HEAD SHOT: Yorkshire’s own Sixties supermodel Victoria Nixon reveal's 'wild life' of glamour and grief

SEX, drugs and rock and roll is the stereotype image of the Swinging Sixties but Yorkshire born Victoria Nixon knows what it was really like.

Tuesday, 20th August 2019, 15:15 pm

The Barnsley born former supermodel is now telling all in her autobiography, called Head Shot.

But it is not just a story about her self-proclaimed 'wild life' partying with music legends and A-list celebrities, jet-setting around the world and photo shoots for top fashion magazines.

Her life is defined by glamour and grief - personal tragedy and heartache including the suicides of her father and elder brother, which shaped her own destiny.

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Three marriages, profound loss and the self destruction of family and friends would have finished off many people's hopes and dreams.

Not Victoria, a still elegant and stunningly beautiful 71-year-old with a zest for life, who hopes her own story will now help to inspire others coping with personal issues to live life to the full.

BUY NOW: Head Shot is published by Unbound and now available in book shops and online – click on the links to by from Amazon or Waterstones.

It tells how she was barely 13 when her car dealership owner father killed himself and her brother, who found him dying, took his own life a few years later.

Head Shot autobiography by Victoria Nixon

Her mother died too and with no family left her life became one of extreme choices.

Fifty years on she confronts her past in an unflinching voyage through her experiences as a model and beyond, with a dedication 'in loving memory of my mother, father and brother. Always in my heart.'

The book is an eye-opening insight into an era which not only transformed her own life but changed society.

Manfred Mann rock star Paul Jones first told her she should be a model when he saw her in the crowd during a Sheffield gig at Peter Springfellow's former Mojo Club and the dream came true in 1966 when late great fashion photographer Helmut Newton spotted her in London's Bond Street and offered her a contract, launching her decade-long international modelling career.

Victoria Nixon

As Vikki Nixon she graced the pages of top fashion magazines including Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Glamour, Nova, 19 and Elle.

The Daily Mail's 'Face of 68' went on to became a TV regular - she was the first Top of the Pops promo video model and wore a "space-fashion outfit" during live coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landings. Later she featured in the long running TV campaign for Cadbury's flake.

Victoria, whose story was forged in the industrial heartland of South Yorkshire, famously dazzled in a metal dress made in Sheffield promoting new innovative uses for steel back in the late 1960s, with the headline British Steel shaped to the customers' requirements.

She rubbed shoulders with all the stars of the day, had dinner with legendary surrealist painter Salvador Dali and even had the Beach Boys sing at her 21st birthday party.

Modelling made in Sheffield steel dress to promote British Steel in the 1960s

Victoria was successful in seven different careers – as a model, advertising copywriter, magazine editor, television producer, working with the likes of Sylvester Stallone and Richard Harris, became a deli owner and has written two other best sellers, giving model tips.

Her most recent role, she says also her most rewarding, is as company director of AirCell Structures, with third husband Michael Messenger, designing and manufacturing flat pack shelter and other humanitarian products, used by aid agencies in disaster areas around the globe.

Packed with astonishing images by the photographers Victoria worked with, and the defiant fashions she wore throughout her career, the book also bears witness to a time of unparalleled cultural energy and invention.

It is a story where bags, shoes, lip gloss and eyeliner sit next to life and death.

Speaking frankly about loss, love, friendship and ambition, she says: "I'd never given the 60s and 70s much though since living them.

"Life's too full on to dredge lost memories.


"But how far did I have to run to finally face my past? It's time to put an end to simply being labelled a vacant stare in a vintage glossy. That's not how it was. Not how I was. This is how it was."

Victoria said it was important to write the book herself - not ghosted and to be completely honest.

Sh said: "I want it to be a lessons learned, inspirational book - especially aimed at young people who are quite confused by all this palava. It is warts an all. I don't hold back. It is everything that was good and bad about the era and my life."

So was the Swinging Sixties in London really sex, drugs and rock and roll?

"It was. It really was, to a degree that it shouldn't have been, to be honest with you," says Victoria."At the time you live life and you think 'wow, this is great', every young person does that. But I do look back on that period and think our dear dads fought wars for us and all we were doing was being hell bent on getting high on drugs, sex and rock and roll."But I'm writing it because I'm fed up with people constantly thinking that we late-Sixties models were sort of vacuous hair flickers. We weren't, it's a complete misunderstanding."I wasn't part of the Jerry Hall era, I was a generation before, but after Jean Shrimpton."So we didn't get that thing, like Twiggy did with her manager by her side, we were completely independent, quite courageous girls who travelled the world, just to see what was out there."It was a fantastic thing to do, to see the world with a paid-for smile.

"The point about modelling is that you can’t decide to be a model. Somebody else tells them they should be one."The big things in life come in quiet, ordinary moments when we re not looking for them or expecting them. Life is all that counts in the end."

Model daughter - early days with mum, dad and brother in Barnsley
Life in the fast lane - Victoria promoted international products like this Castrol GTX motor oil