Supermodel, reality TV star, owner of her own modeling agency, mother -- Janice Dickinson has crammed a lot of living into her 50-odd years (her real age, like her claim that she coined the term "supermodel," is hard to confirm). Her newest ventures -- including a one-woman show, a new reality series, and a foray into the music industry -- prove that there's little she won't try, regardless of how unsuited for the challenge she might seem to be. And it's that unsinkable drive that we probably love most about her -- that and her dirty, straight shooting, gossiping mouth.
We caught up with Dickinson just after she had descended upon the Warren Tricomi Salon in the Plaza Hotel with her daughter, Savannah (Savvy), for a day of pampering and $10,000 worth of Great Lengths hair extensions. Though we'd heard from reliable sources that she can be a nightmare interview, she was gracious, charming, goofy, and she looked remarkable (in person there's none of the harshness that the camera can sometimes add to her face). We chatted about Lady Gaga, her fear of and love for Perez Hilton, getting hit on by Simon Cowell, dating, being gay in the fashion industry, and Ricky Martin's exit from the closet.
Out: OK, are you ready Janice?
Janice Dickinson: [To her daughter] Savvy, look at his aqua Reeboks, theyre the same color as your nails! Fabulous.
Thank you. They're very '80s, right? Though I hear the early '90s are whats coming back in now.
Look, weve had '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s -- the deal is Ive been there, done that and Im over all of it.
So what do you want now?
I want new. New and I want memory. I want memory. Ive lost 30 years of my memory.
Lets start by talking about your venturing into the music industry. Why now?
The gays need more money. My gays need more money for AIDS and AIDS research. Elton John, pediatric AIDS -- we need to find a cure for AIDS. Im obsessed. Heres the deal: I love my daughter, shes out there, Mothers Day is coming, Mothers Day to all you queers, but we need to find more money for AIDS. That is why I decided to do music -- to raise money for AIDS, more research, and the cure for fucking AIDS. Thank you.
Tell me a little bit about the song, "Crazy," that your publicist played over the phone for me.
Well Im... crazy. Youre crazy. Were all crazy together. And I dont know if thats the song thats going to be released, because I always want more provocative, more [lowers her voice to a whisper so that her daughter can't hear her] sex. Rock 'n roll. I was going to say drugs, but I dont do any. Sex, rock 'n' roll, and formerly sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Theres no drugs in my life. So, just energy, dance music -- rock on. Ive played these songs all over the United Kingdom and my queens love it. We went to [London nightclub] G-A-Y and rocked. We went to Ireland and we rocked. So where theres a song, theres Janice, and theres going to be dance music from Janice.
Earlier before we officially started the interview, we were talking a bit about Lady Gaga. Shes the queen of the dance floor right now
Oh is she? I love how Stefani Germanotta has chosen the art world as a reference. Phenomenal. Stefani -- Lady Gaga -- has to refer to the art world as reference, because honey she aint no beauty to look at, but, she becomes beautiful in the eyes of the beholder -- the way her performance transcends her persona. Her music to me -- I mean come on -- "Paparazzi" and all these kitschy little songs, theyre good, really good. To see her live in Vegas, at the Mirage -- I walked out. Im sorry. I watched her at the piano and I had to go out and have a [once again lowers her voice] smoke. We walked out because I was thinking, Stop talking about "Your sex, I want your sex." I dont give a fuck about her I wanting "your sex." But you know, I get where shes coming from, and its phenomenal, along with the perception that her gays put together her performance art for her. But its all who you surround yourself with -- the team. Example: me -- Janice Dickinson -- I wouldnt be shit if it werent for my gays. I wouldnt be even sitting here if it werent for late great Way Bandy, for the late great Ara Gallant, for the late great Richard Avedon, for the late great every single queen from the '70s, '80s, '90s that made me La Janice. Match that Gaga! Aight?
When did you first realize you were a gay icon?
When I got to New York City in 1973 -- dont count! -- I was really young and really nave and I got to the Big Apple and I wasnt that informed in my youth on homosexuality at all. The minute I hit the Big Apple, honey, I just gravitated towards the Village and the gay bars and the Anvil and watching guys -- on the record, off the record -- fist fucking. I went kind of crazy looking at all of it -- like you would observe animals mating in the zoo. I thought it was phenomenal. And I had no prejudice whatsoever. In fact, I welcomed all the beautiful gay men, and I didnt understand why I wasnt getting any play. Like, What's wrong with me? Even gay women, more importantly, I was getting a lot of play from lesbians, and I love lesbians, but Im not gay. But, I just loved the scene. So gay men actually did make me who I am today. And Im really proud of it.
Do you read your own press? Is Perez Hilton a friend or a foe?
I worship and Im afraid of Perez Hilton at the same time. He -- she? -- Shes dangerous, shes powerful, and I was the first to put La Perez on my reality show. Sorry, Tyra. I put him on first. Hes phenomenal. Hes so quick witted and sharp. But I will say this: Perez, you know youre in love with my son, and you know you want to be my son-in-law. You still had to line up at my birthday party last February. They wouldnt let him in the door. Sorry Perez, you could probably say more evil things about me. I dont care!
