As one of the original supermodels, Cindy Crawford has packed a whole lot into her career—from magazine covers to runways, from advertisements to films and music videos. She’s done it all, with stilettos on to boot. So slip on a designer dress and read these 44 stunning facts about Cindy Crawford.
Cindy Crawford Facts
1. Cindy in the Middle
Crawford was born Cynthia Ann on Feb 20, 1966 in Dekalb, Illinois. The second oldest of four, Crawford had two sisters, Chris and Danielle, and a younger brother named Jeffrey. In many ways, she had a typical middle-class uprbinging: Her father, John Daniel, was an electrician, while her mother Jennifer-Sue worked as a bank teller.
2. Look at Me
When Crawford burst onto the American fashion scene, her dark looks and confidence changed the game. As fashion designer Michael Kors once put it, “Cindy changed the perception of the ‘sexy American girl’ from classic blue eyed blonde to a more sultry brunette with brains, charm, and professionalism to spare.” Break that mold, Cindy.
3. Holy Moly!
Crawford appeared on an episode of the series Who Do You Think You Are in 2013 and discovered something incredible about her ancestry. Like many people, she’s descended from a collection of earls, counts, and aristocrats—but one ancestor blows them all way. Most impressively, Crawford traced her lineage all the way to the famous Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne.
As she said, “Not too bad for a simple farm girl from Midwest potato-eating folk.”
4. A Crush of Princely Proportions
Crawford has a hilarious and touching connection to Princess Diana. When Diana found out that her son Prince William had a massive crush on Crawford, she invited her and fellow models Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington to Buckingham Palace to greet the very starstruck boy. As William remembers it, “I went bright red and didn’t know what to say and sort of fumbled and I think I pretty much fell down the stairs on the way up.”
In her sophomore year at high school, Crawford received a call from a local clothing store asking her if she wanted to model for them. Crawford was disappointed to find out this was just a practical joke her classmates had cooked up—but she got the last laugh. The next year, the very same clothing store took her on as a model for real.
6. The Photograph
Legend has it that Crawford got her big break when a photographer took a picture of her working on the family farm. As idyllic as this seems, the truth is much different. After a local put her on the cover of the DeKalb Nite Weekly, it generated buzz and encouraged her to pursue modeling. After that, she entered Elite Model Management’s Look of the Year Contest, and soon signed on with the agency.
7. Beauty and Brains
Crawford isn’t just a pretty face: she earned straight-As throughout high school, and was even Valedictorian.
8. Stereotype Much?
True to form, Crawford got into Northwestern University on a scholarship for chemical engineering, but her days were hardly carefree. While there, she endured ridicule in the male-heavy department because of her looks: one time, she turned up to a calculus class only to have the professor glance at her and snidely tell her she was in the wrong room.
9. Don’t Mess With the Mole
In 1986, Crawford dropped out of university and moved to New York to pursue a professional career in modeling. She started getting work immediately, but the fashion world was sometimes cruel. In particular, many of her first photoshoots and magazine covers—including for British Vogue—airbrushed out her iconic mole just because it was different.
Industry insiders almost immediately noticed that the young Crawford looked like 1970s top model Gia Carangi, earning her the nickname “Baby Gia.”
11. All Work and No Play
During her glory days, Crawford was known for her consummate professionalism. While she acknowledges that many young models can get away with being “high maintenance and hungover” on shoots as long as they are the next big thing, she also knows “that gets old and soon there is another new hot thing.” Because of this, she always treated modeling like a real job.
12. Fashion Forward
Crawford was unbelievably popular at the height of her career. In the year 1998 alone, she made over 500 appearances in magazines.
13. Just the Right Size
At 5 feet, 9 inches tall, Crawford is famous for her athletic build rather than the slender, waif-like figures who often walk the catwalk today. In fact, she sometimes attributes her success not just to hard work but also to luck. As she once said, “Right place, right time. If I were modeling today, I don’t know if I would make it because I’m not a size two.”
14. Super Girls
Cindy Crawford—along with other models of her cohort like Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista—have been called “the original supermodels.” These women were known for their distinctive features, and their era of fashion celebrated bold personalities on the runway. They were so big at the time that George Michael even asked them to appear in his now-iconic “Freedom ’90” music video.
15. Everybody Makes Mistakes
Crawford initially thought the term “supermodel” was ridiculous, and “so cheesy it would never stick.”
