In the late ’80s and ’90s, there were four models that captured the public’s attention — and the covers of every magazine around the world: Cindy Crawford, 57, Linda Evangelista, 58, Naomi Campbell, 53, and Christy Turlington, 54. With unique looks, diverse upbringings and oh-so-much style, the fab four were the first models to be elevated to heady “supermodel” status and all the money, power, pitfalls and opportunities that come with it.
In the four-part documentary The Super Models, debuting Sept. 20 on Apple TV+, the still-iconic models reminisce about their pivotal rise to fame, the bond they share and careers that have spanned decades.
Here are some surprises from the first episode, “The Look.”
From tragedy comes a quest for perfection
Growing up in DeKalb, Illinois, Crawford had an “idyllic” childhood until the death of her younger brother from leukemia. “My sisters and I kind of felt like, ‘Oh, it should have been one of the girls, as opposed to the only boy,’” Crawford said. “I think we felt pressure to be perfect kids, which probably served me well in life.”
Money, not glamour, as a key motivator
Turlington, who was discovered while riding horses, kept her early modeling gigs on the down-low. “To be 15 years old modeling wedding dresses is kind of funny,” she mused. “Sometimes I would say yes to a job and of course I didn’t want to do that job if I had a more fun thing to do with my friends. … Modeling was not cool at all except that I had money. It gave me a lot of independence right out of the gate.”
After a hairdresser on a “terrible” local shoot showed her pics to the Elite modeling agency, Crawford landed a bra ad for department store Marshall Fields. “About two weeks later, I go to school one day and [the picture] is plastered all over my high school. I remember kids trying to tease me about it and [trying to] make me feel bad. I’m thinking, Do they know I made like $120 bucks or whatever doing that? I didn’t care. I was like, ‘Better than working in the cornfields!’”
Raised in London by a single mother, Naomi Campbell was in trendy Convent Garden with her private school friends when she was spotted by a talent scout. Intrigued, Campbell started going on photo shoots on the sly, only revealing the truth when she was asked to join Elle magazine on a photo shoot in New Orleans. “So, I finally go home and work up the nerve to tell my mom. She’s pissed!” Campbell said. “[Modeling] is not what she sent me to school for. … But she did say yes. So off I went.”