Copyright: Linda Morand
An inconvenient stepchild, coming of age in the Swinging Sixties, bears an uncanny resemblance to Jacqueline Kennedy. Offered a modeling contract with the legendary Ford Modeling Agency, she moves to Paris before she can discover a long-buried family secret.
1962 PAUL MARTEL IS DEAD
An awkward but resourceful girl called Donna Martel is puzzled and disturbed by the mystery of her origins. Her mother, the beautiful Ava Martel, says that her birth father was killed at the end of WW II. Donna turns to hero worship of her dead father and identifies as a war orphan. After a disastrous fire, the family fortunes take a downturn. Donna’s stepfather, the disgruntled Sam Weaver, loses all his money. Her mother resents her and blames Donna for her bad luck. Her only happiness is her best friend, a neighboring girl named Kristin.
She is not popular in middle school, for being very tall, skinny, poorly dressed and too bright. Her stepfather never has a good thing to say to her. Her grandfather, Pop Martel, an enlightened Catholic, composes poetry encouraging her to lead a noble life and stay away from the bright lights. He and Donna’s kindly grandmother give her a moral foundation and a glimpse of real parental love.
As she grows older, Donna doesn’t fit in with anyone. Her mother Ava’s best friend, the eccentric former fashion model, Aunt Arlene, encourages her to expand her talents and fills her head with daydreams of a life that could be. Boys are not attracted to her. Awkward and gawky, growing rapidly she longs to become elegant and poised.
On the first day of high school, Donna meets a troubled and accomplished beauty, Roxanne, who becomes her protector and best friend. Spoiled and rich, Roxanne is an unsettling influence. A practical joker and the first to try anything, Roxanne is one step away from being out of control, She smokes cigarettes and takes drugs, but is so beautiful and brilliant that she has most of the adults bedazzled. She gives Donna lots of stylish clothes, and Donna helps her with homework. Donna excels at everything in school getting straight A’s.
On the bright side, Donna’s peers notice her uncanny resemblance to the current very popular First Lady, Jackie Kennedy, the most famous woman in the world. With renewed confidence and newfound dignity, Donna appears in several school performances and becomes the fashion editor of the school newspaper. She promotes the renewed Women’s Liberation movement and defies the school policies by printing a picture of Roxanne in a mini-skirt. She meets a boy and has her first kiss. Donna remains at a distance from most of her peers because her home life is a catastrophe as Sam and Ava sink further into alcohol-fueled debt.
1963 PAUL MARTEL IS NOT DEAD and the ASSASSINATION OF JFK
Willow Grove High School is a highly rated educational institution and has an excellent Arts Department. Donna’s dedicated teachers help her apply for a Scholarship for the Children of Deceased Veterans. Ava is forced tell the truth because she can’t provide the military papers establishing his death. In an astonishing revelation, Ava admits that Paul Martel is still alive. She says Paul Martel is a French gentleman who travels the world and she has not heard of him for almost eighteen years. She only lied because she was embarrassed to admit she was divorced. Everyone believes Paul Martel is dead.
This revelation rocks Donna’s world as she struggles to deal with the disclosure and her mother’s lie. Desperate for information Donna turns to Aunt Arlene who knows the truth. The fanciful Arlene, although bound to secrecy, spins tales about a suave and handsome man. She hopes his elegant image will inspire Donna to rise above her limited circumstances. Donna is a bit skeptical knowing Arlene’s penchant for fantasy, but she vows to locate her father, no matter what it takes.
The assassination of President John F. Kennedy is a trauma to the world. Americans sink into despair as politics shakes up everyone’s worldview. Donna, who identifies so much with Jacqueline Kennedy, is distraught. Jackie rises even higher in the world’s esteem by the beautiful way she orchestrated the funeral. From the happy young wife and mother, fashion icon and patroness of the Arts, her image becomes the noble and tragic widow. Now people point and whisper about Donna’s resemblance, not wanting to speak it aloud.
One day Donna discovers a book by French author, Paul Martel. She believes that he is her father. She learns that he is alive, married to a Princess and living in France. As usual, she pushes her negative emotions down and struggles to be optimistic. She starts French lessons.
1964 The BRITISH INVASION
After some time, all eyes turn to Great Britain. The Beatles and other British rock groups transform the face of fashion and the sound of music. It becomes fashionable and affordable for many American students to travel to Europe and other parts of the world. The 1964 World’s Fair opens, and the Long Island Arts Council chooses one of Donna’s canvases for display. She wins a full scholarship to Fashion Institute of Technology. She will have to find a place to live in the city and a job.
