There are surprising things you never knew about models. And there’s never really been a time in history when we haven’t been obsessed with trying to uncover secrets about the most famous among them. Even back in the ’50s, the world was captivated by the secret life of models like Suzy Parker and Dorian Leigh (via Vanity Fair). And, of course, during the reign of the “Big Six” supermodels in the ’90s, we couldn’t get enough of Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, and their gang (via Marie Claire). Speaking of the “Big Six,” here’s what the original supermodels look like today.
Now, we’re in a new era — the age of the Instagram model — and it’s never been easier to discover juicy, personal tidbits about our favorite stars, thanks to social media. Naturally, models of any time period aren’t without their fascinating scandals (via W magazine). Nevertheless, not all facts have to be super shady.
To that end, we’ve uncovered some seriously interesting and little known facts about some of the world’s best known models. Get ready to see your favorite catwalkers in a whole new light.
Surprise! You never knew Cindy Crawford is descended from a Roman Emperor
Cindy Crawford — who’s undergone a stunning transformation — was an icon of the ’90s fashion world. She is often credited as being the model who instigated the rise of the all-powerful supermodel. Her appearances in George Michael’s “Freedom!” video, her famous Pepsi ad, and MTV’s House of Style have all gone down in history. As Vogue explained, Crawford’s charm and appeal comes from her all-American, small-town farm girl Cinderella story.
What you never knew, however, is that Crawford isn’t exactly the small-town girl we all thought. In 2013, the model appeared on the TLC series Who Do You Think You Are?, which traces the ancestral lineage of famous stars. In Crawford’s case, she discovered that one of her ancestors was in fact a Roman Emperor! Even Crawford was shocked, as she explained, she had considered herself a “Midwestern next-door neighbor girl” and an “American mutt” prior to the episode.
Additionally, Crawford learned that she came from a family called the Trowbridge family, who immigrated to America in the 1600s. Then, when she looked further back, she discovered she’s a descendent of Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor!
Naomi Campbell was in a Bob Marley video when she was just 7, a surprising thing you never knew
Naomi Campbell was another ’90s supermodel who took the world by storm. She starred in campaigns for Versace, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, and more, eventually becoming the face of Yves Saint Laurent, and later creating her own cosmetics brand (via Business of Fashion).
Campbell got her professional start very early in life; she was just 7 when she appeared in Bob Marley’s music video “Is This Love.” Apparently, she was selected from her stage school, the Barbara Speake Stage School in London, where she’d been a student since the age of 3 (via Evening Standard). As she wrote in The Guardian, “I didn’t realize Bob Marley would be standing right next to me, tucking me under a blanket.”
Apparently, the young Campbell found the whole experience a little overwhelming. As she told Fashionista, “I remember I started crying when I saw his dreadlocks because I thought they were worms.” But even though she was young and nervous, Campbell recalled that Marley was incredibly gentle and mellow, which helped to put her at ease.
You never knew that Kate Moss' engagement ring was copied from the one writer F. Scott Fitzgerald gave to his wife
Kate Moss is best-known as the slender British model with a million-dollar face, one of the most beautiful supermodels in the world. With her chiseled cheek bones, warm brown eyes, and luscious hair, it’s no wonder she’s graced dozens if not hundreds of magazine covers and runways over the years (via The Guardian).
According to Vogue, Moss got engaged to her now-ex-husband, rockstar Jamie Hince, in 2011. What you never knew is that her engagement ring had a huge amount of historic and literary significance. According to The Sun, Hince spent months trying to find the original engagement ring owned by Zelda Fitzgerald, given to her by her husband and writer of the American classic The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald.
When Hince couldn’t find the original, he obtained sketches of the ring from a museum in Alabama and commissioned an exact copy. Apparently, the ring was an homage to Moss’ adoration of Zelda — her favorite book is reportedly Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and the Damned.
You never knew Cara Delevigne is surprisingly really into video games
Like most models, Cara Delevingne has undergone a stunning transformation. She always seems to be effortlessly glamorous and chic, whether she’s dolled up in a feminine gown, or she’s walking the streets in her signature tomboy style (via Glamour). While you may assume that supermodels only care about fashion and beauty, Delevingne is happy to subvert expectations: she’s super into playing video games!
In 2015, the model-turned-actor appeared in a major ad campaign for Call of Duty. According to Mashable, she’s a huge fan of the game. As Matt Jarvis, one of the people behind the ad, explained, they wanted to break down some stereotypes about what gamers look like. Because Delevingne was a real player and an “authentic [fan] of the brand,” she was the perfect fit.
