The SUV came to an abrupt stop.
It was July of 1977. A crew from Neiman Marcus had come to the Andes mountains, near the border of Chile and Argentina, to scout locations for a fur catalog shoot. As the SUV climbed farther and farther up the mountain, snow started to fall, blanketing the road. The passengers, including a young Jerry Hall—sitting in the backseat, draped in a fur coat and fresh off her first runway show in Paris—began to panic. A Neiman Marcus executive peered out the window, trying to get his bearings. Visibility was close to zero when the driver threw the car into reverse, desperately trying to turn around. What he didn’t know was that the SUV’s rear wheels had stopped just two inches from the edge of the cliff.
The SUV now dangled precariously off the side of the mountain.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
WELCOME TO NEW YORK
Before the 13-hour flight to Santiago, before the models and the fur coats and the biblical snowstorm that left her stranded in the Andes Mountains, Julie Christman was just another bored St. Louis teenager trying to figure out what to do for the summer. She’d graduated from Catholic prep school in June and was considering community college, but she didn’t have a clue as to what she’d study. What she did know was that her mother wanted her out of the house.
“My mom called my sister Pat in New York and said, ‘Why doesn’t Julie come and stay with you?'” Julie recalls. Pat was 11 years older than Julie and had left home after winning second runner-up in a modeling contest. She was still working as a model, but she’d also started a boutique advertising group with her boyfriend, an up-and-coming photographer named Les Goldberg, who’d shot one of Ralph Lauren’s first campaigns. Julie had expressed some interest in photography. Perhaps she could come to New York for the summer and learn something from Les?