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Supermodel Susan Holmes McKagan gets candid about Guns N' Roses in the social media era and her latest book

Her debut novel 'A Velvet Rose', that recently hit the stands, is a coming-of-age story set in the 90s that follows a fierce female protagonist as she makes her way through the meandering alleys of dreams, fashion, adventure, and rock 'n' roll romance
UPDATED MAR 16, 2020
Susan Holmes McKagan (Source : Getty Images)
Susan Holmes McKagan (Source : Getty Images)

After conquering every big runway out there and walking for fashion powerhouses like Chanel, Versace, Prada and the likes, supermodel Susan Holmes McKagan is now trying her hand at writing. Her debut novel 'A Velvet Rose', that has recently hit the stands, is a coming-of-age story set in the 90s that follows a fierce female protagonist as she makes her way through the meandering alleys of dreams, fashion, adventure, and rock 'n' roll romance.

Inspired by her own life and her marriage with Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan, the book is meant to inspire. "Let's just put it this way, if you enjoy page-turning books that take you on a voyage filled with lots of colorful travel, a rock n' roll romance coupled with high fashion adventures and outrageous hilarity, then you, or someone you know, will be obsessed with this book! At the end of the day it will be relatable to all those who have ever had the courage to chase their dreams and pursue an unconventional path in this glorious world," she says.

"I hope to inspire and entertain everyone reading the book, and send a message of empowerment to people of all ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities to feel confident. I want to make them feel applauded and comfortable in their own skin and to know that they're not alone in this journey. Be patient, keep at it, and your dreams can come true."

MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) caught up with her in a candid interview where she talks about the parallels between her life and the book, misogyny in rock 'n' roll and Guns N' Roses in the social media generation and revealing if she'll let her daughter follow a rock band around.  

Here are excerpts from the interview:

Every writer weaves in a bit of themselves in their work. How much of 'The Velvet Rose' is inspired by your life? 

They say write about what you know. The book has so many parallels to my life. It is a journey through the worlds of fashion (taking place from London to LA) and the lead female character then meeting Johnny from The Westies, a rock band on the cusp of superstardom and all that ensues. There are some semblances of experiences, places, and people I have met and crazy things that have happened. I’ve also been told sometimes you can actually tell more about a person’s story from fiction than say through a 'tell-all' autobiography. There are no fences with fiction. I’ve blended some characters and moments, but I think once you read the book, readers will be able to grasp some of the insane trajectories that say, models, artists, and musicians, from my wheelhouse have had to go through.

Do you think the misogynistic treatment of women from that time has changed over the years? 

Absolutely! It's not all the way there yet, but we’ve gained some great traction. I especially love how my daughter, as the lead singer and songwriter of her band The Pink Slips, inspires me with her girl power and speaks to her generation's need for everyone to be treated respectfully, fairly, and equally.

How has the #MeToo movement affected the rock 'n' roll scene? Has anything actually changed for the better? 

I think a lot is finally improving with the #MeToo movement! I recently attended a celebratory lunch with the supremely respected artiste Brandi Carlile and her wife Catherine, celebrating the fact that she not only won three Grammys, but also the female artiste with the most Grammy nominations of 2019. It's so incredible and so well deserved, and I love that this was honored to a brilliant artiste who happens to also be female.

What do you think GnR would have been like in the social media generation?

That's a good question. I would say a lot has changed for GnR in being together with my husband, Duff, from before there was social media to today's mega touring. For one, a lot more people were enjoying the shows organically in the past, whereas today, it's a sea of people rocking out, but also wanting to capture so much of the show by videoing on their phones. It's a blessing and a curse, but sometimes I think people should live a little bit more in the moment.

As a mum of two daughters, what advice would you give young fangirls who are ready to grab any opportunity that allows them to tour with the band?

I'd say go for it! I myself have been fortunate enough to meet lots of these faithful touring fans, and they are actually some of the most extraordinary people.