VINTAGE MODELS: WHEN I INTERVIEWED CHRISTY TURLINGTON
INTERVIEW WITH A SUPERMODEL
I interviewed Christy Turlington in 1997 when I was living in Sydney, Australia (I worked there for three years). I was employed at Vogue Australia assisting the Beauty Director, then I worked as a freelance fashion stylist for CLEO magazine and Cosmopolitan Australia before landing the role of Health & Beauty Editor of New Woman Australia.
Christy Turlington was the 'Face of Maybelline' and was flown to Australia from her home in the US to promote Maybelline's latest cosmetic collection and as a beauty editor on a top monthly magazine I was expected to interview her. When she signed to Maybelline in 1992 she was paid $2million which was a record for the highest amount paid to a model for a beauty contract at the time.
Christy Turlington Maybelline advert 1997 (above)
The preamble to the interview was just tricky to be honest...I had to fax (no one used email in 1997) all my questions to her then-agent in New York and the faxes went back and forth until the questions's were deemed suitable. My questions were pretty harmless (What do you do to relax? What is your favourite make-up trend for 1997, Tell us about your beauty routine? etc) but they were changed daily it seemed. Finally we had all the questions sorted out and then I asked for some recent pictures of her. This proved impossible too so we ended up buying some from an American magazine of her doing yoga!
The people in the Maybelline office in Australia were brilliant but it was New York that put up these obstacles. You have to remember that back in the 1980s and 1990s the Supermodels ruled the fashion and beauty world. They were demi-gods and we all had to bow at their altars, or so their agents thought. I am sure Christy had no idea of the stress involved in just getting ten approved questions.
When the day came to meet her we (myself and other key beauty journalists) were flown to Melbourne from Sydney and taken by limousines to a hotel. We then waited one by one in a suite at the hotel waiting to go into a room to meet her. We had half an hour each with her and that was it.
I have met and interviewed many Supermodels and famous actresses over the last twenty years of my magazine career and I can honestly say that she was the most breathtakingly beautiful out of them all. Simply stunning. I tried not to stare at her too much but her face was just perfection (sickening, isn't it?). Yes, she was also very thin (I know you all want to know) but she looked healthy too which not all models did. It is all down to genetic good fortune but she was nice too. Not hugely charming, interesting or funny but just nice. She gave perfect short answers to all my questions and we were done in ten minutes so I pushed it a little and started asking questions outside the remit...her agent was sat in the room with us but she was busy on the hotel phone for most of the time so I got away with it!
We started talking horse riding, yoga, having children and much more and she warmed up so much more than when I had to ask her the sterile questions approved by 'her people'.
I do have a photograph somewhere of me and her together but it is best I cannot find it as no one looks good standing next to a Supermodel...
"She's an all-time classic. You can place her in any decade and she'll still be beautiful." Photographer Terry O'Neill on Christy Turlington