One of the most interesting characters in Angel of Mercy is not a vampire but a mortal. Elizabeth McIvor has survived countless rewrites and evolutions, and while she doesn’t play a major role in this book, her introduction as a key character is a foreshadowing I rather suspect of more to come. I’ve dredged up a few articles on her and will post them up on this site.
Who is Elizabeth McIvor?
To millions of Americans raised in the eighties and nineties she was America’s ‘Girl Next Door’ and we saw her go from a precocious six year old model to the sixteen year old who sold millions of ice cream cones simply because she licked the ice cream. By then she had tried her hand at acting and one of her signature roles was as Emily in the sitcom, My Mom the Vampire. The show ran for two and a half seasons but in that time it had attained semi-cult status and thanks to her purchase of the rights some ten years ago it has gained cult status. The Beverly Hills home used as the outdoor set was bought by Elizabeth a few years ago and refitted to copy the original indoor set and does a brisk trade in tours. The purchase displayed yet another aspect of the billionaire heiress, control over her image and legacy. It was not long after that she bought the publication Satin Dreams, which had published those unforgettable photos of a nineteen year old Elizabeth wearing a satin blouse and nothing else. The publication was re-branded, McIvor Style and the format was changed to appeal to women in their twenties and thirties.
Turning a men’s magazine with a triple X rating into one for the thinking professional woman was thought to be an impossible feat but McIvor managed it with no small amount of help from the original editor, Harriet Jenkins and John Sullivan, a sports journalist with no editorial experience. The magazine was closely tied in with her fashion chain House of McIvor, which opened in her native Chicago and now has stores the length and breadth of North America with single stores in London, Paris, Rome and Dubai.
To anyone familiar with the McIvor dynasty it was an odd path to pursue. At twenty four she’d graduated from Chicago State university with honors in Economics and Business Management to inherit a third of her father’s $50 billion fortune. Charles died while she was halfway through college and we mourned with her as the papers showed a brave young woman trying to keep a cool demeanor in the face of the media circus. With the breakup of the McIvor empire there were many who thought she would retire from public life and perhaps invest her fortune and of course she’d marry some lucky man. Hopefully a man unlike her late father whose public affairs were a gossip columnist’s dream come true.
Wiser analysts however pointed to her seamless transition from child star to adult star, this along with her businesslike attitude hinted they said of a new beginning or at least a reinvention and in that prediction they were proved correct. Far from avoiding the public eye she has openly courted it by commenting on current political and environmental issues on a regular basis. It has earned her both respect and outrage. One reporter summed it up perfectly.
‘She outrages the elites on the right because her father was one of them but she sides with the poor and the dispossessed and puts her money where her mouth is to make their lives easier. She shows that it is possible to be rich and generous at the same time, it’s that betrayal of the Wall Street ethos that eats at the capitalist psyche.’
Another commentator went further.
‘The thing they hate the most I suspect is that not only is she against their ‘greed is good,’ motto but she’s far more intelligent than them. The Right Wing in America can handle voices in opposition but not if the opposition is more intelligent than them. Even in light hearted interviews she displays a depth of intellect that goes far beyond the trivial soundbites unleashed by her opposition, it shows them up to be shallow and that is something the Right will never forgive or forget.’
Her friendship with another billionaire heiress, Melanie Nolan has also raised eyebrows on both sides of the fence. Nolan was the sole heir to her father’s shipping business, Nolan Enterprises when Sidney Nolan died of cancer in 1997. An accomplished artist, she has links with the LBGT community in Chicago. When she bought the house next door to Elizabeth’s Glencoe residence one of the first things the two women did was tear the back fence down. They have been frequently seen in public together and Elizabeth often refers to her as ‘the other half of me.’ There are those within the LBGT community who see them as a poster couple whilst straight men have other visions of the two beautiful women. Suffice it to say, neither woman has confirmed or denied that they are in a relationship, let alone come out. Elizabeth’s standard comment when asked about her sexual orientation has always been a curt “no comment.” The question for years has been on her blacklist, a colleague of mine was actually stopped mid interview when he asked that question and asked if he wanted to continue the interview or leave.
Her most enduring legacy however has been the McIvor Scholarship Program. This runs every year and a team of talent scouts select two dozen women and a dozen men from all over North America. The audition does not just consist of photo shoots but also written and oral tests in an attempt to find what McIvor calls, “intelligent and focused models.” Once selected they are signed to McIvor Agencies for a period of two years. In that period of time they will not only model her clothes but also become the face for a mutually agreed upon charity. After their two years are up they are awarded a four year scholarship. The program has been running for twelve years and has already produced fresh young talent in fashion, the arts, business, economics and politics. She refuses to hire a model after their contract has expired although some have been hired by House of McIvor as regional managers and designers. However every year thousands of young women and a handful of men line up at their local store for a chance to become a McIvor model. The age range runs from eighteen to thirty five, a unique accomplishment in the modeling world.
I once asked Elizabeth McIvor who she thought she was and there was a long silence, which in media circles usually means you’ve either asked a question on her blacklist or she’s waiting for you to elaborate and put the question into context.
“I’m everything they say I am,” she mused, “out there at least. I’m a former supermodel, CEO of a successful fashion chain, entrepreneur, social commentator and philanthropist but behind closed doors I’m still that girl next door. I’m so normal it’s almost disgusting.”
And that is about as close as we’ll get to the private world of Elizabeth McIvor… for now.
When my stepmom’s plane went down a part of me died, Cat was my world. In her place she left us to her friends, the Grey Ravens. Over the years I slowly came to realise her death was a mere facade. When we were reunited I learned the truth about Clan Grey Raven and her remarkable history. Some people will always love. Some people never lose hope. Some people never die…Smashwords Amazon.com Amazon UK