Amber Valletta: The Original Waif

After the supermodels came the waifs. And no one was willowier than Amber Valletta. Tim Blanks remembers her 1990s golden days and marvels at her successful transition from the runway to the small screen.

Released on 11/13/2014

Credits

Starring: Tim Blanks
Featuring: Amber Valletta and Shalom Harlow

Music:
"#1 in Heaven" by MNDR
"Brand New Day" by 1985

Transcript

00:00
It's going to change anyway.
00:01
The waif thing came in, I was a waif.
00:05
And then next thing you know, you're a sexy monkey.
00:07
It's like, it's always something else.
00:10
You're going to be like, fat slob soon.
00:12
(pop music)
00:26
This is Throwback Thursdays and I'm Tim Blanks.
00:28
Today we're going to be looking at Amber Valletta.
00:30
One of my favorite models and if you feel like sharing
00:33
this with your friends, by all means, go ahead.
00:36
Amber was actually part of the next wave
00:38
after that original wave of the big girls,
00:41
the Lindas, the Naomis, the Cindys, and the Christies.
00:44
The models that came after tended to downplay
00:48
the idea of their superness.
00:50
And so, people built up this idea of the waif
00:53
as an alternative.
00:54
Kate Moss being the most famous example.
00:56
But Amber was included that wave of modeling.
01:00
They were much less glamorous in the way
01:04
that the presented themselves.
01:05
You know it's nice to be appreciated
01:07
but at the same it's nice to just value yourself
01:10
for who you are and not count on other people's feedback.
01:13
And I think once you have your 15 seconds and then
01:15
you don't and then you do again and then you don't.
01:19
And then you don't.
01:20
You kinda get used to like, okay I'm going to be constant
01:23
whether everyone around me is or isn't.
01:26
Well said.
01:27
Thanks hon.
01:28
Amber's best friend as a model was Shalom Harlow.
01:31
Together they ended up hosting House of Style on MTV.
01:34
Very slinky and very naughty and flashy.
01:41
I happened to flash the whole crowd.
01:43
My dress was little bit on the short side.
01:49
[Tim] I think of great models as being like actresses
01:52
in that they're called upon to give performances
01:54
every time they do a show.
01:56
They assume another persona.
01:58
Amber was like that.
02:00
My persona is Amber Valletta and I just don't hold on
02:02
to that image, you know it's what I do, I turn it on,
02:05
I turn it off.
02:07
Good, that's healthy.
02:09
[Amber] It's just exterior to me.
02:16
With that sort of screen friendly quality,
02:18
it was a natural evolution for her to actually
02:20
go on into acting.
02:21
I did enjoy watching Revenge and seeing Amber
02:24
as a femme fatale.
02:26
You owe me your life.
02:27
Some life.
02:29
I'm slinging drinks for honeymooners in Ecuador
02:31
while you're the first lady of New York.
02:33
She has spoken openly about what modeling did for her
02:38
in both good ways and bad ways.
02:41
There were temptations and she surrendered to them
02:43
and she came through all of that.
02:45
I'm not just a face.
02:46
I'm a businessperson.
02:48
You don't realize that in the beginning.
02:50
And I lost of a lot of money because of it.
02:53
Nobody gives you a handbook here's how to model.
02:56
I mean, Eileen made one 50 years ago
02:58
but of course today it doesn't work that way.
03:01
Looking at these old interviews with her.
03:02
I can't help but compare models then to models now,
03:06
that is inevitable because you are looking
03:08
at a fashion in faces.
03:10
There was a moment, when a certain look would prevail.
03:14
And I think Amber will be remembered even though
03:17
she herself would have resisted the label
03:19
as one of the greatest beauties
03:20
of a golden time in fashion.
03:22
I'm definitely proud of the mark I've left on this decade.
03:25
As long as we got proof of it, it'll be there.
03:29
That makes me really happy.
03:31
I've been part of something.
03:32
(dance music)
03:42
How do you think a model like Amber stands up
03:44
against what you're seeing on the catwalk today?
03:47
I would love to know and leave your comments below.
03:49
This is Throwback Thursdays and I'm Tim Blanks.
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