Roxanne moves to Greenwich Village to become a model, though she has no idea where to start. Even so, Donna’s life at home drones on with Sam and Ava spending more time in a detached and inebriated state.
1964 -1965 KEY WEST FLORIDA and FAIRY GODFATHERS
After another dispute with her mother, Donna flees to the lush island of Key West to become a painter. Her life changes forever when the flamboyant gay world of ex Hollywood and New York actors and artists discover her waiting tables in a Cuban restaurant. They embrace her to their thriving Artists’ Colony and the Waterfront Playhouse, a distinguished theater troupe who help her develop her love of acting and her self-confidence. She stars in the hit play ‘Under the Yum-Yum Tree.’
Playing up her resemblance to Jacqueline Kennedy, they make over her style and launch her modeling career in Palm Beach. She appears in a fashion show, and they publish her picture in the New Yorker magazine for Lilly Pulitzer. With her 5’10” frame and photogenic features, Donna considers a career in professional modeling although she can’t admit she is beautiful. She struggles to overcome deep-seated insecurities. Palm Beach residents encourage Donna to go to New York where they are sure she will be a great success. Inside, Donna still suspects that all this is a big joke. One day everybody will find out that she is nothing but a powdered and painted phony.
1965 GREENWICH VILLAGE IN THE SIXTIES
Jacqueline Kennedy has been a widow for two years, yet the charismatic former First Lady is an object of unending fascination to the American public. Jackie’s wide-eyed face dominates the newsstands. Everyone at the top of the fashion industry realizes that Jackie has cultivated her unique image, and she hates to have it replicated. She will use what considerable influence she has to prevent it. When Donna returns to NYC, she is stunned when Eileen Ford, the most influential international fashion model agent in the industry, rejects her because of the uncanny resemblance.
Donna moves in with Roxanne, who now has a penthouse in Greenwich Village that she inherited from her Bohemian grandmother. The Village is home to Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick, and Bob Dylan, all starting out in their careers. New York is alive with art, music, and fashion. Following a disastrous foray into the modeling industry at the bottom, Donna takes a job at Bloomingdale’s. While Donna learns the retail trade and waits for the fall semester at FIT to begin, Roxanne sends Donna’s picture to Teen magazine.
1966 FORD MODEL – LIFE AT THE TOP
Eileen Ford changes her mind at the behest of Petersen Publishing Company. They want Donna for the cover of Teen because she looks like a young, hip version of America’s Queen. The cover of Teen brings Donna to the attention of other national magazines and hip young designers. Then, the creative young editors at Mademoiselle Magazines help make Donna over into a super-Mod creature with a short Vidal Sassoon haircut. She has a super wardrobe by top young designer Betsey Johnson.
Donna becomes the muse of Gosta Peterson, a top New York photographer. For several consecutive issues, they create high-tech fashion images that win the praise of critics. Her modeling career takes off as the public accepts her as Superchick, a strange alien from outer space. Dressed in the latest silver fashions from Paraphernalia, Donna looks like a coltish cross between Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy.
1966 MEETING OLEG CASSINI and JACKIE KENNEDY
Now, enjoying life as a top Ford model in New York, Donna meets Oleg Cassini, the famous designer. He teases her about the resemblance to his most well-known client and friend, Jackie Kennedy. Cassini jokes that she and Jackie may be secret sisters. Doing the math, Cassini speculates about Jacqueline’s rakish father, Black Jack Bouvier, who ran around with all the beautiful girls in New York after the war, when nineteen-year-old Donna was conceived. What is the story of her parents? Donna insists her father is the long-lost Paul Martel, and that there was no way her mother could have known someone like a millionaire High Society Wall Street broker. Donna is offended, but because she knows nothing about her birth father, she concedes that perhaps she is a distant cousin of the Bouviers, but her family name is Martel.
At the height of her New York success, Oleg Cassini introduces Donna to Jacqueline Kennedy. The two of them stare at each other in wonder. Mariane Christy, a syndicated columnist, writes a story about Jackie’s “younger and prettier” look-alike that runs all over the country. This attention does not sit well with Jackie or her dear old family friend, Diana Vreeland, the editor of Vogue. The appearance of a Ford model who looks almost exactly like the former First Lady is awkward. Roxanne knows Manning Oregon, a renowned fashion illustrator, who brings Donna to the attention of Diana Vreeland. Vreeland tells Manning Donna will never work for Vogue.
