Ask any Nineties guy what they remember of the era, and they'll probably just talk about Pulp Fiction and Nirvana. Ask a Nineties girl, and they'll tell you about one far more important thing: the supermodels. That's because if there's one thing that doesn't go out of fashion, it's unrealistic expectations for how women should look.
Those dream women who paraded their stuff up and down the catwalks were every girl's idol, big sister, and style guide all rolled into one. Alright, so none of us would ever be that glamorous, or able to afford a single item in the Calvin Klein or Karl Lagerfield range, but still. These supermodels gave us hope.
But what ever happened to all those huge names that defined a generation? Where are they now? Can they still walk the catwalk, or is it more of a crawl now? Well, you're about to find out... When you see Kathy Ireland and Cindy Crawford today, you will be absolutely stunned!
Elle Macpherson - Then
The Body. That's what they used to call Elle Macpherson, the nearly flawless supermodel that's been arguably Australia's most famous export, and certainly its most beautiful. Whatever she was doing to her body - diets, workouts, hard drugs, dysentery - nobody cared. The results spoke for themselves, with the kind of figure that only appears once in a lifetime, if at all.
Born in 1964 in Sydney, Elle's luck took a real turn for the amazing when she spent a year in the US before going to university, just "trying to earn some money". That single year she planned turned into three decades of high-profile modelling, becoming one of the most famous models in the world, appearing in every issue of Elle for six straight years and featuring in Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue a record five times. Oh, and she's also the first model in history to appear on a nation's legal tender.
Elle Macpherson - Now
We said that they used to call Elle Macpherson The Body, but that's not entirely true. Fact is, they still call her that to this very day. 53 years old and she doesn't look a day over 30, to be honest. Having said that, she has largely left the runway behind, but not so she can spend her time sunning herself on a tropical island somewhere. She's an incredibly astute businesswoman, and stepping away from the camera was the smartest move she's ever made.
She split from her agency, Ford Models, back in 1994, and since then has represented herself. Not only that, but she turned her name into a brand, complete with one of the world's most popular lines of lingerie, "Elle Macpherson's Intimates". That range alone, expanded and renewed over the years, has served to make her one seriously rich woman. Add to that her beauty products, and we wouldn't be surprised if in a couple more years she simply takes over the world. Not surprised, but very, very thankful.
Kate Moss - Then
Look up the phrase "heroin chic" on Wikipedia and you'll literally find an entry on Kate Moss - that's how influential this British supermodel was on the 90s fashion scene. Wide-eyed and waif-like, she defined a generation of stick-thin, almost anorexic models which is only now starting to fade away. Whatever her influence was on girls growing up in the past couple of decades, it's hard to deny her intoxicating beauty.
Of course, the grungy look and too-cool-for-eating physique wasn't just a look, but a full-blooded way of life. Her parents divorced when she was 13, only a year before she began modelling, and she saw the non-stop partying as a way out of the family misery. Although she would forever deny rumors that she was anorexic and living too fast, the company she kept said it all...
Kate Moss - Now
Up until 2005, Kate Moss looked untouchable. She was a chameleon, going from brand to brand, magazine to magazine, catwalk to catwalk and taking on whatever role was required of her. But then, her life seemed to fall apart. Just as she was dating legendary British mess Pete Doherty, she was dogged by persistent allegations and even charged for cocaine possession over a long two years.
But ultimately she was cleared of the charges, split from Doherty, and picked up from right where she left off. It was impossible for an industry like that to leave behind a magical woman like Kate Moss. With one daughter by an old magazine editor boyfriend, and ties to the fabulously named German aristocrat Count Nikolai Von Bismarck, her personal life is just as fascinating as her continuing work in front of the lens.
Naomi Campbell - Then
English supermodel Naomi Campbell needs no introduction. Since the late 80s, this towering beauty has been the fixture of the catwalk and one of the greatest models of all time. Not a single luxury brand has not adorned her body, and since her debut at age 15, barely a day goes by that she's not found in the glorious spotlight.
Even before she first launched her glittering career as the cover of British Elle, her life was incredible. Her father abandoned her Jamaican dancer mother while she was four months pregnant with Naomi, and in her early life she lived in Rome, training in ballet. In London, from the age of three, she attended the prestigious Barbara Speake Stage School. Battling racial discrimination, she still rose to the top by the early 90s and became a household name.
