Gisele’s book, Lessons, is not a memoir or a biography, rather a journal, according to her. It features a scrapbook of memories, detailing the struggle and passion that propelled her throughout her twenty years in the fashion industry. In the scripture, she provides readers with useful tools that she picked up over the years.
Keeping a plant-based diet, meditating regularly, and taking part in environmental activism, many wonder how this eccentric model juggles it all. Delving into Lessons shows that each of these practices is a response or adaptation to struggles she faced in her life.
Whether it was building a career far away from her home or navigating a private family life, in the most public of professions, she tells us how she did it all. Gisele initially started to meditate and keep a plant-based diet as a way of dealing with debilitating panic attacks she battled in her twenties.
Gisele explained in an interview “It is not a book that has a beginning, a middle, and an end, per se. It’s not a sequence of time; it’s not a biography by any means. We’re always evolving and growing, so the book was done in a very organic way, in a relaxed kind of “thought popped up in my head” way. . . . This is why it’s more of a journal. This is why it’s a collage. This is why there are 70-something images in the book because I was thinking for a person who didn’t have those experiences, sometimes a picture says a thousand words and you can go back to that time, right? So this is why I put pictures of childhood or different phases in my life.”
Interviewers asked, “Your book reveals a lot about your struggles with anxiety attacks and finding a sense of your own self while growing up in the fashion industry. Was it hard to go back to some of those memories for Lessons?”
The model responded, “It was. I think there are a lot of emotions and stuff that you kind of choose not to go back to because they are too painful. You feel like you’re kind of past them and you don’t want to ever remind yourself of that again because you feel like they were . . . you know, that was a very fragile time in your life and you just think, like, you know, I’ve made it. I survived it. I meditate every day so those memories kept coming back to my awareness. I thought, If I can only reach a few people and it could be helpful to them, maybe I could do an open letter like a diary like I’m having a conversation with them.”
Gisele shared how she hopes her book helps people when she said, “If something was useful for you, and it helped you, you naturally want to share it because if you see others struggling, you’re like, ‘I want to help them.’ If I went through something similar and by sharing my experience can help someone get out of that deepest, darkest place, to know they’re not alone, that’s very helpful.”
The Cast Of Designing Women – Where Are They Now?
Richard Gilliland As J.D. Shackleford- Then
It was early on in the story of Designing Women that Richard Gilliland first portrayed the J.D. Shackleford. Previously renowned for working as a scout for the Atlanta Braves, Shackleford was one of the early love interests of Mary Jo Shively soon after the divorce that kickstarted the series. It was Suzanne who set the duo up on a date and it was clear that Mary Jo and J.D. liked each other. However, each character had their fair share of baggage, and nothing serious came of it.
Richard Gilliland – Now
Things might not have worked out between Richard Gilliland and Annie Potts’ characters. However, it wouldn’t take too long before the actor became romantically involved off-screen with another Designing Women star – Jean Smart. Amazingly, in a climate where Hollywood couples are doomed to fail more often than not, Gilland and Smart are still going strong. As for his career, Gilliand has remained a recognizable face in the world of film and TV. One of his most notable recent roles has been as Arlen Jonson on the show Imposters.
Hal Holbrook As Reese Watson – Then
You know what they say: opposites attract. However, it was pretty much the opposite as far as Julia Sugarbaker and Hal Holbrook’s Reese Watson were concerned. Having both lost their spouses from their previous marriages, it was clear that both characters had very similar personalities. Despite this, both parties had an innate ability to balance each other out. When one lost their cool, the other was there in time to calm things down. What is Hal Holbrook doing now with his life?
Hal Holbrook -Now
Designing Women certainly didn’t do any harm to Hal Holbrook’s illustrious career. It seems that the actor has a knack for portraying historical and political figures such as John Adams and Abraham Lincoln. He actually married co-star Dixie Carter, and the couple remained together until her death in 1984. In more recent times, Holbrook has been heavily involved with the show Sons of Anarchy. It seems that talent runs in the family, as Hal’s great nephew, Boyd Holbrook, is also a huge star in the world of acting.
Scott Bakula As Dr. Ted Shively – Then
What would late-’80s/early-’90s sitcoms be without the one and only Scott Bakula? The man famous for roles in other shows such as Murphy Brown and Quantum Leap was a convincing ex-husband of Mary J0. Dr. Ted Shively was an unlikeable womanizer whose tendency to go astray was the cause of his marriage breaking down in the first place. With such contrasting personalities, it is a mystery how Ted and Mary Jo ever got together in the first place.
