What a half Cintury

The magnificence of (almost) 50 years of Cindy Crawford.

Women's favourite sexual positions revealed
Cindy Crawford poses naked in bed for Sante D’Orazio Women's favourite sexual positions revealed Image Portrait Sante D’Orazio

You don’t get supermodels like Cindy Crawford anymore.

It’s not that Crawford is sexier than Cara Delevingne, Natalia Vodianova or Adriana Lima. But she has the all-American wholesomeness not in vogue on the waif-packed runways.

Crawford recently described her current image as “MILF next door”, so she’s aware time has crept up.

Before modelling, Crawford famously worked as a babysitter and in the cornfields near her home in Illinois – regular, homely, all-American girl jobs. It’s hard to imagine a current supermodel who looks like an alien – Molly Blair, say – babysitting kids for her parents’ friends.

Crawford retired from modelling in 2000 at the age of 34 – a year younger than Gisele Bündchen gave up catwalks. By then, there was a whiff of illicit scandal about her.

During her four-year marriage to Richard Gere from 1991 to ’95 there were rumours they were both bisexual. Even that (seemingly unfounded) gossip has long since disappeared since she married former model Rande Gerber, a pal of George Clooney, in 1998.

“I know people will buy the book for the pictures but hopefully they’ll read the essays too”

Crawford’s life has come full circle and, after her years with Gere, seems as clean-cut and homely as the jobs she had growing up.

She turns 50 in February and in the 15 years since she left the catwalk, the rise of free porn has also shaped the modelling industry. Models now seem to need an extra ‘edge’ to give them some bonus allure – whether it’s shoots showing them as junkies, lesbians or into S&M.

Even in her topless portraits, Crawford always looked as if she’d be happier heading off to a bar to get the first round in before heading home to watch Friends and maybe a filthy footrub if you were lucky. She was a classic studio-run Hollywood-style beauty from a lineage of women such as Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Charlie’s Angels – glamorous, not XXX. And she became one of those recognisable faces someone could draw a vague sketch of flowing blonde hair and a mole above her lip and they would know who was on the page.

Yet, as Crawford’s new book Becoming demonstrates, she defined the polish of Nineties glamour. But then again: Crawford has a mischievous look as she hugs her breasts in the iconic Playboy shot that plays a central part in the new coffee table tome.

Becoming compiles Crawford’s most famous pictures, the ones which helped her sell millions of calendars and become the highest-paid model on the planet by 1995. She’s now worth £65million.

The book also includes life lessons the former model hopes inspire her 14-year-old daughter Kaia, herself an aspiring model. “I know people will buy the book for the pictures,” Crawford said. “But hopefully they’ll read the essays too.”

If you want to buy it for the articles, go ahead. But here are some of Becoming’s finest pictures to tide you over.




Getting out her Ritts

Cindy Crawford holds her breasts in Herb Ritts' famous photo
Ritts crackers Herb Ritts’ iconic Playboy photo of Crawford was responsible for a lot of calendar sales. Image Portrait Herb Ritts

Crawford said of working with photographer Herb Ritts who took this portrait, “You knew you were going to look gorgeous. Herb photographed you the way you wanted the world to see you.”

Ritts undoubtedly captured Crawford at her best in what has become her most famous photo. Showing her all-American glam at its peak, the portrait was taken for Playboy in 1988, when Crawford was 22. By then, Crawford had already been modelling for five years. She was runner-up at leading modelling agency Elite’s amateur Look Of The Year contest, after which they snapped her up.

But Crawford’s early life wasn’t entirely trouble free. When she was eight her two-year-old brother Jeff died from leukaemia. She said, “That fuelled me. I learned at a young age not to take life for granted.”


Cindy doll

Sante D’Orazio’s portrait of Cindy Crawford naked in bed
She’s Cin the bed Looking like no-one else does when they crawl around in rumpled sheets. Image Portrait Sante D’Orazio

Party-animal photographer Sante D’Orazio took Crawford to bed for this 1990 masterpiece. She began dating Richard Gere around this time, marrying him in 1991.

Crawford’s parents divorced when she was six and her own marriage to Gere only lasted until 1995. “We all want to believe in the movie version of love,” Crawford has said about the relationship. “What happened with Richard was crushing. It made me look at relationships more realistically.”

Rumours of Crawford’s bisexuality began after she snogged fellow supermodel Christy Turlington outside New York club Roxy in 1991. It led to her and Gere taking out a £20,000 full-page ad in The Times denying rumours of affairs. Tabloid gossip linked Gere with Uma Thurman and Crawford with soap actor John Enos. The advert stated, ‘We are heterosexual and monogamous and take our commitment to each other seriously.’


Veiled threat

Cindy Crawford, who married Richard Gere, in a 1991 Helmut Newton portrait
Cinsational The all-American supermodel married Richard Gere around the time of this 1991 shot. Image Portrait Helmut Newton

Celebrity photographer Helmut Newton took this stunning photo for Vogue in 1991. Even though Crawford was then at the height of her career, she claimed she lacked confidence. Crawford said, “When I was 25, I thought I’d last another five years at most.”

Although Crawford diversified into successful cosmetic and furniture ranges her attempts to make it into acting didn’t come off.

Having starred in videos for George Michael and Bon Jovi, Crawford’s film debut was as an attorney in 1995 cop drama Fair Game with William Baldwin. It cost £33million to make, but made just £7million. The New York Times bitched, ‘As an attorney, Crawford makes a pretty jogger’.

That was pretty much it for Crawford’s big-screen ambitions. But she returned to acting in the video for Taylor Swift’s hit Bad Blood this year. She played a headmistress to a ‘school’ of a new generation of supermodels including Cara Delevingne and Karlie Kloss.


Hay there

Cindy Crawford topless in a Herb Ritts photo
Cin the hay Crawford, a body stocking, some hay. Image Portrait Herb Ritts

Another scorching Herb Ritts photo, this time from 1993. Ritts also photographed Michael Jackson, Madonna and Tom Cruise before he died from Aids in 2002 aged 50.

While Ritts and Crawford had a successful relationship, she fell out with fellow celebrity photographer Bruce Weber. He said of a photoshoot for Revlon in the late 1990s, “Cindy was the only model I ever sent away.” He accused her of being rude to extras on the shoot and demanding Weber ignore them and focus solely on her when she announced, “I’m ready now.” Weber said Crawford was in tears as she left on his orders.


The ‘MILF next door’ days

Cindy Crawford as she is now
Just Cin time Crawford today, as a self-confessed “MILF next door”, will celebrate her 50th birthday in February. Image Picture Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Crawford still looks sensational now. Any on-set diva behaviour seems years behind her and she appears to be happy running the business of being brand Cindy since she married Rande Gerber. As well as daughter Kaia, the couple have 16-year-old son Presley.

The former supermodel admitted she doubted she and Gerber would last when they met, saying, “I loved Rande, but I kept wondering when the drama would start. But my relationship therapist helped me appreciate the solidity and foundations I felt with Rande. Now he’s my soulmate.”

The cover of Cindy Crawford's book Becoming
It’s what’s Cinside that matters Crawford wants buyers of her new book Becoming to “read it for the essays”.


She was also on this cover

Cindy Crawford's Loaded magazine cover and exclusive interview
Cin city She was just about a big enough name to make the Loaded cover. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

Crawford graced the cover of Loaded in March 1997 in an issue Bob Mortimer reckoned was worth “at least an hour’s read”. Plus there was a chat with indie band Spacehog.

Cindy Crawford’s book Becoming is £22.75 from Rizzoli.

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