The 20 Biggest Supermodels Of The 80s And What They Look Like Now
The 80s represented the golden age of supermodels. In this period, everyone from Cindy Crawford to Christy Turlington was making their name in the world of modelling, gracing the covers of Vogue and walking on all of the most exclusive runways. But what have some of the biggest names in modelling been up to since their 80s heydays? Scroll down to find out…
20. Cindy Crawford
Cindy Crawford epitomised the classic all-American girl next door. She was hugely successful in the 80s and 90s, appearing on the covers of hundreds of fashion magazines and regularly walking the runways during fashion week. She also appeared in an infamous Pepsi campaign during the 1992 Superbowl and hosted MTV’s House of Style. Crawford divorced actor Richard Gere in the mid-90s and married model/businessman Rande Gerber in 1998.
Crawford and Gerber have been together ever since and now have two children together, Presley and Kaia, who have both followed in their parents’ footsteps and entered the world of modelling. Crawford is now 55 years old and has barely aged a day since the peak of her modelling career in the 80s and 90s. Today she is the proud owner of several successful businesses, including a collection of anti-ageing skincare products called Meaningful Beauty.
19. Brooke Shields
In 1980, Brooke Shields became the youngest model ever to appear on the cover of Vogue, at the age of 14. Shields’ early career was marred by controversy after she starred in a number of films which contained sexually explicit/nude scenes, despite the fact that Brooke was only a young teenager at the time. She continued to act and model throughout the 1980s and eventually reached worldwide stardom in 1996 with her very own sitcom, Suddenly Susan.
However, in recent years Shields has focused more on her family, which is made up of husband Chris Henchy and their two daughters. Shields has been an advocate for women’s health and was once criticised by Tom Cruise for discussing her experiences with post-partum depression in an interview. Shields is now 56 years old and resides in New York City.
18. Christie Brinkley
Christie Brinkley’s good looks and winning smile won her a legion of admiring fans in the 1980s. She gained even more prominence as the wife of Billy Joel (Brinkley famously appeared in his video for Uptown Girl). She appeared on three Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition covers between 1979 and 1981, which led to major contracts with Chanel, Vogue and Max Factor.
Brinkley has since pursued a whole host of different projects and is now a successful businesswoman, designer and actress, though her real passion in life is philanthropy. The model has received countless awards for her humanitarian work and is a champion of a wide range of causes from heart disease and stroke charity to vegetarianism. Brinkley, who’s been married four times and has three children, is now 67 and still looking great. She currently lives on Long Island.
Somali-American supermodel Iman stormed onto the modelling scene after being discovered by photographer Peter Beard in the late 70s. Iman’s distinctive slender figure and tall stature ensured she quickly became one of the biggest models of the 80s. Several top designers from Gianni Versace to Yves Saint-Laurent made her their muse and ensured she graced the covers of hundreds of top magazines.
Iman made a successful transition from model to entrepreneur in 1994 when she launched Iman Cosmetics, which focuses on hard-to-find shades of make-up for women. It’s still one of the most popular cosmetics lines in the US and continues to turn a profit each year. Iman is now 66 years old and was famously married to musician David Bowie from 1992 until his death in 2016. She is currently an ambassador for several charities including Save the Children and the Keep a Child Alive programme.
16. Elle Macpherson
Elle Macpherson was known the world over for her eye-catching swimsuit shoots – she actually appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s infamous Swimsuit Issue a record five times. Known within fashion circles as ‘The Body’, Macpherson successfully transitioned into high fashion and could often be seen walking the runway for the likes of John Galliano in the 80s.
Like Crawford, the Aussie model tried her hand at being an entrepreneur after retiring from modelling and launched a high-end lingerie line named Macpherson Intimates. The collection has proven to be a huge success and is now stocked at big-name US department stores Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. As well as pursuing other projects, it seems as though Macpherson couldn’t keep away from her modelling roots and in 2010 she made a highly-publicised return to the runway during Louis Vuitton’s Fall show. Her latest venture is a company called WellCo, which produces organic ‘wellness supplements’ for people with a lot of pocket money to spare.
15. Carol Alt
Carol Alt was the queen of the 80s modelling world and featured in hundreds of high-profile shoots during her career. Like many of her fellow supermodels, Alt found fame on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue before launching her career in high fashion. She was known as ‘The Face’ in the modelling world due to her distinctive looks and ad campaigns for Pepsi and General Motors. Alt also tried her hand at acting and appeared in a number of Italian films during the 1980s.
At the age of 60, it looks as though Alt still has the acting bug, having most recently appeared in the TV series Paper Empire alongside Wesley Snipes. She’s also become an entrepreneur thanks to her skincare collection Raw Essentials, and has also explored the world of presenting with a show on Fox News entitled A Healthy You & Carol Alt.
