Modeling = success

I can’t find pictures of the cover anywhere, but does Palm Beach Prep series ring a bell? I have the first three books. It’s about gals at a swanky girls prep school.

Quinn is the spunky, rock and roll scholarship kid from the wrong side of town.

Alicia is the spunky Latina, so of course she is fiery and breaks out into Spanish.

Nicole is the boring rich girl who gets turned on by riding a horse. Literally.

Esme is the blond beautiful ditsy model.

They’re all so different, but what they have in common is each other! Gag. Actually, it wasn’t so bad. In the first book, Quinn moves to town and makes enemies with Cara Knowles, who accuses her of stealing a watch. The other gals prove her innocense and become besties.

Book #2, Sealed With A Kiss, is one of my all-time favorites. Esme gets a modeling job where she models with a sixteen year old guy. They start secretly dating (um, she’s twelve, remember) and she pretends she’s sixteen. She hides it from her friends until they go to makeout point and he tries to touch her boobs. She gets upset and the gals help her break up with him. I’m gonna share something now….ready?…this book inspired my own foray into writing teen fiction. Well, this and the Hot Looks Dolls.


Each one was from a different country! Of course the Black doll was from Africa, obvs. My favorite was Chelsea, the British girl with the crimped hair. Anyhoo….

My “novel” was about a group of models who are payed by an agency to take a cruise and do a catalog shoot. There are the bitchy ones, the cool ones, and the nerdy ones (yes, nerdy models). One has a romance and the others just kind of tried on different clothes. Half the writing were detailed descriptions of outfits (I learned from the best- AMM). There. I admit it. God, it was horrible. Some of it was illustrated by me and I also went through catalogs and YM magazine and cut out pictures of the models to represent them. Oh the shame! Sorry, I trashed it long ago because I had a fear that I would be killed in a freak accident and someone would go through my belongings and find it.

Back to Palm Beach Prep for a sec. The third book was about Alicia running for president against Cara Knowles, but I did not reread it. These were well-written, and aside from the modeling business, the girls had real friendship and had fun hanging out together.


These books did feed my obsession with all things wealthy. Between these books and Pen Pal’s Palmer being from Palm Beach, I flipped out when my grandparents moved from New York to Palm Beach. Actually, it was Palm Beach County, but then I didn’t know the difference. When we went down to visit, I had a surprise. What I thought I would be seeing is their new palm-tree lined mansion, but what I got was a small condo in an over-55 community. Very quaint, but not what I thought.

Anyone read these? Please say yes so I won’t feel crazy.

Speaking of models, I was uber-model obsessed when I was younger. Modeling apparently was the most awesome and highest-reaching level of success in life. Luckily, pop culture cashed in on that. I watched House of Style on MTV religiously and learned how to make my hair into dreadlocks using a teasing comb, aquanet, and a hairdryer. And what was with the modeling shows? A concept I thought was awesome was the idea of several models living under one roof trying to make it….and tah-dah! Living Dolls, starring David Moscow, Leah Remini and Halle Berry.


The same exact concept was used but as a drama instead of sitcom for the awesome Models, Inc. Lots of pool-pushing, identical twin madness and backstabbing. Although the women didn’t really look like actual models. Oh well.


One more confession: I totally watched all of the show 8th and Ocean when it was on MTV. Same concept- models all living together. And oh the hardships!  Although it was pretty harsh when one agent kept telling this one model that she shouldn’t come in until her skin cleared up. Ouch.

39 thoughts on “Modeling = success

  1. wendy says:

    I too read the Palm Beach Prep – a few of them at least. It is all really familiar. And since it was about prep school and featured a girl who modeled, you can bet I read those bitches.

    I also had this weird model obsession that still exists to this day. I don’t quite understand it….I loved Living Dolls when it was on (though I hated Leah Remini because of her stint on Saved by the Bell)…and Models Inc was a favourite as well.

