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#lamonoINSIGHTS: she was Andy Warhol’s and Bob Dylan’s muse

Poor Little Rich Girl (1st Part) by Andy Warhol

Within the art scene, there are those who create and those who inspire. The first ones usually become famous, well known by society, while the latter ones tend to go unnoticed, as ethereal entities that blossom in the subconscious of the artists and endow them with the gift of creativity. Frequently, a tragic nexus that brings along suffering and love bonds both creatures, and that might be just the perfect blend behind all masterpieces. One of these ethereal beings was Edie Sedgwick, the it-girl from the sixties. Heiress of a wealthy American family, she worked along Andy Warhol and inspired the Nobel prize in Literature, Bob Dylan, to write some of his most famous songs, including Like A Rolling Stone.

008-edie-sedgwick-theredlistEdie and Andy

Like a Rolling Stone

Once upon a time you dressed so fine,
Threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?
People call say, ‘beware doll, you’re bound to fall,’
You thought they were all kidding you,
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hanging out
Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging your next meal
How does it feel, how does it feel?
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone

333649-edie-sedgwickEdie Sedgwick

Admired for her fashionista sense, her style, and her relationships with artists, Edie was a beautiful woman that came from a family with a long history of mental health problems; her father was manic depressive, her older brother, Francis, committed suicide after opening about his homosexuality, and a year and a half later, her brother Bobby died in a motorcycle accident. The seventh of eight children, despite the wealth and status of her family, Edie’s early years were troubled; she developed an eating disorder throughout her adolescence, and when she turned eighteen was sent, at her father’s insistence, to a psychiatric hospital in Connecticut, where her condition worsened. She was later sent to an institution in the state of New York where her anorexia finally improved. There she met a Harvard student with whom she fell in love, became pregnant, and procured an abortion with her mother’s intervention, due possibly to a personal decision or maybe because of her poor health.

Ahh you’ve gone to the finest schools, alright Miss Lonely,
But you know you only used to get juiced in it,
Nobody’s ever taught you how to live out on the street
And now you’re gonna have to get used to it
You say you never compromise
With the mystery tramp, but now you realize
He’s not selling any alibis
As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes
And say, ‘do you want to make a deal?
How does it feel, how does it feel?
To be on your own, with no direction home
A complete unknown, like a rolling stone

edie-sedgewick-dual-photoEdie Sedgwick

En 1965 Edie conoció a Andy Warhol, su diplomático en el caballo cromado, en una fiesta en la ciudad de Nueva York, a donde ella se había mudado para ser modelo. El artista quedó impresionado con su belleza y la invitó a visitarlo en su estudio, The Factory. En una de estas visitas Warhol estaba filmando Vinyl, su interpretación de la novela La Naranja Mecánica. Aunque contaba con un elenco puramente masculino, Andy decidió maquillarla como un hombre y hacer un cameo de ella. Lo mismo hizo en otra de sus producciones, Horse. Debido al atractivo de Edie y su magnetismo en pantalla, Warhol quedó flechado y decidió realizar una serie de filmes en los cuales la joven heredera fuese la protagonista. Así surgió la idea de la saga de filmes vanguardistas Poor Little Rich Girl, la cual incluyó las producciones Poor Little Rich Girl, Restaurant, Face y Afternoon. Aunque estas películas no eran comercialmente exitosas y solían ser presentadas únicamente en teatros underground y en The Factory, la notoriedad de Edie creció, y Warhol decidió bautizarla como su ‘Superestrella’. Mientras su fama aumentaba, también lo hacía su dependencia a las drogas. Para finales de 1965 la relación entre Edie y Andy se había roto, ella ya se había gastado casi toda su herencia y se encontraba viviendo en el Chelsea Hotel de Nueva York, donde conoció a su vagabundo misterioso, Bob Dylan.

Vinyl (1965) by Andy Warhol

Ah you never turned around to see the frowns
On the jugglers and the clowns when they all did tricks for you,
You never understood that it ain’t no good,
You shouldn’t let other people get your kicks for you,
You used to ride on a chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat,
Ain’t it hard when you discovered that
He really wasn’t where it’s at
After he took from you everything he could steal,
How does it feel, how does it feel?
To have on your own, with no direction home
Like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone

54bc786127b9b_-_hbz-warhol-muses-edie-sedgwick-js3872-xlAndy and Edie

Dylan never completely approved Edie’s relationship with Andy, as he believed he was only taking advantage of her, and that the only thing he valued was her background; Warhol was the homosexual son of a family of Slovak immigrants who had always dreamt about being a mademoiselle within the high circles of the socialité, attending private schools and spending the summers in Europe speaking French. He never paid a dime to Edie for featuring in his films; instead, he helped perverting her at his orgies in The Factory, where drugs were available for everyone. Eventually, when Edie reached rock bottom, he abandoned her. In the course of six months she went from being Warhol’s number one muse to Dylan’s mistress, though the singer has stated their relationship was never romantic. Nevertheless, many people claim Edie had the opposite impression. When the singer got married in secret with his girlfriend, Sara Lownds, in November 1965, it was Warhol who told Edie, breaking her heart. Some sources even go as far to affirm Edie aborted a child she claimed was Dylan’s. We might never know the truth, but after 1965 Sedgwick’s life started to crumble due to her drug addiction and mental health problems. She went from being the ‘Superstar’ in Warhol’s films and the it-girl in Dylan’s lyrics, to a desperate woman waiting for a spotlight that would never come back.

andy-warhol-edie-sedgwickAndy and Edie

Ah princess on a steeple and all the pretty people
They’re all drinking, thinking that they’ve got it made,
Exchanging all precious gifts,
But you better take your diamond ring, you better pawn it babe,
You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used,
Go to him he calls you, you can’t refuse,
When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose,
You’re invisible now, you’ve got no secrets to conceal,
How does it feel, ah how does it feel?
To be on your own, with no direction home
Like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone


While Edie was committed at the Cottage Hospital in the summer of 1970 she met Michael Brett Post, a fellow patient who would become her husband. They married in July, 1971, but Edie would never overcome her drug dependency, which led her to an early death caused by an overdose in November, that same year. And just like a shooting star she skimmed the skies, and in just one year she inspired two geniuses, one endowed with a guitar and a powerful storytelling, and another one with a keen eye and an intellect to understand and underrate society. A life marked by tragedy, but which at the distance seemed glamorous and fantastic, Poor Little Rich Girl.


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