People PRIME MAGAZINE — 29 April 2016
Cindy Crawford at 50: life as beautiful as ever

Story by Deborah Wilker

City & Shore PRIME

Interview by Booth Moore

Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic

When Cindy Crawford and late-night host James Corden recreated her 1992 Just One Look Pepsi commercial for his post-Super Bowl show in February, it was apparent the two were playing for laughs.

Crawford, dressed in the identical skinny white tank and denim cut-offs she had worn 24 years earlier, and the paunchy Corden — sporting the same get-up — sauntered over to the soda machine, and made a little comedy magic.

But what wasn’t so apparent to many viewers was just how they made time stand still for one of America’s most iconic beauties. Or could it be that Cindy Crawford — then just days away from her 50th birthday— really does look almost exactly as she did more than two decades earlier?

As it turned out, she does. The veteran fashion model, who has spoken openly in recent months about “retiring” — then backpedaled, saying she’ll keep her hand in things if the right opportunities come along — needn’t concern herself at all with keeping pace. At 50, she continues to set the bar for timeless graceful appeal, accomplished it seems with an active life, gentle work outs, a simple skin-care routine and a classic wardrobe.

Crawford has been a pacesetter for decades. Years ago it was her curves that brought a more athletic body-type into vogue. And her role hosting the MTV series House of Style helped move fashion into the realm of pop culture.

As a supermodel in the 1980s and ’90s, she smiled back from thousands of magazine covers, working with the world’s most famous photographers. She appeared in music videos, Prince named a song after her, she was on the cover of Playboy twice, and she collaborated with some of the biggest labels in the business, including Versace and Chanel, paving the way for the model-as-brand, by launching workout videos, the Cindy Crawford Home furniture collection and her own skin care line, Meaningful Beauty. And she did it all while managing to stay out of trouble, and true to her down-to-earth Illinois roots.

Today, Crawford is more Malibu mom than mega model, more comfortable in jeans than haute couture. But she’s still in demand by what’s left of the MTV set, appearing with other iconic women in Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood video last year.

Crawford has been married to nightlife entrepreneur and former model Rande Gerber for 17 years, and the couple has two look-alike children who are following in their fashion footsteps. Kaia, 14, and Presley, 16, recently signed with top agency IMG, and appeared in photo spreads in Vogue and other top publications.

We talked with Crawford recently to discuss her book, Becoming, how she feels about turning 50, her kids following her into the business, “letting go” of modeling, and the future.

On insecurity (yes, even supermodels have it)

We’re a culture that makes snap judgments based on how people present themselves. Being a model, not all of it’s positive. When I left school to take modeling more seriously and realized people assumed I was stupid because I was a model, that was hard. But somewhere along the line, I realized it was more about them than me. I got past that, and didn’t feel I needed to tote around a Dostoevsky book just to prove I was smart.

On finding self-confidence

By my age, hopefully you have that inner self-confidence, because that’s what we’re all working toward, that’s the “becoming” part. But I’m the mother of a 14-year-old-daughter who is beautiful and who says, “I hate my eyebrows, I hate my hair.” But I was that age too, and I hated my eyebrows and my hair and my mole. The mole was the thing I got teased about and was embarrassed about, and that set me apart. You have to embrace where you’re different. My daughter, Kaia, didn’t get the mole but my son, Presley, did and he wanted to get it removed. I took him to a doctor who said exactly what my mom said to me: “You’ll have a scar.” But it was good because he made the decision himself not to have it removed.

On high fashion

I had the pleasure of wearing it, so I didn’t covet it. I like nice things and Azzedine Alaïa used to pay us in clothes, so I’ll pull out a great Alaïa leather jacket, and Kaia can’t wait to grow into it. But I wasn’t a collector or consumer in that way. Some women, the one time in their life they get their makeup done is their wedding. But my wedding I wanted no makeup because I got to play dress up every day.

On her children modeling

When they were kids, they just had a normal life. But the thing is, you have paparazzi and it’s a little weird when your 3-year-old is asking why that guy is taking pictures of us. I never really came up with a good answer. But I feel like every girl is a model in her own life anyway now because of Instagram. So even if I said no modeling, Kaia would be modeling because she’s posing for her friends for Instagram. I’m not, like, “move to New York, you’re full in it.” But if she gets the opportunity to do a shoot with a Bruce Weber or Steven Meisel, those are going to be her legends, like I wrote about Avedon and Penn.

On celebrating the big 50

I’m happy, I love my life, I don’t like birthdays. Everyone’s like what are you doing for your 50th? I wrote a book. My husband always wants to plan things for my birthday, and we always end up canceling and having dinner at home with the kids, and I’ll do baked potato and caviar. But I don’t know. The buildup is worse than the reality. That’s what I found at 40. I will feel the same, I feel great. But it’s daunting. [50] is a big number, especially for women. You can’t pretend you’re a girl anymore. You might feel girlie inside but you hopefully are kinda like, this is who I am with my flaws.

On the future

I feel like my life as a model, it’s not that I’m letting it go, because when I’m doing a shoot for my furniture line, I’m getting my picture taken and that’s modeling. But it’s different. The next chapter is the businesses I’m working on…. And I also like championing other people. The beginning of my career, it was like, you’re a model, they say “put this on” and you do it. Then I got to develop my own businesses and projects, and now I like partnering with or being involved with projects that are less ego-centric but still interesting, or that I can add something to because you do learn a lot over the years. Also, my kids will be gone before I know it, so over the next five years I want to focus on helping them.


Deborah Wilker contributed to this report

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