People

People

TANYA DAVIES November 9 1998
People

People

TANYA DAVIES November 9 1998

People

TANYA DAVIES

A folksinger’s lament

Paris and pigskins

Todd McMillon is leading a double life. The 24-year-old gets to chase and tackle opponents with the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, then clean up and model for the likes of GQ magazine and Fila athletic sportswear. "Modelling definitely pays better,” says the five-foot, 11-inch, 183-lb. cornerback, “but it has always been my dream to play ball.”

Born and raised in suburban Los Angeles, McMillon started playing football in Grade 4. While he was attending Northern Arizona University on an athletic scholarship, a modelling agency tried to recruit him. He passed on the offer because it would have meant dropping football. After graduating in 1995 with a bachelor of arts, he returned home and waited for freeagent deals to come in from pro football teams—but the only calls were for modelling jobs. “I guess they like me because of my high cheekbones,” says McMillon, who is of Jamaican, native American and Creole descent. “In high school, I was called apple cheeks and I used to hate it. But now, I’m getting paid for these cheeks.”

McMillon was modelling steadily—including swing dancing in a current Gap TV commercial—when he was offered a two-year contract with the Regina-based Roughriders last March. “It was a tough decision,” says McMillon, who chose the gridiron over the runway with the help of his family, and fiancée, Everly Lee. “But I figured that I will still look the same in a couple of years, so I can try modelling full time then.” That is, of course, providing his famous apple cheeks aren’t too roughed up. “Yes, I work harder than the other guys protecting my face,” he says, laughing. “And they tease me because of it.”

As her many fans know, folksinger Judy Collins often uses personal experiences for the lyrics of her songs. But when her 33-year-old son committed suicide six years ago, it was going to take more than music to soothe the loss. A large part of her healing process was to write about the painful event in her newly released memoir, Singing Lessons. “I had to deal with it, and putting it on paper helped,” says the 59-year-old who lives in New York City with her husband, Louis Nelson, a graphic designer. “Plus, I wanted to share what I had learned dealing with Clark’s death.”

The singer’s life with her only child had never been easy. She married her first husband, Peter Taylor, when she was 19, and gave birth to Clark within a year.

For the first few years, the family was happy, but as Collins’s fame grew, the relationship with Taylor soured. The constant touring and recording sessions led to a divorce, with her husband gaining custody of Clark. Successful but lonely, Collins— who has released 30 albums in total, all of them top sellers—began drinkk ing heavily and § suffered bouts of I depression. After 2 seeking help and I sobering up, she 5 regained custody g of Clark, then age

9’ who started having troubles of his

own. He soon began drinking and abusing drugs and often ran away from home. He had checked into rehab, got a steady job, was married and had a daughter when he committed suicide. “It was the end of the world,” says Collins quietly. “I loved him more than anyone.”

After pouring her heart and soul into Singing Lessons, Collins was concerned about how the public would receive it. But after meeting readers at book signings, she says she need not have worried. “I thought it would upset me to keep talking about Clark,” she says. “But what upsets me is hearing the stories of other people’s losses. I hope this book helps even a little.”