Jeff Pearlman

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Adrianne Curry

#377
The first-ever winner of "America's Next Top Model" experienced the highs and lows, lows, lows, lows of fame—then said, "Fuck this bullshit. I'm moving to Montana and selling Avon products." And that's precisely what she did. POSTED October 24, 2018

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There have now been 377 Quazes.

With all due respect to the first 376 participants, this week’s edition may well be my favorite.

Adrianne Curry is an Avon salesperson who works out of her home in Montana. She happily drinks coffee and gazes at eagles and peddles makeup to help women feel better about themselves. She is content and at peace and in love and, more than anything, an escapee.

See, not all that long ago Adrianne was trapped in the quicksand-like vortex that is fame. It began in 2003, when she won the first season of America’s Next Top Model, thereby propelling her into a dizzying whirlwind of magazine spreads, Playboy covers (two!), red carpets, TV guest appearances, reality shows (she was on the fourth season of VH1’s Surreal Life, which resulted in her meeting, marrying and starring in another reality show with Christopher Knight, aka Peter Brady). She had her breasts enlarged, her ego battered, her confidence shredded.

And then, one day a bunch of years ago, she said, “Fuck this.”

I’m not entirely sure that’s the exact phrasing, but Curry looked around, took stock at her life, and wanted out. No more selfies, no more autographs, no more … of any of it.

And here we are.

I’ve never met Adrianne in person, but the honesty and realness in today’s Quaz immediately makes her one of my favorite people on earth. Her blog is friggin’ must-read material, and one can buy Avon products from her here.

Truly, it’s a thrill to introduce Adrianne Curry as this week’s Quaz Q&A …

JEFF PEARLMAN: So Adrianne, I stumbled upon your website and was hooked. Why? Because I’m a huge fan of celebrities who come to the realization that fame is pretty much bullshit. So how did you come to realize fame is pretty much bullshit?

ADRIANNE CURRY: I always knew it was. I never belonged in that world. I’d be scolded because I refused to “play the game.” I wouldn’t date famous people to climb the ladder after my divorce. I think only narcissists and sociopaths can truly make it in entertainment. You have to be willing to do what it takes, and many times that is crushing your opposition. Just like a CEO of a company, a certain lack of empathy for your fellow man is needed. I didn’t have that and my lackluster career reflects it. I did start to get tainted with the fame disease, but I have been to a lot of therapy. I made sure I didn’t fall victim.

The main thing that tipped the scales were the backstabbing friends I had who would gossip about me behind my back. Women who would stand next to you at Comic Con to grow their own brand, and then whisper about you the moment you left the room. It broke me. There was no loyalty and certainly hardly any real love. I no longer wanted to be around so many bad people. Upon meeting my guy, we quickly realized LA would destroy us and we both bounced. After a few years out of the game, all the star fuckers and fake friends fell off. They couldn’t vampire off my “star” anymore. I was no longer a vehicle to get them more recognition.

J.P.: Because this is my Q&A, and I’m the president and CEO of jeffpearlman.com, I’m allowed to ask what I want. So I must ask this: Adrianne, on your blog you wrote a post about your new vacuum, the Shark Apex Duo clean AX950. And you love it and it’s world-changing, and that’s great. But, eh, Adrianne, you posted that entry on Oct. 7—and the image shows the vacuum alongside a Christmas tree. Adrianne, maybe I’m just a naïve Jew … but what the hell if your tree doing up in early October?

A.C.: It’s my AUTUMN tree. I have a lot of decorations that go up for Christmas and I do not get help from my spouse outside of him observing. This tree is 10-feet tall and I have two more 7 1/2-foot trees that need to go up. I thought it would be fun to make a harvest tree so I could have the big boy already up and running for decorating. It takes over two days to set it up properly, so it will save me time. Usually, I put it up right before thanksgiving undecorated to save me time. My entire house is decked out in fall. I am a decoration queen.

Speaking of Jewish, I just taught a fellow top model contestant what a Tchotchke is today when she inquired what kind of wedding gift I would like. Random.

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J.P.: So I have a 15-year-old daughter. She’s tall and blonde and quite pretty. And for years we’ve been approached by modeling agencies, by modeling reps, by friends saying, “You really should have her modeling.” And the wife and I have turned it all down—A. Because we don’t want her objectified; and B. We wanted her to have a normal childhood. You are a model. Much of your existence has been modeling. Were we wrong? Right? Both? Neither?