Further back in 2013, Delevingne confessed to the Daily Star that she loves playing Call of Duty on her Xbox. “I’m up to level 15,” she revealed. “People find me online and ask, ‘Are you a girl?'” Sounds like Delevingne is super happy to show the world that models aren’t always what we think!
Christy Turlington surprisingly went back to college while modeling, which you never knew
You probably know Christy Turlington as one of the supermodels of the ’90s. Later, she became a well-known spokeswoman for yoga, and for organization Every Mother Counts, while continuing to appear in massive campaigns. According to W, Turlington has always stayed pretty busy, taking on extra projects alongside her modeling work. In fact, she actually completed an entire university degree while modeling, a surprising thing you never knew!
Turlington explained that after years of being at the top of the modeling world, she decided to finish her college degree. “My sisters were in college and my mom went back to school in her early 50s and I was envious,” she explained. She added that she became more and more interested in her family’s schoolwork, asking them questions and borrowing their books.
Amazingly, when Turlington went back to school at NYU, she continued working for Calvin Klein and Maybelline at the same time! Even so, the model said that she never missed a class. Talk about some amazing work ethic and dedication.
Surprise! Gigi Hadid was a fan of Taylor Swift before they became besties, a fact you never knew
Gigi Hadid — who’s undergone a stunning transformation — is certainly a force to be reckoned with. More of a brand than a model, Hadid owns the runway and the internet in equal measure (via Business Insider).
While many Hadid fans probably know about her close relationship with Taylor Swift, you never knew that the model is also a mega-fan of the country-turned-pop star. Hadid appeared in Swift’s music video “Bad Blood,” and is a central figure in Swift’s famous girl squad. More recently, Swift surprised Hadid with a handmade baby blanket for her newborn (via Independent).
Despite their close friendship, Hadid has remained a huge fan of Swift. As she explained in a Variety interview, she’s connected with Swift’s lyrics since childhood. When they became friends, she said she was given “an insight into the mind that creates those lyrics” (via Capital FM). Additionally, Hadid saw Swift’s Reputation tour ten times. “It’s an interesting duality to experience in a friendship, because I love her and cherish her as a friend. But I’m also her biggest fan,” Hadid gushed.
You never knew that Karli Kloss surprisingly converted to Judaism
Karli Kloss rose to prominence working as a Victoria’s Secret angel; she’s also made a big impact as a businesswoman and philanthropist. However, what you never knew about Kloss is that she made a surprising decision to convert to Judaism prior to marrying her husband, Josh Kushner. “It was only after many years of studying and talking with my family and friends and soul searching that I made the decision to fully embrace Judaism in my life and start planning for a future with the man I chose to marry,” she explained to Vogue. It’s clear that this was not a decision Kloss made lightly.
Additionally, Kloss and her husband are vigilant observers of Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest, when they disconnect from social media and put down their devices. “[Shabbat] helps me reconnect to the actual world,” Kloss confessed.
Incidentally, Kushner’s brother, Jared, married Ivanka Trump in 2009. Trump also converted to Judaism, and, according to Page Six, she and her husband are also careful to observe the day of rest.
Emily Ratajkowski once got drunk and tried out Tinder, a surprising thing you never knew
Emily Ratajkowski — who’s undergone a stunning transformation — is well-known for a lot more than her modeling. She’s also a prominent figure on Instagram, and a well-respected actress known for roles in Gone Girl, We Are Your Friends, and In Darkness (via IMDb). Ratajkowski has always presented herself as a polished, intelligent young woman, with an interest in activism and feminism, as noted by Harper’s Bazaar. It would be easy to think that she’s, well, pretty much perfect!
But as it turns out, Ratajkowski has made a few drunken mistakes, just like the rest of us. In fact, she once downloaded Tinder on a whim! “I got drunk in New York with my friends at my apartment, and it was two in the morning,” she explained to GQ. “So I made a Tinder account for 20 minutes.” Apparently, she used a random selfie as her profile picture, which she modestly deemed, “not attractive.”
Even though her account was short-lived, Ratajkowski, unsurprisingly, had a few matches — and a few people even recognized her. Imagine how excited those lucky matches must have felt!
You never knew what Jourdan Dunn surprisingly tattooed on her arm
Jourdan Dunn is one of the world’s best-known models. With countless covers under belt, as well as her own charity, Cell for Gratitude – which she created after her son was born with sickle cell anemia — Dunn is definitely impressive (via the Independent). What you never knew, however, is that the model has a surprisingly sentimental streak. In fact, she commemorated her first cover shoot by tattooing the cover line from the magazine, i-D, on her arm.
As of 2013, Dunn had done an amazing seven covers for the publication. “i-D is like a family and it means a lot to me,” she told i-D in 2013. Dunn went on to say that the line reads, “You owe it to yourself. Set the world on fire.” She explained, “It’s a nice reminder of how far I’ve come and motivation to carry on.” What a touching story!
