After profitable a number of magnificence pageants together with Miss Coney Island and the eighth annual New York Skate Queen contest, she started modeling as an adolescent. The primary agent she spoke with favored her photos however informed her to alter her identify. She selected Vikki as a homage to the actress Vickie Lester; Dougan was her mom’s maiden identify.
In 1953, at age 19, she appeared on the duvet of Life journal as a part of a narrative on working moms, together with her 3-year-old daughter, Deirdre, the product of a short marriage.
She was signed as a mannequin by Eileen Ford and appeared in adverts for Maybelline, Cutex and Charmin, and was on the covers of Harper’s Bazaar, Seventeen and Collier’s journal, along with quite a lot of different extra lowbrow titles, like Trendy Romance. She made upward of $100 an hour working as a mannequin, she stated, however all the time harbored goals of appearing. She took lessons with world-class coaches like Stella Adler and Eric Morris, and appeared as an announcer on “The Jackie Gleason Present.”
Ms. Dougan stated she was supplied a contract by Paramount however declined as a result of it was not sufficient cash. “They supplied me for per week what I used to be making in an hour as a mannequin.” As an alternative, she signed with Batjac, a transfer she got here to remorse. “I ought to have simply signed with Paramount as a result of no less than they had been making motion pictures.”
She spent the whole thing of 1957 attending film premieres and setting the tabloids on hearth however wasn’t referred to as for any auditions. She stated the agent who signed her to William Morris Expertise Company, Phil Kellogg, forgot her contract in a desk, which is why she was by no means despatched any scripts. After voicing her displeasure about not working to Batjac, “they supplied to place me in a film with one line, however I stated, ‘Overlook it.’”
#MeToo in Midcentury
Ms. Dougan’s transient time in Hollywood was marred by quite a lot of unwelcome overtures from well-known males, which she routinely rebuffed. Jerry Lewis, whom she describes as “a really huge deal,” as soon as referred to as her into his workplace to learn for an element. The script by no means arrived, however a bucket of champagne on ice did. Sensing the course the interview was entering into, Ms. Dougan made up an excuse about having one other appointment to get to. “He had one thing totally completely different on his thoughts,” she stated.