Naomi Campbell - Now
Although Time Magazine said that the supermodel era was over in 1998, that hasn't seemed to have stopped Naomi Campbell. While she doesn't do that much on the runway anymore, this girl is still featured on TV and print magazines pretty much every week. And damn, she's still gorgeous. Even four assault convictions and a stint in rehab for a cocaine addiction can't take the shine off her face.
She's diversified, too, with a few roles in front of the camera, notably Empire and American Horror Story, as well as being a judge on The Face and putting out her own line of fragrances. On the personal front, she still has never married or had children, although she was engaged to U2 bassist Adam Clayton way back in the 90s. According to rumors, she's currently in a relationship with Louis C. Camilleri, an Egyptian multimillionaire.
Linda Evangelista - Then
Kids these days - at least, those who don't have an encyclopedic fashion knowledge - probably wouldn't remember who Linda Evangelista is. But they really should, because this 1965-born babe is one of the most influential, and most famous, models of all time. In fact, over her long and fascinating career, she's graced the covers of over 700 magazines - holding many records for consecutive appearances.
She's also the one who first uttered that infamous phrase, "we don't wake up for less than $10,000 a day". Active during the mid-eighties and 90s, when the modelling world was at its peak, she was its star performer and earned every penny of her untold riches. So loved was she worldwide, that when she got a controversial haircut - like "the Linda" - every woman in the world followed suit.
Linda Evangelista - Now
Although retiring in 1998 and making a minor comeback three years later, Linda hasn't really turned her hand to many other projects. She knows what she's good at, and hasn't made a million fragrances, clothing lines, and TV appearances like her fellow models. Instead, she's been doing the occasional shoot and inspiring a whole new generation of glamorous ladies.
While her career might be as solid as a rock, her personal life has been quite the rollercoaster ride. She's only been married once, back in 1987 until 1993, but has dated a string of big names then, including Twin Peaks actor Kyle MacLachlan and French football player Fabian Barthez. She had a child in 2006 to a mystery father, later revealed to be billionaire François-Henri Pinault - the husband of Salma Hayek.
Iman - Then
A model so beautiful that her work spanned over two decades. A woman so famous she only needed one name. Iman, born as Zara Mohamed Abdulmajid in 1955 Somalia, rose from being a simple university student in Kenya in 1975 to a global phenomenon in the blink of an eye. She was discovered by an American photographer and dropped everything to move to the US and become a model.
It was a move that paid off, big time. From her first cover photo in 1976, in Vogue, to her semi-retirement from high fashion twenty years later, Iman had a statuesque and simply perfect look that few could resist. She became a trendsetter and style maven, paving the road for the countless black models that have lit up the lens since. Let's she how she looks today.
Iman - Now
Fabulously wealthy thanks to her glittering career and a few smart moves in the business world - including a cosmetic line targeted at ethnic beauty - Iman has played hard and lived hard. She continues to occasionally model and design fashion lines with the timeless beauty she's known for, but she's also stepped back to let other younger women take over this tough industry.
She was married twice before she met David Bowie in the early 1990s, and the pair were married from 1992 all the way up to his death last year. In her later years, she took an active role in philanthropy, supporting numerous East African relief organizations as well as campaigning against so-called "blood diamonds". She might be 62 years old now, but she's still as wonderful as ever.
Helena Christensen - Then
Few will ever forget Helena Christensen's sizzling curves or willingness to bare almost everything as she scorched a trail through 90s high fashion. The Danish-born model, who was discovered after winning Miss Universe Denmark in 1986, was the epitome of the perfect woman. This was a person who looked just as comfortable as one of the original Victoria's Secret Angels as she did strutting up the catwalk for Versace and Lagerfeld.
Her starring role in the unforgettable music video for Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" was just another example of why Christensen was the model to end all models and the legend of her generation. She dated rockstars like Michael Hutchence and lived like a party princess, yet never lost the pulse of today's fashion world. But what about her beauty? Did that survive?
Helena Christensen - Now
In short, yes. To put it more eloquently, as she's aged she's somehow become even more gorgeous than when she first started. She might be on the doorstep of a half century now, but her looks seem to defy both gravity and time. While she's not doing as much modelling work as she used to, her versatility has meant that she's never out of a fascinating job or three.
