Jill Johnson is a former model who started her career at Barbizon School of Modeling in Rochester, New York, at age 11. Rejected by the top New York City agencies at 17, she opted instead to attend the University of Colorado in Boulder, modeled as a hobby in Denver, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She bought a one-way ticket to Europe a few months later and stumbled into an international modeling career; lived and modeled in Munich, Zurich, Vienna, Hamburg, Milan, Paris, and Madrid; and returned home in her mid-20s to welcoming arms at a top New York agency. During the '95 - '96 modeling season in Miami, she decided (with a reckless model boyfriend and his brother) to launch a magazine, Tear Sheet, which served as the insider's guide to the modeling industry. During six years at Tear Sheet's helm, Johnson continued to model in New York and found that even as a part-timer her income increased as she approached her 30s. In essence, Johnson is the contradiction of most modeling clichés: she did not peak as a teen, she did go to college, she is not a dumb blonde, she did not emerge from a decade in the modeling world as a drug-addicted anorexic, she did not make a fortune, she is grateful for the money she did make and the experiences she had, and she's not a supermodel.
Johnson's latest modeling bookings include walking the runway on Live With Regis and Kelly in a maternity fashion segment and showing off her blooming belly in Cosmopolitan. She's since passed the baton to her 12-year-old son, who debuted on the cover of Newsweek at six months old, has performed with New York City Ballet, and is playing Billy in the FL regional premiere of Billy Elliot The Musical next month. Her 9-year-old twins, who were budding models in Madrid during the family's five-year stint there, also love to act, sing, and dance. Though ancient—practically dead by model standards—Johnson was represented by Delphoss (her kids' agency) in Madrid. They insisted she dig out her dusty portfolio, but, after spending most of 20 years trying to look good, Johnson prefers to sit at home in sweatpants and write.
Six years at Tear Sheet's helm, where Johnson wrote or edited all content in the 100+ page bi-monthly glossy magazine—an unprecedented modeling-industry publication—positioned her as a unique expert in the field of modeling. Tear Sheet Testimonials:
"We are very excited about having Tear Sheet as the official magazine sponsor of the Elite Model Look, and we thank you for your continuous support in helping Elite find the most promising faces in modeling."
—Cathy Gould, Executive Director, Elite Model Look
"All the best of fashion, beauty, models, locations, shootings. Easy to read and nice to look at. I love it!"
—Antoine Verglas (renowned international photographer: Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, Victoria's Secret, Elle, Glamour, Mirabella, Esquire, Maxim, GQ)
"Rich, beautifully art directed—Tear Sheet is a must-read for industry insiders."
—Timothy Priano, Agency Director, Artists by Timothy Priano at Next
"Tear Sheet lets the sexy kitten out of the bag with every issue ... Glimpse into Tear Sheet when you want to be reminded of the magic in the modeling biz." —Laura Lee, PR Director, Shu Uemura Cosmetics
In addition to the direct mailing to industry insiders, Tear Sheet was distributed at numerous modeling/fashion events and by Curtis Circulation to over 5,000 bookstores and newsstands nationwide. Johnson was sought out by Michael Musto's New York Central to appear as the on-air modeling correspondent and by Model Search America to speak to thousands of aspiring models at events nationwide.
In 2002, Johnson was named Editor-in-Chief of Tango, a national women's magazine where she worked for one year, before her husband's job took them to Spain. As a freelance writer, Johnson has been a frequent contributor to AOL, Tango, Grace, Philadelphia Style, Greenwich, and Westport magazines, profiling models, actors, designers, and business icons, and covering topics ranging from plus-size model Emme's battle with bulimia to her own struggle with infertility and the pros and cons of drug-free childbirth (which is only slightly more painful than trying to finish a book with a brood of toddlers milling around the home office).
After Johnson and her family relocated back to the New York area, surprise baby #4 made her debut. She is a now a 6-year-old aspiring triple threat or future President of the United States—one of the two. Those reproductive endocrinologists don't know so much after all. Johnson intends to write that article and scores more, when not working as her children's chauffeur. She also is wrapping up her modeling memoir and has a "fiction" book brewing on PTA bitches (of course she has never met one of those in Fairfield County).