~Today I am honored to be interviewing, Julie Anderson, creator of the empowering, unfiltered blog, Feminine Collective.
Without further ado, here is Julie!
- You started your modeling career at only 17 years old. How did it all begin?
It began in my home state. I was “found” at a model recruitment/competition. For some reason, my parents agreed to take me. Perhaps I begged them, I don’t remember.
The owner of the agency James immediately fell in love with me. Not in an appropriate way. He did not “charge” me for the classes. (Just so you know dear reader – all of the modeling competitions are absolute crap. Money is what they are after.) Instead, he started “grooming” me to be a woman and his lover. It makes me sick to think about him. He had a lisp. I know that many people have lisps – every time I hear someone speak with a lisp I think of James, which makes me feel shame and pain.
From there- another BIG modeling convention. Every agent from around the world wanted to sign me. I barely left my home state; I was nervous yet eager enough to leave home – I chose to jump on the modeling train based in Chicago.
That was an education in its self.
- What did modeling give you? What did it take away from you?
Modeling gave me these things:
I can spot authentic luxury goods from a mile away.
I can spot the most expensive item in any closet, shelf, rack, store – just by looking at it.
I can travel to any country, and have zero fear.
I can communicate with others from all countries – even though there is a language barrier- using body language and eye contact.
I can deal with a room full of divas (and them some) without cracking under pressure.
I have learned to spot a scam artist no matter what “costume” they may be wearing. (i.e.,. agents and playboys)
I have an adventurous palate, which has reached epicurean standards.
I can accept people as people – not their gender, socio-economic standing, religious preference or sexual preference. In the fashion industry, ALL become ONE. I think that was the most beautiful learning experience of all.
What modeling took away from me:
A healthy perspective on my body image is nonexistent. I see myself as grossly overweight. In fact, I can not stand having my photo taken. It freaks me out. My self-esteem plummets. The name for my problem is Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
I also feel like I lost any vestige of innocence. Doing drugs, drinking to excess, having sex (in any combination) and praising the gods of indulgence, is all part of the fashion industries game. If I could take back what I have done, I would.
- Who is the most interesting person you met while on your adventures—the most horrid—the most insightful—the most astonishing—the most life-changing?
O.J. Simpson is the most offensive person that I ever met. When I met him, he was sitting in a booth near my table at one of NYC’s hot restaurants. I approached him and asked for his autograph, for my little brothers. He was sitting there with four other football players. They were Goliaths.
His slow eyes scanned the room. Half-lidded, with an animal’s mouth, he suggested that I dump my boyfriend (who was there) or he would have his friends take care of him … because he wanted to take me home.
I felt the evil that surrounded him; it came off of him in waves. I remember telling my family about the experience. That happened in 89/90. It was 1994 when he killed his wife. I saw it coming.
The most interesting person?
There were many:
Oscar de la Renta
John F. Kennedy Jr.
The most life changing:
John Stamos. He was my boyfriend for many years. THAT experience altered my destiny.
- People possibly assume you had it all, but nobody does, do they? What was missing from your life at that time?
Stability, understanding, money management, self-control, a psychiatrist and a lawyer on retainer.
- You revealed to me in an email you tried to commit suicide. Was this a cry for help or did you truly want the pain to end?
It was Valentines Day 2008.
I was living in Sydney Australia (with my husband and kids). For many years I was miserable – there is a lot to this story- but to save other’s feelings I won’t launch into the nasty details. My general doctor there prescribed Effexor – an antidepressant, for me to take. (In hindsight, what I needed was a therapist who would help me clarify what I was experiencing at home.) Anyway, I was a religious smoker. Cigarettes were my thing. During that time a relative came to stay with us, who had just blurted out that they had lung cancer. We were the designated caregivers, bill payers.
I was asked not to smoke near the patient. Of course I was considerate. But the patient would follow me around the block for a puff. Around that time a smoking cessation drug called Champix (Chantix here) became available in Australia. So I went to my doctor and inquired if the drug would be of use to me. He flipped through a few pages of his medical books, read the product details and gave me a script. His parting words were, “If you feel off, just stop taking them.”
That was a few days before Valentines Day.
The patient, our house guest, always has had the nastiest tongue. A very judgmental person, who not only lives in denial but regularly stirs the pot, by lying about or to others.
On February 13, 2008 – the patient stuck their nose in where it did not belong. Once rebuffed, the hate that spewed forth was reprehensible. I called my husband, who was overseas on a trip and told him what was said. He returned the next day. He confronted the patient. The patient lied and turned the story completely around making me the villain. Not unusual for the patient to do that – that was part of the patient’s sickness.