A.C.: One hundred percent right. She would have learned her only value is her looks. I have been to so much therapy to deal with the damage my agents did to me. I struggle with all the imperfections they pointed out “get a nose job, you’ll really make it!” I feel fat, I crumbled and got a boob job I regret. There is nothing beneficial for anyone to have a job based on the fact that they are pretty. It creates sociopaths, narcissists and very insecure people. You get older, then you struggle with feeling you are losing your value, even if you know you aren’t. If modeling came without the fucked-up agents and sick old men preying on 15-year olds, I’d say go for it. I am really glad I made it later on in life. It still messed me up. Major body issues. I am super lucky everyone made sure they told me I was fucking ugly growing up. it wasn’t until after I won Top Model that people would say I was pretty. It created a pretty conflicted image of myself. If I had a daughter, I think someone would meet the other end of my shotgun if they suggested she be a model.

J.P.: One of the best essays I’ve ever read on fame is from your site, headlined CELEBRITIES DESERVE IT! TALES FROM THE OTHER SIDE. In particular, you write this: “Worst, are the ones about my past relationship. I wish that person the best life they can possibly have. Our time together was highly toxic and unhealthy. I don’t want to be reminded of it. It sucked.  I could go my entire life with never ever hearing about that person again and miss absolutely nothing. If not for other people, I’d rarely if ever think about it again in my life. I did my time in therapy to heal. Good luck and God speed!” And I think the argument some would make is, “Hey, you went on TV and made this public. Hey, you did a reality show titled (literally), ‘My Fair Brady.’” I’m not saying I agree (I don’t), but it’s how people think. And I wonder how you’d respond to that genre of thinking; the idea that once you put it out there, hey, tough shit, kid.

A.C.: I say, FUCK YOU. I won Top Model three months sober from opioids. I had a bad past and I was so mentally stunted, I might as well have been 15 when I got married on TV. Empathy and compassion is something humanity has lost due to access to social media. We are all becoming monsters.

Seriously. Did you shit your pants in school? Piss yourself? Only a bully piece of shit would remind you of it for the rest of your life. People who do this are insecure and miserable in their own lives. It makes them feel good to trash on other people. I would understand if I was still out there selling my soul for money. If I entered celeb boxing matches, took every reality TV show offer, played out the dynamics of my current marriage for all to digest. I learned. I matured. I am not jumping around trying to get the attention of TMZ. The train wreck is over, though, I don’t think I was as bad as some. I turn down every show offer that comes my way. Don’t expect me to be kind to you if you think you’re going to shit on me. I am not 20-years old anymore. I am a 36-year old woman who gained love and self respect for myself, even if you don’t have any for me. Eat shit. I flip on the TV and feel pity and compassion for the poor souls trying to fill the empty void in their hearts with validation and attention from the mob. They turn on you. They always do.

Back in the modeling days.

Back in the modeling days.

J.P.: You sell Avon products. Which sounds oddly peaceful and lovely. How did that happen?

A.C.: It was 2015 when I snapped and was done with Hollywood. In 2016 I decided to move to Arizona with my guy. In early 2017, I started pissing my pants in my sleep. Yay! Great! I couldn’t watch a movie without leaving the theater 14 times to pee. I was bleeding a lot and something felt very wrong. I was pretty scared, but my husband convinced me to stop living in denial and go to the doctor. I had a huge fibroid grow out the top of my uterus and smash into my bladder. We didn’t know if it was cancer or not, but it had to be removed either way. I had a myomectomy. It is really painful. I did get some cool pictures of my uterus outside my body! During my downtime waiting to hear back from the lab on the results on the tumor, I watched Edward Scissorhands. High as a kite, I apparently signed up to be an Avon Lady with hopes of cosplaying Peg, the Avon Lady. My kit arrived a week later. Thank god. It gave me something to focus on during a very rough time in my life. I put my all into it and really loved it.

