Iconoclastic model, singer, and actress Jones reflects on a highflying life of celebrity exuberance.
Born in Spanish Town, Jamaica, Jones (b. 1948) entered a world that was drastically different than the image of glitterati elegance with which she would later become synonymous. Raised in a strict Pentecostal home, Jones remarks, “there was an Islamic level of intolerance, an Amish severity.” It was the constriction of her upbringing that created a sense of rebellion in the author that would define her personality and professional life. For Jones, rebelling was less an act of asserting independence than an exertion of “one of the few pleasures I could find for myself.” It wasn’t until Jones joined her parents in America that she began to define her rebellious nature and reinvent herself as Grace (previously, she went by her middle name, Beverly). Striking out on her own, Jones settled in Philadelphia, where she struggled as an aspiring actress, before moving to New York to pursue modeling full-time. In New York and Paris, the author began to cultivate her signature image of androgynous austerity. She also began frequenting New York’s pre-disco club scene that she helped forge and later solidify as a Studio 54 regular. Having struggled to break out as a traditional singer, Jones’ turn to pop was less about vocal talent than about her “personality bringing presence to the record.” Her club hit, “La Vie En Rose,” helped establish her as a disco icon before she transformed her style into the more stylized avant-pop artist that she is known for. In her candid reflections, Jones writes about her lovers, including her unforgettable first orgasm, her constant quest for new experiences and willingness to try new things, and the free-flowing social circles of fashionistas, artists, and musicians from a time which, even for the author, is often a hazy, half-remembered sensation.
Jones’ recollections are a passionate reminder of the fabulous, decadent, and manic coupling of life and art.