Donna’s mother is appalled upon seeing the magazine covers and newspaper articles. She says her daughter’s rise to prominence will offend the Kennedy family whom she fears and respects. She is terrified of retribution. The nomination of Robert Kennedy could be compromised by a national scandal involving Jackie’s father and a Ford cover girl who could be a possible love child.
1966 MOVING TO PARIS – CARDIN and PATOU
Donna believes her mother is over-reacting, She doesn’t understand how the random resemblance could cause such controversy. She is not imitating Jackie and has done everything to play down the similarity, but it haunts her. She struggles to find her own identity in the crazy fashion world. Late that summer Paris Planning offers Donna a contract to model for the hottest Paris designers who love her Space Age image. Moving to Paris will mean putting off college and the commercial art degree, but invaluable experience in the world of haute couture.
On the run from her murky past, the unanswered questions and half-truths confounding her, Donna agrees to go to Paris for a season and walk the collections. Vogue Paris puts an option on her time in the evenings. Off to a rocky start on her first evening, she has a catastrophic encounter with the infamous German, photographer, Brad Stark. He cancels her option with Vogue when she will not let him into her hotel room after dinner with Eileen and Jerry Ford. However, she works with David Bailey and meets Jean Shrimpton, the reigning Supermodel and Catherine Deneuve, the famous French actress.
Like so many girls, Donna has always dreamt of living in France. She is delighted to find that the Jet Set Cafe Society embraces her. With easy acceptance into the inner circle of the rich and famous and the ability to earn large sums of money, Donna stays in France. Her humble beginnings are forgotten as she assumes the identity of a sophisticated expatriate. She jets all over Western Europe and other exotic locations on modeling assignments with top photographers and models.
When in Paris, she spends her evenings at the legendary nightspots Castel, Regine’s, and La Coupole, intermingling with fashion, film, art and music artists. LIFE Magazine selects Donna to project the quintessential of a native Parisian in an article about French furniture design. At that booking, she encounters Gunther Sachs, husband of Brigitte Bardot and legendary billionaire playboy.
Roxanne moves to Paris too, rooming with Donna at first in a quaint hotel in St. Germain des Pres. She supports herself with her generous inheritance as she explores the more racy sides of Parisian nights. One night an acquaintance robs their hotel their hotel rendering them both penniless. This incident leads to a harrowing event where the Paris Gendarmes take them into protective custody dressed for a photo shoot in mini-skirts and go-go boots. The police force the girls to drive around all day in the back of a Paris police car as the photographers wait in vain.
There is no Sassoon in Paris. At first, Donna has her hair done by the Legendary Carita sisters, who feature her on giant posters in their exclusive salon. Then, she becomes the face of the legendary hairdresser Alexandre de Paris. Many of the top ladies of Paris recognize her face. In a round of parties and special events, she meets movie stars and royalty. One evening, she has a date with the Prince of Liechtenstein and dines with Princesse Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco. Another time she has lunch at the George V restaurant with Colombo star Peter Falk, whom she meets in a taxi queue.
1967 LAURENCE HARVEY and THE PLUGGE TWINS IN LONDON
Donna has a whirlwind relationship with the renowned movie star, Laurence Harvey, an older man. He introduces her to the rarefied world of English refinement and elegance. In Mod London, she has an exciting view of life at the top. To her chagrin, almost everyone comments on the uncanny likeness to Jacqueline Kennedy. While in London, she meets Greville Plugge and his sister Gayle Plugge Benson who are purported to be the illegitimate children of Jacqueline Kennedy’s father, Black Jack Bouvier. They joke that Donna must be the long lost triplet. Could they be related? Donna refuses to believe it, yet feels a kinship with the twins and they vow to remain in touch. She explores Carnaby Street, Portobello Road and parties with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and a young Rod Stewart. Life is good.
1968 THE CHARMING VISCOUNT
After a year, Donna meets the gallant and handsome Antoine Viscount de Varville. He’s a controversial French nobleman and heir to a vast Provencal estate. Antoine, who everyone calls by his last name, De Varville, is infatuated with Donna, the first girl he has noticed for a long time. He has been spotting in magazines and has seen her at Castel and Regine but has been too shy to approach her. Donna finds his sophistication, individual style and air of breeding fascinating. She is not the only one who feels this way. Women and men throw themselves at him, but he deflects them with reserved civility and charm. Throughout the season, De Varville pursues Donna who resists, believing that they should be friends. She is much too busy in her career and distracted by her search to become involved in a serious relationship.
