How to Dress a Dummy review: Cassie Lane’s tale of glamour and exploitation


Steven Carroll

How to Dress a Dummy, by Cassie Lane. Photo: Supplied

How to Dress a Dummy

Cassie Lane

Affirm Press $29.99

There’s a scene in  Frederic​ Raphael’s The Glittering Prizeswhen a film producer suggests a film about the emptiness of modern glamour, sex and decadence. Glamour, sex and decadence, says the writer: all the things we want. At 16, Cassie Lane, a former model and AFL WAG, developed the model’s body she’d long wished for. Pleased with her breasts, she records the teenage contradictions of being thrilled to be an object of desire – and an object. When she became a model the glamour came with the job: the sex came along for the ride, and the decadence was part of the pact. Beautiful young women died, were exploited, and nights were wasted. The writing is direct, blunt: she doesn’t mind calling a blow job a blow job. Her memoir is, in part, a cautionary tale: be careful about the glittering prizes you wish for.