Cindy Crawford at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.
Looking for fashion industry gossip? New York’s 92nd Street Y has been surprisingly fruitful, with a recent lineup including Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, and Donna Karan, as well as Bruce Weber, and even J.Lo. On Tuesday night though, the stage belonged to supermodel Cindy Crawford, who is currently on a promotional tour for her new book Becoming. Everyone knows Cindy for her iconic image, but here are the 14 new things we learned about the woman behind the beauty mark.
Cindy’s father hates makeup.
“My parents met in high school, and on their first date, my dad came to pick her up. He picked her up and took her straight to his parents’ house and said, ‘You have to wash your face before I take you out.’ He hated makeup, which is funny considering where I ended up!”
Cindy is descended from medieval kings because of course she is.
“Two years ago I was on the TLC show Who Do You Think You Are? It was incredible. My thirty-ninth great-grandfather was Charlemagne. Nothing has changed, except I now make my husband call me Royal Highness!”
Cindy was a straight A student, except for one class.
“My father made me a bet that I would get five dollars for every A in high school, and if at the end of high school I got straight A’s, he would double the money. And I got straight A’s until my last year, the one class that was really hard for me was creative writing. In math there’s a right answer. But creative writing really threw me for a loop because there’s really no right or wrong.”
In fact, she earned a full academic scholarship to Northwestern University.
“It was probably the one time in my life I felt discrimination—not sexual discrimination, more visual discrimination I guess. I walked into the class and the professor looked at me and said, ‘I think you’re in the wrong class, honey.’ And that’s when I thought,’“That’s it, I’m acing this class.’”
Cindy wasn’t sure about doing Playboy the first time around.
“I think what scared me about Playboy was its connotation. I mean, I know everyone only reads it for the articles, but it was still a label I wasn’t sure I wanted. Was it going to keep me from some fashion things I still wanted to do? So I made a deal with Playboy—I wanted less money, but I wanted the right to kill the story if I didn’t like it. If the story came back and I didn’t like it, then it wouldn’t run.”
Sorry Kendall Jenner, but Cindy was the first supermodel to crossover with television.
“Doing Playboy, because it’s not a fashion audience, I gained this whole new audience. MTV wanted a fashion person who appealed to men and women, and I had been on the cover of Vogue and Playboy and so they asked me to do House of Style. My agents didn’t really understand it, but it was fun. I liked it because, much in the way that models can use social media to use their own voice, I was able to do that with House of Style for 7 years. But at one point I was like, ‘I can’t go shopping with one more rock star, I’m done.’”
For her first wedding, she didn’t wear a white dress.
“Richard [Gere] and I had been dating for several years and at one point I was like, ‘Are we doing this or what?’ And he said, ‘Let’s go to Vegas tonight.’ It wasn’t the wedding I dreamed of. It was so last minute I wore this Armani suit. It was a nice Armani suit, but I didn’t dream of getting married in a navy blue suit. And the ring was made out of tinfoil because it was so last minute. But I did have Herb Ritts as my bridesmaid — and taking the pictures! So…”
But for her second wedding, she did wear a white dress — off the rack.
“I wore John Galliano off the rack. I couldn’t shop for wedding dresses because we wanted to keep the wedding a secret. So I told a stylist friend we were going to a white party on the beach. We got married in the Bahamas so it was perfect. Rande and I walked each other down the aisle, and it was so much more meaningful for me to get married in front of family and friends.”
Remember her 1995 film flop Fair Game with Billy Baldwin? Cindy embraces that acting wasn’t her thing.
“I’m comfortable being in front of the camera being myself. But I’m not comfortable being in front of the camera saying someone else’s lines. After the movie panned, it was easy to let that go, then I could focus on things I did like.”
Crawford is an advocate of at-home childbirth.
“My kids taught me how strong I am. I had both my kids at home with a midwife, just like Christy [Turlington Burns]. But Christy runs marathons and I don’t. After that I was like, “I don’t have to run a marathon.” But I trusted my body. Yeah I posed nude for Playboy, but after giving birth to a baby and feeding it, I saw that my body is amazing and has a real purpose.”
Even if her kids make fun of her Instagram abilities.
“Having children has changed my life in every way I could never imagine before I had kids. They teach me so much. Like how not to abuse Instagram: ‘Too many hashtags, mom.’”
Despite her multimillion dollar anti-aging Meaningful Beauty empire, Cindy won’t rule out going under the knife.
“I used to always say, ‘I’ll never do anything!’ That was when I was 25. I don’t know. It’s hard because part of you wants to just go natural. But I color my hair, you know? Not only in my line of work, but in our society, everyone else is doing it, so you start to think, ‘Maybe I need to.’ But then you see some people and think, ‘But I don’t want to look like that.’ I’m still trying to figure that out, I guess, where I personally want to draw that line.”
Cindy — because of her husband Rande Gerber, a friend and business partner of George Clooney’s — scored an invite to the Clooney-Alamuddin wedding last year. Here’s what she had to say about Amal.
“Obviously she is so smart and beautiful. But I think the thing that most impressed me about Amal was that she is completely interesting but also interested. She was asking me questions about the fashion world, makeup, whatever — she’s interested in you too. It’s really easy to be friends with someone like that.”
And here is what Christy would tell her younger self.
“I think so many times in my life I felt insecure. We all feel insecure at times and feel like we don’t belong or they’ll figure out we aren’t as smart as them. I wish I would realize that sometimes everyone else feels that way too.”