When told that the patient did not say what she said – in a bullish manner – I screamed in the patient’s face, using her exact words. That is when all hell broke loose, and I was told: “To get out of my house.”
That day I had plans to meet my best girlfriend for her birthday lunch. I was all dressed up and ready to go. Instead, I ran out the front door, in an effort to make it across the street and then jump off the cliff face that was in front of our house.
I can still see the woman who was driving the Range Rover – if my husband had not grabbed me I would not have needed to jump.
That was the beginning of my nervous breakdown. It was not a cry for help – it was induced by a faulty and dangerous mix of medicine.
Most people thought I was crazy – including the patient.
Once in hospital – I secured a lawyer and went after the drug company and the doctor. I won.
It took me five years to fully recover from that moment in my life. Five years.
If there was a call or need for help, it would have been help regarding toxic relationships. I still need help with that, to this day.
- What was the transformation, epiphany, revelation, whatever you want to call it, which offered you hope to LIVE?
Well, on August 13, 2013, I was on the phone with one of my girlfriends. She was helping me with my traumas, and relationship trials. At the end of our conversation, I remember saying to her, “Wouldn’t it be great if other women had the support network that we do? All they have now is pulp celebrity crap.” When I hung up the phone with here, I secured the domain femininecollective.com. It was an epiphany, and yes it keeps me going, growing and giving. I love it.
- How did your blog, Feminine Collective, transform into reality?
After I had bought the domain, I started talking. And talking. And talking. (I had no idea I was in manic mode) I gathered people that could help realize the vision. From the beginning, it has been (still is) work from the heart.
- I admire how you give back to women, allow them a platform to bitch, scream, and tell their stories in a raw, unfiltered, unapologetic way. What do you look for in the women and men who contribute to your site? Do their stories help w/ your own healing?
Thank you. I admire the brave storytellers.
When I read the submissions, I look for the nut of the story. If that nut peaks my interest- I know it will peak others interest. I am a survivor of childhood sexual assault, rape, emotional abuse, and financial abuse.
All of those things – live in the dark. They thrive as secrets.
I look for the writers that no longer want to hide in the dark. The ones that are willing to bare their souls are the ones that I fall in love with immediately.
Yes, the share of personal truths helps me heal. It helps everyone improve – when you have a community you are not alone. Therefore you are not in the dark swallowing painful secrets.
- What advice do you have for individuals who are considering suicide this very moment?
Don’t do it.
Don’t be afraid to express your emotions.
Staying silent is the killer – speak up.
Know that you are loved.
- Okay, now I’ll go off the beaten track and not be quite as serious. What are three of your absolute beloved books?
Story of O by Anne Descios, written under the pen name as Pauline Reage. NOW this is one hot story!!!! I would love to be able to turn a phrase like Ms. Descious does. I mean, move over 50 Shades, this is the real deal.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind. WOW. This book is a gem, you have never read anything like it. Seriously, this book will awaken your senses. No kidding. ( I believe you!)
Beloved by Toni Morrison. Need I say more. Speechless.
- A dirty little secret nobody knows about me is?!
If I told you everyone would know. Hint. Read some of my poetry. Fill in the blanks. wink.
- Which three people would you invite to your personal dinner party? (dead or alive.)
Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Which three films kick your ass here, there, and back again?
The Shining directed by Stanley Kubrick
Psycho directed by Alfred Hitchcock
The Green Mile directed by Frank Darabont
- Finish this sentence: My purpose in this lifetime is …
…to help others realize how important they really are. (Well, maybe it is to help myself, realize my worth.)
Julie Anderson BIO: Julie Anderson is the creator and publisher of Feminine Collective.
Formerly known as the “face” for many luxury brands, during her reign as a 90’s Supermodel, she has lived and worked on six continents and has always been eager to learn more about the lives of all the individuals that she encounters.
After all those years on the road, she considers herself incredibly lucky to have found her “voice.” A reluctant wordsmith, avid amateur photographer, editor and creative director, she is also a proud mother of three incredibly unique individuals.
She is a mental health advocate and is the managing director of the LifeAfter Project Inc.,
a nonprofit organization that provides educational content designed to educate and spread awareness for suicide prevention, and mental health issues on a global scale.
Her latest project is the poetry book Love Notes From Humanity: The Lust, Love and Loss Collection. Love Notes From Humanity
Featuring forty-four authors from around the world, the book tackles the meaning of love.
—Dear, Reader, leave some love and comments for Julie! Thank you. xxx