Old colleagues in the industry thought I had gone mad. People started making fun of me for “how far she has fallen” … like fame is the only thing that ever defined me or made my life good in any way. Fuck ’em. Some people want a normal job where they don’t have to worry if their coworker is trying to fuck their husband, use them to achieve something for themselves or steal their gig. Avon is that for me. I got better from my surgery and found myself completely immersed in something that gave me joy and purpose. It was better than any TV show or magazine cover I ever landed. I got to help women and chitchat with them via email. It made them feel good, I picked out product for em. It’s a much better existence for me. It is safe. I finally feel … safe. Safe and sound with a home office full of product and former fans who are now friends/customers.

J.P.: You live in Montana, you’re married, you’re out of the spotlight. What’s your general day to day life look like?

A.C.: I wake up. It’s freezing! We don’t want to use our propane outside for cooking because when the snows get deep, the truck wont be able to make it on our property to refill our propane tanks. We feed our cat and dog, start a fire in the wood stove and sit down in our offices to drink coffee. I work a bit before going outside to give the horses a few carrots. I clean my home daily because I am obsessed with it. I cook breakfast and dinner from scratch. I watch my husband chop cords of wood out my window to hold us off in the winter and help him stack it in our garage and front porch. Soon, my car will be garaged because it isn’t four-wheel drive and I wont be able to make it down the mountain. I have a home gym in our walkout basement that I hit up more than the one all the way in town. Plus, it will come in handy when we get snowed in.

I get to see deer, elk and black bear wander around. if we are lucky, some bald eagles will go fishing in the lake down the street that we can see from our home. I stream three times a week, doing makeup on our horrid internet. I have no cell service. Any phone call I make is via wireless internet and it is bad internet. I hiked a bit more in the summer and spent a lot of time in Glacier National Park. We also played a lot on the ATV. I am really excited for our first winter here. At night, I look at the Milky Way and feel my nose sting with the chill in the air, before turning into sleep. I try to make sure I work a minimum of five hours a day, so I am in my office a lot. I put a ton of bird feeders out the window but now that winter is almost here they all left. We had great horned owls, America’s largest woodpecker, magpies, hummingbirds, etc. Sometimes, I step outside just to hear the thudding silence. especially now that it is cold.

Things are different out here. You depend on your neighbors. A huge pine tree fell across our drive and we had to chainsaw it up to get home one day. One of our neighbors had to wait for my husband to pull it off the road to get by. The issues that plague bigger cities don’t seem to exist here. I tune out politics and social issues because I am just sick and tired of the anger. We have one life on this earth. Sadly, most of us ignore the actual earth. Just last week I was vacuuming my basement. I looked up into the eyes of a huge buck in my window with two females next to him. i shut it off and we stared at each other for a bit. It was pretty rad.

J.P.: You won the first season of America’s Next Top Model, which was supposed to (I believe) come with a Revlon print advertising campaign. Did Revlon dick you over? Or was that much to do about nothing?

A.C.: No, Top Model did. Revlon told me they never planned on giving the winner a prize. Tyra told us every week we were fighting for a prize. When it aired, suddenly the voice-over was different from what she said. Shit got ugly. I got 0 money for my win … and that is what drove me the most. It was ugly and I cried many tears over the years. They refused to even show me in other seasons as a winner. I was erased from Top Model history for telling the truth. I am glad my standing up for myself ensured they didn’t fuck anyone else over. I am still proud that I won.

J.P.: OK, time out. You got married earlier this year to Matthew Rhode, and the wedding was held at Glacier National Park. It was Game of Thrones-themed, and the only guest was your wedding photographer. Um … that sounds awesome. Explain. Please.

A.C.: We didn’t want the stress or the cost of a wedding. The moment we said we were engaged was the moment things started being projected onto us. Reasons of why we should have a wedding, who we should invite, etc. Matthew and I have felt very much that it is me and him against the world. Some pompous shitfest of us plastering on fake smiles and shelling out our savings for future property on booze and dinners sounded absurd. We are simple. We wanted simple. I think many people forget that a wedding is really only about the bride and groom … not their friends, families … just them. Our wedding was more intimate and meaningful than any wedding I have ever attended. Had people been there, it wouldn’t have been as meaningful. It also would have been in some shitty location we didn’t want to accommodate guests. We drove almost five hours in a car with our photographer. I don’t think people would have been OK with that. The stress of worrying about others would have ruined the peace and joy we had that day. We did have a bear attend, so that was rad.