Because of his extraordinary good looks, producers, and directors often offer him film roles. However, the Viscount de Varville has a troubled past. He carries a torch for his ex-fiancé, an unknown actress named Sharon who broke his heart, by choosing her career obligations over his marriage. Mistrustful of women, Antoine carries deep secrets that he shares only with his best friend, the award-winning author John Knowles.
1968 MEETING PAUL MARTEL THE WRITER NOT HER FATHER
Donna is always on the lookout for a clue about her father, whom she believes is the famous French writer who lives in Paris. Martel is a remote personage who rarely receives visitors or returns unsolicited letters. On the remembered advice of Oleg Cassini, Donna contacts him anyway. A week later, she gets an invitation to a cocktail party given by Paul Martel in honor of his dear friend Coco Chanel. Donna invites De Varville as her escort.
At the glamorous event, Salvador Dali and his protégé Amanda Lear behave in an outrageous manner opening Donna’s eyes to a more decadent side of Paris. Mademoiselle Chanel does not like Jackie Kennedy who she says is disgraceful, and that she was wearing a copy of a Chanel suit on the tragic day JFK was shot. Donna handles herself with grace as Chanel chastises her, almost as if she were Jackie. At the event Donna speaks to the writer, Paul Martel, the man she is sure is her father, but it turns out he is not. He has no idea who or where the other Paul Martel might be. Donna is discouraged but continues to run down leads on the many prominent Martels in France.
1968 BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN
A few months after, during the Cold War, Donna and Antoine work on a movie shoot together in the Russian occupied satellite country of Hungary. They live in unheard of luxury as guests of the Communist party. On the first evening, Donna creates a sensation at the opera dressed in a Pierre Cardin mini dress. The next day she stops traffic on the streets of Budapest wearing Mary Quant. Both outfits are shocking in the Communist country where even the elite dress in conservative Early Sixties styles. No one has ever seen an American fashion model before. Almost every woman wears a babushka tied over her hair and under her chin. However, the effect is not chic like Jackie, but frumpy.
Throughout the trip, Donna is afraid that the Russian soldiers, who are everywhere, might detain her. One incident entails Donna trying to spend $30,000 in one day because they cannot take their salaries out of the country. On a visit to a little known Hungarian castle owned by Rothschild, Donna witnesses the beginnings of Mod Fashion behind the Iron Curtain. The famous photographer, Norman Parkinson shoots a brilliant layout for Vogue using local models and intrepid Hungarian designers. Another evening, while at dinner in an ancient castle overlooking the Danube, Antoine kisses her. The romantic setting with Gypsy violins and Antoine’s undeniable appeal stir her deepest feelings. Nevertheless, she rejects him, apprehensive of his troubled past.
1968 THE YEAR OF SHARON TATE
They return to Paris. In between bookings in Paris, London, and Rome, Antoine pursues Donna. Eventually, they trust each other enough to fall in love although each is hiding devastating secrets. Donna is vague about the details of her shadowy paternal lineage, which could be an issue with his proud and reserved mother, the Viscountess de Varville. He harbors secrets about his relationship with Sharon and John Knowles.
Throughout Europe, the beautiful starlet Sharon Tate becomes an enormous presence in the tabloids. Pictures and stories about her appear everywhere. She is starring in four films that year and marries acclaimed director, Roman Polanski. Antoine hides Sharon’s identity as he watches her rise with apprehension. Donna thinks his ex-fiancée Sharon is still an obscure starlet, which she was when they met.
Sometime later Antoine proposes, and Donna accepts. The move into his apartment in Neuilly just outside Paris. After several months of engaged bliss, Antoine becomes overprotective. Using his considerable charm, Antoine influences Donna to give up her modeling career, which he says is fraught with danger and disreputable people who prey on naïve young women. He hints at a much darker side to the industry that Donna cannot even imagine, a side that seduced his first love, whom he felt was on the road to destruction. He begins to act jealous of innocent business situations.
