The face on the cover
Granada’s ‘World in Action’ looks at supermodel Jean Shrimpton in 1964
JEAN (“The Shrimp”) SHRIMPTON is a girl with an “international” face. A face which looks at the world from the covers of all the best magazines.
She is now regarded as the world’s top model girl, at 20 years old, and can earn as much as £20 an hour.
At the moment she is working in New York, where Dick Fontaine and a television camera team spent four days following and filming her every move for World in Action, which is why she is on our cover this week.
On Tuesday you can see the results of their work in “The Face on the Cover”, which in telling the story of Jean gives pointers to success for 50,000 other models.
“Jean Shrimpton is at the top now,” Dick Fontaine told me. “I think she’s overtaken Suzy Parker, for she is wanted all over the world by the best photographers, magazines, agencies.
“And she has achieved one of her ambitions — modelling the Autumn Collections for world – famous photographer Richard Avedon.”
Dick has been to New York three times but has always been too busy to see much of it.
“The first time I saw only the inside of the United Nations building ; the second time, I saw the inside of the Plaza Hotel with the Beatles,” he said. “I’ve still no idea what there is in New York apart from taxi cabs and treble-deck sandwiches.”
American photographers are efficient and professional, according to Dick. Models are professional and used to working at speed—though most of them are German, English or Danish.
“They all work harder. They all get more money,” he said. “It was the top thing for Jean Shrimpton to go to America. All the best-known photographers are there, and they are not necessarily the best.”
Jean Shrimpton was well established in Europe before she went to America.
“When I was in Paris a couple of months ago, I counted eight covers of different nationality magazines with Jean’s face on the front — on just one kiosk,” said Dick. “It’s becoming the same in America now. She’s so much in demand. People recognise her in the streets.
“She is the face of this year and last year, and every woman wants to look like her. They all adore her in New York. In fact, it’s ‘the thing’ to be English in America at the moment.”
While the World in Action team in New York followed Jean Shrimpton, their liaison girl and researcher in London, Jenny Isard, was talking to Jean’s parents for more facts on the world’s most sought-after model.
Dick was worn out chasing Jean Shrimpton in New York — “she moves pretty fast,” he said — but he would like to work there. “It’s a good place to work if you like working hard, and if you like cities, and, New York is a real city.”