Claudia Schiffer (born 25 August 1970) is a German model and occasional actress, who reached the peak of her popularity during the 1990s, initially due to her resemblance to Brigitte Bardot. Schiffer is one of the world’s most successful models, having appeared on over 500 magazine covers. Forbes estimated her net worth at about $55m.
Schiffer was born in Rheinberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany, a small town 15 km northeast of Duisburg. She is the daughter of Gudrun and Heinz Schiffer, a lawyer. She has two brothers, Stefan and Andreas, and one sister, Ann Carolin.
Schiffer said that she was popular in high school, but felt socially overshadowed by the other girls in her class. She has revealed that because she was so tall, she became very shy and did not want to be noticed. She was also subjected to jealousy by others as she came from a wealthy family that was well-known locally. Schiffer became fluent in English and French.
She originally wanted to become a lawyer and used to work in her father’s law firm. She later dropped these aspirations when, in October 1987 at seventeen, she was spotted in a nightclub in Düsseldorf by Michel Levaton, the boss of Metropolitan Model Agency who signed her up to become a model.
She completed her education and then began to work as a model. She flew out to Paris for a trial photo shoot and soon after she appeared in the cover of French Elle, after being well received in Paris. After several other magazine appearances, she quickly achieved “supermodel” status when she was selected by Karl Lagerfeld to become the new face of Chanel. Schiffer went on to become world-famous, recognizable with her blue eyes, blonde hair and tall figure, standing at approx. 5 ft 11 in.
In the early 1990s, she starred in highly publicised Guess? jeans adverts in North America which created essential publicity for Schiffer. Paul Marciano said in E! Forbes Top 15 Supermodel Beauties Who Made Bank, “Guess name became really much more known around the world because [of] Claudia”. Soon after appearing in the campaigns, her name was launched worldwide, appearing on five magazine covers in the United States and seven covers around Europe. Schiffer joined Thomas Zeumer’s Metropolitan Models and was contracted to model for Revlon. She also became involved in modelling for several catalogues. Schiffer has done catwalk modeling for Versace, Jill Sander, Dolce & Gabbana, Ralph Lauren and Valentino. Schiffer was the first model to make the covers of Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, The New York Times and People. She has also appeared many times on covers of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Tank Magazine and Time.
Schiffer has also been the face of Spanish clothes store, Mango and Accessorize, where she had her ears pierced especially for her Autumn/Winter 2006 Accessorize advertising campaign in 2006. Schiffer still holds a contract with L’Oréal and Ebel watches, and her billboard picture for Kenar has also hung over millions of tourists at Times Square. Since 1990, she has created a swimsuit calendar each year which she stars in and designs herself.
Schiffer later appeared in advertisements for Pepsi, and has danced with a cartoon version of Mickey Mouse in advertisements promoting Fanta for an estimated $2 million. From her appearances in a 1998 Citroën advertisement, she earned a reputed £3 million. Karl Lagerfeld filmed her for a Dom Perignon campaign, some ten years after her first appearances in Chanel adverts.
She is signed to several agencies, including 1/One Management in New York City, Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment in London for her non modelling interests, and her mother agency ‘Model Management’ in Hamburg.
Schiffer has appeared in a number of films and music videos. Her first appearance in film was in the children’s movie Richie Rich in 1994 and then starred opposite Dennis Hopper and Matthew Modine in The Blackout. She went on to appear in Friends & Lovers and Black and White in 1999, In Pursuit and Life Without Dick in 2001, and then Love Actually in a semi-cameo role. Schiffer has made several other cameo appearances in films, including Ben Stiller’s Zoolander in 2001.
Schiffer has appeared on several talk shows and sitcoms, such as Larry King Live, The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Dharma & Greg and Arrested Development. She was also in boyband Westlife’s music video for “Uptown Girl”, and made a cameo in Bon Jovi’s video for “Say It Isn’t So”.
She has released four exercise videos, entitled Claudia Schiffer’s Perfectly Fit, which were successful and reached the bestsellers list. Schiffer has hosted the French Fashion Awards and the World Music Awards in Monaco.
With fellow models Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, and Elle Macpherson, Schiffer was joint owner of a chain of restaurants called the Fashion Café in 1995. Schiffer remains a prominent figure in German society and helped present and carry the trophy with Pelé during opening ceremonies at the 2006 World Cup. She also presented Prince William with a polo trophy in 2002.
When talking about the model profession at present, she said: “Supermodels, like we once were, don’t exist any more.” She has said that Gisele Bündchen was the only person who comes close to earning the supermodel title.
Schiffer dated magician David Copperfield for about five years from 1994 until 1999. They first met in 1993 at one of Copperfield’s stage shows, where he invited her on stage to take part in his ‘Flying’ illusion, and he then subsequently sawed her in half during a joint appearance on German television. Throughout their relationship, she often joined Copperfield in his stage shows as a “special guest assistant” in a number of illusions, including being levitated, guillotined and sawed in half. Following the end of her relationship with Copperfield, she had a relationship with Tim Jefferies.
On 25 May 2002, she married the film producer Matthew Vaughn in Suffolk. Instead of an engagement ring, Vaughn bought her a tortoise. On her wedding day, many journalists and 200 onlookers gathered to see her in her wedding dress. She was married in St. George’s church in the village of Shimpling. The wedding reception was held at Schiffer’s Elizabethan mansion.
Schiffer and Vaughn have three children: son Caspar Matthew Drummond (born 30 January 2003, Westminster, London), daughter Clementine Drummond (born 11 November 2004, Westminster), and a second daughter, Cosima Violet (born 14 May 2010). The family lives in London. During her spare time, Schiffer enjoys horse riding, painting, playing tennis and skiing.