  2. Malika... says:

    The Palm beach Prep unfortunately passed me by, but did you ever read the Ford books? It was a group of girls who had just been signed into the Ford modelling agency and had to share an apartment and go on assignments together. There was the fiery brazilian, the shy country girl and probably a few others. i think Eileen Ford turned up in the odd cameos, spouting words of wisdom. I unfortunately only read two of them, when i was on holiday in England. I am going to see if i can find them somewhere…

    I Heart Models INC! It’s a crime that they did not renew it for the second series, it was totally addictive cheese. Remember when Shy Country Bumpkin got high on something by accident, turned up at an important go-see for a shampoo company, and passed out gracefully on the company director’s desk? The director then proceeded to fondle her hair, decided that she had the most luscious blonde hair he had ever seen and hired her on the spot! Yeah, right… And i loved the identical twin concept… Oh and Evil British Woman taking over the modelling agency at the end, and drugging Carrie-Anne Moss before shipping her off to forced prostitution in a South American Brothel… And i could go on..

    Oh dear, obsessed… But anyway, did anyone read those Ford books?

  3. Krysten says:

    I read Kelly Blake, Palm Beach, the Ford series. I was so obsessed with it that my mom got me into modeling. Lucky I was a skinny kid, cuz I’d be super messed up now. Remember Lorenzo Lamas and his laser pointer on that reality show? try having all your flaws dealt with in that “tasteful” manner.

  4. Jen says:

    I used to read Palm Beach Prep! I was always amazed at how these girls in all-girl schools could have so much contact with boys – dances, soccer matches, ect. (This seems to be in every YA book). I had less contact with boys and I went to a co-ed public school!

  5. Krysten says:

    Those shows made me look up the BSC TV series on YouTube & Zach Braff was in an episode as Dawn’s love interest! Man, no one on that show could act…not that the script gave them much to work with.

  6. Abby says:

    I remember the PBP series, I thought it was actually pretty cool. I liked Nicole though, I didn’t think she was boring. It was nice to read a book about a teen girl (or preteen) who didn’t care about boys.

    Although the series was mostly fluff, they did deal with sexual harassment, bitter divorces, and other heavy stuff that most kids books don’t include.

    Palm Beach- yeah East Palm Beach and West Palm Beach = 2 different worlds. West Palm Beach is a regular suburb with McDonalds and apartment complexes. East Palm Beach has all the beaches and the huge houses and the Breakers Hotel. Probably not a school though, since I’m pretty sure it’s only about 4 blocks wide. Even the rich kids would probably have to go to school in West Palm Beach.

  7. Nathalie says:

    I really, really loved “Living Dolls” when I was little. But that was pretty much my only model-related obsession. I never read any of the book series or watched “Models Inc.”

    Anyone know who played the redhead on “Living Dolls”? I thought she was the coolest! Even though she was the “bitch” character, I thought she was awesome. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen her again. I’m sure she was a terrible actress.

  8. Marie says:

    I can’t believe anyone else read Palm Beach Prep! I thought I was the only one! I remember it was the cover image that made me what to read these for some reason. Quinn, the red headed girl staring defiantly at us, while the others seemed to be whispering to each other in the background. I guess I also had this image of Florida as mansions with palm tree lined lawns, instead of giant palmetto bugs.

  9. The Kuus says:

    I read a few Palm Beach prep books. The one I remember most vividly was that one with Esme and the 16 year old boy.

    I had Stacey of the Hot Looks dolls. Who did all of you have?

  10. Alicia E. says:

    Oh, I loved those Ford books! I read the one about the Brazilian and her model sort-of boyfriend who ditched her at a party; the one about the black model who was a perfectionist and fainted at a shoot; and the one about the sporty blonde who went back home to Miami for a shoot and found that she missed her old life and high school friends. I did not read the one about the redhead or the Russian girl, but I would have liked to. It was totally weird how Eileen Ford was mentioned because it made me think the other characters were sort of real.

    I didn’t read Palm Beach Prep, but I wish I would have known about it as a kid. It wasn’t until Alicia Silverstone came to prominence that I knew of anybody else with my name. And Alicia Silverstone pronounced differently and I hated her for it.

    I still have the YA “novels” about beautiful, rich kids that I wrote as a teen, but I totally know that somebody finding them if I die.

  11. Misti says:

    Hee! I totes read PBP & dreamed of being Esme…I wanted out of my podunk lil’ town so badly I think I’d’ve taken PB even after I realized it was mostly a New Yorker’s retirement village…sigh!

