Skip to comments.On the Rocks - The Martini Girl Sold in to Sex Slavery
Posted on 06/08/2007 11:42:44 AM PDT by DogByte6RER
On the Rocks - The Martini Girl Sold in to Sex Slavery
by VICTORIA MOORE
Last updated at 11:32am on 2nd June 2007
As the Martini Girl, she embodied the sexual promise of the 1970s. Then she vanished. Only now, can Deborah Jackson's incredible story of sexual enslavement be told...
She was the face of the racy advert that promised: "Any time, any place, anywhere."
And stretched out in a red swimsuit beside a pool, hair tousled in the breeze and a cluster of iced drinks glasses beaded with condensation beside her, the Martini Girl seemed to embody the new sophistication and sexual promise of the early Seventies.
Her sun-burnished limbs and enigmatic smile helped propel the vermouth, poured over ice or mixed with lemonade or tonic, to become the drink of patio get-togethers, cheese and wine evenings and upmarket bars.
And the hugely successful ad campaign, of which she was the gorgeous pin-up, was credited with trebling sales of the brand across Europe.
Yet despite epitomising the glamour of a decade, the identity of this alluring woman remained a mystery - and would stay that way for decades. For, a year after that Martini ad was shot, she left her life at the heart of London's social whirl and vanished.
There were rumours, unconfirmed, that she had gone to the Middle East, but she was barely heard of again until earlier this month, when it was announced briefly that Deborah Thornton Jackson, the Martini Girl who inspired so many dreams, had died on May 18, aged 57, following a stroke.
Only now can the full story of the girl who put the twist back into Martini be told.
From the moment her modelling career began after she was discovered by the doe-eyed model Jean Shrimpton; through a turbulent time in Beirut, where she was sold to a rich playboy who subsequently married her; to those final years, back in Britain, where she lived with her soulmate and third husband, Deborah Jackson's life was extraordinary.
The daughter of a lingerie model and a soldier in the Blues and Royals, she was born in Windsor, Berkshire, in 1949 and educated at St Anne's College for Young Ladies in Lytham St Anne's near Blackpool.
After school, she worked for a short time as a trainee buyer at Jenners department store in Edinburgh, where a chance encounter with Jean Shrimpton and her then partner, the actor Terence Stamp, gave Deborah her first modelling opportunity.
A girl had dropped out of a show which the shop was putting on, and Jean, stepping out of a lift and spotting Deborah on the sales floor, asked her to step in.
It wasn't the best of starts. She was whisked into a salon, where a hairdresser chopped off her long blonde tresses, dyed them black - but then pronounced he didn't like the result and that she'd have to wear a wig.
Nonetheless, Deborah acquitted herself well on the catwalk.
Despite this success, Deborah didn't think of modelling as a way of earning money and, instead, joined British Airways as an air hostess - a job that led to some unexpectedly tricky encounters.
On her first flight as a senior stewardess, she had to intervene when a couple in first-class appeared to be engaged in extremely intimate and inappropriate relations across a row of reclining airline seats.
Deborah approached the entwined couple, tapped the gentleman on the shoulder and politely asked if he might desist - at which, to her horror, she recognised John Lennon, who unpeeled himself from Yoko Ono just far enough to shout "F*** off!" at her.
The pilot was summoned and he decided to divert the flight to Rome in order to off-load the Beatle.
The incident didn't end Deborah's highflying career, but an addiction to Valium, following the death of her father in 1970, and a problem with claustrophobia did.
She decided to revive her interest in modelling and moved to the capital, where she trained at the London Academy of Modelling.
At night, she trussed herself into high heels and a costume and, alongside a friend, worked as a bunny girl at the Playboy Club to pay her way.
Things there didn't go entirely according to plan either. Three months into her job, a man leaned over and broke the club rules by pinching her bottom.
Deborah reacted furiously, hurling the tray of drinks she was carrying into the air - it landed in a messy smash of Jack Daniels and glass on the ground.
Summoned for a dressing down with the 'Bunny Mother', who told her she had "lost her bunny image", Deborah flung her fluffy bunny ears across the room, shouted that she had never wanted to be a rabbit anyway and marched out.
By then, she had graduated from the modelling academy with top marks and joined the Michael Whitaker Agency, using the name Erica. She also took her first steps on the upward-bound escalator into swinging London society.
Soon she was in demand. Lord Lichfield and David Bailey shot her portfolio. She was chosen to make the totemic Martini advert and moved into a flat with Anthea Redfern, the toothy blonde who went on to marry Bruce Forsyth and become his co-host on TV's The Generation Game.
Deborah went on a lunch date with George Best ("I didn't think much of him, he was really boring," she confided to a friend), holidayed alongside Tom Jones (whose PR man, Chris Hutchins, she dated for a time) and went out with the actor and satirical comedian Lance Percival.
She also toured Italy with a dance troupe and fell in love with a rich jeweller, whose mother was horrified that her son was involved with a non-Roman Catholic and put a definitive stop to the relationship.
It was a dizzying social whirl but, suddenly and quite out of the blue, all that changed with a single phone call. Her friend Maggie Sibbering called and confided: "I'm in Beirut and I'm in trouble. Please come and help me."
Having been to Beirut as an air hostess, Deborah thought nothing of boarding the next flight out there. But, she soon discovered that, as her taxi driver from the airport warned: "Beirut is like a rose. Very beautiful, but its thorns are sharp."
Arriving at the hotel that Maggie had told her to go to, she was directed to a bar and handed a drink. Too late, she realised it had been spiked.
Deborah woke several hours later to find she'd signed a contract forcing her to work in an up-market brothel called the Crazy Horse Saloon, and that her passport had been taken.
