Before spending a month in the jungle for the NBC show, "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!", the self-proclaimed first supermodel Janice Dickinson spent five hours in Minnesota scouting for talent.
On a recent Sunday afternoon, pool-bound guests at the Sheraton in Bloomington did a double take. Yes, the 5-foot-10-inch woman with an extra 4 inches (thanks to stilettos) in a peacock blue Gucci dress was, in fact, supermodel Janice Dickinson.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Dickinson appeared on countless American and European magazine covers. In recent years, she has become a reality TV star on "America's Next Top Model" and "The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency."
Starting tonight, you can follow her new adventures on "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!" She'll compete with Heidi and Spencer Pratt, Stephen Baldwin, John Salley, Sanjaya Malakar, Torrie Wilson and Patti Blagojevich (Rod's wife) in the jungles of Costa Rica three to four times a week in prime time. Viewers will vote on who has to perform challenges and who, ultimately, will be the king or queen of the jungle.
Dickinson was runner-up on the British version, so she's the only contestant with previous wilderness experience.
She recently spent five hours at the Sheraton to help recruit for Oryon Artists, a new talent agency started by local musician Craig Taylor (also known as Oryon). He plans to nurture fresh faces and musical talent and then get them started on careers in Los Angeles. He met Dickinson at a club in Los Angeles. She Googled him and was impressed with his music. The two are now pals and they recorded Dickinson's soon-to-be song "Crazy," which Taylor wrote and produced.
To help launch Oryon Artists, Dickinson presided over an open casting call. We had a few minutes with her in a hotel room.
Q You're here to scout for talent. What catches your eye?
A I won't know it until I see it. From what Oryon has said to me, there's smoking hot talent in the Midwest. Otherwise he wouldn't be here. He loves and believes in Minneapolis and the Midwest and he's brought me around to that.
Q You two are doing a song?
A It's called "Crazy," what else? I'm about to be dropped into the jungle on an NBC show. I'm going to be in the jungle for one month.
Q You almost won the British version. Do you feel like you've got an advantage?
A Yes. It's time for a summer holiday.
Q Which charity are you playing for?
A The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. I want each and every one of you to vote for me, because a vote for me means a vote for AIDS research.
Q What are you packing?
A I get one luxury item. It's called Egyptian Magic Skin Cream. It's kind of like Vaseline. I put it on my face, hands and feet and my hair when I go to sleep. I don't get lashes, I don't have hair extensions and I don't have nail polish.
Q Is there anything you're afraid of?
A Rats. I do not like rats.
Q Do you have any advice for aspiring stars?
A I do. No. 1, stay clean and sober. Say no to drugs and alcohol, especially if you're under 18. No. 2, make sure you have a credible agent [or adult] with you at all times when you go into photography studios. No. 3, when you start out shooting your portfolio, don't let photographers rip you off or steal your money. You only need 10 good pictures. No. 4, make sure your agent is credible.
Q How did you do?
A When I started out as a model, I had my hair, my makeup and I knew how to portray that thing. Unfortunately, back in the late '70s, they weren't ready for my kind of "ethnic" look -- you know, the sloppy big lips, the exotic-looking face. So I had to really kick the door in to break the door. The glass ceiling opened for girls like Cindy Crawford and Gia [Carangi], the girls who came after me.
Q Can we do some free association?
A What about it? Sex.
Q Isaac Mizrahi.
A He's all right.
Q Barack Obama.
A He's OK.
Q Michelle Obama.
A She's cooler.
Q Spencer and Heidi.
A They're all right.
Q Baldwin brother on the show.
A Needs a diet.
A Jungle? Love the jungle.
Q Costa Rica.
A Lovvve Costa Rica.
A Must have.
A Have to have.
Sara Glassman • 612-673-7177