She compromises by letting Antoine become her manager, a common but ill-advised practice among American models at a loss in a foreign country. Antoine convinces her to leave Paris Planning severing her ties to the Ford agency. He introduces her to the more theatrical Catherine Harle, who protects Donna from predatory fashion photographers. He keeps her out of the office, the scene of many glamorous parties with the top film and music stars mingling with celebrity models. They design a robust 8-page commercial composite card by Gunnar Larsen and printed Peter Marlowe. Harle never sends Donna to the fashion magazines. She becomes a moneymaking catalog queen, entailing travel all over Europe.
1969 LIVING IN ROME – VALENTINO – CINECITTA
Several months pass and the couple of moves to Rome, the Hollywood of Europe, which is churning out dozens of movies a year. There is a constant need for actors who can speak English. Antoine stars in a sexy remake of The Lady of the Camellias. At dinner, the director offers Donna a role. She is the only woman in the film who keeps her clothes on throughout the picture. She works at the famous Cinecitta studio and meets many European and American film stars.
Rome is also a center for very sophisticated haute couture like Valentino, Andre Laug, Roberto Capucci and Federico Forquet. Donna walks in their collections. Antoine purchases a few pieces of couture for her. Jacqueline Kennedy is again in the news every day as she has married the Greek billionaire, Aristotle Onassis. People often mention the likeness. One day when De Varville is on location, Donna meets Sharon Tate. At a party in Rome, Sharon tells Donna that De Varville is a closet bi-sexual with a propensity for violence. Donna refuses to believe that DeVarville would be violent with her and his possible bi-sexuality bewilders her. When De Varville returns, she confronts him about the relationship with Sharon. De Varville pours out a tale of discovery by Irwin Shaw, a Hollywood contract with 20th Century Fox, falling in love. A torturous betrayal and a disastrous career blunder result in De Varville being thrown out of Hollywood.
1969 COTE D’AZUR – THE MURDER OF SHARON TATE – BUTLER GOES MAD
In August 1969, after watching the first Moon Landing, the young couple drives from Rome to Cannes. Antoine and Donna plan to marry in the Matisse Chapel in nearby Grasse. After taking up summer residence in a villa rented by DeVarville’s special friend, John Knowles, it becomes clear to Donna that Knowles, an attractive bachelor in his forties is in love with De Varville. But how far the relationship goes is a mystery. De Varville says they are Platonic friends.
The romance between Donna and Antoine hits a wall when they get the news that Sharon Tate has been murdered in Hollywood. At first a suspect, DeVarville is devastated with tremendous guilt. He bemoans not having been able to convince Sharon to give up her career and marry him. Antoine sinks into grief and depression, becoming increasingly controlling of Donna and impossible to live with. They call off the wedding.
Neville, a morose butler who has a secret crush on Antoine, further disturbs the vacation. At one point, he has a psychotic episode and tries to kill the visiting Viscountess de Varville, Antoine’s interfering mother. Antoine’s heroic behavior brings Donna and Antoine closer. Neville’s last words ring out: “Antoine, it could have been so beautiful!” Is he in love with DeVarville too? Is everybody?
1969 BREAK UP IN ROME – DONNA TRIES THE MOVIE BUSINESS
Donna and Antoine go back to Rome where he gets a part in an Italian/French/Russian co-production, an epic motion picture about the life of Napoleon. Their social life is difficult as the whole town is abuzz with the Sharon Tate murders and the manhunt to find the killers. The stress causes Antoine and Donna fight often and separate. DeVarville goes to Russia to film. Roxanne comes to visit with all the news from Hollywood, which is in shock. They have still not found the killers of Sharon Tate and the whole town is paranoid.
Roxanne introduces Donna to producers from Hollywood with money to cast a bevy of pretty girls for a comedy called ‘Pussycat I Love You.’ She works on a wild romp featuring a dozen scantily clad girls. She has a disappointing entrée into the film business where the producers try to exploit her as a Jackie sex kitten. She meets more film stars and visits the sets of Catch 22 and Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet.
HOLLYWOOD 1970 MANSON TRIAL
Antoine returns from Russia, determined to win Donna back. He proposes again, and they decide to marry in California. A few weeks later, Antoine gets a hit TV series contract playing the handsome General Lafayette, and they move to Los Angeles. The series is a hit, and De Varville becomes a Teen Heartthrob, which puts a strain on the romance because they sell him as an eligible bachelor. There are only three networks, and the competition for ratings is fierce. He must let no one know he has a girlfriend.
