Early this year, Fashionista got a book in the mail. It hat a hot pink cover and a pop perfect title: Supermodel. The book was an epic poem. It starts off with a beautiful girl clinging to a tree in a tsunami, but skids far away from the actual life of Petra Nemcova from there. This girl also survives Columbine. This girl also saves whales. The myth of this perfect woman, who walks Marc Jacobs shows before walking through fire, was intriguing. The problem? The book is interrupted, couplet by couplet, with found text on the internet. Porn star names. Handbag sales. Driving directions. A Google transcript interrupting the poetry. Confused, frustrated, and also really interested, we hunted down the poem's author, David Breskin, to discuss epics, fashions, and what happens to pretty girls in trouble.
You’ve never worked in fashion before – in fact, you run a hedge fund. Why write a poem about a model? I’m obsessed with models of all kinds – supermodels, models of the solar system, maps, little cars. In terms of fashion models, why do we need them? Why do we love them? Their existence tells us a lot about our real deep human desires and needs, What does Kate Moss tell us about our needs? There’s a scene late in the book, where the Supermodel is walking for Marc Jacobs and PETA’s doing a protest – they throw stuffed animal seals at her, and then they throw Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth at her! The book about how beauty is conditioned by society… But I think the Beauty Myth is more than a myth; it’s in our genes. It’s not marketing that makes women want cosmetics. It’s what they actually want. We have to accept models for what they are and move on. We might get some heated reader comments about that…: Well, I think there’s a parallel between guys trying to map out the universe with equations and charts, and Beyonce on Sports Illustrated. I was like, let’s explore it. Why did you want to explore it through an epic poem? Couldn’t you just write a Slate article?: Humans are hardwired for stories. And I wanted to build an American myth, like John Henry – a model who was just a star everything, and survives and invents herself. She hides under a desk surviving Columbine. She survives the tsunami. She survives and survives. And I never actually tell you what she looks like, so the reader can project themselves onto her. I never say her name either, because we project desires and fantasies onto these models. If Lindsay Lohan didn’t exist, someone would have to invent her. But your story sounds a lot more like Petra Nemcova… does she know about this? I’ve never met her. I talked to her agent, Leah Crystal, and Lee kept asking, “What do you want her to do for you?