14. Paulina Porizkova
Porizkova was the Czech model who became the first ever woman from Central Europe to feature on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. After storming onto the modelling scene in 1984, Porizkova quickly conquered the world of high fashion and only four years later, she received the (then) highest-paying modelling contract of all time: a $600,000 campaign with Estée Lauder.
Her appeal continued throughout the 1990s, and in 1999 she appeared on Vogue’s Millennium Issue as one of the magazine’s ‘Modern Muses’. Since then, Porizkova has delved into the world of acting, appearing on Desperate Housewives and The Mysteries of Laura. Porizkova also decided to go down the reality TV route with a three-season stint on America’s Next Top Model as a judge. Porizkova is now 56 years old and recently announced her separation from musician Ric Ocasek, whom she married in 1989.
13. Kim Alexis
Kim Alexis was one of the most popular models of the 80s and appeared on over 500 magazine covers – including Sports Illustrated, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Cosmopolitan – during her career. Alexis was about to start a Pharmacology degree when Elite Model Management signed her in 1978 and launched a hugely successful career.
After becoming a mother to her three sons, Alexis admits that she failed to adapt herself and didn’t look after her business interests enough. Instead, she raised her family in Tampa, Florida alongside her ex-husband Ron Duguay. Now 61, Alexis is currently doing modelling work for L’Oreal and has lately been shopping around a pilot for a new programme she has developed.
12. Jill Goodacre
Texas-born model Jill Goodacre helped bring worldwide attention to a then little-known lingerie company called Victoria’s Secret in the early 80s. Goodacre’s eye-catching curves meant that she quickly garnered legions of fans and became one of the most famous faces of the age. Goodacre married Harry Connick Jr in 1994 and decided to retire from modelling for good in order to raise their family. The couple have three daughters and are still just as in love as they ever were.
Connick once said of Goodacre: “She is my best friend and I love her. She is the only wife I will ever have. We have been lucky.” Aw! Unfortunately, Goodacre, now 57, was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to endure a five-year battle with the disease. However, she recently stepped out at the 2018 Met Gala with her husband looking healthier than ever.
11. Christy Turlington
One of the most iconic faces of the 1980s, Christy Turlington was one of the original ‘supers’, who launched her career with a slew of different campaigns for the likes of Missoni, Chanel and Calvin Klein. She was (and still is) great friends with fellow American Cindy Crawford and appeared in George Michael’s music video for Freedom! ’90.
Turlington has been married to actor Ed Burns since 2003 and the couple have two children together. She is now 52 years old and despite occasionally starring in fashion campaigns alongside her fellow supermodels, nowadays Turlington is better known for her humanitarian work. She recently released a documentary entitled No Woman No Cry which followed the struggles of at-risk pregnant women in the developing world. Turlington also paid a visit to Washington to try and advocate for the Global MOMS act to help mothers who suffer complications from pregnancy.
10. Janice Dickinson
Janice Dickinson was a seriously powerful supermodel back in the 1980s. After launching her career in the late 70s, Dickinson went from strength to strength. By the 80s, Dickinson was represented by Elite Model Management and went on to work with brands such as Oscar de la Renta, Gianni Versace, and Calvin Klein – a hugely impressive feat.
Years later, in 2003, Dickinson acted as a judge alongside Tyra Banks on the reality competition America’s Next Top Model. Her TV career didn’t end there – in August 2015, Dickinson became a housemate on the British reality show Celebrity Big Brother. Currently, Dickinson is married to Dr. Robert ‘Rocky’ Gerner. The pair had been engaged since 2012 and tied the knot in 2016.
9. Jerry Hall
Jerry Hall was first scouted as a model by fashion agent Claude Haddad while on holiday in the French Riviera. Hall then moved to Paris – where she lived with Grace Jones and Jessica Lange, no less – and began taking the fashion world by storm. By 1977, Hall had already featured on 40 magazine covers, including the likes of Vogue and Cosmopolitan.
In 2016 Hall won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Fashion Group International Dallas for her contributions to the industry. Today, she keeps a relatively low profile and has largely stepped back from modelling. She is married to media mogul Rupert Murdoch. The couple tied the knot on March 4th 2016 at the Church of England church of St Bride’s, Fleet Street.
8. Anna Bayle
Anna Bayle was a pre-medical student at the University of the Philippines when her friends encouraged her to enter the Miss World beauty pageant. It was here that fashion designer Auggie Cordero noticed Bayle and began mentoring her for a career in modelling. Bayle then shot to international fame when she replaced Billie Blair in the Hong Kong Trade Fashion Show.
