…my passage back into the land of the living
Photo of Julie Anne Rhodes by Peter Beard
“The Ava Gardner pic” by Peter Beard
In 1984 I flew back to LA for a few castings at my new agent’s request. I no sooner checked into the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, when my friend Angelo Di Biase called. “Jewels, go knock on the door three doors down from you, room 537. Peter Beard is staying there. Tell him you are a friend of mine, and that you want him to do some test shots for your portfolio.”

“I can’t do that Ang… it’s PETER BEARD!” Even being a novice model, I knew exactly who Peter Beard was… the phenomenal wild life photographer, who also did fabulously avante guard fashion spreads for top magazines around the world, he discovered Iman, and happened to be married to one of my idols, Cheryl Teiggs, at the time. I was way too shy to impose.

Ten minutes later the phone rang again. “Hey J.A., I’m P.B. Angelo tells me that I have to do some pictures with you. He’s on his way over to do your hair and make-up.” There are so many more hysterical stories to tell about that evening, and about two of my most treasured friendships, but not enough room in a blog.

The End of the Game by Peter Beard

Peter, Zara, and Nejma Beard inserted into the inside cover of his book The End of The Game that he gave to me on my 30th birthday. The inscription reads “… by hand, to the one and only Julie-Ann; with heartfelt greetings and birthday wishes on March 9th, 1989 chez Canal Bar. Many happy returns of the day xxxxxx from the compiler, P.B. and Nej, & Zara

Six months later, “P.B.” offered Nick and me Hog Ranch (his ranch just outside Nairobi) for our honeymoon. Spoilt 5 star hotel children that we were at the time, we foolishly turned down Peter’s generous offer when he mentioned there was no house… just tents. Not long after Nick and I returned from Greece I had dinner with Lauren Hutton who set me straight “screw 5 star hotels! P.B.’s tents are TEN star tents with Picasso’s hanging from the sides and dinner served silver service while violins serenade you as you eat!” Then she described the majesty of the African bush while I hung on her every word. The animation in her face drew me in as her enthusiasm piqued my curiosity and desire to explore Kenya for myself.

That curiosity became an obsession when I was ill years later. I was in complete denial about my spiraling out of control auto-immune system, and determined to go on safari until my travel agent clipped my wings, and said “I can’t in good conscience let you go.” She refunded my money, so I put the money into some investments which grew over time. Devastated that my failing health had caused me to let Tatjana down, I was determined to make good on my promise that we would go eventually.

Tatjana & Julie Anne Rhodes in Kenya

Tatjana & Julie Anne Rhodes in the African bush

Fast forward 20 years from that day at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. “Mom, there is something outside my side of the tent and it sounds REALLY big!”

To be continued:

Eggplant and Pepper Curry

Servings: 4
1 1/2 pound of eggplant, chopped into 1 inch cubes
3 green peppers, seeded and cut into slices
2 medium onions, chopped
1 fresh Serrano chile, finely chopped
4 tablespoons of peanut oil
2 tablespoons of curry
1 tablespoon of garam masala
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
coriander seeds for garnish, chopped
1). Heat the peanut oil on a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the onions in the oil until softened, 8 minutes.
2). Add the eggplant, green peppers, chiles, and curry, cook for 10 minutes.
3). Stir in the garam masala, tomato puree, salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water if necessary, and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4). Meanwhile toast the coriander seeds in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, 1 minute, giving a good stir once or twice. Remove from pan and chop. Reserve for garnish.
5). Add lemon juice to the eggplant curry, stir, and garnish with chopped coriander seeds.
Servings Suggestions: Serve over rice.
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  • September 15, 2009
    6:13 pm

    Dearest Jewels, the blog is fantastic. All those memories, of all those people, at a truly magical time. Hope you and your's are well. Love, Nile

  • September 15, 2009
    6:14 pm

    Good grief your legs are long woman! Great post. Tamara Mitchell

  • September 15, 2009
    6:15 pm

    LOVE the BLOG!!!!!! AMAZING!! Carrie Livingston

  • September 15, 2009
    6:18 pm

    BOMB! Amanda Eliasch

  • September 15, 2009
    6:20 pm

    Can't wait for the rest of this story it is a great one. Karla Billdt

  • September 15, 2009
    6:21 pm

    That's a beautiful picture! I remember seeing an article with your friend Angelo in Star Hits or Bop I think, haha! I just remember he had done your's and Nick's make up for a photo shoot or something. I have never been to Africa but would love to go one day. Did you enjoy it? Budgie Bradbury

  • September 15, 2009
    6:21 pm

    Madeleine Gallay… gorgeous.