For example, she's an accomplished photographer with her own work published in Marie Claire and Elle. She's a fearless traveler and has documented multiple trips across the globe. She's followed her South American heritage (her mother was Peruvian) to tackle the impact of climate change in the Andean country, and she's even used her huge fame to raise funds for breast cancer.
Niki Taylor - Then
Some people become models after years and years of hard work. Niki Taylor was born a model. Almost literally: this all-American sweetheart was signed on to a modelling agency by the time she was 13, and won a $500,000 contract just months after that. In fact, after Brooke Shields she's the second youngest person ever to appear on the cover of Vogue, at 15 years old.
All that burden and focus can easily burn out a young and impressionable person, but behind that stunning look and easy smile is a woman of steely resolve, unafraid to get what she wanted. All through her teens and early twenties, she worked hard and rose to the top of the top. Basically, she owned the 90s. In one month alone, she appeared on the cover of all six major American fashion and fitness magazines: Allure, Vogue, ELLE, Marie Claire, Self, and Shape.
Niki Taylor - Now
A terrible car crash in 2001 changed everything for Niki. Her boyfriend at the time was driving when he smashed into a utility pole while trying to answer his cell phone. Niki suffered severe internal injuries including a collapsed lung, and a spine that required two rods surgically inserted to hold it back together. In a coma for six weeks after the accident, it looked like that would be the end of her amazing career.
But Niki was made of much tougher stuff than that. In 2006 she married NASCAR driver Burney Lamar (maybe because he could handle cars better) and in recent years she's hit the magazines and catwalks once again, appearing for New York Fashion Week with her supermodel friends. It's good to see her back and more wonderfully luminous than ever.
Claudia Schiffer - Then
Born in 1970 in a small town in Germany, the fashion world was not expecting Claudia Schiffer's crazy good looks and winning smile to explode their world forever. From the 90s onwards, she was both the face of Chanel and Guess and a permanent fixture on every teenage boy's bedroom wall, a sizzling blonde beauty whose natural and easygoing charm made her the darling of every world she entered.
Like many supermodels, Claudia never set out to be a multimillionaire and icon of multiple generations. Originally she was set on becoming a lawyer, but a chance sighting of her by an agency head, in a Dusseldorf nightclub, put on her a path that she's never looked back for. More than 1,000 magazine covers later, she's still making us swoon over her.
Claudia Schiffer - Now
An eclectic choice of designers and brands to represent - from Yves Saint Laurent to Pepsi - has meant Schiffer has never disappeared from the public eye or gone hungry. At almost 50 years old, teenage boys might now be getting their kicks from other celebs, but she's still the one-woman gorgeous powerhouse she always was, that long blonde hair never letting her down.
She's also successfully diversified into other media, including films and TV shows, and proved to the world that her acting is as good as her profile. From Richie Rich to Love Actually, the German has surprised many with her emotional range and comic timing. And let's not forget those aerobics videos, either. These days, she's ditched magician David Copperfield - who she assisted then married back in the 90s - and has been happily married to director Matthew Vaughn since 2002.
Christy Turlington - Then
The third member of the legendary "Trinity" - the others being her friends Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista - Christy Turlington was every bit the 90s supermodel. Like Niki Taylor, she got started very early, after being spotted by a photographer horse riding in Miami. These days that would get you an arrest warrant, but back then in the 80s, it would net you a superstar.
And what a superstar she was. In the early 80s - between the ages of 14 and 16 - Christy would spend each summer between the school year modelling, and her grounded approach to the art really paid off. She was no diva - she just did her job and let her body do the talking. As a result, she became the favorite and most-requested model of practically all of the designers of the era.
Christy Turlington - Now
The 90s whooshed by Christy in a blur of cameras and costumes, and by the new millennium she had scaled back her modelling output, content with the 500+ magazine covers and worldwide adoration she had achieved. Instead, she turned her hand to activewear clothing lines for women and an Ayurvedic skincare line, based on ancient eastern medicine. Of course, she was successful in everything she touched.
That's not all Christy has done in recent years. This woman has made a massive impact to the lives of the unfortunate, tirelessly promoting women's maternal issues in developing countries and seeking to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother, no matter which country they're from. She even directed her own documentary on the issue, called No Woman, No Cry. Keep doing what you're doing Christy!
