Cynthia Ann “Cindy” Crawford (born 1966) is a former American model. Known for her trademark mole just above her lip, Crawford has adorned hundreds of magazine covers throughout her career. She was named #3 on VH1’s 40 Hottest Hotties of the 90s. Her success at modeling made her a celebrity that has led to roles in television and film, and to work as a spokesperson.
Crawford was born in DeKalb, Illinois, the daughter of Jennifer Sue Crawford-Moluf (née Walker) and John Crawford. She was discovered at the age of 16 by a newspaper photographer. He noticed Cindy at work during her summer job of detasseling corn and took a picture of her. The photo and positive feedback she received were enough to convince her to take up modeling. She entered the Elite Model Management’s Look of the Year contest at 17 and was the runner-up. The Elite modeling agency in Chicago then started representing her.
Crawford graduated from DeKalb High School in 1984, as valedictorian. She won an academic scholarship to study chemical engineering at Northwestern University, which she attended for only one quarter. She dropped out in order to pursue a full-time modeling career. After working for photographer Victor Skrebneski in Chicago, Cindy moved to Manhattan in 1986; she was signed with the Elite New York modeling agency.
In 1987, she briefly appeared during the opening credits of the Michael J. Fox film The Secret of My Succe$s.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Cindy Crawford was among the most popular supermodels, and a ubiquitous presence on magazine covers, runways, and in fashion campaigns. She was repeatedly and frequently featured on the cover of many magazines, including: Vogue, W, People, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Cosmopolitan, and Allure. A partial count in 1998 totaled over 400 appearances. Crawford also appeared in many fashion campaigns during her career, including those for Gianni Versace, Escada, Revlon, Ink. She has also worked for Omega, Maybelline, and Clairol.
In 1990, Cindy appeared in the video for George Michael’s “Freedom ’90” alongside other models like Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz and Naomi Campbell. She also played the lost love of Jon Bon Jovi in the video for his 1994 version of “Please Come Home For Christmas.”
In 1992, Cindy – through GoodTimes Home Video and her company Craw Daddy Productions – made an exercise video with Radu Teodorescu named Cindy Crawford: Shape Your Body; although criticized by some for being unsafe, it was hugely successful and led to two equally lucrative followups, Cindy Crawford: The Next Challenge in 1993 (again with Radu) and Cindy Crawford: A New Dimension in 2000 (the latter, made with fitness expert Kathy Kaehler and produced not long after Cindy gave birth to her first child, was aimed at new mothers getting back into shape). In 2001 Cindy also made a shorter fitness video aimed at children, Mini-Muscles with Cindy Crawford and the Fit-wits, an animated production featuring the voices of Cindy (who also appears at the beginning in live action), Radu and Kobe Bryant.
The inaugural issue of George, a short lived political magazine created by John Kennedy Jr. in the 1990s, featured Crawford dressed like George Washington on the cover. In 2005, The American Society of Magazine Editors listed it as the 22nd best magazine cover of the last 40 years.
Crawford is just over 5 feet 9 inches tall, with brown hair and eyes. Crawford’s trademark is a mole (or “beauty mark”) above her upper lip. She is so closely associated with this physical feature that she appeared in an advertising campaign for chocolates featuring commercials wherein she “licked off” her own mole. During the beginning of her career, the mole was removed from many of her earlier modeling pictures, including her first Vogue cover. Her resemblance early in her career to model Gia Carangi led her to being known as “Baby Gia”.
Crawford has also been on TV and in films. From 1989 to 1995, Crawford was host of MTV’s House of Style. In the mid-1990s Crawford starred in famous Pepsi and Pepsi Stuff advertising. In 1995 Crawford broke into movies as the female lead in the movie Fair Game. Her performance was panned by critics– Leonard Maltin commented “In her acting debut, supermodel Crawford makes a good jogger.” The film was also a financial failure, with expenses of $50 million and $11 million takings at the box office. In 2000 she was one of a number of celebrities (along with Victoria Silvstedt, Anna Falchi and Megan Gale) playing themselves in the Italian comedy Bodyguards – Guardie del corpo. In 2001, she costarred as part of an ensemble cast in The Simian Line. Again the film was not successful or critically acclaimed, but Crawford’s acting was not criticized. She has had several other minor acting jobs over the years.
In July 1988, she posed nude for Playboy magazine in a shoot by photographer Herb Ritts. In October 1998, Crawford returned to the pages of Playboy for a second nude pictorial, again taken by Ritts.
Crawford has consistently ranked highly on lists of the world’s sexiest people. She was ranked number 5 on Playboy’s list of the 100 Sexiest Stars of the 20th century. A 1997 Shape magazine survey of 4,000 picked her as the second (after Demi Moore) most beautiful woman in the world. In 2002, Crawford was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People by People magazine. Even in her forties she claimed #26 in the 2006 Hot 100 issue of Maxim magazine.
Fashion designer Michael Kors summed up her impact: “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.”
Crawford quit modeling in 2000. She continues to provide celebrity endorsement for a variety of projects. In 2005, Crawford created a line of beauty products with Dr. Jean-Louis Sebagh called Meaningful Beauty for Guthy-Renker. Crawford has admitted to regularly receiving certain cosmetic procedures, including Botox and vitamin injections. She first saw a plastic surgeon at the age of 29.
In 2005, Crawford launched a new line of furniture under the “Cindy Crawford Home Collection” name. This collection is manufactured by HM Richards Inc., and is sold through many retailers including Art Van Furniture and Rooms To Go. She assisted in the creation of the line by directing the designers to include certain features, colors, or styles that fit the needs of families or reflected her own tastes. She also has a furniture line with Raymour & Flanigan and launched another home goods line with J. C. Penney in late 2009.
Crawford was married to actor Richard Gere between 1991 and 1995; although they had no children, she cited him as one of the more influential people in her life (after her parents). She has been married to Rande Gerber since May 29, 1998, with whom she has two children, Presley Walker (born July 2, 1999) and Kaia Jordan (born September 3, 2001). She currently resides in Malibu, California.
When Crawford was 10 years old, her younger brother Jeff – whom she continues to praise as “the fourth most influential person in my life” – died of leukemia. Since becoming a model, Crawford has made childhood leukemia a focal point of her charity work, donating proceeds of her calendars to medical research. She is also an honorary board member of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.
In 2007, she became an official supporter of the Ronald McDonald House Charities and is a member of their celebrity board, called the Friends of RMHC. Crawford is on the Honorary Committee of the California Wildlife Center.
She is a supporter of PFLAG.