Los Angeles, CA, United States (CNS) – A fresh-faced Robyn Peterson left Miami at the ripe age of 16 to pursue a career in couture fashion modeling, gracing covers and spreads in Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire and campaigns for Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior. At 26, it was all over.
Now, 40 years after she hit the modeling scene, a wiser, seasoned and still beautiful Peterson headlines “Catwalk Confidential,” a part-memoir performance piece that hits the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami on March 17th thru the 20th. Peterson gives an unfiltered peek into the inside world of modeling of yesteryear where you’re only as good as your last birthday.
CNS: Welcome back to Miami, which has a big part in your play but also in your life.. How does it feel to be bringing it back here for the first time?
RP: When I was a little girl, Sears & Roebuck used to send the catalog around. When the catalog would arrive, it was such a big deal in our house and we’d go through it and mark the things we wanted to buy with our allowance. Then we’d all get in daddy’s black and yellow Chevy Impala and drive down to the Sears Tower.
So I just visited the Arsht Center for the first time and the Sears Tower is there. It was like coming full circle for me. That was where my addiction started.
CNS: Isn’t a beautiful theater?
RP: It is so gorgeous. The whole place is just magnificent.
CNS: When was the last time you were here in Miami?
RP: I have family here so I usually come around Christmas time, run around and see friends, but I haven’t been here for business in years and it’s completely different.
CNS: Is that something you’ve been looking forward to for a while?
RP: I have been. It was a surprise. It came out of the blue. When I got the call, I thought it’s just perfect. The whole first third of the play takes place in a Miami that doesn’t exist anymore, a Miami of a more innocent time of the 60’s. It’s really exciting people because we will get it.
CNS: Well as well as as Catwalk Confidential suits the Miami scene, you just got back from Los Angeles which is a major hub for models and actors. What was the response like there?
RP: I performed at the Agenda Loft, which is a big fashion loft where they performance art and fashion shows. It’s just an amazing people with an amazing vibe. There were a lot of fashion people at the performance and it was just one of those nights where everything just came together. It was fabulous.
CNS: So has anyone told you that Catwalk Confidential would make a great book?
RP: It would make a great book, it would make an even better television series.
CNS: At what point did you decide that you wanted this to be a one-woman play?
RP: I was writing a memoir and then a very good friend of mine, another model, died. I was asked to write a piece about her for a magazine and when I started writing the piece, I started thinking about all these women I knew in the 70’s that I was so close to and I thought what happened to all these people? They disappeared.
And I started writing about events, and women that I had befriended and loved, love affairs, and photographers, and I started to feel like the memoir was too limiting. Some of the characters were so great, I wanted them to have their own stage.
CNS: “Catwalk Confidential” is probably more relevant than ever right now. Oprah just had some former supermodels on her show talking about their careers being over in their mid-20’s. What is it about models and the aging that people are finding fascinating right now?
RP: There are a lot of women my age my out there. The fashion world has always been a very closed door. Nobody really went into the whole couture studios and the ateliers where they made anything or the photography studios.
Now we can see a little bit on television thanks to glorious Tyra and her fabulous show. It’s an insight to a very cloistered world and this is all from the model’s point of view. You never get what that model is actually thinking when she’s walking down Karl Lagerfeld’s runway or when that girl next to her has just superseded her.
CNS: One word that a lot of people use to describe “Catwalk Confidential” is moving. Why do you think people are moved by it?
RP: It’s true. You get the true emotions of these young women who are battling in this career, and then all of a sudden it’s over and you have to start your life over again at 26. It’s the coming-of-age of the story, too. I think it’s written to really go through the experiences in a woman’s life as a teenager, the falling in love, the competition.
Even though models are gifted with beauty, they still go through the same things everyone goes through and that resonates with everyone.
“Catwalk Confidential” plays at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, FL from March 17th thru the 20th. Tickets are available at the box office, by calling 305-949-6722 or at www.arshtcenter.org.