Molly Sims - Then
Nearly all of our supermodels so far in this list have been part of the 90s fashion wave, so it's refreshing to see a face that's a little more up-to-date. Yes, the beautiful Molly Sims might have started her career in 1993 when she dropped out of university to pursue modelling, but it really wasn't until a few years later that her star really started to rise.
Part of that is one simple reason: she's not just a model but a crackingly good actress, which always takes a little longer to break into. But once the flood started, it seemed to never stop. Roles in House of Style, Las Vegas, and Starsky & Hutch were matched with five delicious years in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, where she melted at least a half billion hearts.
Molly Sims - Now
What's Molly Sims doing now? Well, pretty much the same thing she's always been doing: being a multi-talented gem of a woman. She's still acting, having featured in such shows as The Carrie Diaries and Men At Work, and she's still modelling, showing off her timeless figure and charming smile with her very own line of fashion, home, and beauty products.
With three wonderful children by her husband, film producer Scott Stuber, there's no doubt that Molly Sims is one busy lady. But her energy seems to be boundless. Even with all the projects she has, she's still found time to be the global ambassador for Services International's Five & Alive program, which address critical health problems facing children under the age of five. We all should be proud of Molly Sims and her extraordinary contributions to society.
Tyra Banks - Then
Now we head to Tyra Banks, a woman whose post-runway fame has so outshone her early career as a supermodel, it's almost pointless telling you where she is now. Because you already know, right? Well, she does still have some surprising recent secrets, but we'll get to those. First, let's talk about where this American beauty got her start, and the foundations of the empire she's so carefully built.
Beginning her career at age 15, Banks shot straight into the dazzling world of fame and supermodelling. She was the first black woman to feature on the covers of GQ and Sports Illustrated - which is no small matter - and was a very awesome Victoria's Secret Angel for eight straight years, from 1997 to 2005. Not to mention her acting career, of course, which by the early 2000s included hits like Fresh Prince, Higher Learning, and Coyote Ugly.
Tyra Banks - Now
Then, in 2003, the Tyra revolution began. Whip-smart and an incredibly astute businesswoman, somehow we all knew that Tyra would be making megabucks. But when she created, produced, and presented America's Next Top Model - which would run for 22 years - she basically took over everything. Author, TV host, lecturer, musician, cosmetics magnate - there's a reason she's consistently on the top of "Most Influential People" lists.
A model's life is usually filled with all kinds of illicit temptations, but Tyra has never taken part in that seedier side. She says she avoids alcohol and has never done other recreational drugs, which let's be honest is probably why she's a raging success and we aren't. That's not to say her personal life hasn't had its demons - in 2009 on an episode of Oprah, she opened up about several past relationships which were emotionally abusive and incredibly harmful to her.
Janice Dickinson - Then
Let's head back now, way back, to the woman who pioneered the glory days of high fashion in the 80s and 90s: Janice Dickinson. Yes, we know that the words "fashion" and "90s" just don't seem right in the same sentence, but when it came to the catwalk, a select group of women really could pull it all off. And at the very head of the pack was Janice Dickinson, the world's first supermodel.
Words cannot describe the influence that the 1955-born New York gal has had on the fashion industry, ever since her debut in the late 70s. Work was tough, and the industry was dominated by assembly-line, blue-eyed blondes. Janice struggled to get a foothold, but by the start of the 80s, she was the powerhouse of the scene - the model's model that everyone wanted to be.
Janice Dickinson - Now
Fast forward 30 years and Janice is still the top of the pack when it comes to the industry she single-handedly molded. Sure, she's not modelling anymore (to be fair, she's 62), but she's still a highly successful talent agent and was a judge on America's Next Top Model for a full four seasons. Two autobiographies she released detailed her wild life as a model, and it looks like it never really slowed down.
Four husbands later, and uncountable illicit affairs with male and female celebrities, and Janice is both looking great and keeping up her public persona. Of course, there's been some troubles along the way. Last year she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and in 2014 she was one of the women who came forward accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault. She's a national treasure, and we can only hope she makes it through these trying times.
Christie Brinkley - Then
If there's one woman who might rival Janice Dickinson in impact on the lady-loving 80s and 90s, it would have to be Christie Brinkley. Where Janice Dickinson strutted her fancy collections on the runway, though, Christie simply seared her way through several Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Editions with a smoking hot body. Janice brought style to the public, while Christie brought the sex.