16. The Real Love Story
Though Crawford had a string of failed relationships, it turns out there was still hope for a gorgeous, intelligent, and wealthy supermodel. While attending her agent’s wedding, Crawford met Rande Gerber, himself a former model. Crawford was hesitant to dive into a romance, so the two started out as friends and then developed their relationship; they’ve now been married for over two decades.
17. An Affair to Remember
Crawford’s wedding was one for the style history books. She and Gerber married on the beach, and the supermodel wore a simple John Galliano mini lace shift with minimal makeup and bare feet to accessorize. The laid-back beauty even instructed her wedding guests not to bother with suits and ties for the ceremony.
18. Mama Mia!
Crawford and her husband Rande Gerber have two kids together: Presley Walker Gerber, born in 1999, and Kaia Jordan Gerber, born in 2001. Since both their parents have modeling genes, is it any surprise that both Presley and Kaia are also working as models?
19. Expensive Tastes
If she got stranded on a deserted island, Crawford says a book she would want with her would be one by her favorite author, Jodi Picoult. As for her other must-haves, her favorite food is caviar and her favorite dessert is chocolate.
20. Things Money Can’t Buy
Crawford came under fire when dark rumors started floating around. Some claimed that she had bought her daughter Kaia’s budding modeling career. Crawford categorically denied this, though she did acknowledge that her connections in the industry certainly helped. Nonetheless, she paid no money to get either Kaia or her son Presley into modeling. As Crawford quipped, “I think if I was going to buy a cover for someone, it would be me.”
21. Fab, Fit, Fun
In the 90s, Crawford got in on the fitness industry with her own workout videos. She came up with the idea after realizing that there was nothing like Jane Fonda’s popular early 80s fitness videos for her own generation. She produced the tapes through her own company Crawdaddy Productions, and they sold like hot cakes, forcing the world to stand up and notice her business acumen.
Though as a young model Crawford had invites to some of the best parties in the world, she admits that she was actually quite shy throughout her career, and had to drag herself out to events so she could network. As she put it, “I realised I might miss out on opportunities or making friends, but my temptation would be to not go at all [and have] room service and my book.”
23. What Next?
When Crawford started modeling, she only planned to model for five years, after which point she thought she’d go back to school and get a “real job.” Obviously, that didn’t happen!
24. Pep Talk
Crawford is probably best known today for her iconic 1992 Pepsi Superbowl commercial, which became an instant pop culture classic. The spot was so popular, in fact, that random fans would just yell out “Pepsi!” to her if she was walking down the street. More generous onlookers even shelled out and sent the supermodel a complimentary Pepsi at the bar.
25. Pepsi With Presely
Decades later, Crawford recreated the magic by filming another Pepsi Superbowl commercial—this time alongside her son Presley. She said it was a great experience driving to work with him, sharing the same trailer, and watching like a proud mom from the sidelines while he did his part.
26. Like Mother, Like Son
Though Kaia Gerber looks uncannily like her mother, it’s Presley Gerber who inherited Crawford’s most distinctive feature: a facial mole. Just like his mom, Presley was initially self-conscious about the beauty mark, and even considered getting doctors to remove it. He really only decided not to because it would leave a scar—and it seems like it was a good choice!
27. Ready, Set, Act
Crawford made her film debut with the movie Fair Game in 1995, but critics were less than impressed with her performance. Writer Leonard Maltin even scathingly commented, “In her acting debut, supermodel Crawford makes a good jogger.” After that, she only appeared sporadically in films, but has had a lengthy career in music videos, most recently in Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood.”
28. Once a Model, Always a Model
Crawford stopped modeling full-time in 2000, and has since then only lent herself out to projects she really cares about.
29. She Means Business
In 1991, Crawford attended the Academy Awards with her then-beau Richard Gere. The plunging red Versace dress she wore to the ceremony went down in fashion history and spawned a plethora of fakes and knock-offs.
30. Becoming Cindy
Crawford published a photographic memoir, Becoming, right before she turned 50. Explaining the reasons for making the book, Crawford said, “Turning 50 wasn’t something I was looking forward to. But, I thought, ‘you can either embrace it or run away from it’.” The book is just that; a celebration of her 30-year-plus career with 50 pictures and 50 life lessons she learnt from her journey.