Scott Bakula – Now
Unlike so many Hollywood stars who struggle to find a balance between their professional and personal lives, Scott Bakula is a master of such a balancing act. When the actor got the role as Captain Jonathan Archer in Star Trek: Enterprise, his contract stated that he had to finish filming every day at 6 pm. This was so that he could spend dinner every night with his family. Amazingly, the same stipulation also applies to his NCIS: New Orleans contract.
Brian Lando As Quinton Shively – Then
One of the youngest characters on the show was undoubtedly Quinton Shively. Brian Lando played the loveable son of Mary Jo, who was just nine years old when he first appeared on Designing Women. Although he was sweet, Quinton was pretty mischievous and got into his fair share of trouble. Although she was determined to do things independently, Mary Jo sometimes called upon Anthony to come in and be another positive adult role model in Quinton’s life.
Brian Lando – Now
There are many child actors out there who burn out at an early age and fall off the radar. While Brian Lando isn’t exactly a household name, he never let the fame and fortune get the better of him. The truth was that Lando cherished living a normal kid’s life and was apprehensive about living the Hollywood life. After taking time off acting to enjoy his adolescence, Lando returned to the world of TV and has since seen some success as a producer.
Tony Goldwyn As Kendall Dobbs – Then
Despite the fact that Tony Goldwyn only appeared in one episode as designer Kendall Dobbs, that particular cameo had a huge impact on the viewers. He portrayed a character who had AIDS, a subject that had a much stronger stigma during the time. Dobbs approached the firm because he wanted help with the design of his own funeral. While viewers were floored by the subject matter, Goldwyn made the character’s scenario powerful and relatable. What is Goldwyn doing now with his life?
Tony Goldwyn – Now
In what can only be described as an illustrious career following that powerful performance, Tony Goldwyn was a regular face in a number of movies throughout the ’90s. After a long time spent outside of TV, Goldwyn finally returned to the small screen in 2007 with a brief role on the show Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Five years later, the talented actor starred in the show Scandal, playing President Fitzgerald Grant. Since then, Goldwyn has extended to other areas of filmmaking such as directing and producing.
Gregg Henry As Jack Dent – Then
The showrunners of Designing Women knew they had brought in a great addition in the form of Gregg Henry. However, it would only be a few episodes, with the talented actor playing the ex-husband of Suzanne. Despite there being much passion between the two, it wasn’t enough to make the relationship last. One of the most memorable facts about Jack Dent was that he played for the Atlanta Braves, having risen up the ranks as a pitcher for the MLB team.
Gregg Henry – Now
Although Gregg Henry has made a living from playing hateable characters, he has also had his fair share of likable roles too. With a memorable role as media businessman Mitchum Hunstberger on the show Gilmore Girls, Henry ushered into the new millennium with confidence and success. He also had roles on shows such as The Riches and Eyes. Not to mention, Henry is another Designing Women star who has appeared on the Shonda Rhimes-produced show Scandal.
Meshach Taylor As Anthony Bouvier – Then
One of the most beloved characters on Designing Women, Anthony Bouvier had pretty humble beginnings as Sugarbaker and Associates’ regular delivery man. However, as time went on, the likable character became a more and more integral part of the story and eventually became one of the leading characters. Amazingly, Bouvier’s arc on the show took some unexpected turns and by the time his role came to an end, he was a partner of the huge design company.
Meshach Taylor – Now
Outside of his most iconic role as Anthony Bouvier, Meshach Taylor had many more strings to his bow in the world of acting. After his time as the popular Designing Women character came to an end, Taylor played the character Shel Baker in the ’90s show Dave’s World. A decade later, Taylor was a part of the children’s show Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, playing the character Mr. Wright. One of his last roles before his death in 2014 was on the show Criminal Minds.
Douglas Barr As Bill Stillfield – Then
The man who swooped Charlene off her feet from the moment he arrived on the scene was Colonel William ‘Bill’ Stillfield, who was played by the talented Douglas Barr. Stillfield was a character who Julia Sugarbaker could very much relate to in more ways than one. However, it was the fact that Stillfield had been widowed before the start of the show’s events which was what the pair had most in common with each other. Eventually, he ties the knot with Charlene.
Douglas Barr – Now
The reason that Douglas Barr got such a noteworthy role on Designing Women was due to his acting credentials beforehand. Prior to his role as Stillfield, Barr had played the role of Harry Munson in the show The Fall Guy throughout the majority of the ’80s. However, the actor’s departure from Designing Women in 1991 saw him transition into a directorial role, with his final acting role coming in 1994’s Temptation. In 2017, Barr directed Site Unseen: An Emma Fielding Mystery.
