— With the sudden fame of the “Hot Felon” and Axelle Desiegelaere, the Belgian soccer fan who landed a L’Oreal modeling contract after photos of her cheering at the World Cup went viral, it may be a fitting time to look back at other famous faces whose modeling careers came about by chance.
A 22-year-old Pamela Anderson was scouted after being featured on the Jumbotron at a B.C. Lions football game wearing a cutoff Labatt’s Beer t-shirt. She attracted so much attention that Labatt eventually hired her as a spokesmodel before Anderson began her famous Playboy career.
Gisele Bundchen was discovered at the age of 14 while eating at McDonald’s on a school field trip to Sao Paolo. At 16 she appeared on the cover of a Brazilian teen magazine.
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Cindy Crawford got her start when a passing newspaper photographer took a picture of her as she pollinated corn on a farm in Illinois. The picture received so much positive feedback that Crawford then entered John Casablanca’s “Look of the Year Contest” in 1982, which launched her career.
Kate Moss was discovered at the age of 14 at JFK airport in New York City. Moss appeared on the cover of a British magazine a year later.
Eleven-year-old Natalie Portman was eating at a Long Island pizzeria when a Revlon talent scout spotted her. The young Portman soon decided she would rather pursue a career in acting.
Cindy Crawford, in full Cynthia Ann Crawford, (born February 20, 1966, DeKalb, Illinois, U.S.), American fashion model and television personality who first gained fame in the 1980s and was among the first “supermodels.”
Crawford grew up in DeKalb, Illinois, near Chicago, where her father worked as an electrician and her mother was employed as a bank teller. In 1982, while working during the summer detasseling corn on a nearby farm, she was spotted and photographed by a local news photographer. The following year she entered the Look of the Year modeling contest (later renamed Elite Model Look) held by Elite Model Management, one of the largest modeling agencies in the world. Her status as a finalist secured her professional representation, which quickly generated modeling assignments. In 1984 Crawford graduated as class valedictorian from DeKalb High School and began pursuing a degree in chemical engineering at Northwestern University on an academic scholarship. She found it increasingly difficult, however, to juggle school and modeling, and in 1985 she dropped out of college to model full time.
In 1986 Crawford relocated to New York City to pursue a professional modeling career. Touted as “Baby Gia” in reference to her resemblance to the late top fashion model Gia Carangi, Crawford immediately secured work. Her big break came when she was chosen as the cover model for the August 1986 issue of Vogue, the leading fashion magazine, whose decision not to airbrush out the beauty mark above her upper lip—which many industry professionals deemed a flaw—set a new industry standard and ensured her eventual trademark.
Crawford’s intelligence, down-to-earth demeanour, and athletic, full-bodied physique earned her a rare cross-gender appeal. She became the first modern fashion model to appear nude in the men’s magazine Playboy (July 1988) and was chosen to host the fashion television show House of Style (1989–95), which held a 50 percent male audience.
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In 1989 Crawford signed a four-year, multimillion-dollar contract with Revlon, which gained her international recognition. She was subsequently featured with fellow models Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Tatjana Patitz on the cover of British Vogue (January 1990). The grouping of several top models on a single cover attracted significant attention, and the models were chosen to again appear together in the pop singer George Michael’s Freedom ’90 music video. Gianni Versace, then a top fashion designer, in turn hired Crawford, Turlington, Evangelista, and Campbell to simultaneously walk the runway to the video at his couture show (1991), eliciting a standing ovation from the audience. The monumental event is believed by many industry professionals to have marked the official debut of the “supermodel”—a top fashion model who appears simultaneously on the covers of the world’s leading fashion magazines and is globally recognized by first name only. Later that year, Crawford wed Hollywood actor Richard Gere; they divorced in 1995.
Crawford quickly gained a reputation for her business savvy and is widely considered to be the first model to diversify her career by venturing into multiple industries. She launched her own production company, Crawdaddy Inc., to exclusively manage her career, and in 1992 she released the first installment in her fitness video trilogy, which sold millions.
As the supermodel phenomenon began to rise, Crawford was at the forefront of a small group of models—known in the industry as “the supers”—who became worldwide celebrities, increasingly dominating both the high-fashion runways and the global media. American singer RuPaul captured the phenomenon in the 1993 hit song aptly titled “Supermodel,” which mentioned the year’s top models, including Crawford, Turlington, Campbell, Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer, and Niki Taylor, by first name only. In 1995 Crawford appeared in a major advertising campaign for PepsiCo, Inc., and was named the top-earning model in the world by the U.S. publishing and media company Forbes.
Crawford made her acting debut in the 1995 film Fair Game and appeared in the fashion documentaries Unzipped (1995) and Catwalk (1996). She also authored Cindy Crawford’s Basic Face: A Makeup Workbook (1996).