The police arrest the Sharon Tate killers and put them on trial. The relationship between Donna and Antoine declines further amid constant sensational headlines about the gruesome murders. The tabloids cannot get enough of the diabolic assassins and their grim tales of alleged black magic and sadism. Ghoulish faces of Manson and his mignons are all over the newspapers, with lurid headlines that tear into Antoine’s heart. He refuses all interviews. Donna feels torn between sympathy, jealousy, and guilt. Could they be true, any of these stories? It is not possible but who knows how deep the evil goes?
Antoine had escaped with only a brush with depravity. In 1963, he was banished from Hollywood for trying to rescue Sharon when she first started. Now he is back, but it is too late. Every place in Beverly Hills is a reminder of the time they had spent together, and the chances were lost. Donna senses his anguish and tries to be understanding as Antoine’s world crumbles.
1971 TEENAGE IDOL AND MARRIED MAN
However, here in TV Land, the game is to make Antoine into a sexy yet unthreatening teenage idol Above all, the poster boys must seem to be available, always searching for that all-American girl with a heart of gold. By no means can he acknowledge his relationship with Donna, even though they were living together. Every month gossipy stories and pictures spin tales around a small group of favorite young male actors. As the darlings of the teenage fan magazines, teen idols have the potential to earn millions for themselves and their networks.
Antoine has a constant battle with Aaron Spelling and the public relations department.
For the second time, he refuses to play the Hollywood game. As a classically trained actor, he wants to his fans to take him seriously but finds he is only an undignified commodity to sell products and magazines. He does not like the made-up stories about flirtations with up and coming female actors. Unusual in Hollywood, Antoine prefers to be in a monogamous relationship with a woman and for the world to know it. He is French, and it is normal in France for even the most prominent sex symbols to be married and live normal lives off screen.
Is this trying to flaunt his upcoming marriage to Donna a cover-up for his secret alternate lifestyle? They go to Big Sur and marry with only the broken-hearted Knowles attending as a witness. Despite the strain put on their relationship by the need to maintain secrecy, Antoine continues to interfere with Donna’s career, afraid that she too may meet a similar fate to Sharon’s.
1971 EARTHQUAKE, CASTING COUCHES AND OTHER PERSONAL DISASTERS
One day a producer invites Antoine and Donna to a party in the Hollywood Hills. To their surprise, many of the girls are topless. Antoine drinks a spiked drink and disappears. A very handsome actor who can read her mind accosts Donna. She is so attracted to him that she almost cheats on Antoine, but he shows up before anything can happen. Later Donna finds out that the actor was a member of the Church of Satan.
A series of personal disasters for the newlyweds occurs including the cancellation of the TV Series. Not only that, but the long-awaited epic film is a flop, and De Varville’s juicy scenes are cut from the movie. While Antoine’s career is flailing, Donna’s is taking off. William Morris signs Donna, and Universal Studios offer her a contract. Antoine threatens to leave.
After a few months working on a film with Rock Hudson, Donna puts her film career on hold, due to a couple of casting couch scuffles. Donna decides she does not have what it takes to be a successful actress if it means having to sleep with casting directors and attend wild parties. She longs to return to New York or Paris where she hopes she still has modeling clients waiting.
That September a terrible earthquake destroys their home. Antoine takes it as an omen that they should say goodbye to Hollywood. Disheartened Donna embarks on a mission to comfort the man she loves through his grief, guilt, and anger, as his career goes down in flames. She hopes to start a family, but his descent into depression and growing dependence on prescription drugs leads to their separation.
1971 BACK IN NEW YORK, ZOLI AND ARTHUR ELGORT
A short while later, Donna goes to NYC to rekindle her modeling career. Antoine stays in LA and has a romance with one of Donna’s friends. Donna is ready to move on. Wiser in the ways of the world, she has a short, sweet romance with Mack Macintyre, a charming male model, from Texas who was the original owner of Donna’s dog, Danny.
Donna has been away from the fashion scene for two years now. She did minimal modeling and Rome or Los Angeles and had been out of the public eye for a long time. After a short stint at the fabulous Wilhelmina Agency, she joins the very controversial Zoli agency and has her hair redone by Vidal Sassoon. She attends a wild party with supermodels and movie stars of the day and ends up drugged on LSD and in a compromising situation with two male models. Zoli arranges a comeback with trending young photographer Arthur Elgort, for Mademoiselle Magazine. DeVarville spoils it all by showing up on location in his helicopter in a dramatic attempt to win her back.
