And the Terry Files continue. Just hours after we published our conversation with Charlotte Waters, a former art school student who was degraded by Terry Richardson at the tender age of 19, yet another young woman has reached out to Vocativ with a creepy Uncle Terry story she’s sharing for the first time.
The source, now a successful model, has asked to remain anonymous. “If you talk about him openly, you never work again,” she says, which is to say that the ironclad impunity he enjoys despite a long and well-documented history of vile behavior is a product of the very industry that continues to hire and support him.
The model, whom we’ll call Kate, was approached by Richardson on the street in the West Village in the summer of 2011, when she was just 17. He asked if she was a model and said he wanted to shoot her. “I told him I was and gave him my agency contact, but then he asked for my personal information,” she told us over IM. “I thought that was strange, so I gave him my email in order to keep him at arms length.” She also remembers that the then-45-year-old never asked her age, “and it didn’t seem like he cared.”
Fresh out of high school, Kate knew far less about his reputation than she did his high-profile work. “I knew that my agency would be so happy if I shot with him, which was the only reason I went along with it,” she says.
A few days later, he emailed her and asked if they could Skype in order to discuss the shoot. She found this off-putting (“only creepy guys ask to Skype”), so she told him that her camera wasn’t working, but that she’d be willing to chat. What followed was a text-book example of Terry Richardson’s M.O., which is to dangle a Terry Richardson photo shoot in front of a young, aspiring model, just as long as she’s cool with him dangling something else in front of her, too. Then getting indignant if she refuses. This is the guy who once said of breaking into modeling, “It’s not who you know, it’s who you blow. I don’t have a hole in my jeans for nothing.”
Richardson is shamelessly upfront about his sleep-your-way-to-the-top stipulations, and his Skype chat with Kate follows the same trajectory as another Skype conversation he had with model Felice Fawn that same year. When Fawn told him she would never “sell her body for fame,” he responded, “Then you need to work at McDonald’s, this is the lifestyle,” adding that on any given day, there were at least 20 other models willing to fuck him for the exposure.
With so many women eager to do his bidding, it seems odd that the insatiable lensman still feels the need to approach underage girls on the street. And even odder that he would “freak out” on them when they reject his advances, as Kate puts it. “I was shocked by how angry he became,“ she says. “It was just strange to see a full grown man berate a teenaged girl.”
Below, an excerpt from Kate’s Skype conversation with Richardson, which she says she copied and saved into a Word document before signing off. She claims he didn’t say much beforehand, and that he “got right down to business” before she turned him down.
[8/31/11 6:28:13 PM] Terry Richardson: your goal is the big thing? i dont like to waist time
[8/31/11 6:28:31 PM] Kate: yea of course
[8/31/11 6:28:40 PM] Terry Richardson: are you openminded enough?
[8/31/11 6:28:52 PM] Terry Richardson: not a secret what most models do to get it
[8/31/11 6:29:41 PM] Kate: yea its not a secret
[8/31/11 6:29:43 PM] Kate: but no
[8/31/11 6:29:50 PM] Kate: thank you though
[8/31/11 6:29:58 PM] Kate: for being honest
[8/31/11 6:30:08 PM] Terry Richardson: another dreamer who will never be a model
[8/31/11 6:30:11 PM] Terry Richardson: cu!
[8/31/11 6:30:48 PM] Kate: thanks for the advice
[8/31/11 6:30:52 PM] Terry Richardson: haha!
[8/31/11 6:30:55 PM] Terry Richardson: brainless also
[8/31/11 6:31:01 PM] Terry Richardson: get real!
[8/31/11 6:31:04 PM] Kate: i go to [Ivy League School redacted]
[8/31/11 6:31:06 PM] Terry Richardson: i am
[8/31/11 6:31:09 PM] Kate: not brainless
[8/31/11 6:31:14 PM] Terry Richardson: sure, and who you fucking for that?
[8/31/11 6:31:30 PM] Terry Richardson: I know the system in fashion very good
[8/31/11 6:31:38 PM] Kate: well i respect your opinion
[8/31/11 6:31:57 PM] Kate: best of luck to you and congratulations on all your success
[8/31/11 6:31:58 PM] Terry Richardson: you will never make it
[8/31/11 6:31:58 PM] Kate: x
[8/31/11 6:32:01 PM] Terry Richardson: simple basic rules