The late 1990s marked the end of the supermodel era. Crawford again posed nude for Playboy (October 1998) to promote her ABC television special Sex with Cindy Crawford, which examined sexual attitudes in America. The show, however, received poor ratings. Following a partnership of more than a decade, Revlon opted not to renew its contract with Crawford. In 2000 she retired from full-time modeling, having appeared on hundreds of magazine covers and walked the runways of the world’s top fashion labels, including Chanel, Valentino, and Christian Dior.
In the early 21st century, Crawford launched a string of signature products. She also was featured in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition “The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion” (2009), which showcased the models who epitomized fashion during the 20th century. Her son Presley and daughter Kaia—Crawford’s children with her second husband, Rande Gerber—were also notable models.
This is how TopModels got discovered!
by Sanne Beekmans
When you think that beautiful and very successful top-models became models in no-time, I can tell you you’re wrong! Not everyone is lucky enough to be scouted on the street and then asked to become a model.
The following top-models got discovered in different ways, some were scouted on the streets, others got scouted in a market and others tried to be noticed by themselves! Curious about how your favourite model became as famous as she is now? Read on!
Kate Moss, just 14 years old, was discoverd in an airport. She just came back from vacation with her parents when she got scouted. She got convinced to become a model, countless campaigns for Dior, Louis Vuitton, Longchamp and Stella McCartney later: it seemed to be a very good move!
This top-model got scouted at age 14 while eating a Big Mac at MacDonalds! So, boys and girls, next time when you visit McDonald’s: make sure you look at your very best!
There are so many stories about topmodels who got scouted on the street. However, Doutzen Kroes (one of the most popular models ever) got accepted at Paparazzi Model Management in Amsterdam after sending some vacation photo’s herself. Without any doubt, the agency was completely amazed by her appearance!
Ready? Because we have a legit reason for you to go shopping! Adriana Lima got scouted while she was shopping (at age 13!). Two years later, she won Brazil’s Ford Supermodel of the World Search. Don’t ever let someone tell you that you shouldn’t go shopping again!
Russian Natalia Vodianova worked on a market since she was 11. At age 15 she had her own fruit stall, in this way she could earn money for her sisters. However, who would have known that she would be scouted behind that same stall. The smart girl learned English in only 3 months and moved to Paris where she lived the real modeldream!
Beautiful Lindsey Wixson got bullied in high-school because of her ‘doll face’ and the split between her two front teeth, untill she got scouted in the local Walmart by a highly influental scout. Take that, bullies!
Modeling contests made Cindy Crawford as big as she is now. Just applying for them and participating in all different kinds of contests can be life changing!
Top model Heidi Klum got big by a model contest as well! When she was 18 years old she saw an advertisement in magazine ”Petra” for a model competition that was called ‘Model 92’ and surprise surprise, she won!
Since Adriana Lima, Cindy Crawford and Heidi Klum got big by modeling contests, ModelManagement.com would like to give the opportunity to aspiring and professional models to follow the same path with the model contest Fresh Faces!
Fresh Faces 2014
The winners of Fresh Faces have walked the Armani and Prada catwalks in Milan and Paris and have been shooted by Karl Lagerfeld for the cover of ELLE magazine!
For your chance to be discovered by a top model agency, and to win a modeling contract, apply to a Fresh Faces contest in your country!
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Start Your Engines Ladies & Gents, Fresh Faces 2014 Has Been Launched!
How can YOU become a model?
At Home With Cindy Crawford
Cindy Crawford is focused on transitions. Almost 30 years ago, she reinvented what a model’s career could become when she embarked on a spree of entrepreneurial ventures, including fronting a Pepsi campaign and hosting MTV’s House of Style. She followed that with a landmark fitness video and later, a successful furniture line. In today’s cultural landscape, it is a truism that a successful cover girl can become a mogul, but when Crawford blazed the trail, it was unthinkable. Today, she’s still committed to forging new paths. After turning 50 last year, and seeing her 15-year-old daughter, Kaia Gerber, named a fresh face in fashion, the supermodel is scanning the horizon for another new direction.
“For me it was really hard; the idea of turning 50 was daunting. For so long I was the 20-year-old model on the cover of Vogue, or 25 or 30—and then all of a sudden my daughter is becoming that,” says Crawford. “My mother was here for Mother’s Day and I was talking to her about how I change the narrative for who I am at this age. I don’t want to spend my fifties trying to get back to where I was in my thirties. Even though, yes, maybe I would like my skin or my waistline to be the same, I’ve worked hard and evolved into this person.”
Her first evolution began in 1992 when Crawford, unofficially christened the ideal of American beauty after gracing more than 200 fashion magazine covers, embarked on series of fitness videos with her trainer, Radu Teodorescu. The project was a success and had her thinking about what to do next. Crawford displayed an aptitude for choosing projects that, while seeming like gambles at the time, ended up propelling her career to the next level. Knowing how to make those decisions was not easy at first, as modeling is (for the successful, at least) a fairly paint-by-numbers endeavor. “Pretty much, your agent just picks up the phone, then people call you and say, do you want to work for Versace? Yes. Or do I want to work with Revlon? Yes,” she explains. Taking bigger chances—like signing on for House of Style or appearing in Playboy, two big risks that ended up paying off handsomely—was another matter.
