From supermodel to TV host to mom to businesswoman, she's done it all with poise, humility, and incredible beauty
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In 1982 16-year-old Cindy Crawford's supermodel days were still ahead of her and she was just another beautiful girl trying to make it in a crazy industry. Well, just another beautiful girl who also happened to pal around with another new face on the scene, Richard Gere. You might have heard of him? She eventually married Gere in 1991 and called him one of the most influential people in her life, after her parents.
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While she may be best remembered for her sexy swimsuit shoots and sultry looks over a can of Diet Pepsi (making us all run out and chop our jeans off into shorts!), Cindy showed from early on in her career that she could do beauty and high fashion just as well as commercial.
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Now counting Michael J. Fox and George Michael as fans (she appeared in a movie for the former and a music video for the latter), her unmistakable face was becoming ubiquitous on magazine covers, in ads, and on TV. But Cindy also used her fame to bring awareness to causes often shied away from by other celebs, including attending one of the first AIDS benefit events with fellow supermodel Iman.
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Oh, that mole! Cindy hit the big time in the 1990s, logging more than 400 magazine covers, and ushering in the era of the supermodel.
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Cutting-edge TV station MTV couldn't have picked a better star for their hugely influential House of Style than model and budding fashion maven Cindy. She hosted the show through its glory years and taught a generation of girls the importance of a perfectly tailored button-down. She even inspired up-and-comer Tyra Banks, who remembers, "I was backstage in Paris and saw Cindy doing House of Style. I thought, 'I would love to be in control of my career like that.'"
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Model became mogul when Cindy got into the business side of fashion with her own line of sportswear at age 24. It wouldn't be her last venture into business, as she later launched her own lines of furniture, fragrances, and beauty products.
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No one remembers who won for best actress at the 63rd Academy Awards because Cindy stole the show in a bright red cross-back Versace dress that quickly became one of the most copied dresses of the time. Cindy in this outfit became a fashion icon and was said to have "strongly influenced the course of fashion" with her bold choice.
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Cindy and Richard make their love official with a quirky Las Vegas ceremony sealed with rings they fashioned out of aluminum foil (aww! or eww?). Unfortunately their love didn't last, and tales of the couple's unhappiness were confirmed when they divorced nearly three years to the day later in December 1994.
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Cindy Crawford in a bikini is arguably what made swimsuit calendars so popular. Images of her splashing in the waves or lounging on the beach, looking glamorous and relaxed in teeny two-piece, are what most of us think of first when we hear her name. (That or we get a craving for an ice-cold Pepsi.)
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Jane Fonda had already pioneered the fitness video, but Cindy took it new a level with the release of Cindy Crawford: Shape Your Body. Despite warnings by many experts that it was "dangerous and unsafe" because of some of the moves and the bad form with which they were demonstrated, it became immensely popular and spawned several follow-up videos. It also got everyone from pre-teens to moms enamored with Seal's music.
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Cindy made her first appearance on the cover of SHAPE and dished about the workout she followed to keep her body in tip-top condition. Looking back now, she says, "You kind of take your fitness and your body for granted in your 20s."
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Making political waves instead of beach waves, Cindy posed as George Washington (with a bare midriff!) on the inaugural cover of George magazine, founded by John F. Kennedy, Jr. The cover was later included on the list of most influential magazine covers by the American Society of Magazine Editors, coming in at No. 22.
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SHAPE magazine readers picked Cindy as the second Most Beautiful Woman in the World, just after Demi Moore. She has consistently shown up on other "Most Beautiful" lists such as those put out each year by People, Men's Health, Vh1, and Maxim. Fashion designer Michael Kors summed up her allure saying, "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."
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Ten years after shedding her clothes for Playboy, she revealed all again at age 32, proving that time has no power over this woman! She came in at No. 5 on Playboy's list of the Sexiest Stars of the 20th Century. And she never let her critics get her down, saying, "When I did Playboy, I got letters from women who didn't consider it 'feminist' to do nude photographs. I thought the whole point of being a feminist was that you got to make your own choices."
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Deciding to give love a second shot, Cindy married bar operator Rande Gerber on May 29. This time it was no quickie Vegas affair—she put a lot of thought into choosing just the right man. "When you are getting ready to become a mom, being in love with someone just isn't enough. You need to think about whether he would be a good parent and raise your children with similar beliefs," she said. It must have worked because the two are still happily together!
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The supermodel switched gears again when she gave birth to son Presley Walker on July 2, followed by daughter Kaia Jordan in September 2001. When asked about becoming a new parent she replied, "I always knew I wanted to be a parent...Watching your husband become a father is really sexy and wonderful."
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In 2000, 32-year-old Cindy announced that she was quitting modeling in order to spend more time with her young family. "Having children really changes your priorities," she explained. "I don't waste as much time at work because I'd rather spend it with my kids."
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Even though she had stepped down from modeling, she kept up a steady stream of appearances at fashion shows, premieres, and openings like this party at Olympus Fashion Week. But, pragmatic as always, she knew she was more than a pretty face. "The thing I like about my body is that it`s strong. I can move furniture around my apartment. I can ride my horse…I can play basketball. It`s a well-functioning machine."
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The next few years found her doing the mom thing, like taking her kids to the red-carpet opening of High School Musical 2. (Ah the perks of having Cindy Crawford for a mom!)
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At 43, Cindy posed nude for Allure magazine, inspiring women to be comfortable in the skin they're in. She's said, "I don’t look the way I did when I was 23. So if Star magazine or whatever wants to print a picture of me on the beach from the back, at the worst possible angle, and say that I have cellulite, I’m like, ‘Guess what? I do, and I never said I didn’t.'" Cellulite? Where? All we see is how gorgeous she still looks in this picture taken at the Unicef Ball.
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During her hiatus from modeling, Cindy focused more on her charity work, particularly those relating to leukemia research, as the disease claimed her beloved brother at age 10. Also on the top of her priority list: exercise. "Working out is still sometimes a chore," she admitted. But she added, "Most of the reason I work out now is not for the external—it`s for how I feel. I find working out gives me more energy."
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Not content to only walk red carpets and attend movie premieres for the rest of her days, Cindy returned to modeling and her old station as cover girl with a gorgeous picture on the cover of the November issue of Vogue Mexico. She's stayed down-to-earth about her famous bod, though, saying, "Even I don't wake up looking like Cindy Crawford!"
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Never one to shy away from controversy, the model mom poked a hornet's nest when she endorsed presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the 2012 election, even though she'd endorsed President Barack Obama in 2008. We think it's awesome she's so involved in politics and votes!
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Cindy—who has admitted to having a few cosmetic procedures done—explains her outlook on beauty and aging, saying, "Basically, I take care of myself, but I don’t want to be obsessive. And I don’t want to not like who I am today. I’m all for fighting the good fight, but I don’t care how much you work out or how much cream you put on—things change." But judging from this picture, things haven't changed all that much. She's still got It.
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At 46, Cindy is breathtakingly beautiful in the latest issue of SHAPE. One of her best secrets? "Pick the weight that you can maintain—so it's not your skinniest weight, it's your doable weight. And stay there. When you yo-yo, your skin stretches." As for exercise, "Whatever you have time for, it's better than nothing," she says.