To make matters worse, when she finally met Maggie, who was working as a dancer and wearing nothing but a G-string and nipple tassels, her friend said there was no problem and that she was perfectly happy now, thank you.
According to another friend: "Deborah was caught like a fly in a spider's web. Even the British Embassy would not help."
Salvation eventually arrived, five months later, in the form of Elie Ayache, a well-known Lebanese businessman and scion of one of the country's wealthiest families who owned the Ferrari franchise for the Middle East.
He fell for Deborah and, with the help of a Lebanese army colonel, managed to buy her out of her Crazy Horse Saloon contract for $5,000.
Predictably, Deborah fell for her white knight and they married in 1975. Despite Ayache's alcoholism and enthusiasm for night-life, the couple spent the next 15 years together.
Deborah returned to modelling, working on risque shows, and they had two daughters, one of whom she named after her old flatmate Anthea.
But this was a difficult time to be in Beirut. The city was in the middle of a civil war and during her time there, she was subjected to a four-day ordeal of gang rape by Hizbollah rebels who broke into her house before being assassinated by government soldiers.
On another occasion, her driver was shot by a sniper while he was taking her to safety.
Then, when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 and Christian Lebanese militia massacred hundreds of Palestinians, she was working in a hospital in Gaza, looking after the sick and wounded.
"The scenes were horrendous," she later said. "It was panic, absolute panic. What will always stick in my memory is a little boy who had come from the camps and whose little body had no limbs.
"I can remember just holding his little body close. He was covered with blood and the life was running out of him. He was crying for his mother."
The next day she returned to the camps, where bulldozers were burying the corpses.
"I saw piles of bodies, heaped up, mutilated. It was like a scene from what I would have imagined happened in World War II to the Jews."
During the hostilities of 1989, her family was forced to retreat to the basement of their house, having to survive for days without running water or electricity. On one occasion, she had to use a tank to rescue her daughter from school.
Eventually, she escaped with two daughters on a hydrofoil driven by Dutch mercenaries and returned to Scotland to live in St Andrews near her mother. Her husband, Ayache, remained in Lebanon and they divorced.
She met her husband Neil Jackson, a professor of architecture, and the couple married in 2002 Deborah married again, to a local publican called Robert Alexander. But then, at a 1999 New Year's Eve party, she met Neil Jackson, a professor of architecture who works at Liverpool University.
"There were bonfires on the hills - and fireworks - and we'd been talking when she suddenly seized me by the arm, thrust me against the wall and said: 'We are soulmates,'" he said.
"The next day, we all had hangovers and I said to her: 'What next?' Ten months later, she left her husband. And in 2002 we married."
Today, he remembers his wife as "a impetuous, outgoing person who was great fun to be with. She also loved animals - when I met her she had eight dogs and five Shetland ponies - which is why, instead of flowers at her funeral, we asked for donations to the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals."
In the last years of her life, Deborah had been working on a memoir, Fortune's Hostage: Twenty Years In The Lebanon. She had managed to complete 65,000 words.
Deborah Jackson's story is not the one you'd expect from a Martini Girl. But then, perhaps that catchphrase - "any time, any place, anywhere," should lead you to expect the unexpected.
I know this is a bit dated (about a week old) but I do remember "The Martini Girl" from the 1970s (I was still just a kid back then, but the old man was fond of gin.)
This was also an interesting angle of the story:
"On her first flight as a senior stewardess, she had to intervene when a couple in first-class appeared to be engaged in extremely intimate and inappropriate relations across a row of reclining airline seats.
Deborah approached the entwined couple, tapped the gentleman on the shoulder and politely asked if he might desist - at which, to her horror, she recognised John Lennon, who unpeeled himself from Yoko Ono just far enough to shout "F*** off!" at her."
That sounds pretty typical of the dirtbag hippies like Lennon back then. Completely self-absorbed and rude.
“The 1971 Martini Girl: A life in the fast lane” Link: http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/article2600250.ece
“FROM MARTINI GIRL TO BEING SOLD AS A SEX SLAVE” Link: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/news/tm_headline=from-martini-girl-to-being-sold-as-a-sex-slave&method=full&objectid=19228598&siteid=66633-name_page.html
Well, at least it wasn't a low-end brothel!
She had everything - looks, brains and money. But in the end - she had nothing and a hard life. Not one mention of her beliefs...
I also like the way the one sided article points out the evil Christian militias - but fail to say Hizbollah is an islamic militia...
“Any time, any place, anywhere.”
Not only any place but anywhere too!
Seems like the middle East is a real good place for women to avoid.
As far as I’m concerned, they can flush the entire region. It seems like hell on earth to me.
Imagine all the people living life in peace.
This article could only have been written by a woman. So namby pamby! So touchy-feely. And her distinct treatment of Christians massacring Palestinians, and those poor Hizbulah rebels being so ruthlessly assassinated by Lebanese soldiers, it sickens one. Of course, living in Londonistan, which I assume she does because it’s the Daily Mail, it’s far more dangerous to insult Mohammedans than Christians.
This reads like a female Forrest Gump...
Sex, drugs, social swinging, Isalmic hedonism... yep, she covered all the bases. A sad, wasted life.
Title is wrong; she wasn’t “sold,” she was involuntarily drugged and in that state, her consent was obtained.
Wow! The last time I read a story like that, it had a painting of Fabio on the cover.
“...as her taxi driver from the airport warned: “Beirut is like a rose. Very beautiful, but its thorns are sharp.”
Oh! crap! What! a! line!
I think I saw that one in the Barnes & Noble:
“The Loves of Consuela: A Harlingen Romance.”