That's not to say that all she was was a perfect body in a one-piece. Christie Brinkley was also the face of cosmetics brand CoverGirl for a record twenty five years, and appeared in plenty of high fashion magazines too - over 500 in a career that covered over 30 years. Not bad for a woman who said of herself, "I was basically a surfer girl from California."
Christie Brinkley - Now
That surfer girl went on to become one of the most recognized models of all-time, and certainly one of the richest. Of course, that wasn't just down to her figure doing the earning for her. She's a woman of all talents, and in the years since she hung up the high heels, she's worked hard to become a talented actress, writer, illustrator, designer, and photographer. Oh yeah, and a property mogul.
The latest story in Christie Brinkley's long and illustrious life was her relationship with John Mellencamp, the legendary singer-songwriter, but that seemed to fizzle after a year of dating. Meanwhile, Christie's been putting her good name to a number of activist projects, including anti-nuclear campaigns and being a vocal supporter of PETA's animal rights causes. And the best thing about Christie Brinkley? She's a mad keen New York Islanders fan.
Rachel Hunter - Then
While the term "supermodel" seems to imply an international cast of gorgeous women, in reality most of fashion's biggest icons come from two places: America and Western Europe. Which makes sense: that's where the industry, and the biggest readership, is. But every now and again, a pure glow of absolute gorgeousness will come up in the ranks from out of nowhere. And by out of nowhere, we mean New Zealand.
If you haven't already, meet Rachel Hunter. Born in Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city, in 1969, she wanted all her childhood to be a dancer. But a heart and blood condition killed that ambition, so she turned to something else she was good at: looking simply amazing. She got her start in the modelling world at 17, mostly for brands in Australia and New Zealand. But it didn't take long for the world to discover her...
Rachel Hunter - Now
A dizzying world of magazine covers - Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and on and on - awaited her, as well as the true high life of fashion. This was a world of parties and rubbing shoulders with the greatest of celebrities. She got so involved, in fact, that she ended up marrying Rod Stewart (24 years older than her), and staying with him for a solid nine years.
Recent life has seen her juggling multiple TV demands - including Rachel Hunter's Tour Of Beauty on Ovation - as well as being a full-time mom with her two children by Rod Stewart. She's still got time to be one of the most beautiful people in the world, of course, and there's not a magazine in the world who isn't happy for her to grace their pages. Let's face it - at 48 years old, she's still looking fab.
Rebecca Romijn - Then
If there's any model that encapsulates the spirit of the 90s better than Rebecca Romijin, we'd like to see her. At 5 feet 11 inches, with flowing blonde hair, a heart-shaped face, and refined European heritage (her father was Dutch), she could be both impossibly elegant and drama-geek dorky at the same time. You know, in the way that 90s kids wear the most appalling clothes (admit it) until they turn up to their prom looking like models. Well, Rebecca Romijn was that model.
Much of her adolescence was spent in agonizing pain from scoliosis, as a result of her huge growth spurt, but once that sorted itself out she emerged from high school as a peerless beauty. In 1991 she launched her fashion career, and over a decade appeared on every single fashion magazine worth a damn and every luxury brand that could afford her.
Rebecca Romijn - Now
The lure of the modelling world was always strong for Rebecca, but not enough to sway her from her original love: acting. She got her big break in the year 2000, when she was cast as Mystique in all three films of the original X-Men trilogy. Things only went up from there, as she appeared in The Punisher, Ugly Betty, and Eastwick. She's showing no signs of slowing down, either.
Right now you can catch her as the guardian in TNT's The Librarians, as well as doing various one-offs for fashion and cosmetics companies. She's been married to actor Jerry O'Connell since 2007, and the couple have twin daughters together. What else is there to say about her? Basically, she's living the A-list life like she always was. She's deserved it.
Stephanie Seymour - Then
Stephanie Seymour took the traditional route to model stardom. Born to a real estate developer father and hairdresser mother in San Diego, she was doing part-time modelling for local newspapers and department stores by the time she was 16. From there it was just a matter of being a finalist in the Elite Model Management "Look Of The Year" contest in 1983, and her fate was assured.
But just because she does not have some crazy story full of coincidences and hardship, didn't make her any less of an incredible model. Working with Vogue and Sports Illustrated in the early 90s and late 80s, she also has the claim to fame as being pretty much the very first Victoria's Secret Angel - before they'd even thought up the name.