George Newbern As Payne McIlroy – Then
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and that was certainly the case as far as Julia’s son Payne was concerned. However, George Newbern’s character was also his own person and did a number of things differently compared to his mother. Although Julia didn’t always agree with Payne’s actions, he was still very much a fan favorite. Even when the character moved to New York City to pursue a career, he often consulted his mother for advice.
George Newbern – Now
Although not many people recognized him before his role on Designing Women, George Newbern soon became a high-profile actor. Landing roles in movies such as Father of the Bride and Adventures in Babysitting definitely put him on the map. Soon enough, the actor made a swift transition from TV to strictly film. However, he did return to the small screen towards the end of the 20th century, starring in episodes of Chicago Hope. Newbern is another Designing Women actor who has also starred in Scandal.
Jan Hooks As Carlene – Then
Would you believe it? Charlene had a sister called Carlene! And she was played by the wonderful Jan Hooks. Although she was a late addition to the cast, Hooks gave her all during the last few seasons of Designing Women. After Charlene moved to England, Carlene stepped in to fill the void. Although not as business-savvy as her sister, Carlene was a pleasant character in the office and ultimately wanted to pursue a career in the music industry.
Jan Hooks – Now
With roles on Saturday Night Live and PeeWee’s Big Adventure, Jan Hooks had the necessary credentials to make a name for herself on Designing Women. After the show was canceled, Hooks carried on adding to her resume, starring in the sitcom 3rd Rock From the Sun during the late ’90s. Also, the actress delved into the world of animation, having a voice role in The Simpsons. Sadly though, she passed away in 2014, four years after her last role in 30 Rock.
Annie Potts As Mary Jo Shively – Then
There was no doubt that Annie Potts, who played the show’s lead designer, Mary Jo Shively, was a force to be reckoned with. After a divorce that occurred prior to the events of the show, Mary Jo tries to get her life back on track.
Annie Potts – Now
Ever since her time on Designing Women came to an end, Annie Potts has had a pretty fruitful time, both on the big screen and the small one. With a heavy hand to play in the Ghostbusters movie series, Potts was also a key figure in the ’90s show Love & War. In recent times, Potts has had appearances in shows such as GCB, which had a fairly short run. However, it is her heartwarming role as Meemaw in the Big Bang Theory spin-off Young Sheldon that the new generation will recognize her from.
Sheryl Lee Ralph As Etienne Toussant Bouvier – Then
Sheryl Lee Ralph had plenty of reasons to be confident about her casting as Etienne Toussant Bouvier. After winning a Tony Award for her performance in the Broadway show Dreamgirls, Ralph was ready to break through into the world of TV. It was revealed that Anthony had actually married Etienne by accident during a trip to Las Vegas! Despite this, Etienne was determined to make things work for her family. At any rate, she was a worthy inclusion to the cast.
Sheryl Lee Ralph – Now
There is no doubt that even today Sheryl Lee Ralph is very busy. It seems like the talented star always manages to incorporate music into her work, whether it be on the Broadway-themed show Smash when she is the on-screen mother of Jennifer Hudson’s character. In recent times, Ralph has starred on shows such as Ray Donovan, Claws, MacGyver, and The Quad, to name a few. Not to mention, she also recently starred in the musical film Revival!
Judith Ivey As Bonnie “BJ” Poteen – Then
After Delta Burke left Designing Women in the fifth season, Judith Ivey was brought on to essentially be her replacement. However, there was no doubt that Ivey’s character Bonnie Jean “BJ” Poteen added something completely new to the show. The character ends up saving the design company from going bankrupt. Nevertheless, BJ establishes a rapport with the co-workers. Despite being a millionaire, BJ is determined to act as if she is just like everyone else in the company.
Judith Ivey – Now
Outside of film and TV, Judith Ivey has also had a respectable career in the world of theater. After starring in a number of Broadway productions, Ivey has gone on to win many Tony awards in her time. She has starred in TV shows such as The 5 Mrs. Buchanans and Buddies. And although the number of TV roles Ivey had has begun to dwindle over the years, she continued to grace the big screen. Most recently, Ivey has appeared in a few episodes of The Accidental Wolf.
Priscilla Weems As Claudia Marie – Then
Just a few years after she first joined the entertainment industry, Priscilla Weems landed the role of Claudia Marie, the angsty teenage daughter of Mary Jo. With so many boyfriends coming in and out of the house, Claudia Marie was never impressed with her mother’s choice of men. However, after Claudia Marie left home to further her education at college, her relationship with her mother became a lot more stable and they definitely argued a lot less.