She takes him back. Perhaps once again on his home turf, Antoine will do well. His family is adamant about him giving up his film career, but as always, he does as he pleases and they go to Munich together.
1972 MUNICH, TERRORISM and RUNNING AWAY TO IBIZA
In Munich, their relationship gets worse. Donna works every day as a model for German magazines and catalogs. De Varville can’t find any suitable roles in Rome, Paris or Munich. Now Donna can’t stand him. He has become even more edgy and meticulous.
The 1972 attack by terrorists at the Olympic Games is a sobering experience. Then bad news reaches her that Gayle Plugge Benson, one of the twins she met in London, was hacked by machetes and buried alive by political extremists in the Caribbean. She is sad and wonders what Jackie must think. On the way to a photoshoot in southern Tunisia, in a harrowing adventure, sex-traffickers plot to kidnap Donna and Roxanne, but they escape.
Overwhelmed by all that, Donna flees to Ibiza, a primitive island off Spain untouched by tourism. She finds a primitive adobe farmhouse with hippie/artists from the USA. There is no one from the modeling industry yet although a few of the hipper ones were drifting in. Soon the word would be out, and Ibiza would become as hot as St. Tropez, but for now it an island of tranquility steeped in old world lore. She gets in touch with her true self, living an organic, simple lifestyle. Every so often, she takes the ferry over to Barcelona to earn a few quick pesos modeling for Spanish fashion magazines.
1972 PARIS HELMUT NEWTON and FINDING PAUL MARTEL
Cut off from her husband, and not wishing to use his resources, Donna returns to her apartment in Montmartre. In an idyllic, bohemian neighborhood full of boutiques, restaurants and street art, in the shadow of the Sacre Coeur, Donna perfects her French and reflects on her future. At twenty-seven and still at the height of her beauty she has an unsuccessful stint at John Casablancas new agency, which included sexual harassment.
One evening, while walking down the Boulevard St Germain, she is discovered by hot shot, Claude Haddad, the notorious French/Tunisian agent who launches future mega-model Jerry Hall and the bombastic Grace Jones. Her agent says that for Vogue Donna can only be a named person to avoid any problems with Ms. Onassis. In the changed world of Paris in the Seventies, Donna achieves her goal of walking the runway for top designer Karl Lagerfeld. Donna changes her appearance to a sultry, wavy 1930s movie star look. She plucks her eyebrows to a thin line and paints her lips dark red, in a vain attempt not to look like Jackie O who is now all over the tabloids again. Clients and people in the street still point out the likeness.
A week later, Helmut Newton, one of the top photographers in the world, discovers her, and she bursts onto the editorial scene with several double pages in Vogue Paris. In the paparazzi style pictures, shot in the streets of Paris, Donna resembles Jacqueline Onassis so much that the real Jackie threatens to sue them. However, she can do nothing because the pictures mention Donna’s name and feature her wearing haute couture as a client, not a model. Speculation is rife after this layout. Everyone is mystified as to who this Donna Martel might be. Is she Jackie’s half-sister?
Donna finally finds the Paul Martel who was married to her mother. In another twist of fate, he says that he is not her birth father. He tells a story about how Ava deceived him at the end of WWII when she tried to fool him into believing she was his child. There was no way this could be true. Ava was already pregnant. He left Ava and never looked back.
1973 MILAN, MONEY and MADNESS
This revelation shatters Donna’s already fragile identity. Her life’s quest to find Paul Martel is nothing but a joke, and her marriage is in shambles. Her usually sunny attitude disappears, and she becomes disillusioned and distrustful. Could she be Jackie’s half-sister? She refuses to believe it. She gets a letter from Antoine, who says he has changed. His mother has died, and he has given up acting, and now he is running the children’s shelter. She crumples it up and throws it away.
Later, in May, she goes to Milan where the modeling industry has turned into an ongoing party with Italian rich boys besieging the hotels where the models are housed. At one point, the Italian police bust all the models as illegal aliens working without permits. The agency gets them right out. She works for Italian Vogue for and graces the cover of Italian Bazaar. At a fashion party in Milan, she runs into Oleg Cassini again, and they have a romantic friendship, where Cassini shares some of his wise and droll insights. Cassini believes that Donna is the secret half-sister of Jacqueline, but Donna refuses to accept it. She and Cassini break up but remain friends.