Stephanie Seymour - Now
Stephanie Seymour is still unbelievably beautiful as she nears 50 years old, which raises the question: why would she ever stop modelling? The answer to that, of course, is that actually never did give it up. She's still a model to this very day, working with Salvatore Ferragamo and Estée Lauder, and even appearing in a photoshoot for Gap with her very own children.
Her personal relationships might raise some eyebrows - Axl Rose being on her list of paramours - but a 22-year-long marriage to billionaire Peter Brant has seen her settle in recent years. With four children and constant work, she's a very busy lady and not the party animal she reputedly used to be. One look at her smile and recent shoots, though, and you can see that she's lost none of that joie de vivre.
Yasmin Le Bon - Then
Statuesque beauty Yasmin Le Bon was always going to be a star. Born in 1964 to Iranian-English parents, her unique blend of exoticism and British delicacy was recognized from an early age. She didn't even have to wait to be discovered - she actually began modelling when she was still in high school. It was the only thing that made sense.
Yasmin's big break came in 1987, when she was hired to be the face of Guess in an advertising campaign. This was only the beginning, and once fashion houses realized what a natural beauty and talent they had on their hands, she shot to fame as an iconic supermodel. The 90s were a blur of catwalks and magazine appearances, and the insane luxury that only models can really pull off.
Yasmin Le Bon - Now
Despite the luxury, despite being one of the richest and most elegant faces in fashion, Yasmin has been remarkably grounded through her long career. Consider her marriage to Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon, which took place in 1985. Most celebs last about a year in wedded bliss, max. Yasmin and Simon, 33 years later, are still happily married and madly in love.
Fashion wise, Yasmin still makes the odd appearance on the runway, her timeless elegance often trumping the younger, fresher-faced models. One of the most notable appearances in her career, in fact, came in 2012 when she wore a 50kg - 110lbs - monstrosity for Stéphane Rolland's spring / summer collection. Imagine wearing a dress that weighs almost as much as you do. Now that's dedication to your art.
Brooke Shields - Then
Both insanely famous and famously controversial, actress and supermodel Brooke Shields has had one hell of an interesting life. By far the youngest model of all, she started when she was just 11 months old, in an advertisement for Ivory Soap, then basically never stopped. If you're ever looking for a prime example of child model exploitation, this is it. She appeared in nude photos by the age of 10, played a child prostitute in the movie Pretty Baby at the age of 12, and appeared on the cover of Vogue at 14, still the youngest-ever model to do so.
And yet she remained completely well-adjusted, and turned out to be one of the most scintillating and fascinating actresses and models on the planet. From Blue Lagoon to Friends, Playboy to Gucci, Dean Cain to Andre Agassi, nobody could say that Brooke Shield's life has never been daring. She's done it all, and always come out on top. Even now, 52 years on...
Brooke Shields - Now
There's been some rough patches, of course. Brooke suffered from debilitating postpartum depression after giving birth to her first daughter in 2003, and the extreme depression and mental illness that followed almost led to her suicide. But she made it through, and even authored a book about the struggles that she hoped would lead more mothers out of those dark woods.
But all in all, it's been a blessed life. She's still acting, and will soon take up a huge role in Law & Order: SVU. As a vegan and animal rights activist, she's hard at work saving the critters, and all the while she's surrounded by and caring for her loving family of four with husband Chris Henchy. Like we said, she'll always come out on top, and we're extremely proud of her great accomplishments.
Carol Alt - Then
All-American sweethearts don't get much more homegrown than Carol Alt, a trailblazer in the world of supermodels. Forget about the 90s - born in 1960, she was turning heads well before that, with a career that in the 1980s alone spanned 500 magazine covers and numerous catwalk contracts. Alt is not just all about high fashion, either, with appearances in ads for Diet Pepsi and General Motors.
So how did this dreamy brunette hit the main stage? Like many others, it was a chance discovery. She had never dreamed of being the face of an entire nation, but when she was discovered waiting tables in Long Island, at age 18, she thought she would give the whole modelling thing a shot. From then on, she never looked back. So let's see what she looks like today.
