Both on and off the catwalk, Christy Turlington has always carried a unique sense of personal charm, sensuality, and sophistication, a distinction that has markedly set her apart from the plethora of supermodels today. As an internationally recognized symbol of beauty, her face a perfectly sculptured work of allure, appeal, and angelic form, it is no surprise that Christy Turlington should be considered one of the most coveted women in the world of fashion, and glamour photography today. The following is a tribute to one of the most sublime women to ever grace the floors of a fashion runway.
Christy Turlington was born on January 2nd, 1969, in San Francisco, California. Strangely enough, as a young girl, Christy had never given any forethought to a career in the fashion industry. Instead, at the age of 13, she busied herself with her passion for horses. Encouraged by her sport-minded father, she entered local competitions. She trained after school each day in Coral Gables, where she grew up with her two sisters. It would be during this time that she be discovered by photographer Dennie Cody.
Despite Christy's undiscovered realization for modeling, Dennie Cody was already certain of Christy's potential for stardom. Although reluctant at first, her parents finally gave their consent. The young girl with splendid green eyes was hired by a local agency. There, she had her first photo shoots during nights, weekends, and after classes. Her first job was a series of ads for a store chain, Emporium Capwell, for a hundred dollars per hour. As the months passed, the bookings began to pour in. Within no time, there wasn't a soul in the Miami fashion world that wasn't familiar with this young woman's face, and fashion agencies wouldn't hear about any other model. Soon, news of this budding new talent reached New York, where modeling's highest priestess, Eileen Ford, offered her a contract in Paris.
And so the journey to superstardom would begin, but the road to worldly status would not be easily achieved. Her first shots were, for the most part, failures, and she was quickly dismissed. She immediately returned to the United States. It was at this time that such names as Linda Evangelista, Stephanie Seymour, and Cindy Crawford started to gain notice. It was also at this time that brunettes were finally in after a decade of blonde supremacy. Christy's time would soon come. Eillen Ford, reluctant to give up on Christy's opportunity for stardom, sent her to New York's most prominent magazines and photographers. Christy was only 16 at the time.
Working with photographer Arthur Elgort, she eventually gained coverage on American Vogue, who had requested her for a series of photos. Christy would wait two more years, first completing her high school education, before pursuing a career as a professional model. In 1987, her career took off when Italian Vogue chose her for its cover (Quentin, 31). The rest is history. The most sought after photographers began to pour in: Herb Ritts, Patrick Demarchelier, Irving Penn, Bruce Weber, Peter Lindbergh, and Steven Meisel all came rushing to Christy Turlington.
Designers such as Versace, Chanel, Christian Lacroix, and Azzedine Alaïa requested that she be in their shows. By this time, she had pretty much secured her supermodel status; she had really made it. In 1989, Christy signed an exclusive contract with Calvin Klein to represent their perfume Eternity. Then Maybelline beauty products acquired Christy's services to be the star model for their campaigns . Today she is represented by the Ford agency.
Christy Turlington still understands the value of money. "I don't handle money as if it grew on trees." In fact, the proceeds from her calendar sales go directly to the American Foundation for El Salvador, an association that provides aid to the poor, in the small Central American country that was her mother's homeland. She is also the benefactor to a number of other organizations, including causes for cancer (through an association called Fashion Targets Breast Cancer) and animal rights (she has contributed to PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Internationally admired, Christy Turlington is one of the greatest classic beauties to ever enter the modeling industry. In fact, her beauty was immortalized when the Metropolitan Museum of Art commissioned 120 castings of her face to replace the heads of their mannequins. As an equally busy businesswoman, she is one of three partners involved in the development of the Fashion Café in New York. In whatever endeavor the world should ever find Christy Turlington, one thing is certain; she will never cease to amaze, both on and off the runway.