  12. Becca says:

    I have never seen those books, although I’m sure I would have snapped them up. I LOVED Models, Inc. though! I really wish they’d get that on DVD already. I was recently watching some Melrose Place and saw the episodes that start the spin-off, and country bumpkin model was in it!

    On a slightly related note, I am guessing there are some Sassy readers on this blog. Does anyone remember the article they had reviewed some episodes of Models, Inc. and discussed whether they were true to life? I haven’t read it in years and I still remember it well. Hilarious!

  13. Wow says:

    Oh my god – I absolutely remember that article in sassy – I just remember one reviewer calling the young girl like a cow or something and saying how she could never be a model. That really stood out for some reason!!!

  14. Rita says:

    I remember Esme being ditzy and the book saying something like her hair was so blonde it was white…or silver. I don’t remember.

  15. zenith says:

    David Moscow as in Newsies’ David Moscow? Holy crap it’s like 2 pubescent obsessions in one! How did I miss this “Living Dolls” business?

  16. ihatewheat says:

    Yes that David Moscow!

    Speaking of Newsies, i once used to read a site that had Newsies slash fic, and I’d give anything to find it.

    I did a little research and the redhead on the show was apparently also in Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. I think as the bitchy receptionist?

  17. Becca says:

    Wow – that part of the article stood out to me too! I think they said she was tubby and I couldn’t quite figure that out, since she clearly wasn’t. But compared to a “real” model, I suppose so. I also remember them having a hissy fit when they saw the Models, Inc. offices – someone yelled “There is no work going on there!” Weird what you remember.

  18. Abby says:

    “I did a little research and the redhead on the show was apparently also in Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. I think as the bitchy receptionist?”

    The bitchy receptionist has been in a lot of stuff, (most notably to me as the abused boy’s mother in Kindergarten Cop) but I don’t think she was in Living Dolls. The redhead in the picture played Nicole in DTMTBD, who was Sue Ellen’s best friend. She had red hair in the movie too…she played the nurse in the fashion show at the end of the movie that Sue Ellen’s brother is in love with. I love that movie so much.

    WOW- were they calling Cassidy Rae the fat cow?? Harsh. She was like, the hottest thing back in the mid 90s. I watched all her lifetime movies. My favorite was the Texas Cadet Murder one.

  19. ihatewheat says:

    I probably remember every article Sassy ever printed. I read mine over and over. Unfortunately, I got rid of all of them except the one where Kurt and Courtney are on the cover.

  20. ihatewheat says:

    Actually, DTMDBD is a feminist movie. Kinda.

    Cassiday Rae was totally gorgeous, but I also did remember thinking she was not model stick-thin, but was curvy. Even myself back then knew what it took to be a model.

  21. Robyn says:

    I also heart Living Dolls. Since it was a spin-off of Who’s the Boss (Leah Remini was discovered when she was a stand-in for a dog in a commercial they were shooting in Angela’s kitchen for the Bower Agency) there is also an episode where Sam goes to visit her at the model house and hilarity ensues.
    I live for the times when I catch that in reruns!

  22. The Kuus says:

    Sassy was the best teen magazine ever. It’s where I learned all about birth control, venereal diseases, and why Cosmo et al’s “get a guy” advice was ridiculous. I can’t believe it got cancelled before Seventeen and YM and the like.

  23. wendy says:

    Don’t tell mom the babysitter’s dead is one of those movies that, whenever it’s on, I can’t help but watch. Unfortunately, where I live now (Ireland) it is rarely on, so whenever I go back to the US to visit the folks I always force the (English) husband to watch it. He just doesn’t get my obsession. I could really use some Sue Ellen right now – stuck at home, insomnia, husband away and only three sleeping kittens to entertain me.

  24. BadKat says:

    Are the Hot Looks dolls the ones that had the creepy underwear? That freaked me out more than the androgynous Ken dolls. Um, Hello Mattel, we really know what is under there, Sassy taught us! I never read Sassy, but I read Jane and YM. Same thing, really.

    We actually studied “Don’t Tell Mom…” in my Feminism in Multi-Media class. I won’t go into the long and boring details, but it has a lot of feminist themes. I love that movie either way though.