Carol Alt - Now
Never one to slide into obscurity, Alt has continued full steam ahead into the new millennium. She's branched out into a number of different, all successful, side projects, including as a model spokesperson, a reality TV contestant, a TV show presenter, and even an actress. Her appeal isn't just limited to the States - she's also played a number of starring roles on Italian TV.
It's been a wild rollercoaster ride for Alt, but her love life has been more or less steady as a rock. She seems to have a thing for hockey players, first marrying Ron Greschner of the New York Rangers for 13 years, and later dating one of his rivals, Alexei Yashin of the New York Islanders. A decade on, their love is still going strong.
Paulina Porizkova - Then
Only maybe the hardcore supermodel fans among us will remember Paulina Porizkova, but this Czech-born Swedish model deserves far more recognition than the world affords her these days. Even her early life, before she was even old enough to model, is as fascinating as her stellar career on the catwalk. Did you know that she was already famous by age three?
Like modelling, it was a case of being in the right time and the right place. Or in this case, wrong time and wrong place. At three years old, she was left in the care of her grandmother when the "Warsaw Pact", a coalition of communist nations in Europe, invaded her homeland of Czechoslovakia and her parents fled. International media then covered her incredible story as her parents tried and failed to be reunited with her over the next seven years.
Paulina Porizkova - Now
Sorry - we completely forgot about the modelling part, didn't we? Well, that part should be pretty obvious. She was a star. A megastar. A superstar. The 80s brought her the attention of Sports Illustrated, the American market, and high couture in Paris, and the 90s cemented her place as one of the leading beauties of her time, if not all time.
And now? She might not be the household name she was, but she's a damn sight more successful than most of us. She's an actress, was a judge on America's Next Top Model, and has even written her own children's book. That's not even mentioning her most important work, as an outspoken feminist and activist in America, where she's lived for the last decade. We hope that she continues her wonderful contributions to society.
Karen Mulder - Then
So many of our life stories begin with pure chance, and Karen Mulder's is no different. In any other lifetime, she would have just been one uncommonly pretty Dutch girl. But the universe had other plans, and after she chanced upon a newspaper advertisement while on holiday this nobody suddenly became one of the biggest blonde bombshells of the decade.
The ad was for the now famous Elite Agency's "Look of the Year" competition, and after a friend of Mulder's sent in pictures of her without asking, the agency was completely smitten. With looks like that, why wouldn't you be? You couldn't imagine a more dramatic turnaround for Mulder. One minute she was an unknown teenage girl, and the next she was on the runway for the likes of Yves Saint Laurent, Lacroix, Armani, and Versace.
Karen Mulder - Now
Many models will tell you, however, that the high-stakes fashion world will take its toll on a woman. Karen Mulder's story is maybe a little sadder than most, and although she survived the 1990s with aplomb, the new millennium brought fresh troubles. In 2001 she was admitted to a psychiatric clinic after a nervous breakdown, and in 2002 she slipped into a coma from a sleeping pill overdose.
She survived, though, and gradually began to regain her former glory. She embarked on a career as a musician, releasing a critically appreciated self-titled album, and at age 37 she was back on the runway for Dior in Paris. Most models have faded away by then, but not Karen Mulder. These days, at age 47, she's still as stunning as she ever was.
Tatjana Patitz - Then
It's hard to describe a beauty such as German-born Tatjana Patitz. This is a woman who, together with photographer Peter Lindbergh, pretty much launched the supermodel era. Where some models cultivate one look, Tatjana had multiple - a rare photogenic beauty that defied categorization. Lazy sensuality, mysteriousness, intense emotion - she could cover the entire range and make it look easy.
Too often our society is accused of having a narrow idea of female beauty, but Tatjana's incredibly intoxicating allure blew all those preconceptions out of the water. She wasn't conventional, but she was stunning through her power, strength, intensity, and raw emotion. Through both the 1980s and the 1990s, hers was a career that never, ever strayed from massive success. When you see what she looks like today, you will be extremely shocked at her striking appearance.
Tatjana Patitz - Now
When the big designers want to bring back a timeless beauty, Patitz is the first person they turn to. Even after 200-odd magazine covers and a career spanning three decades, the 52-year-old is still in high demand, and still strutting her stuff for labels like Chanel and Jean-Paul Gaultier. And well and truly still killing it, by the way.