Miranda Kerr was robbed by a gang of thieves who were after her lingerie, a surprising thing you never knew
Miranda Kerr — who’s undergone a stunning transformation — is one of those models that always gives her all, whether it’s for modeling, her skincare business, or her family. However, one of the more bizarre stories about Kerr involves a well-known gang of thieves and some very expensive lingerie. It sounds more like a novel than real life!
As Vogue explained, Kerr was the victim of a robbery by the Hollywood Bling Ring gang, a group known for their celebrity robberies. Sophia Coppola even made a film, The Bling Ring, about the infamous gang.
Apparently, the group was obsessed with stealing and wearing celebrity clothing — especially underwear. As Nancy Jo Sales, the Vanity Fair reporter that exposed the ring, explained, “The fact that they stole the underwear just seems so weird , but it’s not weird when you think about it, because they’re growing up at a time when their culture is constantly telling them to be sexy.” And what, Sales mused, could be sexier than the underwear of a Victoria’s Secret angel?
Surprise! Bella Hadid is a natural blonde, which you never knew
Bella Hadid, the sultry younger sister of Gigi Hadid, is probably just as famous in her own right, with a contract with Dior and tens of millions of Instagram followers. Luckily for the Hadid girls, there’s never been much competition between them — especially as they each have their own unique looks: Gigi has blonde hair and a bright personality, and Bella sports dark brown locks and exudes a mysterious vibe.
Well, it turns out, Bella’s look is way more intentional than it seems, which you never knew. In 2016, she revealed to Allure that her locks are surprisingly dyed brown! “I just have a darker personality,” she explained. “And my sister being blonde and me being brunette, it’s a good separation.”
Nevertheless, Bella is careful not to pretend to be anyone she isn’t. We don’t blame her for wanting to create some distance between her and her superstar big sister! And so far, the hair color seems to be working wonders.
You never knew that Gisele Bundchen's twin sister is surprisingly her manager
The Brazilian model Gisele Bündchen was, at one time, the world’s highest-paid model; her image was plastered all over magazines, billboards, buses, and more (via Business Insider). Nevertheless, you never knew the surprising secret behind her success. As it turns out, Gisele owes a lot to her twin sister, Patricia Bündchen, who works as Gisele’s manager and spokesperson.
Even though Patricia gave modeling a go when she was younger, it seems that it didn’t suit her personality. Apparently, she, Gisele, and Gabby, another Bündchen sister, all took a modeling course. As she told Vanity Fair, “Unlike me, Gisele was very talkative, and she wasn’t afraid to be away from home for some time even when she was little.”
Even though Patricia’s job is to keep Gisele’s career in line, it seems that she prefers to stay out of the spotlight (via the Telegraph).
Claudia Schiffer wasn't actually supposed to be in Love Actually, a surprising thing you never knew
Who can forget Claudia Schiffer’s famous cameo in the 2003 Christmas classic, Love Actually? Even though the model only has about 60 seconds on the screen, she’s mentioned throughout the film by Liam Neeson, who jokes that he would only ever remarry if he met Schiffer. Low and behold, a local single mother, Carol, turns up who is the spitting image of Schiffer — of course, played by the model herself. It’s a Christmas miracle — and a great gag!
But as it turns out, Schiffer wasn’t actually meant to be in the film originally, a surprising thing you never knew. Apparently, the script called for a Schiffer look alike. However, when the director couldn’t find a convincing Schiffer impersonator, he decided to offer the part to Schiffer herself (via VH1). We bet that Schiffer was glad she took the brief cameo, as The Sun revealed that she was paid a whopping $350,000 for her tiny role!
Surprise! Heidi Klum wasn't afraid to mock Donald Trump, which you never knew
In 2015, Heidi Klum — who’s undergone a stunning transformation — proved that models can have strong political views, and voice them proudly! Previously, Klum had opened up about supporting Barak Obama in the 2008 election — her first U.S. election since getting her citizenship (via Politico).
When Donald Trump was elected, he made some comments about her to the The New York Times. “Sadly, she’s no longer a 10,” he shared, in reference to comments he’d made a decade ago.
Klum was quick to come right back with her own public response. She posted a hilarious video on Instagram, in which she wore a white t-shirt with a piece of paper with the number ten written on it. Then, a man with a Trump mask came up behind her, and ripped the paper off to reveal the number 9.99 written on her shirt. The final moments of the video show Klum smiling and shrugging, making it crystal clear that Trump’s opinion means nothing to her. We love her creative and lighthearted response!
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