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J.P.: Why do you think people so gravitate toward the famous? It always seems so weird. Famous people fart, poop, vomit, spit, have runny noses. They play firefighters in films—but don’t fight fires. They play superheroes—but have no super powers. So why are we so drawn to it?

A.C.: Same reason people believe anything they see on that there TV. People like to lose themselves in fantasy. Most famous people abuse drugs, are psycho assholes, etc. Look at Mel Gibson. Everyone was so shocked at those recordings. I wasn’t at all. I’ve seen worse. If people understood how lonely fame was … how empty … how fame does not give you money to pay bills … how mobs of people are there waiting to turn on you at any moment … they wouldn’t wish it on anyone. They just look at the smoke and mirrors everyone projects and make believe that it is real. It isn’t. After all of this, I still admire musicians. Not because they are famous, but because they create beauty. An actor gets a script and plays a game of make believe. A musician tells a story … and lulls you into their reality with their words and the strum of their guitar. I’m more likely to pay to see Roger Waters than to see Hugh Jackman.

J.P.: You posted a photo of your wedding dress on Instagram and wrote, “What is sexy? I picked my wedding gown because of its simplicity and flowyness. I didnt want tits flopping everywhere or it be so form hugging I couldn’t walk. Im over that shit. I was comfortable as fuck and looked FIRE.” I love this. In general society, who do you think decides what’s “sexy”? And why do we allow it?

A.C.: Instagram decides what is sexy now. Doing squats with your vagina ending up three inches from a camera is what is sexy. There is no mystery anymore. The old me looks like a tame kitten nowadays. Thankfully, I grew up and realized I bought into objectifying myself to get ahead. Now, all these kids (and adults) are posting booty twerking, under boobs, butt cheeks. Photos of a beautiful girl or guy in clothes don’t get likes. Everyone feels this emptiness inside. They feel “likes and comments” are the way to fill that painful void. People look up to the The Kardashians—whose own mother peddled the wares of all the women in the family to make a buck.

It makes me sad. Sad for society. Sad for all the women and men I see adding to it. I feel the internet has turned into the tale of Narcissus. Rather than interact with each other in real life, we are all doomed to stare into our flip screens at our own image..posting a never ending flow of images we admire of ourselves for people to like till we fucking die. I myself am in selfie recovery. If Matthew takes my pic to market Avon or just in day to day life, fine. However, I am not going to hold up my own phone anymore to admire myself. It’s a bit of a sickness.

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QUAZ EXPRESS WITH ADRIANNE CURRY:

• Rank in order (favorite to least): mashed potatoes, Anew Hydra Fusion, “A Star is Born,” Wyoming, Isaiah Crowell, Da Brat, oatmeal with brown sugar, Diana Ross: Wyoming, Anew Hydra Fusion, mashed potatoes, oatmeal with brown sugar, Diana Ross, Da Brat, Isaiah Crowell.

• One question you would ask Twiggy were she here right now: What do you think your caloric intake was in a day? Also, when you said Twiggy, I immediately thought of Marilyn Manson’s bandmate first.

• Five reasons one should make Kalispell his/her next vacation destination: Glacier National Park, Northern Lights, Moose, Bear, Elk.

• Why Game of Thrones?: Because it was inspired by The Lord Of The Rings … and because Ned Stark is my spirit animal … being a good and honorable person only costs you your head.

• In 18 words, can you make an argument for a restaurant that only serves Honey Nut Cheerios?: No. I fucking hate them

• How did you meet your husband?: I was streaming Hearthstone on Twitch … we were both Guildmasters on World Of Warcraft and I Googled him … and saw he was the most handsome man in all the world.

• Five words you overuse: Fuck, dammit, shit, obviously, apparently

• Did being praised as “hot” ever matter to you? What I mean is, you’re on a multitude of “hot” lists. Did you care?: Nope. Being “hot” got me nothing but a few assholes that felt so empowered by it that they cheated on me with everyone. I much preferred “cool chick you could burp with and have a beer”… even though I don’t drink. Or—”baddest ass music tastes.”

• The 46thpresident of the United States will be …: Trump. Just because it will make people implode.

• Is The Surreal Life a show that should still exist? Or never have existed? (Confession: I loved it): It cant anymore. Everyone is a super famous reality TV star on their twitch, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Reality TV is dead because everyone is trying to be a super famous celebrity as far as the eye can see.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life