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Cindy Crawford is known to the world as one of the original supermodels who defined that pivotal moment when fashion models became stars in their own right.
Crawford used her fame as a springboard to launch a career that has spanned over two decades and resulted in an exceedingly successful and trusted brand representing beauty, fashion, fitness and home. The DeKalb, Illinois native’s staying power in a notoriously fickle industry can be credited to her consummate professionalism, keen business savvy and dedicated approach to every endeavor. These attributes, combined with her timeless beauty, earned her long-term, global contracts with the likes of Revlon, Omega and Pepsi.
Crawford was discovered by a local photographer while a student at DeKalb High School. At age 17, she was a finalist in Elite Model Management’s Look of the Year Competition and still went on to graduate as valedictorian of her class. She studied chemical engineering as a scholarship student at Northwestern University before the building momentum of her modeling career took her to New York. Since then her all-American face with the iconic beauty mark has graced over 1,000 magazine covers worldwide, including Vogue, Elle, W, Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Allure.
“At the peak of her modeling career in the 1990s, Cindy was cover gold,” recalls Linda Wells, Editor in Chief of Allure. “She managed to appeal equally, though differently, to women and men as a friendly, sexy, thoroughly American beauty.”
“Cindy changed the perception of the ‘sexy American girl’ from classic blue eyed blonde to a more sultry brunette with brains, charm, and professionalism to spare,” recalls Michael Kors. She walked the runway for everyone, from Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel to Ralph Lauren and Dolce Gabbana and was featured in countless ad campaigns for virtually every top fashion designer, including Versace and Calvin Klein. She was one of the first fashion models to pose for Playboy at the height of her career and collaborated with her friend, the late Herb Ritts, to shoot the photos.
Soon after, MTV came calling, asking Crawford to host “House of Style,” a new show that merged the worlds of music and fashion. With its coverage of everything from the voyeuristic and fun (accompanying Crawford on a swimsuit calendar shoot or shopping at Sears with Duran Duran) to the more serious (anorexia among models), House of Style became a huge hit. It also gave Crawford, who hosted for six years, a voice and a presence beyond the pages of magazines.
Crawford went on to create, produce and star in best selling exercise videos with personal trainer Radu, and with Sonia Kashuk co-wrote “Cindy Crawford’s Basic Face”, a successful instructional make-up book. These projects honed Crawford’s entrepreneurial spirit, leading her to enter into a series of strategic partnerships which have proven to be extremely successful.
The first among them, Meaningful Beauty, is a line of skincare products created with Parisian cosmetic surgeon Jean-Louis Sebagh. Dr. Sebagh, referred to as the “Youth Guru,” is world-renowned for his concept of “Age Maintenance” – preserving the youthfulness of skin with highly specialized products. With offices in Paris and London, Sebagh has spent decades treating some of the most famous faces in the world. The collaboration with Crawford was the first time Sebagh’s products were available to an audience beyond his private practice. Crawford engineered the match between Sebagh’s brains and the marketing expertise of Guthy-Renker, the California-based direct response giant. Meaningful Beauty quickly became one of the company’s best-selling beauty lines.
Crawford is also busy expanding her hugely successful Cindy Crawford Home collection, which grosses over $250m annually in retail sales and includes rugs and accessories. The furniture collection originated as a partnership with Rooms To Go and is now carried at nine furniture chains in over 500 stores in the United States and Canada.
Looking forward, Cindy plans on continuing to develop her home business as well as expanding her range of categories in the beauty industry.
Cindy lives in Malibu with her husband Rande Gerber and their children, Presley and Kaia.