Beverly Johnson, 55
Anansa Sims, 24
She was the first African-American model on the cover of Vogue, but Johnson says she never wanted to see her daughter in front of the camera. “I knew the pitfalls,” says the She’s Got the Look judge, who lives in L.A. But now that Anansa (dad is music producer Danny Sims) has conquered the plus-size modeling market (she’s a size 12), Johnson says, “I’m just a proud mom.”
Beverly: I was against Anansa modeling because throughout my career, I suffered from anorexia and bulimia—I was 5’9″ and between 103 and 117 lbs. I never wanted her to go through that. But when she was 18, she went to New York to try it.
Anansa: Before I left, I starved myself and worked out four hours a day for three months. Then once I was there, they kept telling me, “Just lose 10 more lbs.!” I made it to a size 4 and I was on my way to a 2. I ate an apple and a bowl of soup a day. Finally I said, “If this is what it takes, I don’t want it.”
Beverly: She said, “I never want anyone to tell me how I should look ever again.” It took me until age 40 to get to where she got at age 18! And then she went and got her MBA.
Anansa: I was working as a financial analyst, but about a year ago, I felt I needed something more creative. So I called an agency’s plus-size division. I remember they took my measurements and said, “Perfect!” I was like, “Really?” I never got to hear that before!
Beverly: By the next day she already had a job, and she’s been working ever since. This time, she’s doing it on her terms. She’s my hero!
Kim Alexis, 48
Shay Duguay, 21
Amber Stavros, 24
Blending families after marrying hockey star Ron Duguay in ’93 “wasn’t easy,” Alexis says. But her sons and his daughters—then just 9 and 6—got along so well, “it was like the Brady Bunch.” Amber (right) is now married and owns a business, and Shay is an aspiring makeup artist, while Alexis hosts TV Land’s She’s Got the Look. Still, the three remain close. “I never tried to be their mom,” Alexis says. “More like a really big sister!”
Kim: We used to have them over as much as possible, and we’d all play sports. At the end of the weekend, I’d realize I hadn’t brushed their hair. I never had to with boys!
Amber: But we were never prissy. I was a serious tomboy. Shay was into the makeup.
Shay: With Kim it was like having Barbie for a stepmom! I’d always go through her fan mail. I forget how famous she was.
Amber: They kept us grounded. We felt we were normal kids with normal parents.
Kim: My mother-nurture thing was to feed them! The girls loved spaghetti. But it wasn’t about what I cooked, it was just being together.
Carly Lawson, 30
Growing up between London and Los Angeles with a mother who was the face of ’60s fashion was “such an inspiration,” says Carly (by Twiggy’s first husband, Michael Whitney), who today is a print designer for Stella McCartney.
Carly: My mum had the most amazing suede suits with feathers, fake leopard-skin coats. I’d wear them when I was little.
Twiggy: She’s got my shoes on now!
Carly: But a lot of her vintage stuff would never fit me. I’m not as tiny as she was—she was minute! I’m slightly bigger-boned. We don’t really look alike, but I love it when people tell me we do. She’s very gorgeous!
Twiggy: We’re quite close. We talk about everything—some things I’d rather not know!—but she tells me anyway. We try to eat dinner at my home every Sunday.
Carly: I love coming round and just sitting with my mum looking through magazines, watching the telly, just hanging out. It’s become such a friendship.
Janice Dickinson, 54
Savannah Dickinson Birnbaum, 15
The original supermodel says the biggest challenge of raising her ninth grader (with ex-boyfriend Michael Birnbaum) in Beverly Hills is relating to someone she calls “my complete opposite.”
Janice: Having an alpha female as a mom, she’s a beta as a daughter.
Savannah: I’m really shy. If my friends bring the camera around, I’ll put my hand up in front of my face and hide.
Janice: She doesn’t want to be famous, probably because I’ve been so photographed. That’s a tough thing for a daughter. She has expressed interest in taking the photographs, which is a huge relief.
Savannah: My mom gave me a really good camera for Christmas. She has always supported me in what I want to do.
Janice: I play crazy on TV, but at home I’m a parent. She plays volleyball and soccer, so all I’m doing is driving her. And there’s always something to eat in the kitchen.
LOOK WHO ELSE IS A MODEL MOM!
These catwalkers share love, wisdom—and really good genes—with their girls
Kimora Lee Simmons, 34
Ming Lee Simmons, 9 (left)
Aoki Lee Simmons, 6
Cindy Crawford, 43
Kaia Gerber, 7
Christy Turlington-Burns, 40
Grace Burns, 5
Patti Hansen, 53
Theodora Richards, 24 (right)
Alexandra Richards, 22