San Diego Fashion model and F Street bookstore heiress Aleksandra Vasic, a high school freshman from San Diego County, set off a bit of media frenzy in England during September's London Fashion Week. At 14 years old, she was the youngest model to ever strut and scowl her way down the Fashion Week runway. That triggered a spate of stories in the English press. In a September 24 Birmingham Sunday Mercury story, lifestyle editor Zoe Chamberlain ripped the fashion industry for its use of unnaturally skinny models and chided designer Zandra Rhodes for "court[ing] publicity (all news is good news, after all) by plonking the youngest ever model on stage at London Fashion Week a few days ago."
Rhodes, a 65-year-old English fashion designer who keeps a home here and has designed costumes and sets for the San Diego Opera, responded to the criticism, "I don't understand what the fuss is about," she told a London Mail on Sunday Fashion model and F Street bookstore heiress Aleksandra Vasic, a high school freshman from San Diego County, set off a bit of media frenzy in England during September's London Fashion Week. At 14 years old, she was the youngest model to ever strut and scowl her way down the Fashion Week runway. That triggered a spate of stories in the English press. In a September 24 Birmingham Sunday Mercury story, lifestyle editor Zoe Chamberlain ripped the fashion industry for its use of unnaturally skinny models and chided designer Zandra Rhodes for "court[ing] publicity (all news is good news, after all) by plonking the youngest ever model on stage at London Fashion Week a few days ago."
Rhodes, a 65-year-old English fashion designer who keeps a home here and has designed costumes and sets for the San Diego Opera, responded to the criticism, "I don't understand what the fuss is about," she told a London Mail on Sunday reporter. "Aleksandra is absolutely stunning. I'm not taking her out of school and models can't choose when their career comes to them."
Rhodes told more than one writer covering Fashion Week that she believed Aleksandra could become "the next Twiggy, or Kate Moss."
Aleksandra caused another stir in London when she publicly ate a dessert. "I enjoy my food," she was quoted in a September 20 London Daily Mail story, "and had a slice of cake to prove it when I turned 14 this week."
The Daily Mail story, by Tahira Yaqoob, was titled, "Should This 14-Year-Old Girl Be Allowed on the Fashion Week Catwalk?" Despite the interrogative title, Yaqoob quoted nobody answering no to the question.
Instead she quoted Aleksandra's mother, Alma Vasic, a resident of east Chula Vista, who said, "I am not worried about her as she is very grounded." The elder Vasic proclaimed her daughter to be "normal and healthy" and added, "She doesn't worry about her weight and knows to stay away from drugs.... I know she can handle being in the limelight."
Alma, who is 50, credited herself with having taught Aleksandra "to have strong principles and morals." It's an interesting claim from a woman who makes her living not by "run[ning] a hotel business," as Yaqoob incorrectly reported, but by running the F Street bookstore pornography empire she took over after her husband and F Street founder Gojko Vasic died in 1993. It's an interesting claim from a woman who, in the presence of her 14-year-old daughter, told a Union-Tribune reporter that she planned to start a second business called Women to Woman with Miss V through which she'll use Tupperware-style parties to sell sex toys to women. It's an interesting claim from a woman who turned out her widowed mother-in-law and fired or demoted her husband's relatives after his death.
The November 12 Union-Tribune story on Aleksandra Vasic said that Gojko Vasic, who was also known as Greg Vasic, died of a heart attack. Indeed, his death certificate states that his death at age 49 on October 11, 1993, (less than a month after Aleksandra's first birthday) was due to "coronary artery occlusion" after years of suffering from "arteriosclerotic heart disease." What the certificate doesn't say is that Gojko Vasic had AIDS. Regarding the last days of his life, Judge Judith Haller of the state's Fourth District Court of Appeal later wrote, "At that time, Gojko had been diagnosed with AIDS."
The AIDS diagnosis sheds light on how Gojko and Alma, a Mexican whose maiden name is Sepúlveda, met and married in the first place. By all accounts, the pair met in the mid-1980s, when he was a patient and she an employee at an alternative medical clinic in Tijuana. There he underwent experimental "cellular therapy" in which fetal sheep cells are injected into the body. The procedure, though still practiced in Tijuana medical clinics, has never been approved for use in the United States. But at that time, the AIDS medications we have now were not available, and presumably Gojko turned to alternative medicine. He didn't find a cure, but he found a wife. According to court documents, the pair married in 1985.
