Discovered by a newspaper photographer when she was just 16 years old, Cindy Crawford really needs no introduction. The former American supermodel, known for her fun-loving personality and signature beauty spot, shot to fame in the 1980s and 1990s, and since then has appeared on numerous magazine covers and in scores of fashion campaigns.
In 2000, Crawford officially quit modelling to concentrate on family life and other projects – she’s happily married to entrepreneur Rande Gerber and together they have two children: Kaia Jordan (who may one day follow in her mother’s footsteps) and Presley Walker.
On a stiflingly hot summer afternoon, we met with the statuesque star at the Omega boutique in Causeway Bay while she was in town to promote her new documentary, The Hospital in the Sky, about her work with Orbis International’s Flying Eye Hospital.
What have you been up to recently?
I’m still pretty busy. I have a skincare line and a furniture line and I still continue my work with Omega. My latest project is a book that’s coming out in September with Rizzoli. It’s a lot of photography – with the most iconic images throughout my career, but it’s married to essays that try to explain the lessons I’ve learned along the way. Even though the way I’ve learned them was in that fabulous world of fashion, the lessons themselves are very universal.
You’ve been an Omega ambassador since 1995. How did that come about?
My very first introduction to Omega was when they had just hired me to do an ad. At that time, of course, I’d heard of Omega, but I didn’t know much about their culture as a company. My friend Herb Ritts, who’s a great photographer, was shooting it in LA and it really went great and everyone got along. After that, Omega invited me to Milan to do an event for them and so that was really the beginning of it all. For me, Omega has such great brand values, it’s timeless and it’s a luxury and those are the things that I wanted to associate my brand with. I think for them, at the time especially, I was kind of representing the fashion aspect and they were getting ready to relaunch the Constellation, so it was a good marriage and then it just continued. It’s been fun working with them over the years and all those experiences, trips and opportunities I’ve had with them. And really the latest is really the greatest. This was the icing on the cake.
Tell us something special about your relationship with Omega.
I joke that at this point, that I’ve been married to them longer than I’ve been married to my husband. I think that what I really appreciate about working with Omega is that they’ve allowed me to become a woman, and the work that I do with them has reflected on how I’ve evolved as well.
How has your outlook on things changed after filming The Hospital in the Sky?
I was able to learn about Orbis, the work that they do and about blindness. I didn’t even know that 80 percent of the world’s blindness is curable or treatable. In the United States, we take it for granted that you can just go to the eye doctor once a year and if you have strabismus or a cataract, then you get it fixed. And to realise that there’s so many places around the world where people don’t have that option. Orbis is flying on their plane, treating those people and leaving their knowledge behind. It was incredible. It was also a great way for me to share the gift of giving back with my own daughter. Watching the film will help raise awareness and help raise more money.
You recently appeared as a headmistress in Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” music video. What’s it like to be working with some the younger girls nowadays?
Taylor got in touch with me and asked me to do it. Before she even explained the idea I was like, “Sign me up!” I was honoured that she asked me. I really was. I think she was honoured that I said yes, but I thought it was pretty cool that in some ways the young generation looks up to me. And it was a great way for me to connect to the younger generation … Taylor’s social media is huge. It was fun. She said she wanted to pay homage to my generation, so that was nice.
How do you think the modelling world has changed?
I think the biggest change is because of social media. The models are now able to connect directly with their audience – sometimes for the better and sometimes not. It’s a very powerful tool. It’s funny when young girls ask me for The Hospital In The Sky documents cindy crawford’s journey to peru with orbis modelling advice. I’m like, learn to do something else too, like sing or act or whatever, because it’s almost not enough to be just a model. But I’m starting to see that change a little bit, because people are able to – again, through social media – have a following. So who knows, fashion is always changing, like everything else.
Your daughter appeared in her first fashion campaign at 10 years old. How do you feel about her wanting to follow in your footsteps?
I wouldn’t push her into modelling, but if she wants to, which it’s looking more and more like she does, at least I can guide her. The very first thing she did was with Versace and with [photographers] Mert and Marcus. I knew everyone on set, so I knew that she’d be taken care of and that it would be appropriate.
What beauty advice can you give us?
I have a skincare line that I developed. It’s called Meaningful Beauty and I did it with Dr [Jean-Louis] Sebagh. We all want that one product to put on. It’s like the perfect pair of jeans: you’re looking and looking for it, but it never happens. I think sometimes women expect too much, like having overnight success. But what I’ve learned from taking care of my skin for over 20 years now is that it adds up. At 50 you’re going to be like, “Wow, I’m so glad that I started using sunscreen or a good eye cream.” I don’t smoke and I drink a lot of water, so I’m pretty healthy. I also think the biggest secret really is just being happy, because that shows on your face more than anything. If you’re going to have lines, you might as well have smile lines.