As a single young woman again, the decadent side of the fashion and film industries, draws Donna in as she mingles with the piquant crowd in Paris. The elegant Castel and Regine’s are passe. The super in-crowd fashion hot spot, is Club Sept, famed illustrator Anthony Lopez, Grace Jones and Jerry Hall now rule, their uproarious antics the talk of Paris.
Roxanne, who is now an underground film producer, is in the thick of things often high on heavy drugs. One night in Paris Donna, Roxanne and Stark are involved in a road rage incident. Donna is horrified to be in the hands of the police again, but they give her preferential treatment because of her aristocratic married name. Roxanne takes up with Brad Stark, who bails her out. After a while, she recruits attractive young men and women to take part in artistic photo sessions featuring nudity and Starks perverse fantasies fueled by alcohol and drugs.
1973 IBIZA, PASCHA and a MUSICAL OPPORTUNITY
Hoping to escape the decadence, Donna returns to Ibiza, but it has changed so much in a year. The models and photographers discover the primitive paradise. Roxanne is there.
A fantastic nightclub named Pascha opens attracting a sexy, international crowd, scantily clad and covered in glitter. Drugs are prevalent. Police arrest heiress Putzi von Opel, one of her acquaintances in St. Tropez, with two tons of hashish. Everyone sunbathes topless just like on the Cote d’Azure. Catholic Spain forbids nudity. Roxanne and Donna barely escape arrest.
She begins a relationship with a handsome and talented German filmmaker, Wedigo von Schultzendorff who takes stunning pictures of her without makeup, her short hair growing out into soft auburn curls. Then he returns to Munich.
At the end of the summer, Donna learns that the other twin, Jackie’s secret half-brother, Greville Plugge has died in a tragic accident in Morocco.
In another harrowing incident, a couple kidnaps Roxanne and drives her deep into the Ibizan countryside and give her a choice to perform a sex act or be left on the side of the road.
1974 VOGUE, BAZAAR, and a GERMAN BILLIONAIRE
Months pass, and one day on booking in Hamburg at the opening of an Andy Warhol exhibit, Donna meets the illustrious billionaire, Gunther Sachs. He is the last of the great playboys, who is a respected filmmaker successful photographer and ex-husband of Brigitte Bardot, the number one sex symbol. He books Donna for German Playboy at his Alpine chateau.
Intrigued by her intelligence, her poignant search for her father, and her astounding appearance, Sachs offers his friendship and asks Donna to become part of his entourage. She has a standing invitation to join them on the yacht at St Tropez as they visit the Mediterranean ports. He also believes she is the illegitimate daughter of Black Jack Bouvier and offers to pay for an inquiry, but Donna refuses, not wanting to open a complicated issue. She closes her mind to the question, in denial and refusing to deal with it.
While Sachs’ warm personality and dashing good looks are fascinating, Donna finds Sachs’s dark tastes in art disturbing. Besides some early Warhol portraits, his world-renowned collection includes life-sized sculptures of bound and gagged women, erotic paintings of orgies with whips and chains and vampire themes. Sachs maintains these are harmless fancies and push the limits, as great art should.
At his Alpine chateau, a beautiful Playboy model invites Donna to share her bed with her, another lovely model and Gunther himself. Donna politely declines. However, she accepts an engraved invitation to attend a Dracula themed party at the opening of Gunther’s exclusive St Moritz Dracula Club, where some guests may have more on their minds than fun and games. After all her experiences in Hollywood and New York, Donna feels she can handle that crowd. No means no, right?
1974 THE DANCE MACABRE
At the Vampire themed party, attended by some of the most famous people in the world, she encounters her husband Antoine de Varville, whom she has not seen in over a year. She still feels the same rush of attraction and love. He insists he has changed and makes a heart-rending plea for them to reconcile.
Before she can decide, Roxanne, who is also invited, gets herself in too deep at Brad Stark’s private after party at a chateau further up the mountain. She and Donna have to escape from Stark and a coven of over-eager vampire fanatics who have a young girl tied up. They flee into the freezing Alpine night. Antoine shows up takes them away over the Alps in his helicopter.
Roxanne agrees to go to therapy for her drug problem. Donna and Antoine go to his home in the South of France to start their own family. They leave the world of Hollywood, New York, Paris, and Rome behind. Donna is content but not happy. She still thinks about the handsome German man she met in Ibiza.
She does not find out the truth about the real identity of her father until she is 65 years old.