Cindy Crawford was one of the pioneering supermodels who helped elevate fashion to its standing today. Along with stars like Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford was (and still is, TBH) an iconic “it” girl of the 90s. She was a muse for many designers, including Michael Kors, who once said she changed the image of the American bombshell babe from blue-eyed blondes to “brunette with brains”.
Even though Crawford has retired from the whirlwind world of modeling, passing the torch to the likes of Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner, both who have called her their idol. Now, let’s learn more about her childhood and her unique journey towards international fame.
A horrifying tragedy in childhood
When Cindy Crawford was only 8 years old, her 2-year-old brother was diagnosed with a fatal form of cancer: leukemia. Just a year later, her brother passed away. On the subject, Cindy told InStyle magazine that no one had any idea what to say to you, since society is so “uncomfortable” discussing the ideas of death and grieving. She and her mom both got involved with charities as a response — today, she’s a pediatric cancer research advocate who always appreciates the small moments, and never takes anything for granted. According to Cindy, she thinks this tragedy helped push her to achieve her goals and lead to career success.
Ambition from a young age
Even though Cindy Crawford’s parents were childhood sweethearts, they got divorced and faced financial troubles. Young Cindy saw her dad controlling her mother financially in the form of withholding money. After witnessing this, she decided she would always earn her own living and never rely on a man. As a teen, she earned her money shucking and cleaning corn on local farms, but when she did finally discover acting, she treated it “like a job, not a lifestyle” as she told Marie Claire magazine.
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Modelling discovered through a prank
Who would’ve thought someone would have the audacity to prank this sweet beauty? In 2015, her book Becoming revealed she got a surprise call from a local clothing store who asked if they could hire her as a model. Cindy never thought about modeling till that moment. Unfortunately, the call was made by two other high schoolers, who laughed nearby as she showed up for the interview. Clearly the joke is on them, since she became one of the world’s most popular (and richest) supermodels ever.
Her career started from a picture in a college newspaper
In the junior year of high school, this stunner truly blossomed. When a local photographer asked her to do a shoot for Northern Illinois University newspaper, he followed up by suggesting she find a modeling agent. She went to Chicago and did exactly that and to nobody’s surprise, started getting hired for high-profile modeling gigs.
The class valedictorian
Cindy’s not just about looks — she was a straight A student all through school, and was actually class valedictorian. When she went to Northwest University, it was to study chemical engineering. She got accepted on an academic scholarship. Even though she eventually dropped out of university, she continues to challenge expectations of her to just be unintelligent due to her attractiveness. Her chemistry professor even told her he thought she was in the wrong class, as she revealed in a Harper’s Bazaar interview.
Her mole was once edited out
Crawford is famous for her beautiful mole, but it wasn’t always her signature. She was bullied about it in school, but her mom didn’t let her get it removed, since they didn’t know what the scar would look like. It was edited out of photos, and agencies told her she needed to get it removed. Little did they know, this mole would become totally iconic, and set her apart from the rest of the supermodel crowd. Talk about a lucky beauty mark!
One career-defining moment
This trend-setter once said to the Daily Record that the “highlight” of her career was the moment when all the supermodels (Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, and Cindy Crawford) came out for a Versace show and walked to the George Michael song which they had just starred in the music video for. “That moment defined supermodel”, according to Crawford, and it’s true. This was the pinnacle of a new era, and the peak of these ladies’ careers.
Plenty of lessons from her ex Richard Gere
These two weren’t married a long time — they divorced in 1995 after four years only. But she said that the brief marriage did teach her lots about fame, as well as “a lot of personal things” that helped contribute to her growth. She didn’t say exactly what she learned from it, but that the relationship didn’t work out since they were never friends before dating. When she started to “grow into herself” the relationship became difficult. Since then, she’s learned to approach romance without compromising her own identity, which is a skill we all need to develop.
True love with Rande Gerber
All the lessons she learned from Gere were then applied to her new love with Rande Gerber, which is still thriving to this day. They were first friends, but married in 1998. She told People that she comes from a more traditional aesthetic of interior design, while she describes Rande’s taste as a “contemporary thing.” The two kept clashing on different styles, but eventually learned compromise, and now their dual aesthetic has paid off. I mean, just look at their home on IG.
She always wanted to be a mom
Cindy Crawford has always had a maternal vibe, and a desire to become a mother. She shares two children with Rande Gerber. Presley, and the more famous Kaia, who looks like her complete doppelgänger. Seriously, it’s like they went back in time! Cindy always knew that starting a family meant sacrificing certain things, and also had to adjust her own insecurities. Today, she never voices negative comments about her body, even in moments of low self-esteem. Way to teach the kiddos confidence and self-love, mom!
She became a body image champ
While her body wasn’t always the most realistic or attainable, Cindy Crawford has always been into fitness. But over time, her passions have evolved. Today, she sees fitness and her body in a different way. Today, she’s focusing on staying healthy instead of obsessing about how her body looks, and works out when she can. She claims she’s happier with her body now more-so than her active modeling days, which makes sense.
She’s embraced Instagram, but social media still confuses her
In the 90s, there was no social media. Even the internet was new. Still, today she’s managed to snag millions of followers, but doing so has involved a mental adjustment for Crawford. Her daughter, fellow model Kaia Gerber, helps her with captions and photos. Still, she admits that she’ll never be as IG savvy as her kids.
From supermodel to businesswoman
It’s clear that this woman really can do it all, and has no shortage of ambitions. Previously, models as entrepreneurs was an unheard of concept. But she challenged the norm with her fitness videos and furniture line. She might not be a chemical engineer, but today, her empire has expanded yet again with a skincare brand called Meaningful Beauty.
Cindy has aged with total grace
Some celebs have gone down a plastic surgery black hole, but Cindy still has her natural crows line and puffiness, which makes her more realistic for other aging women. She admits to NewBeauty that she knows she doesn’t look the same as when she was 20, and even though signs of aging are popping up, she doesn’t let it get to her.