Obsessions

My Face for the World to See

“Well now they can drool over me cause I’m famous and I’m beautiful (in my 82 Ibs. Of makeup.)” – Candy Darling

Words
JOHN WILLIAM
Photography
ALASTAIR STRONG

Candy Darling would set an alarm clock to wake her up in the middle of the night, when she would put her make up on. In the morning she would wake every inch a movie star. More Novac than Kim, Candy had a face than launched a thousand personas. “Last week I went to IFA and was so glamorous that I heard a man in the outer room gasp out loud” she wrote in one of her diaries.

Even those who haven’t heard of Candy have heard of Candy, who “came from out on the Island…” Queen of the back room at Max’s Kansas City, she was an actress, model and muse who has been canonised into New York City’s eternal chorus line. The pink padded and padlocked ‘My Face for the World to See: The Diaries, Letters, and Drawings of Candy Darling, Andy Warhol Superstar’ is a fitting relic.

“Imitations of Barbara Streisand living in a cheap flea bag hotel!”

Candy was just 29 when she died, which seems impossible for somebody so timeless… transcendent. Perhaps the most enduring images of her are the photographs Peter Hujar shot of Candy on her death bed. That’s the image Greer Lankton and Paul Monroe had on their respective teenage bedroom walls. It’s the image Anhoni chose for the cover of her album ‘I Am a Bird Now.’ Candy had invited Peter to take the photographs: a last testament to her glamour and star. She wrote to him “my fans would feel cheated if they didn’t get to see what I looked like in my hospital bed. I think you know how I feel. Please be speedy Peter this means a lot to me and after the hell I’ve been through I think I deserve this little favor.” 

At her funeral Julie Newmar read a eulogy. “Well, Candy just worshiped and adored me and was so kind and marvelous that it was just a natural thing to have done. Candy was a genius. Hers was an extraordinarily high achievement. Her skin was so flawless, her behavior not limpid but liquid, the movement of her hands exquisite.”

“My friends have many pet names for me like Marlene D-Train to Queens, Mamie Van Doorway or Diana Doorways.”

This little pink book is becoming as rare and prized as those who actually knew Darling, and it remains one of the few accounts of Candy in her own words. Sketches, scraps of wisdom and snatches of dialogue worthy of any MGM movie, the book feels like the contents of an old handbag dumped out and left for us to rifle through.

“You shouldn’t look so disapproving Lavinia. It makes you look older and age will come soon enough to destroy that pretty face. A thing of beauty cannot remain so forever” – Candy Darling


Nails Veronica Butenko using Chanel Rouge Noir
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