Also Credited As:Cynthia Ann Crawford
|February 20, 1966|
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Cynthia Ann Crawford was born on Feb. 20, 1966, in De Kalb, IL. By chance, she was discovered by a newspaper photographer who noticed the then 16-year old hard at work during her summer job of sheering corn and took her picture. The photo and the positive feedback surrounding her photogenic talents were enough to convince her to quit her day job and take up modeling. She entered the prestigious John Casablanca Agency's "Look of the Year" contest and came in as runner-up. Debunking most model stereotypes, Crawford graduated from high school as her class valedictorian, winning an academic scholarship to study chemical engineering at Northwestern University. Making a major career choice, she attended only one quarter of school before dropping out to pursue modeling full time. After working for photographer Victor Skrebneski in Chicago, she moved to the modeling mecca of New York City in 1986.
At 5' 9½", with measurements of 34"-24"-35" the well-toned brunette made a huge splash in the New York modeling world, earning the complimentary nickname "Baby Gia," due her resemblance to the late supermodel Gia Carangi. After two years, she was walking down catwalks for the biggest fashion designers and posing as a cover girl for such fashion magazines as Vogue, W, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Cosmopolitan and Allure. She had become one of the first to enter the elite group of original late-1980's supermodels, keeping company with the likes of models Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Claudia Schiffer and Linda Evangelista.
In 1988, Crawford made more history as the first modern supermodel to appear in Playboy. The impressive pictorial led to her six-year stint as host for MTV's "House of Style" (1989-2002) - a show which was cashing in on the new supermodel-as-personality craze. In no instance was this phenomenon more obvious than when singer George Michael, in lieu of showing himself singing his song, populated his video for the 1990 single "Freedom" with Crawford (who was the naked girl in the tub) and her fellow supermodel peers lip-synching their way through the anthem. The success of "House of Style," coupled with that unique mole, provided her a platform with which to brand herself apart from the catwalk pack. In addition to investing in the then-lucrative and high-profile Planet Hollywood chain of restaurants, she marketed several successful swimsuit calendars and fitness videos, as well as nabbing million dollar contracts from Pepsi, Kay Jewelers and most notably Revlon. By the early to mid 1990s, Crawford - through her company Crawdaddy, Inc. - watched her name, reputation and beauty become an industry, unto itself. In the midst of all her mainstream success, the risk-taker Crawford made the bold move to pose suggestively on the cover of Vanity Fair with the "outed" singer K.D. lang. This minor uproar only strengthened her appeal.
At this time, her personal life was also just as titillating. In December of 1991, Crawford married actor Richard Gere after a well-chronicled four-year courtship. Although People magazine named them the "Sexiest Couple Alive," they divorced after three years of wedded (and sexually questionable) bliss. In 2002, she was named one of the "50 Most Beautiful People" by the same magazine.
In 1995, Crawford ventured (albeit unsuccessfully) into the movies, starring with Billy Baldwin in the egregious flop "Fair Game" - costing upwards of $50 million and only grossing $11 million at the box office. The reviews were also less than kind, when it came to Crawford's thespian skills. However, this did not deter her from continuing to act; she appeared in episodes of "Frasier" (NBC, 1993-2004) in 1997, a two-part "3rd Rock From The Sun" (NBC, 1996 - 2001) in 1998, "According to Jim" (ABC, 2001 -) in 2002, and in the '80s New York fashion/party scene movie "54" (1998). The closest she came to a commercially successful acting job were her series of exercise videos. She was named the highest paid model by Forbes magazine that same year and set out on more business ventures with her book, Cindy Crawford's Basic Face: A Makeup Workbook.
Other accolades followed Crawford throughout her peak modeling years and even beyond. In 1997, a Shape magazine survey of 4,000 picked her as the second (after Demi Moore) most beautiful woman in the world. In 2006, she ranked number 26 in Maxim magazine's famous "Hot 100" list. Crawford even ranked #5 on a Playboymagazine list of the "100 Sexiest Stars of the Century." The epitome of supermodel, she ventured into practically every field possible, realizing that the lifespan of a model remains relatively short. Between glamorous gigs, she also found time to devote time to leukemia charities (as her brother Jeff died from the disease).
After reportedly being romantically linked to actors Robert De Niro and Val Kilmer, Crawford finally became the bride of real estate and business tycoon Rande Gerber in 1998. Shortly thereafter the couple had their first child, Presley Walker Gerber, followed by a second child, daughter, Kaia Jordan, in 2001. Except for the occasional modeling gig or red carpet appearance, Crawford was happy to hold the title of one of the world's most glamorous and age-defying mothers.