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Westchester Woman Unearths Model Mom's Mental Illness

Rivertowns Daily Voice - 3/29/2018

Carolyn Scott Reybold's glamorous life may have been sidelined by mental illness, but her Westchester daughter helped to reclaim it.

Pound Ridge mental health activist Nyna Giles embarked on an investigation to unearth the lost pieces of her mother's remarkable life story, and tells all about it in her new book:

"The Bridesmaid's Daughter: From Grace Kelly's Wedding to a Women's Shelter -- Searching for the Truth About My Mother."

The book -- co-authored by Eve Claxton -- will be on sale March 27.

Carolyn Scott's early life was like something out of a movie Moving from Steubenville, Ohio to Manhattan in 1947, she got a room at the Barbizon Hotel for women and began modeling.

She was one of the first models at the now legendary Ford modeling agency.

At the Barbizon, Carolyn met a teenage Grace Kelly and the two became fast friends. While Carolyn was appearing in Seventeen, McCall's, Glamour, Junior Bazaar, Mademoiselle and more, Grace was throwing herself into classes at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, pursuing her dream of becoming an actress.

Carolyn and Grace would remain friends through adulthood; when Grace married Prince Rainier in 1956, Carolyn was again by her side, attired in the elegant bridesmaid's gown that would hang in Carolyn's closet for years.

Like many women of her generation, Carolyn didn't wait long to get married and start a family.

In Malcolm Reybold, Carolyn found a steady, traditional husband. By the time Nyna was born, the youngest of three daughters, Malcolm had moved the family out to a big, but isolated, house on Long Island. Carolyn changed with this new life.

The mother Nyna knew became a withdrawn, distant person. Carolyn kept her isolated, convinced that she was ill. Nyna rarely went to school and spent her childhood visiting doctors in a vain attempt to diagnose her ever-shifting ailments.

As Nyna grew up, Carolyn's mental state continued to deteriorate-she was struggling with undiagnosed mental illness. Not until after her mother's death did Nyna learn that she had been suffering from postpartum psychosis.

Had Carolyn's mental illness been acknowledged and treated, the later years of her life would have been dramatically improved. Today, this illness is considered temporary and treatable.

The book has already been receiving praise.

"A poignant and courageous account of a dysfunctional family, with the focus on the author's mother, who was a friend of Grace Kelly and a bridesmaid at her historic wedding," said Donald Spoto, New York Times bestselling author of "High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly."

In telling her own and her mother's story, Nyna wants to raise awareness for mental health advocacy so that no one else has to suffer as Carolyn did.


Nyna Giles has worked in advertising sales with leading media organizations such as Westchester Magazine, 914INC, Westchester Home, Daily Voice, Record-Review and Westchester and Fairfield County Business Journals. Today she is COO of Giles Communications.

She is also an advocate for the mentally ill, having served as a vice president on the board of The Association for Mentally Ill Children of Westchester for ten years. In the spring of 2015, Nyna and her husband, Peter, co-chaired The Mental Health Association of Westchester County's "Mental Health of Westchester 5KRun/Walk - MHA on the Move" event.

Nyna lives in Westchester with her husband, and has three grown children and three stepchildren.

Nyna Giles and her co-author Eve Claxton will hold their first book reading of The Bridesmaid's Daughter in support of the the Mental Health Association of Westchester on April 11th at The Walker Center for the Arts at the Harvey School in Katonah.


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