Shortly after her discovery, Bayle began to work in Paris and New York, working with brands and designers like Chanel, Dior, and YSL. She went on to make history as the first American Asian supermodel. Bayle decided to retire from modeling in 1994, deciding to “end on a high note.” Bayle currently works as the beauty editor for online fashion publication Lookonline.
7. Linda Evangelista
Linda Evangelista moved to New York City in 1984 after signing with Elite Model Management. Evangelista then moved to Paris where she reached international fame at the age of just 19. She went on to appear in a variety of esteemed publications, including Vogue, i-D, Cosmopolitan, and Harper’s Bazaar. In total, she has appeared on over 700 magazine covers.
In 1985, Evangelista began working with Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel and went on to become one of his favourite muses. She decided to retire in 1998 before making a comeback three years later. Evangelista has done little modelling recently, and in September 2021 she revealed that this was because a cosmetic procedure she had undergone had left her unrecognisable.
6. Inès de La Fressange
Inès de La Fressange was born to an Argentine model mother and French stockbroker father. La Fressange exhibited clear model potential from a young age with her impressive height and lean build. She began modelling in 1974 at the age of 17, and quickly became known as “the talking mannequin”, due to her many opinions on the fashion industry.
In 1983 La Fressange became the first model ever to sign an exclusive modelling contract with Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel. However, in 1989, Lagerfeld and La Fressange had an argument and the two ceased working together. Recently, she has written a book called Parisian Chic: A Style Guide and created a clothing line with fashion brand Uniqlo.
5. Kathy Ireland
As a teenager, Kathy Ireland was scouted by Elite Model Management. She was just 17 years old at the time. She soon shot to international fame after the release of her iconic 1989 Sports Illustrated cover. To this day, Ireland’s cover is still hailed as one of the most iconic in the entirety of the publication’s history.
Outside of modelling, Ireland also pursued an acting career and went on to start her own business in 1993. The design and marketing firm, called kathy ireland Worldwide (kiWW), remains a huge success. By 2015, Ireland had amassed a personal fortune of $420 million due to her business endeavours. She is married to physician Greg Olsen and the couple have three children together: Erik, Lily and Chloe.
4. Karen Alexander
Karen Alexander’s modelling career got off to a rocky start – initially, she was rejected by scouts including Eileen Ford, Bethann Hardison and John Casablancas. Ford claimed Alexander was “unphotogenic”, Casablancas didn’t think she was “commercial” enough, while Hardison thought she was “too commercial.” Eventually Alexander signed with Legends Agency and began her illustrious career in the fashion industry.
Alexander’s successful modelling career lasted over two decades. During this time, she featured on the covers of magazines including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle. Alexander arguably peaked when she featured in the 1988 and 1989 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues. She was represented by IMG until 2019, when she was diagnosed with an incurable neuromuscular disease called Dermatomyositis.
3. Stephanie Seymour
During the 1980s and 1990s, Stephanie Seymour was one of the world’s most recognisable supermodels. As well as featuring in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and on the cover of Vogue, she was also one of the first Victoria’s Secret Angels. Outside of modelling, Seymour has written a book about beauty tips and also launched her own line of lingerie.
Seymour has also dabbled in acting, with appearances in film (Pollock), television (Law & Order) and video games (Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller). Seymour married Peter Brant in 1995. In March 2009, Seymour filed for divorce from Brant but the pair reconciled in 2010. The couple had four children together – one of their sons, Harry Brant, tragically died aged 24 in January 2021.
2. Tatjana Patitz
Back in 1987, Tatjana Patitz entered Elite Models’ ‘Look of the Year’ competition. She ultimately placed third. Although she didn’t win, Patitz managed to get a contract and moved to Paris where she began working as a model. She’s also dabbled in acting: notably, she appeared in the Duran Duran music video for Skin Trade back in 1987.
Patitz’s largest role was arguably in the 1999 thriller Restraining Order, which starred Eric Roberts and Hannes Jaenicke. Patitz has never stopped working as a model and remains in demand to this day. She continues to work as a runway model for designers such as Etro, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Chanel. In 2020 Marie Claire magazine named Patitz as one of the best supermodels from the 1990s.
1. Renée Simonsen
Renée Simonsen worked as a supermarket cashier in Denmark before she was discovered by fashion editor Birte Strandgaard in 1981. Encouraged by Strandgaard, Simonsen went on to participate in a modelling contest and ultimately came second overall. In July 1981, she appeared on the cover of the Danish magazine Fotokino, then in 1982 she was chosen to represent Denmark at the Ford Supermodel contest, which she won.
Simonsen’s career took off in 1983 and she appeared on the covers of many celebrated magazines, including German Vogue. She abruptly left the modelling world at 24 to continue studying – initially she wanted to study journalism but later pivoted to psychology. Today, she works as a writer and has a weekly column in the Danish Femina magazine.