  25. Sada says:

    I also had the Chelsea (she of the crimped hair) Hot Looks doll. I vividly remember that one day in sixth grade my friend (who had Elke) and I were really jonesing to play with them, but because we were in middle school, we were totally embarrassed about it. It was only a couple of blocks from my house to hers, but I had to pass the house of the boy I had a desperate crush on—and God knows who else!—so I made sure to stash poor Chelsea in a backpack so no one would know what we were up to. I am so glad I’m not 12 anymore.

  26. Jen S says:

    I totally had all the Sassy mags, and got rid of them. Right after I set my baseball cards, comic books, and Beanie Babies on fire.

    There’s actually a book about Sassy magazine and what an influence it was, and what all the writers are doing now. If you go to Amazon I’m sure you can find it.

    CARRIE ANNE MOSS WAS ON MODELS INC?!! Damn, acting is a crazy world.

  27. sar says:

    PBP! I have 6 books (2/$1 at walmart, hahah). but the series numbers must be messed up w/ the ones sold at the WM. #2 for me was the girls getting mad at Quinn for reporting in the school paper the story of Alicia falling off a cliff or something.
    Anyways. Palm Beach Prep = AMAZING.

  28. Laura @ Hungry And Frozen says:

    Wow, I totally remember that series now. Funnily enough the modelling one was the only one of those books my local library had, so I had no chance to get hooked. But I really liked it. Modelling seemed crazily glamourous and I thought the name Esme was way-cool.

    Haven’t thought about DTMTBD, that’s the one with Christina Applegate right? I always loved that movie as a kid, but thought the love interest was ugly as hell.

  29. Fraser says:

    I must say, as a Florida resident (albeit the north end of the state), these comments have been pretty funny.

    I’ve been talking this blog up to some of my friends who used to read SVH.

  30. "Kitten" Whitman says:

    Anyone read the PBP where Esme (remember her nickname? Cornflake? Why do I KNOW this ish??) goes to Disneyland with some pervy modeling agent who feels her up in Space Mountain or something? Then she gets offered the role on a T.V. show, but the whole experience has turned her off to acting. I remember seething with jealousy and loathing her for turning the opportunity down!
    Models Inc. article – read it! The one snarker called Cassidy Rae too “gummy” to ever be a model!

  31. Abby says:

    Kitten…what I remember is even sadder. The book was called Screen Test (#4) and her agent rubbed her knee while watching Captain EO. He did it throughout the book. She was auditioning for a sci fi movie about a human girl living in outer space.

    Those books were kind of messed up though, as far as order went. I owned the first 5, and the first was about Nicole running away to live with her deadbeat father, the second was Quinn alienating all her friends while working on the school paper, the third was about a battle of the sexes involving the boys and girls soccer team, the 4th was the screen test one, and the 5th was when a new girl moved to town and made Cara “Knowles-it-all” start shoplifting. However, the 1st book would reference things that happened in the 4th book, or characters would be introduced in book 2 but if you go back and read book 1 the main girls were talking to that character, so I guess there wasn’t really supposed to be any chronological order in the books. Guess that way made more sense than having 12 christmases though.

  32. Sarah C. says:

    In terms of Sassy, Kim France (a former writer and feminist I looked up to) is now editor and chief of Lucky the Magazine about Shopping. Andrea Linnett is the mag’s Creative Director. I remember cutting the crotch and the feet out of a pair of tights and making a top per Ms. Linnett’s advice in Sassy. It’s kind of depressing that these two women developed a magazine that trumpets thoughtless, excessive consumerism. I have my own little consumption habit that I’m in the process of kicking and used to subscribe to Lucky (although I could only afford the one Target item they’d show), but the older I get the more the magazine bothers me. The goods they show are either egregiously expensive or made in some offshore factory with terrible environmental/labor standards. And there’s still the same horrible women’s mag focus on appearance over health and intelligence.

    Sorry to digress from the thread, but I sooo loved Sassy.

  33. Jenn says:

    OK, I read the first book, and I was actually just thinking of it the other day. It was the only one I read, but I do remember those books.

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