"I always looked like I had it all together on the outside, but inside I was terribly insecure," says former model Alana Stewart.
Although she's enjoyed a successful and glamorous career, traveled all over the world, and made plenty of A-list friends, things didn't always come so easy for Stewart.
In her memoir "Rearview Mirror," she shares the story of an upbringing that was marked by struggles with abandonment and feelings of insecurity and despair.
We asked Stewart about her reliance on God, family and friends, and what she learned on her journey:
You start by telling the traumatic recount of being raped in your Texas home, why is this significant to the beginning of your story?
AS: I decided to begin the book with the story of the rape because it was such a powerful, horrific, life-altering event. In those days in Texas, if a girl was raped, it was such a shameful, embarrassing thing to have happen to you. The police treated me like I was the criminal instead of the victim. Afterwards, I just wanted to get as far away as I could and try to put the humiliating experience and the rest of my past behind me.
You came to New York City at age 19 with nothing. Did you ever doubt that you’d make it or second guess your decision?
AS: In the beginning, I had that kind of courage that you can only have when you’re young and naïve. I didn’t even let myself consider that I might fail even though my friends and family warned me against going to the big city alone. But I wasn’t one of those models that get discovered right away. It seemed like it took forever before I started working and making any money, even though looking back, it was really only a few months before I booked my first job. But even then it took a while before I started doing good work. During that time I often would doubt myself and think that maybe I’d never make it as a model, but I still kept plugging away.
You’ve said that you’re a firm believer in God. How has your faith shaped you and sustained you?
AS: When I was very young, I lived with my grandmother out in the country in Texas. She was a very stern but kind woman who had a strong belief in God and kept a .38 next to her bed. We had no television or even books to read other than the Bible, so a sense of faith was instilled in me at an early age. I’m very grateful for that and for the core values she taught me because I think that’s what has gotten me through some of the more difficult times in my life.
You’ve said your divorce from Rod Stewart left you devastated. How did you get through it?
AS: I’ve always been a strong person but the split from Rod left me devastated emotionally and physically and to make matters even worse, it all unfolded publicly in the press. I had three small children and had no choice but to pick myself up and try to be there for them as best I could, since it took its toll on them as well. What really pulled me through was seeking spiritual support, such as 12-Step programs and going to therapy. I had to begin to look at my dysfunctional family and my painful childhood that I had running from up until then. In the end, I was almost grateful for the break-up because it forced me to deal with all the issues from my past that I had kept buried.
You were best friends with Farrah Fawcett and you were with her during her final days. What's one thing you'd like to share about your good friend?
AS: Farrah was perhaps the strongest, most courageous person I’ve ever known. She battled cancer for three years with determination and resolve that never wavered, even at the end. She never lost her sense of humor, either. When we were in Germany and she was undergoing difficult treatments and procedures she’d always find something that would make us laugh. And she was always thoughtful and concerned about others, no matter what she was going through. I can say, without a doubt, that there will never be another Farrah.
What has been the biggest bump along your journey toward happiness?
AS: The biggest obstacle to my happiness, was probably my own self-image. I always looked like I had it all together on the outside but inside I was terribly insecure. Because of my childhood, I grew up with a deep, buried belief that something was wrong with me—that I wasn’t good enough. I never knew my father and lost my mother to drug addiction, and that kind of abandonment tends to make a child think they’re unlovable and unwanted. Over the years, through therapy and spiritual pursuits, I’ve learned that we are all perfect in the eyes of God but sometimes it’s a bit of a journey finding that out. Now I feel really proud of the work I’ve done to become the woman I am today.Comment