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Edie Sedgwick was a socialite and model who became a muse to Andy Warhol in the 1960s.
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"At one of my parents' parties, I saw my father disappear into the bushes, right in front of my mother, with his arm around a woman—just traipsed off into the bushes in front of fifty people," Edie's sister, Saucie, revealed. But Alice never batted an eyelash—at least in public. "She didn't take her frustration and anger at my father's affairs out on the children," Edie's brother, Jonathan,
said. "She'd get allergies and needed special diets."
Edie's parents only grew more distant from each other once they moved to Corral de Quati, a 3,000-acre ranch in California, which they purchased after Edie's father was rejected from the military due to his failing health. He later told the family that he intended to raise cattle there, to support the efforts of WWII. Once they'd settled onto the ranch, Edie's father began to behave strangely, distancing himself from the family and becoming "icy and remote," while her mother became "cautious and reserved."
Once on Corral de Quati, Edie and her siblings were largely isolated from the outside world. She and her sisters, Kate and Suky, were housed separately from their parents with their nurse, Addie, where they were dressed in hand-me-downs and taught how to ride horses as early as 18-months of age. Edie and her siblings were also allowed to run wild on the ranch, disappearing without adult supervision for hours to watch the sun rise or play games they invented.
But once they were home, they were under the oppressive rules of the East coast society life that they had come from. The Sedgwick children were educated in a private school constructed on the ranch, and taught a curriculum endorsed by their father. "We were taught in a weird way, so that when we got out into the world we didn't fit anywhere; nobody could understand us," Edie's brother, Jonathan Sedgwick, would later admit. "We learned English the way the English do, not Americans."
The tension in the house was unbearable, and the children all began turning inward. Suky would later recall how the isolated life of Corral de Quati began taking a toll on Edie as a small child. "[Edie] would be turmoiling over some useless and absolutely nonsensical detail," Suky later recalled. "I began to realize that Edie had times when she wasn't totally herself. She couldn't escape from it either. I knew it wasn't her fault, but I didn't know what the hell it was." Edie would later admit that her father had pressured her sexually at an early age, claiming that he attempted to sleep with her, "from the age of about seven on." She also said that one of her brothers had insisted that, "a sister and brother should teach each other the rules and the game of making love; and I wouldn't fall for that either."
By the time she was 13, Edie was coping with the pressures of her domineering father and her subservient mother through anorexia and bulimia. Sent away to board at the prestigious Katharine Branson School, Edie returned home shortly into the school year after teachers discovered her eating disorder.
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