The second thriller from former Cosmopolitan (U.K.) editor-in-chief Sam Baker starring fashion journalist Annie Anderson, Deadly Beautiful, takes a hard look at the too often brief careers of teen models, one of whom, Scarlett Ulrich, may be the victim of a serial killer in Japan.
What can you tell us about Scarlett Ulrich?
The thing about Scarlett Ulrich, who becomes a child model star as she hits the big time when she's six (think the Olsen sisters without a billion-dollar empire), is that she's washed up by the time she's 15. Scarlett has been the victim of her father, a modelizer, who refuses to accept that her modeling career is over.
What's a “modelizer”?
As Scarlett's half-sister, Lou, in the book puts it, a modelizer is a sad bastard who shags only models, though in the case of Scarlett and Lou's father, he at least marries them.
Supermodels keep getting younger. Good or bad?
Bad. So, so bad. I worry about it. I think 13, 14, it's too young. At 18, chances are, if you're skinny, you're skinny; that's your build. But at 13 you can be skinny because your adult physique hasn't developed. When it does, if you get a regular woman's body rather than a model body, you're no longer model material. What's it going to do to a girl's self-esteem? There's a definite sense in the industry that models are like buses, there'll be another one along in a minute. That's why America's Next Top Model is called that, because no sooner has one girl got to the top than someone's off looking for her replacement.
What's more difficult, editing a magazine or writing a novel?
Writing a novel, definitely. I'm a person who likes structure. So the monthly deadlines of a magazine really work for me. Also, magazines are team work. You build a great team around you, and then you all work toward the editor-in-chief's vision. With a book, it's just you. There's nowhere to hide!
Is there a new thriller in the works?
There won't be a new Annie next year because I'm working on a completely different novel, about the complexities of 21st-century family life. You know, step-parents, stepchildren, half-sisters and -brothers, the whole collection. There are definitely more Annie thrillers up my sleeve after that, though.
Any hot fashion tips for fall?
Bags and shoes! And coats. Everyone says it, but everyone says it because it's true. Splash out on those. You can buy the rest from Target.