Crawford says that although she didn’t always feel this way, she now looks up to her mother and admires her for her positivity and inner strength. However, she finds all strong and professional women inspirational. As a child she looked up to women who were scientists, and growing up she was inspired by strong, beautiful women like Marilyn Monroe, Jane Fonda, and Meryl Streep.
32. American Royalty
As if her Valedictorian status weren’t enough, Crawford and her high school quarterback boyfriend were Prom King and Queen.
33. Do It for the Gram
Though Crawford posts regularly on Instagram, she hasn’t always been a fan of social media, and admits that she doesn’t always get it. As she put it, “Some of my daughter’s captions, I don’t even understand.”
34. Dreamhouse for Sale
If you want to live like a supermodel—and also have a tidy sum saved up—you could buy Cindy Crawford’s beachfront Malibu mansion. In 2019, Gerber and Crawford put up the lavish California home for a cool $7.5 million.
35. Top of the Charts
No surprise here: Crawford has consistently been listed as one of the world’s sexiest people. She was ranked #5 on Playboy’s list of The 100 Sexiest Stars of the Twentieth Century. She was also one of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful Women in 2002, and even in her 40s, she was number 26 on the Hot 100 issue of Maxim magazine.
36. Kid Logic
Tragedy struck the Crawford family when Cindy was only eight years old. When her brother was just a toddler, doctors diagnosed him with leukaemia. The young Crawford girls had very little idea about the gravity of his condition. As Cindy later recalled, “I think when my parents first told us our brother was sick, we didn’t really understand what it meant.”
37. Oh Brother, Where Art Thou
For months, the Crawford family drove Jeffrey two hours to the nearest hospital almost every day so that he could get radiation treatment. Desperately seeking a miracle, they also put the young boy into experimental treatments, but watched as his cancer seemed to go away and then somehow kept coming back. When he was three years old, Jeffrey lost his battle and tragically passed away.
38. Memories of Loss
Though this was an incredibly difficult time, Crawford also remembers some extraordinarily touching moments. In particular, she remembers the time her mother found little Jeffery sitting alone in his room. When she asked him what he was doing, he told her he was praying that when he died, they would be okay without him—but it didn’t end there.
She also remembers that on his last visit to the hospital, Jeffery told his doctors he wouldn’t be coming back. Sure enough, he passed away before his next appointment. Although the memories are still heartbreaking, Crawford acknowledges that “there’s some sense of completeness and peace that comes with knowing that he knew that, and he kind of decided he was done fighting.”
In memory of her brother Jeff, Crawford has made paediatric cancer a central part of her charity work, and she still names her lost sibling as one of the most influential people in her life.
40. Dare to Bare
In July 1988, when she was just barely into her 20s, Crawford shocked the world by posing for Playboy magazine—and then she did it again exactly a decade later. According to the supermodel, she has zero regrets about baring it all. As she said, laughing, “I look back at some of my old Playboy pictures and I think, Why wasn’t I walking around naked all the time?”
41. Pretty Woman
In 1987, Crawford met superstar actor Richard Gere at a barbecue. At the time, Gere was in his 40s—and Crawford was decades younger than him, still living it up in her 20s. Nonetheless, they pushed through the age gap and got married in Las Vegas four years later in 1991, even earning People magazine’s title of “Sexiest Couple of the Year” in 1993.
42. Irreconcilable Differences
Unfortunately, their story didn’t have a happily ever after. Eventually, the age difference became too much, and they divorced in 1995. Looking back on her failed marriage, Crawford admits that she often tried to impress Gere, and even pretended to have interests in baseball and mediation that weren’t really her. As she said, “I don’t know if we were ever friends—like peers, because I was young, and he was Richard Gere.”
43. The Prince Is Displeased
Legendary musician Prince once wrote a song for Crawford—but it was actually a scathing diss-track. One story goes that Prince invited her over to his table while they were both out at a nightclub one night. When Crawford sent her bodyguard to politely decline, the incensed Prince wrote “Cindy C.,” a song that calls her a “super-fine heifer” and disturbingly claims he will “pay the usual fee” to be with her.
Crawford herself, however, tells a different version of this story. She recalls that she was dancing with a friend of hers at a nightclub when someone came up and started dancing next to her. She says it took a moment for her to realize it was Prince—but that was the end of the encounter for her. Some time later, she discovered he’d written “Cindy C.” about their brief rendez-vous. As she commented, “Now I know what was going through his mind as we were dancing.”