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Kerlin and Oh treat readers to plenty of sex, drugs and stilettos in their splashy debut offering a peek into the lives of Heidi Klum wannabes.

Discovered by a photographer in her small Virginia hometown, Heather Johnston soon gets the call from a New York agency and leaves behind her simple middle-class family to join the high-flying elite. While trying to land a major modeling campaign and score some big bucks, she must pay her dues by living in “the model dorm,” a cramped apartment packed with fresh model meat. For the agency, it’s a way to keep costs low until the new girls land lucrative contracts. The whiny prima donnas consider bunk beds in a one-bedroom share subhuman treatment. Heather hooks up with her leggy roommates to escape the shabby apartment and hunt for free booze and wealthy men. But she isn’t like the others, the author assures us: Heather also likes art, and she toys with the idea of abandoning her model dreams to become an art-history student. This manufactured conflict doesn’t interfere much with the authors’ mission to reveal the trade’s Dark Secrets—all those models who claim to eat three square meals a day are lying through their whitened teeth!—nor does it spoil the juicy fun of watching the girls stab each other in the back to score hot European club promoters and choice modeling jobs. Former teen model Kerlin, now a college sophomore, makes a point (with former model-dorm roommate Oh) of showing that there’s work involved in becoming a successful model: Glory awaits those who trade dancing on the tables at Bungalow 8 for time on the treadmill. The authors’ prose matches their clichéd nostrums. If Kerlin did indeed write any of this, she might want to consider adding an expository writing course to her class schedule . . . and find a coauthor whose credentials go beyond “lifestyle marketing.”

Trashy and trite.

Pub Date: Jan. 2nd, 2007
ISBN: 0-7432-9826-8
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Atria
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2006