Having said that, she's more than deserved a little down time after her role in defining a generation. With a keen interest in nature, animals, and natural beauty, she moved to a ranch in Malibu where she enjoys horse riding and looking after her numerous pets. With a young son and a budding acting career, she's sure to be a busy woman for decades to come. We all should be extremely proud of her accomplishments.
Heidi Klum - Then
Think of a stunning blonde bombshell from the 90s and there's no doubt that Heidi Klum is going to be one of the first women to cross your mind. Born in 1973 in the town of Bergisch Gladbach, outside of Cologne in Germany, Klum got into the modelling industry relatively late, when she was 19 years old and won a national modelling competition that a friend dared her to enter.
She might have started out by chance, a complete outsider, but boy did she make a splash when she first appeared on the scene. Quite literally, in fact - she graced the cover of the Sport's Illustrated Swimsuit edition early on in her career, and she' never been out of our hearts since. What followed was a dream run of magazines, catwalks, and Victoria's Secret modelling.
Heidi Klum - Now
Over the years, Klum hasn't just been a model, but also an actress in her own right - appearing in shows like Spin City, Sex and the City, Ella Enchanted and How I Met Your Mother - and the face of Bravo's Project Runway. With a body that seems to defy any attempt at aging, it's no surprise that she's still active on the scene, and in fact is pretty much the top-earning supermodel of all time.
One of the most interesting parts of her life, though, is no doubt her relationship with singer Seal. This couple looked like they were a match made in heaven, both of them beautiful and kind, and after their marriage in 2005, it seemed like they would be together forever. But that wasn't to be, and after seven years and three children together, the pair divorced.
Cindy Crawford - Then
Cindy Crawford was one of those models who perfectly encapsulated the word "siren". Limitless sex appeal and a playful attitude made her one jaw-dropping heartthrob who lit up both the runway and the glossy rags of the 90s. No other model had ever come close to her cool sauciness, and none have come close since. In a career spanning high fashion and stellar acting roles, she's done it all.
Born Cynthia Ann Crawford in Illinois, 1966, she took up modelling for real after a practical joke by her classmates set up a bogus call from a local clothing store. As it turned out, another clothing store was actually looking for models, and Crawford was snapped up at once. After coming runner-up in Elite Management's Look Of The Year, the stage was set for her triumphant rise in the fashion world.
Cindy Crawford - Now
It's hard to believe that it's been a full thirty years since Cindy Crawford exploded into our hearts. She's still so fresh-faced, so full of love and enthusiasm for her job, that she still keeps doing it. Hell, with a body like that, why stop? Sure, she technically retired from the fashion world in 2000, but tell that to the magazines she keeps appearing on the covers of. She wasn't just the most popular model of the 80s and 90s - she's still arguably the most popular model of today.
Married to Richard Gere back in the 90s, she went on to marry former model and businessman Rande Gerber in 1998, and has been in a happy relationship with him ever since. They have two children together, son Presley and daughter Kaia, both of which have entered the modelling world too. If they're anything like their mother, the world needs to watch out.
Kathy Ireland - Then
When Kathy Ireland first made her debut in 1980, the world never realized what a powerhouse she would become. Yes, she was undeniably pretty, and yes, you could see that she was going to become a well-known supermodel, but few could guess what lay in store. That this cute teenager, best known for appearing in a massive 13 consecutive Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues, would basically rule the world.
Born in Glendale, California, in 1963, Kathy was initially scouted by - you guessed it - Elite Model Management. They really seem to have a knack for these things, and their predictions were once again correct when Kathy went on to appear in Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Mademoiselle. Although she had a solid fifteen years of superb modelling, it would be her next moves in life that would make her truly remarkable.
Kathy Ireland - Now
It all started with a line of socks, sold by Kmart in 1993. With Kathy's name on them, the retailer sold a whopping 100 million pairs of them, and they suddenly realized that this woman needed a whole clothing range for herself. This new collection, of swimwear, activewear, sweaters, and more was just the stepping stone. Out of that was born Kathy Ireland Worldwide, a brand marketing firm which would simply rake it in for her.
How much has she made from Kathy Ireland Worldwide and her branded products? Well, by 2004 it was $10 million a year, and these days it's around $2 billion. Her net worth is estimated at a cool half billion dollars, making her by far the richest model of all time. Cap that off with a 30-year marriage (and still counting) and three lovely children, and it's easy to see that this hard-working woman has really got it all. She's earned every last drop of it.
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