Model Lisa Taylor on nearly dying from drugs — and her complete turnaround
- Last Updated: 11:34 AM, July 19, 2012
- Posted: 10:53 PM, July 18, 2012
Gazing sullenly at the camera on the set of the Tommy Lee Jones 1978 movie “Eyes of Laura Mars,” supermodel of the moment Lisa Taylor looked like a million dollars in her skimpy bikini. But there’s a story behind every photograph. Speaking exclusively to The Post, Taylor reveals that, along with other pictures taken during that period, it came at a time in her life when she’d sunk to rock bottom. “I was very close to death at that point,” says the Long Island native. “I remember [one half-naked picture in a sauna] having a deadness in my eyes.”
That “deadness” was from drugs. Taylor, a fixture in the jet-set world of fashion and one-time girlfriend of top Hollywood star Jones, was addicted to cocaine. “I weighed 117 pounds and was 5-foot-9-inches tall,” she recalls. “I’m surprised [that] I survived.” Clean for 30 years, the mother of twin girls is grateful she reached 60 this year.
Taylor, the youngest daughter of a textile executive from Oyster Bay who moved in the same “old money” circles as the Bouvier family, signed with the Ford modeling agency at 19. Naive and “overly” protected during her childhood, she had low self-esteem. The hedonistic lifestyle and drugs handed out like M&M’s in Manhattan nightclubs, such as Studio 54, were too hard to resist.
“She was meat for the monsters and, man, did they see her coming,” reflects Taylor’s modeling peer Pat Cleveland, also 60 now, who ran with the hard-partying set including Calvin Klein and Jerry Hall. “She was their [the drug pushers’] golden girl.
“All through the ’70s, it [cocaine use] was rampant,” adds Taylor.
“It wasn’t so much [a substitute] for food, as much as a way to cope with boredom. Taylor jumped ship after one last cocaine binge at her 30th birthday party in January 1982. “The next morning, I left for California and never came back,” she says.
Now divorced from the father of her 19-year-old girls, she leads a fulfilling, healthy life in Santa Barbara, Calif., where she has a steady boyfriend and is writing a novel based on her experiences, titled “Every
Picture Tells a Story.” “I’m just really glad to be here,” she says.