According to the November 12 Union-Tribune article by Jenifer Goodwin, Alma and Gojko, who was a Serbian immigrant, "wanted to start a family, but had trouble conceiving," which isn't surprising given Gojko's AIDS. Aleksandra, Goodwin wrote, "was born after years of fertility treatments."
A little more than 12 years earlier, Gojko, unmarried, in his mid-30s, and the owner of a growing chain of pornography outlets, asked his widowed mother to move in with him. His mother, Milica Vasic, later wrote in a declaration to the court, "[Gojko] asked me to move from Indiana to San Diego, California to provide him with companionship. In return for my moving to San Diego, [Gojko] promised that he would care for me for the rest of my life. As a result of [Gojko's] promise, I moved from Indiana to San Diego...and began living with [Gojko] at 2775 Ibis.... [Gojko] paid for all my moving expenses...including my airfare. In addition, from the time I moved to California until [Gojko's] death...[he] paid for all of my housing expenses, medical and dental expenses, secondary medical insurance payments, food, and clothing."
Milica's statement goes on to list the expensive travel and gifts Gojko paid for until 1985, when Gojko married Alma. Her new daughter-in-law, Milica wrote, "forced [Gojko] to move me out of their house. Although [Gojko] continued to provide for me after he married Alma, he was forced to do so secretly."
After moving his mother to San Diego, Gojko had also moved his sister, Andja Stanojevic, and her three children here. Andja began keeping the books for F Street Corporation, and her son Slobodan Colovic became operations manager. They declared in a petition to the court after Gojko's death that "While he was alive, [Gojko] cared for petitioners by paying for their housing expenses, medical expenses, food, clothing, school, gas, provided them with extra spending money, and giving Andja and Slobodan jobs at [his] business. In addition, [Gojko] gave petitioners cars, trips to Yugoslavia and Indiana, excessive cash gifts for Christmas and birthdays, paid for wedding expenses, purchased appliances for their home, and paid for Tina's [his niece's] college and all her living expenses while at college. [Gojko] made petitioners dependent on him for their livelihood."
After she married him, Alma apparently tried to stem the flow of cash and gifts to her in-laws. "Prior to [Gojko's] death," states their petition, "Alma consistently attempted to prevent him from fulfilling his agreement to care for petitioners. Alma tried to prevent [Gojko] from providing for petitioners by blackmailing him and threatening to publicly disclose that decedent was HIV positive. As a result, [Gojko] was forced to secretly provide for petitioners so that Alma would not find out."
Following Gojko's death, things got worse for his relatives. They wrote in their petition, "Since [Gojko's] death, Alma has fired Andja from her position as bookkeeper for [Gojko's] business. Alma also demoted Slobodan from his former position as operations manager to manager of one of [Gojko's] stores. Alma has filled former positions held by [Gojko's] family with members of her own family."
Gojko's trust, written in the year following his daughter's birth, stipulated that upon his death his sister and her three children would get $50,000 each, two aunts and another niece would get $50,000, and his mother would receive $100,000. But Milica, Andja, and Andja's kids hired the law firm Luce, Forward, Hamilton and Scripps to represent them as they petitioned the court for more. They argued that Gojko had promised he'd take care of them financially for life. That promise, Luce Forward attorneys argued, constituted a contract that did not end at his death. By making this petition to the court, Gojko's relatives risked violating clauses in his will and trust that stipulated they would get nothing if they contested the documents' provisions. Though a superior court judge originally found that a breach-of-contract suit would not violate the no-contest clauses, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the decision.
Alma became the CEO of F Street Corporation and director of the Vasic family trust. Aleksandra grew up to be a beauty. Of her dead father's pornography empire, she told Goodwin of the Union-Tribune, "I'll probably take it over someday."
But right now, there's high school and a modeling career, and designer Zandra Rhodes thinks the porn heiress has got a future ahead of her. "She is very unspoilt," Rhodes told the Daily Mail, "and has a purity about her that is fantastic." reporter. "Aleksandra is absolutely stunning. I'm not taking her out of school and models can't choose when their career comes to them."