Priscilla Weems – Now
Unlike most of the stars of Designing Women who went on to do even bigger and better things, Priscilla Weems decided to shift her attention to her family life. However, her marriage didn’t stand the test of time and, as a result, she needed to rethink her life. In the end, Weems decided to return to the world of entertainment. There is no denying though that the talented actress has struggled to get back into TV. She has recently tried for a career in country music.
Ray McKinnon As Dwayne Dobber – Then
One of the later arrivals to the cast of Designing Women, Ray McKinnon portrayed the ex-husband of Carlene. There was no doubt that Dwayne Dobber was a problematic individual whose poor treatment of Carlene resulted in their divorce to begin with. Despite thinking so highly of his skills as a car salesman, Dobber has a lot of work to do as a good human being. It was clear that Carlene dodged a bullet after severing ties with McKinnon’s character.
Ray McKinnon – Now
You might be thinking to yourself, “Wow, I recognize that face from somewhere.” That’s probably because Ray McKinnon has been in a variety of famous TV shows and films over the years. With notable roles in shows such as Sons of Anarchy and Deadwood, McKinnon’s acting resume has only become more impressive with time. With a string of roles in movies such as Mud, The Last Ride, and even 2011’s remake of Footloose, McKinnon has even dabbled behind the camera.
Gerald McRaney As Dash Goff – Then
Showrunners work hard to ensure that on-screen relationships have the best chemistry imaginable. However, sometimes the oddest off-screen couples can be born from a large ensemble cast such as the one on Designing Women. Take Gerald McRaney, for example, who ended up dating co-star Delta Burke. He played writer Dash Goff, an ex-husband of Suzanne. According to Goff, the only reason that he stayed with her as long as he did was to become a better writer.
Gerald McRaney – Now
There is no denying that a large number of Gerald McRaney’s roles in his long career have been that of antagonists. Around the time of Designing Women, McRaney also starred in the show Simon & Simon which ran towards the late-’80s. Ever since getting his first big break in the ’70s, McRaney has consistently been a hit both in TV and film. In recent times, the seasoned actor has appeared on hit shows such as Netflix’s House of Hards and This Is Us.
Alice Ghostley As Bernice – Then
One of the only three performers to star in the show for the entirety of its run was Alice Ghostley, who played the eccentric Bernice. It was Perky, the mother of Suzanne and Julia, who brought Bernice on board in the beginning. However, it seemed like the cooky lady’s great sense of humor was a gift and a curse in the workplace. Despite this, she was often a mother figure for the younger women at the company. She was certainly one of the most popular characters on the show.
Alice Ghostley – Now
An established star since the ’50s, Alice Ghostley would go on to remain a consistent face in the world of TV. With her performance as Bernice on Designing Women undoubtedly being one of her most iconic roles, Ghostley swiftly moved onto another classic show in the form of Evening Shade. It was on this particular series that she played the role of Irna Wallingford for a couple of years. Sadly, in 2007, Ghostley passed away, a year before her final TV role in Mothers and Daughters.
It has been over three decades since Designing Women first aired on CBS. With such a large cast, predominantly consisting of compelling female characters, this begs the question; where are the stars of the popular sitcom today?
Dolly Parton As Herself – Then
When the question comes up of who the biggest name to ever be on Designing Women may have been, Dolly Parton is always the name at the top of the list. The country legend was a huge fan of the show and was determined to appear on it at least once in her life. When New Year’s Eve came around, she starred in a special episode, appearing in Charlene’s dream. In fact, Dolly foreshadowed that Charlene would have a daughter.
Dolly Parton – Now
What else can be said about Dolly Parton? The most famous name in the world of country music has achieved virtually everything in her 50-year career. One huge development has come up involving the long marriage that she has kept secret for such a long time. After renewing her vows with husband Carl Dean, Parton has since opened up about the troubles she has faced when it comes to balancing her personal life with her busy, professional one.
Patrick Warburton As Craig Coleman – Then
Another recognizable face who had an early career role in Designing Women was the ladies’ man himself, Patrick Warburton. His character, Craig Coleman, appears later on in the series as one of Mary Jo’s later love interests. Despite the natural attraction between the two, Mary Jo was unable to get over the disparity in intelligence between her and Craig, spelling doom to their fleeting romance. However, it was Craig who ultimately made things easy for her, and called it quits first.
Patrick Warburton – Now
Although Patrick Warburton stood out on Designing Women for his hunkish persona, it was his later role on Seinfeld that took his career to another level. His performance as David Puddy put the talented actor on the map and, due to his soothing voice, Warburton locked down a number of voice roles in animation. Most recently, the actor has been the main lead of the popular sitcom Rules of Engagement, which he starred in for the entirety of its six-season run.
