Michael Gross's book Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women is crammed with industry facts, profiles of cursory superstars, and lurid interviews about beautiful ladies, sometimes captured in ritzy moments: "We loved to spell our names out on a mirror in coke," one says. Or sometimes in disfiguring accidents, such as the woman who was "moved to a burn unit at New York Hospital, [and] died a few days later, anonymous and unmourned." There's also an expensive photo shoot impeded by a frantic drug fiend: The "poor girl was on the phone with her supplier, he wasn't coming through... All I needed was one tight close-up, but she kept moving," the photographer told Michael. And so he "finally secured her head with two-by-fours... But just as he was ready to shoot, she started crying, destroying two hours of makeup."

The most compelling stories belong to hot-shit '70s cover girl Patti Hansen. "She didn't really have boyfriends," Patti's friend told Michael. "She had hair and makeup guys who liked to hang out and party, and Patti was their star. Gay guys. One of them said to me, 'I'm looking for a man like Hansen.' I said, 'So's everybody.' She was big and strong. A photographer once came on to her, and she flipped him over her shoulder and knocked him out."

Continue reading »