The Cover

In her fifty years as a model agent, Eileen Ford (centre above, photographed in 1948 by Nina Leen of LIFE magazine) discovered and promoted some of the most beautiful women in the world. From left to right on the paperback jacket cover of Model Woman, the top Ford models featured are:

  • Christy Turlington Burns photographed by Peter Lindbergh
  • Jean Shrimpton by Duffy
  • Jerry Hall by Brian Aris
  • Naomi Campbell by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
  • Christie Brinkley by Michael Thompson

Visit the book to read the full photographer credits, and scroll down below to examine more of Eileen’s great model discoveries - Jean Patchett, Kim Basinger, Candice Bergen, Lauren Hutton. Click on each magazine cover, and the link will give you full details of the publisher:

Robert Lacey

I’ve spent the last four years discovering the truth about fashion from the legendary Eileen Ford - the woman who transformed the business of modelling and helped create the modern celebrity supermodel. I’ve interviewed her friends and her enemies, her family and many of the women she made into superstars. It’s a compelling tale of beauty, ambition, business and popular culture as powerful and complex the woman at the heart of it all.

Robert Lacey
London, March 2014

Robert Lacey, British historian noted for his original research, which gets him close to and sharing the lives of his subjects, seen here with Eileen Ford at the Wortham Theater in Houston, Texas, October 2010. Read more at


Royalty in Netflix Series 'The Crown'

Robert Lacey has been historical consultant to Netflix’s The Crown, the first ever dramatization of personal life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II. With over 8 million views of the trailer to date, The Crown is sure to be a global hit.

Read the review and watch the trailer here

The Polish Model Woman

The Polish version of Model Woman has been released with great success by agency Marginesy. Grab your copy here:

Daily Mail: "Must read"

Model Woman labelled a 'must read' in Daily Mail review with positive reception.

Read it here:

Queen filmed calling Chinese officials 'very rude'

In a recent reveal, footage depicting Queen Elizabeth II referring to Chinese officials in a state visit has been made public. Read the article here: BBC News

Listen to Robert Lacey's interview with BBC World Service on the topic here: BBC iPlayer

Robert's Gangster Bestseller goes to #1 in Britain and the US

Robert Lacey's book, 'Meyer Lansky: The Thinking Man's Gangster' is the number one best-selling criminal biography on Amazon!

Buy the book at

Award-Winning Director for Pilot of Model Woman

We are thrilled that noted director Richard Shepard will be directing the ABC pilot of Model Woman.

In 2007, Shepard received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing and a Directors Guild of America Award for the television pilot of Ugly Betty: the hit ABC comedy-drama starring America Ferrera revolved around her character Betty Suarez who, despite her lack of style, landed a job at a prestigious fashion magazine.

Read the story here:


America’s top network, ABC is ready to hit the fashion show catwalk. The Disney-owned network has picked up the drama based on Robert Lacey's Model Woman to be shot as a TV series pilot in the early months of 2016. Read the stories here:

Vanity Fair Article

Preceding the release of his biography Model Woman: Eileen Ford and The Business of Beauty, author Robert Lacey has published a profile on Eileen Ford and her dynasty in the June 2015 issue of Vanity Fair.

The article spans a 30-year timeline from Eileen’s hand in founding Seventeen Magazine to the historic LIFE Magazine spread that made her a household name. Accompanying the article is a collection of ephemera that bring new life to this fashion legend.


Lacey diligently maps the agency’s explosive success and skillfully intertwines the glitz and cutthroat melodrama of the modeling world with Ford’s shrewd, intimidating business strategies, uncanny vision, and ability to merge beauty with fame. A briskly written, unapologetically frank portrait of "the empress of American modeling."
- Kirkus Reviews

as glamorous and gossipy as one could wish...powerful messages about how we Americans see ourselves, or wish we could see ourselves.”
- Slate Book Review

This correspondent, who during those intoxicating times was a fashion editor for British Vogue, can vouch that Lacey presents an accurate and fascinating insight into the trajectory of both the glamourous and treacherous world of the Supermodel and her maker...This is a compelling summer read for fashionistas…”
- Sunday Guardian

…Robert Lacey’s unputdownable biography of Ford left me not only full of admiration for her achievements but also rather liking her, for all her faults and abrasiveness...Lacey weaves riveting narratives into his account of the life of Ford, whom he describes as ‘a mixture of Mary Tyler Moore and Barbara Walters, but tougher’.”
- Former Ford model Penelope Tree, The Financial Times

Robert Lacey weaves an unforgettable tale of a determined entrepreneur and the empire she built—a story of beauty, ambition, business, and popular culture as powerful and complex as the woman at its centre."
- Address, Journal of Fashion Criticism

A TREAT for biography lovers and those interested in the business side of beauty.
- Stephanie Sendaula, Library Journal

Lacey draws on interviews with Ford and her friends, colleagues, and rivals for an intensive look at a highly competitive business, with FABULOUS turf battles and clashing egos among the biggest names in fashion...
- Vanessa Bush, Booklist

Ford, the Jewish girl who invented the supermodel at the agency she formed with husband Jerry in 1946, is described by Lacey as "a mixture of Mary Tyler Moore and Barbara Walters, but tougher.".
- Hollywood Reporter


Lisa Simpson: Good looks don’t really matter.
Miss Hoover (second-grade teacher, Springfield Elementary School): Nonsense, that’s just something ugly people tell their children.
The Simpsons

Beauty is a short-lived tyranny
- Socrates

Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical
– Sophia Loren

It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness
- Leo Tolstoy

I’d LOVE to be a model! What an EASY job! Nothing to do but look PRETTY all day.’
Millie the Model, Marvel Comics 1962

Order your copy

Model Woman: Eileen Ford and the Business of Beauty by Robert Lacey was published on 16 June 2015. Order your copy now.