Joan Severance

official website



Joan  Severance

My first film was FUTUREWORLD with Peter Fonda, Yul Brynner and Blythe Danner, directed by Richard Heffron.  I played an usher and got the sheer pleasure of opening the door for Blythe and her very young daughter at the time, Gwenyth Paltrow.  Now there’s some movie trivia I bet you didn’t know!

The first photo here by Dick Ballarian was taken in Paris at about 11pm. We waited  5 hours for the clothes to arrive from another shoot. I was ex-hausted as this was my second shoot that day. I also had a reservation at my favorite restaurant in Paris--L’Orangerie--where I was meeting a very good friend of mine and fabulous make-up artist--George Newell-- for dinner.

He waited forever for me to show up, the restaurant stayed open for us to have a private dinner with the place all to ourselves.

The Denis Piel photo on this page was for the collections for American Vogue. I loved this shoot because of the location and working with Denis---he was one of the very first photographers I worked with upon arriving in Paris in 1977. I also learned how to “Cow Tip” ---what a blast and the resident peacock followed me everywhere I went-he was dubbed “Ferdinand the Follower”

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ULTRA cover by Charles Bush, George Newell make-up

American Photoagrapher cover by Renato Grignaschi

MadameFIGARO cover by

Steven Silverstein


Italian VOGUE cover by Renato Grignaschi


ESCADA cover by Michael Doster

MADAMME cover by Bernd Bryant


TOWN&COUNTRY cover by Victor Skrebneski

ELEGANCE cover by Rico Puhlman

20ANS cover by

Denis Piel

German VOGUE cover shot by Bernd Bryant

It all started with a Clairol Long and Silky contest I entered at 16 in the hopes of winning a stereo. I lost that contest and Rene Russo won. My losing prize was a modeling scholarship to the local model school.

But losing is just a point of view.

I went on to lose the Miss Houston contest as well, but won most photogenic in that contest- and that changed my life.

John Casablancas at ELITE saw a photo from that contest and sent me a ticket to model in Paris upon my graduation from High School.

So I ditched my prom and grad ceremony, packed my blue Samsonite and headed for Paris at the age of 18.... Not speaking French then- upon arriving at the airport there was a man who tried to take all my luggage. I quickly battled him for it and saved my stuff only to find out he was a porter and I’ve been laughing ever since.

First Job in France was for Sportswear International, shot in Deauville in April of 1977. It was freezing cold, we were on the beach shooting summer clothes.

Second job was with HELMUT NEWTON for FRENCH VOGUE. He wanted me to take off my top and run around a Chateau garden. I refused. He then asked me to be in his book WHITE WOMEN--I refused again. Looking back I wish I had met him at a later age and I would have some fabulous NEWTON photos.

My first week in Paris I celebrated SOPHIA LOREN’s

40th birthday with OMAR SHARIFF at L’Orangerie--those details will be explored further in my tell all book.

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