Monday, March 24, 2008

The colossus of Julie Anne Rhodes

It's not always easy for me to tell that I've grown up. I still feel the same as I ever did on the inside - all my life I've had parts of me that were about 3, about 12, about 18, and about 40. Actually being 39 doesn't feel all that unusual. I still love Winnie-the-Pooh, Legos, and Barbie; I still have stuffed animals; I still think way too much about just about everything.

I guess I really notice the difference in my relationships with other people. The first time I really felt grown up was when my boyfriend found out his 16-year-old daughter was pregnant. I was in my early-to-mid-30s and when she decided to have and raise the child, all I could think was how much harder than necessary her life would be. That she had no idea what she was giving up. (Of course, I'm thinking all this from the vantage point of a childless woman, so you have to take my opinion with an entire shaker of salt.)

I could tell I'd matured a lot last night watching the Ultimate Recipe Showdown on the Food network. It was the "Burgers" episode. One of the chefs participating in the poultry burger competition was named Julie Anne Rhodes. "That's funny," I thought to myself. "That was Nick Rhodes' wife's name back in the day." (Those of you who don't know who he is clearly weren't young girls in the mid-80s.) I have one picture of them in my head - both impeccably made-up, dressed in a suit (him) and a fabulous fitted white dress (her) (a wedding picture, maybe), her towering over him. She had gorgeous olive skin, a long face, and Mediterranean features and I, unkindly, referred to her as Juliearf. She had taken Nick off the market! The nerve of her!

Anyway, I'm looking at this chef making this amazing-sounding turkey burger with jasmine rice and she's tall, yes, and olive-skinned, and gorgeously Mediterranean, but built much more like a normal woman (a little heavy maybe even, though she carries it well with her height) than the skinny model I remembered Nick's wife to be. Then she mentions her 15-year modeling career. No. No way. Then I notice her unusually-shaped ears. OMG.

OMG! It's really her, the internet tells me this morning! Right there on her Personal Chefs Network page it talks about how she started cooking as a child and developed an appreciation for many kinds of cuisine traveling the world with the band! OMG! How cool is that?

How cool is that? That a woman can have a 15-year-modeling career and be married to a popular member of a hugely successful band and travel the world and throw glamorous dinner parties for fabulous people, and then after her divorce move back to the US from London and start a whole new career as a personal chef. She started her own company and obviously loves what she does. The bonus is the picture of her with her daughter on her company's site - man, you can see Nick all over Tatjana's face!

I'm a grown-up now, Julie, and I take back all the awful things I said and thought about you back in the day. You were a Duran Duran wife; it was my job to be a jealous fangirl. Now I know a whole lot more about letting people be gorgeous and successful without thinking that makes me less so; about perfect make-up and lighting not equaling a perfect interior life; about how happiness can be damn hard to cultivate and should be celebrated all the time. In fact, Julie, I think you may have become a personal hero!

And congratulations on winning the poultry burger competition! My aunt printed out the recipe - can't wait to try it.

ETA: Found the picture!! Gods bless the Internets!


Anonymous said...

Julie Anne ("Jewels" to her pals) is one of my best friends and truly a talented chef. She's a delight to be around, and doesn't harbor any snobbary from where she came from. I don't know how easily I would adjust going from being a millionaire to a chef!

Anonymous said...

I'm a 38yr old Aussie Duranie (and proud of it), who just wanted to say that I commend Julie Anne Friedman Rhodes on her accomplishments.
It is truly amazing how this wonderful, unpretentious woman can turn her life around and do something that makes her happy.
I have read countless articles lately including Julie's blog and I have been touched by what she has achieved.
Congratulations on your winning burger. I cannot wait to try the recipe out myself.
I just wish The Roving Stove was in Melbourne, Australia. God knows I would be using it.

Bridgette Hayden said...

Thank you for posting this. I've recently discovered Julie Anne Rhodes as a chef, after also remembering her as the woman who married the beautiful Nick Rhodes. You're right, she is a personal hero. Such strength! The more I learn about her, the more I realize she has persevered in such a positive way as to shine just as strongly as her ex husband, in my heart.

Funny, at the time of their marriage, she intrigued me just because she "caught" him. But I genuinely wanted to know who she was, what she was like. Now, with her blog and youtube, she has totally revealed herself. I must say, she's awesome!!