“For so long I kept thinking, I just want a business daddy—I kept looking for that person who was going to tell me, ‘You should do this,’ and, ‘You should do that,’” she says. “And then I realized I have to be my own business daddy, because no one knows my brand better than I do. When I started trusting that, I think it just got easier.” The results were projects, whether in fitness, style or home interiors, which feel organically Cindy.
One of the more remarkable things about Crawford is her refusal to stop moving and growing. Last fall she enrolled in a three-day financial boot camp for women at UCLA. The valedictorian of her Illinois high school who left college when fashion beckoned, Crawford wanted to become more comfortable asking the important questions in business meetings. “I loved being in the classroom again,” she says. “It was especially nice to do it with other women. You don’t want to be embarrassed, asking a stupid question, but I think we all felt we were in a safe enough environment.”
Another benchmark of success, Crawford has been happily married to Rande Gerber for almost 20 years. An entrepreneur in his own right, Gerber has successfully owned and operated nightlife and hospitality businesses since he graduated from college. He might even be on the cusp of his greatest success to date, along with business partners George Clooney and real-estate developer Mike Meldman, in creating a much raved about tequila company Casamigos.
The most recent business initiative for Crawford is her skincare brand, Meaningful Beauty. She recently traveled to Florida to shoot her two grandmothers—one aged 98, the other 94—for the line. “My 98-year-old grandmother is still giving her hairdresser a hard time because she has a very particular way that she likes her bangs cut,” Crawford explains. I was asking her, why does beauty still matter at this point?” And she said, ‘I feel better, I have more confidence.’ That’s a cue for all of us.”
That confidence is apparent in the next generation of the lineage. Her son, Presley, 17, has a Calvin Klein campaign under his belt, and Kaia is the face of Marc Jacobs Beauty. “It’s certainly not something I encouraged, nor did I discourage it. I think what I’m realizing, especially now that they’re graduating from high school, is a lot of kids end up doing what their parents do,” she says. “The fact they were interested in fashion shouldn’t be totally surprising. And because they’re my kids, they have an easy point of entry.”
Crawford, who attended Northwestern University on a chemical engineering scholarship, is also well aware that one’s teenage pursuits don’t necessarily foretell a lifelong career. “For my son, I think he’s more in it for the travel—for guys it’s different, it’s a nice finishing school for him,” she says. “For my daughter, she’s seen what an amazing career I’ve had, and how hard I work and how seriously I take it. But she’s only 15, so we’ll see what happens.”
The fashion world her children inhabit is one that has changed greatly since Crawford first broke onto the scene in 1986 with a Richard Avedon Vogue cover. For someone whose name is virtually synonymous with the feminine ideal, she sees beauty as something that is much less narrowly defined than it was in the ’90s glamazon era. “Because of social media, you see that beauty isn’t rare. Beauty is everywhere we look—I think that’s very empowering for women,” she says. “Before we only had a handful of women who were appearing in magazines. Now you can go on Instagram and someone you’ve never heard of, who maybe only has one follower or maybe has nine million—you see they’re beautiful. Sometimes it’s the filter, but I think women are emerging through. I’m no stranger to filters, but women can recognize their own beauty.”
Main image: Dress, price upon request, BAJA EAST, baja-east.com.
- Career and Work,
- Women’s Fashion
Kaia Gerber is following in Cindy Crawford’s footsteps!
The 18-year-old graces the cover of British Vogue’s October issue, showing off her modeling chops and good genes.
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The rising model has become a runway regular over the past several years. But looking at the new cover shots, it’s pretty clear that Gerber’s looks come from her famous mom.
The model strikes a stylish pose in a geometric print dress, a matching headscarf and bold earrings. And we can’t help but notice that Gerber looks like a young Crawford in the stunning shot.
A young Crawford.Ron Galella / Getty Images
Gerber, who turns 18 today, called the photo shoot “the best birthday gift” on Instagram. She also shared several photos from the magazine, including this one where the resemblance between mother and daughter is pretty incredible.
Flashback: Watch Cindy Crawford talk aging in the modeling industry on TODAY in 1993
Feb. 18, 201601:57
The magazine gave fans a sneak peek at the photos, calling the model “the new darling of the runway.”
In her British Vogue interview, Gerber discusses growing up in the digital age and dealing with public scrutiny. She’s become a pro at the whole cover girl thing, too. Last year, the model landed her first solo Vogue cover and teamed up with Vogue Paris for this gorgeous photo.
She also posed for another Vogue Paris cover alongside Crawford in 2016.
Crawford shared a sweet birthday wish and some words of congratulations for her daughter on Instagram, writing, “I’m so proud of the young woman you’ve become! All the best for the year ahead! 😘”
Happy birthday, indeed!