  • September 15, 2009
    7:06 pm

    Hi Budgie…I LOVE the small amount of Africa that I've seen. Being a tourist on safari is magical. I ache over the parts tourists are not likely to see…places like Darfur where children are forced into being soldiers, the genocide that happened in Rowanda, and what is currently happening with the gorillas in Uganda. I'm not knowledgeable enough to stand on a soap box and preach about all of the atrocities that are happening, but I do try to give to charities that are trying to make a difference.

  • September 15, 2009
    10:47 pm

    Great blog Julie Anne…..cannot wait to find out what happened next. Sounds so exciting!You mentioned in an earlier blog that you have eaten kangaroo. Being an "Omnivore", was there anything out of the ordinary that you ate in Africa.Aussie Mum

  • September 15, 2009
    11:12 pm

    Great question Aussie Mom, but unfortunately no, no warthog or crocodile…the safari camps tend to cater to tourist taste buds, and the food was pretty much anything you would normally see in England, with perhaps a few more interesting herbs and spices thrown into some of the curries. Next trip I want to be more adventurous from a culinary standpoint.

  • September 16, 2009
    1:05 am

    Really Enjoyed This Very Much.

  • September 16, 2009
    8:46 am

    Wonderful blog Jewels, amazing memories beautifully written – cant wait for the next installment! I have never been to Africa, always wanted to go on safari and this has definitely re-inspired me! B xx

  • September 16, 2009
    12:44 pm

    Great blog as always!

  • September 16, 2009
    7:57 pm

    Love reading her blog, so interesting and a life so different. Linda Willets

  • September 18, 2009
    4:20 pm

    My facebook friends. Here is another great and exciting blog from my friend Julie Anne Rhodes of TheRovingStove, personal chef service. You are missing a great two minute read if you don't click on the link and take a look. But watch out, Julie Ann's life is so exciting you just might stay and read it all. Travel, movie stars, queens, Andy Warhol, rock stars and even me. Karla Billdt

  • July 17, 2010
    6:43 am

    I remember reading, 'back in the day', in some fan magazine or another, that Nick fell in love with your legs. I can absolutely see why! Even given the photographer's 'art' in the photo, they are spectacular. I'm having so much fun, skipping around in this blog. Thank you again for sharing the fascinating stories and wonderful recipes.

  • February 1, 2011
    12:01 am

    Thank you for this, can't wait to try it!!!

  • March 13, 2013
    5:46 am

    Holy gamm-tactic batman!!! I can definitely see why you were a model.

  • March 13, 2013
    3:42 pm

    What a stunning photo and story! It sounds like that night was the start of a dear friendship. I am just curious about whether or not you’ve done a blog about the auto-immune condition you struggled with? I have Lupus and if you had that or something similar, it would be wonderful to know how you dealt with managing your condition. Warmest wishes, Lyn in Manchester :-)

  • March 14, 2013
    11:13 am

    Hi Lyn – yes, I have Crohn’s colitis, but I am in remission, and thankfully so for 12 years now. I have written about it a couple times – here is a link to one of the blog posts http://www.personalchefapproach.com/blog/baring-the-truth-about-the-socially-taboo/.

    I wish I had a magic answer that wasn’t so cliche – eat healthy, rest, exercise when you can, everything within moderation, and above all else try (and I know this one feels impossible when your lifestyle is so impaired and you feel so lousy) to stay positive and stress free. Obviously, these very serious illnesses are not purely from stress and lifestyle, but I believe they can be greatly aggravated by them. Once I learned to see the glass half full and deal more effectively with the stress in my life – the medications finally did the trick. BTW, I’m still a work in progress, and have to adjust my negative thoughts daily. Hope you feel better soon!