Before the likes of Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid ruled the runways, there was another flawless beauty with instant big name recognition, endless legs and mountains of sass: Cindy Crawford. Now in her 50s, the fashion legend still has an incredble pull over fans all over the world as one of the original supermodels we adore.
These days, Cindy is loving wife to handsome businessman Rande Gerber and mom to her two model children – Kaia Gerber, born in 2001, and
Presley Gerber, born in 1999.
In 2015, Cindy returned to the spotlight to publish her book Becoming, which details her life in the fashion industry, then she wowed fans with an appearance in Taylor Swift's Bad Blood music video, holding her own as she was joined by the decade's latest pop and fashion stars. In 2017 she again showed she still has it by returning to the Versace catwalk to pay tribute to her late friend and designer Gianni.
In honor of the true fashion icon, take a look back at the incredible journey Cindy has been through over the past five decades.
Before pop princess Taylor Swift even knew what #squadgoals were, Cindy had a squad of her own – the Big Six, a group of models who ruled the fashion world in the '90s. One of them, Linda Evangelista, remarked that she didn't get out of bed for less than $10,000.
Photo: Getty Images
The girls were featured in George Michael's Freedom! 90 video, and Prince wrote a song called Cindy C, lamenting the time he asked for – and failed – to get an introduction to the famous supermodel in a nightclub.
In total, Cindy's iconic mole and gazillion-dollar smile have appeared on over 400 magazine covers. But her early life didn’t hint at a gilded future.
Cindy (pictured far left) was born into a hardworking Midwestern family in DeKalb, Illinois, the second of four children. Her mother worked in a doctor’s office, while her father was a machinist and electrician.
Tragically, in what she has described as "a devastating loss to all of us", her little brother died, aged three, when she was eight and her grief-stricken parents divorced.
Cindy still managed to be a grade-A student and class valedictorian. Discovered by a local photographer in her teens, she realized that modeling was a better way to make some extra money than her regular summer job, tending cornfields.
She dropped out of a chemical engineering degree at Northwestern University to move to New York. The rest is fashion history.
Here, Cindy is pictured with a high school friend.
Part of the secret to her success comes from that solid Midwestern upbringing and the sense of responsibility she learned, earning pocket money from babysitting and cleaning houses.
"When I started modelling I treated it like a job not a lifestyle," she said in an interview in 2012, talking about why she never had a reputation as a party girl. "I was serious about that. Claudia Schiffer was like that too".
(Cindy pictured with her mother, Jennifer Sue Crawford-Moluf)
The darling of designers such as Calvin Klein and Versace, she showed tremendous versatility, becoming one of the first in the business to turn herself into not simply a name, but a brand – a template Heidi Klum, Gisele Bundchen and many others have followed.
Cindy made it big in TV, hosting a show called House of Style, and came out with a best-selling exercise video. She also has a successful home furniture collection and a skincare line with her dermatologist called Meaningful Beauty.
Photo: Getty Images
Of course, it's not just Cindy's career that has brought her fame: her two marriages to charismatic men have also been noteworthy. The first, from 1991 to 1995, was to Richard Gere, fresh from the success of Pretty Woman.
Photo: Getty Images
Then in 1998, she wed Rande Gerber, a former model who has poured his energy into a business empire that includes nightclubs and the tequila brand Casamigos, which he launched with best friend George Clooney.
These days, one of the many striking things about Cindy is just how comfortable she is in her own skin, and much of that is due to the deep love she shares with Rande.
When their children were born, her husband showed his resolve as a father too. "Rande is an incredible daddy as I knew he would be," Cindy said as they exclusively presented their son Presley to HELLO!."We've both been home with the baby, so Presley is bonded equally with both of us."
Together Rande and Cindy have become one of today's most alluring couples, their life seemingly an endless whirl of Instagram photo ops, played out from luxury homes in Cabo San Lucas, where George and his wife Amal are neighbors, to lakeside Ontario in Canada.
Cindy's kids are following in their parents' genetically blessed footsteps. Presley, who has inherited Cindy's trademark mole, and his sister Kaia, have already landed several modeling gigs. Of Kaia, Donatella Versace said: "Like her mother she has a special gift. The camera really, really loves her."
Cindy has been inspiring women not just with her image, but also with her positive, dynamic approach to life, for three decades. And typically, she approaches aging with the same attitude. Rather than dreading the passing of time, she is grateful for all it has brought her, saying she is full of "gratitude for all that I do have: a happy marriage, a relationship with my kids that fills me with pride and work that continues to inspire me".