Victoria Adelaide: How did you enter the world of modeling, and was it something you always wanted to do?
Mrs. Rosemary McGrotha: No, it’s not something I had initially thought of doing, but as I grew up, people encouraged me. I had a friend who had tried it, and she told me that I could make a lot of money modeling. I was very shy, so I stayed with a friend in Atlanta, and then from there, I went to visit a couple of photographers. I soon met someone from New York, after which I went back there. That’s how it started. It wasn’t easy in New York though. I was neither blonde nor blue-eyed, and everybody was telling me I looked “too European,” so I went to France, and that’s where I got my big break.
VA: What are the differences you’ve noticed as a model between Europe and the US?
RM: It was certainly way more fun in France. In America, however, they were more professional and desired a certain look. In New York, for instance, they were less experimental or less willing to give people who looked a bit different a chance. In France, they were much more open to different looks. In those days, the reason you would go to France or somewhere else in Europe was to secure a good portfolio and more magazine covers…
Victoria Adelaide: What started your interest in mankind?
Jane Elliott: My father said, “Never judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. If it hasn’t happened to you, don’t criticize somebody for responding the way they do to something that never happened to you.” He also said, “Never judge a book by its cover; open it up and look at it first. You want to understand it first before you start complaining. You don’t know what the hell that person has lived through and, until you know how that person has lived, you don’t have the right to judge her.” He also said his mother forced him to go to Sunday school until he was 15, at which point he refused to ever go back. He learned that “You judge not, lest you be judged.” He used to spout Bible verses to us and we thought, “Well you don’t go to church, what’s your problem?” Then I realized that what he was doing was telling us how to live a moral life. That was about as far as he was concerned.
VA: The day that followed the death of Martin Luther King Jr., you experimented with your Blue eyes–Brown eyes exercise for the first time in your classroom with your students. Looking back, how did it impact your life?
JE: It absolutely changed the way I see myself and my fellow human beings. After the exercise, I began to realize they were my fellow human beings. We are all cousins. There’s only one race on the face of the earth and when you abuse one of my cousins, you’re going to have to tangle with me…