How to Dress a Dummy
by Cassie Lane
For as long as she could remember, Cassie Lane yearned to be somebody else. Not only was she socially awkward, she was odd-looking and her dysfunctional family were the type of people who bonded over stealing their Christmas tree every year.
Miraculously, at sixteen, Cassie’s prayers were answered and she got boobs – big ones! Suddenly the centre of attention, she went from gawky bogan to international model, strutting catwalks from Milan to LA. But beneath the gloss she discovered a world of exploitation, where living off your looks can attract as much scorn as admiration. Her search for a version of herself she could actually like took her from Hollywood parties, to an island ashram, and reluctantly back into the spotlight as an AFL ‘WAG’, a position where one wrong step can get you labelled a ‘slut’, ‘skank’ and ‘stripper’.
In time the gawky bogan came full circle, and Cassie grew to understand that beauty is not about high cheekbones or a 24-inch waist. True beauty is found in the imperfect and vulnerable.
How to Dress a Dummy casts an unwavering eye at the myriad ways in which women are taught that they’re not enough. Smart, frank and very, very funny, Cassie’s is a bold new feminist voice.
‘Cassie Lane is a bold new voice. This darkly comic take on life in the fashion industry will leave you howling with both laughter and tears.’
‘Lane’s revealing memoir recounts the sexism, objectification, and depersonalisation she encountered working in the fashion industry. (…) It is a thoroughly engaging book, and suggests that in future we should expect more great writing from Cassie Lane.’
‘Raucously funny, brave and honest, Cassie Lane offers an insider’s guide to the ugly-beautiful world of modelling. There’s sex, drugs and juicy Hollywood gossip. But any woman will identify with her struggles to accept and celebrate the way she looks, while trying to be taken seriously as a human being. Like most of the people she meets, I didn’t expect to like Cassie, but I do. And I like this book a lot.’
ROCHELLE SIEMIENOWICZ, film critic, journalist, editor, columnist and author of Fallen
‘A hilarious, insightful and occasionally enraging journey through the world of international modelling. Cassie Lane’s story is at once a hedonistic rampage that would put Hunter S. Thompson to shame, and a sweet, thoughtful meditation on beauty, self-esteem, and self-acceptance – a unique memoir from a natural storyteller who proves here that beauty and depth can co-exist as easily on the page as they can in a person.’
LIAM PIEPER, journalist and author of The Feel-Good Hit of the Year, The Toymaker and Mistakes were Made
‘Written with wry humour, quirky attention to detail, and a sharp eye for character, Cassie’s story rockets along and provides readers with a whole cast of both comical and heart-breaking insights into the world of the high-end model. Brave, funny and unselfconscious.’
JULIENNE VAN LOON, award-winning author of Road Story, Beneath the Bloodwood Tree and Harmless