diamond to giveaway. Leave a comment that you would like the book and I will pick one lucky winner at random on Friday, May 30th.
Purchase "Model: A Memoir" for $9.99 at Amazon
– Lauren Dimet Waters