Olivia Brown As Vanessa Hargraves – Then
If there was one woman who always stood a serious chance with Anthony over the course of the show’s run, then it has to be Vanessa Hargraves, who was masterfully portrayed by Olivia Brown. However, it wasn’t just Anthony who Vanessa spent a lot of time with. Under the tutelage of Suzanne Sugarbaker, Vanessa was determined to move up in the ranks and give a good account of herself. At the end of season four, Vanessa left the show for good.
Olivia Brown – Now
Many casual fans might forget that Olivia originally made a name for herself on the classic ’80s series Miami Vice. In fact, it was her role as Detective Trudy Joplin that ultimately put her name on the map before she ended up on Designing Women. Following her role as Vanessa, Brown appeared on shows such as fellow sitcom 7th Heaven. However, she was determined to concentrate on family life and took a step back from acting. She recently starred in 2017’s Our Dream Christmas.
Julia Duffy As Allison – Then
One of the biggest antagonists in Designing Women was undoubtedly Allison, who was portrayed masterfully by Julia Duffy. It seemed that every move she made was an effort to sabotage the company. Not only did she not seem to care too much about the state of the company moving forward, Allison had a contingency plan if the company ended up collapsing. She was going to take her share, move out of Atlanta, and open up a new branch of Victoria’s Secret.
Julia Duffy – Now
An already well-established TV actress, Julia Duffy wasn’t worried about finding more work after Designing Women was eventually canceled. It wouldn’t take long before she landed her next role in the show The Mommies, which she was a regular performer in for the first half of the ’90s. And it doesn’t seem like Duffy has pumped the breaks on her acting career at all, with a number of appearances in the show Shameless. One of her most recent TV appearances came on American Housewife.
Jean Smart As Charlene Frazier-Stillfield – Then
One of the more intriguing characters in Designing Women, Charlene Frazier-Stillfield was the Secretary at Sugarbaker Associates, an unsung hero who was often responsible for keeping everything together. Jean Smart portrayed the role masterfully and perfectly captured a small town girl who was, at times, in over her head in a corporate environment. Charlene often batted her spiritual demons, consulting her psychic on a number of occasions. Nevertheless, she was certainly a fan favorite. But what is Smart doing now with her life?
Jean Smart – Now
Working with a close-knit group of actors/actresses can often get intense, and for Jean Smart, those tensions built up into an off-screen romance with co-star Richard Gilliland. This meant that by the end of the show, both Smart and her character Charlene found love. With a number of voice roles in popular animated shows, Smart also had brief cameos on shows such as The District, 24, and Frasier, to name a few. She also had recent roles in Michael Cera’s indie flick Youth In Revolt and the show Samantha Who?
Delta Burke As Suzanne Sugarbaker – Then
Designing Women‘s showrunners got it so right when they cast Delta Burke as the younger, wilder sister of Julia – Suzanne. With the title of Miss Georgia World under her belt, Suzanne brought a lot of charisma and personality to the show. She was often caught up in some funny situations with Anthony Bouvier and, as the show progressed, so did their friendship. However, Suzanne’s regular role on the show became less common towards the end of her time on the show and she left at the end of season five.
Delta Burke – Now
The reason that Delta Burke left Designing Women was due to some creative differences she had with cast and crew alike. These ended up being heavily publicized and left a sour taste in the mouths of everyone involved. With a short-lived comeback show by the name of Delta, Burke struggled to stay relevant. Her last TV role was during the mid-2000s, when she starred in a handful of episodes of Boston Legal. Then, in 2012, Burke enjoyed her last movie role, starring in the flick Counter Culture.
Dixie Carter As Julia Sugarbaker – Then
Although many characters became more and more prolific as the show went on, Julia Sugarbaker was the heartbeat of the show. Dixie Carter’s character was the namesake of the company that most of the characters worked at – Sugarbaker and Associates. Being such a loud, charismatic individual, it made sense that Sugarbaker ran the show. With a strong opinion and an ability to solve whatever problem came her way, Sugarbaker was a natural-born leader and was a mainstay throughout the show’s run.
Dixie Carter – Now
With early aspirations for a career in classical singing, Dixie Carter eventually found herself in the world of acting in the ’70s. She always held music close to her heart, but after finally getting a big break with Diff’rent Strokes, Carter rolled with it. It wouldn’t take long before the actress made the smooth transition to Designing Women, and after that, Family Law. 2009’s That Evening Sun would be the last show that Carter starred in before she passed away.