Who's the bigger drag queen
Perez or Janice? Janice.
No. Tyra Banks, Wendy Williams, or Heidi Montag?
Heidi Montag is the queen of all. Look at her. Shes phenomenal. Heidi Montag.
And you guys have the same surgeon?
Yes. Dr. Frank Ryan of Beverly Hills. The Bentley of Surgery. In fact, Im considering Number 82. Oh, I want to go again babe. I saw Betsy Johnson last night -- shes 68 years old. She doesnt have a line on her face. I was like I've got to go back. Betsey Johnson is cryogenically frozen and I worship her.
What would it take for you to go back on America's Next Top Model?
Please. Why would I want to back pedal? I want to go forward, young man. Not a damn thing could get me back.
So, you and Tyra
Well, arent you happy? Isnt the world glad? That I made that show very successful and Tyra cut out everything that I said and repeated what I was saying on camera. Oh, snap!
Have you ever thought about getting your own talk show?
Oh, I am a talk show. The answer is yes. And I dont think Telepictures [the production company that produces The Tyra Banks Show] is going to give me one because wherever Tyra is, she aint letting me in the front door, bitch! Shes not letting me in. Guess what? I dont really care. I do want a talk show -- the answer is yes. The world needs me on television because I can speak -- in three languages.
Heres what I was thinking: Simon Cowell is leaving American Idol. Why don't you take his job?
American Idol needs me to judge. I mean I worship Ellen and I worship Simon Cowell. But my deal is I think Simon Cowell is making a big mistake marrying that makeup artist. Simon Cowell needs to marry me. Thats what he needs to do.
So this is your proposal?
Will you marry me, Simon? Even if you say no, Im gonna getcha. I going to get you good. Hes probably going to get a restraining order against me every time he sees me. Let me just tell you a little insight about Ms. Cowell. When I was doing the up-fronts for Im A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here last June, this is pre-makeup artist OK? He came up to me in the middle of an interview and kissed me. I was like Whaaat? Whats all this about? And I was doing an interview and I was taken aback. I was like Whaaat?
Did you confront him?
No, because he went on his way. He was producing The X Factor in the same arena but I was like, [sings] They say the kiss, the kiss, is on your lips. Now if I were a makeup artist, his makeup artist, I think shes beautiful by the way, if I was his makeup artist I was there first. He kind of said to Ryan Seacrest that I was the hottest thing on television, so it aint over until the fat lady sings.
Youve got time. Theyre not married yet.
Can you see me like Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate? [dramatically] Noooo! No! What was her name? Elaine! Simon, no! Dont do it! Dont you think that was funny?
You are nuts. Are you dating anyone right now?
Im nuts? [Indignantly] Thanks a lot.
I meant it in the best way possible.
Im dating a fireman.
Right? I met him [several seconds of silence] I just forgot his name. Thats really bad. It's the Ambien. I met Alex when I got out of the jungle, last July 2nd, at a John Fogerty concert with my best friend in the world, Suzan Hughes. We were just rocking out to Fogerty when all of a sudden this hottie with ice blue eyes, like so cute you would die, sits down right in back of me. And he smiled at me, and he has a dazzling smile. [Gasps] He didnt know it was me, Janice Dickinson, and after a couple of minutes he was like, "Am I supposed to know who you are?" I was like [gasp]. I like that. Either that or hes a damn good liar or an actor. We went to get a beverage and the rest is history. Ive been with him ever since.
What are your thoughts on Ricky Martin's exit from the closet?
Weve always known Ricky was gay. Come on! [Sings] Living La Vida Lie! Poor thing. I want everyone out there in history to please, if youre gay, please come out. It feels so good. So I applaud you Ricky. We applaud Ricky Martin finally.
I know a lot of male models are gay but they won't come out -- they would never do the cover of Out. You've been in the industry a long time -- have you encountered a lot of trepidation about coming out?
Being involved with Out magazine, being able to say, [lowers voice conspiratorially] OK, OK, you all read my book and you know Ive had a threesome -- you know Ive had scenes with women. Its the most freeing thing you could ever do in your life -- coming out. Come out, come out wherever you are. So Im imploring everyone, please tell somebody. Doesnt matter if you openly come out. Thats cool. Because on my show, The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, [one of my models] J.P. [Calderon] came out on my show and he was a world class volley ball instructor in Southern California, a champion, and a male model with Ford, la, la, la, but he came on my show. I didnt have the ability to out anybody -- he asked me. I said, "Listen, a magazine came to me and said, we only put openly gay men on the cover, out gay men and you have the ability to have the cover of a magazine and several pages inside, will you do this? And, it was a really hard moment. And Im going to sob [gets choked up]. It was really hard for him and I could see him going through all the changes. And he simply said, Ill do it. Its enough, if youre gay, -- "Ill do it." Just come out. Thats all. So I really, Im begging any male model or female model in the fashion industry or in the dental industry or any industry -- come out. It feels so good. Bravo Ricky Martin!"