In 1989, New York magazine called supermodel Cindy Crawford, now 27, "the Face.... a model for the Nineties."But even then it was clear that Crawford didn't need anyone to make that pronouncement. She had already been on more than 200 magazine covers and had become part of the Revlon pantheon, snaring millions of dollars for a few days' work a year. Crawford, though, is no rich slouch. She also hosts an MTV show, "House of Style," has put out best-selling provocative solo calendars and has posed nude for Playboy. She married Richard Gere after a four-year courtship and has just released her own exercise video. Now when she graces a magazine cover, the story is often about her rather than fashion. Contributing Editor David Rensin talked with Crawford poolside at the home she shares with Gere in Los Angeles. Rensin reports: "Soon after we began, Gere came home and ambled over to say hi. An hour later, he returned to say I want my wife. The interview's over.' I bargained for more time. Later, Gere and Crawford tooled around their kitchen discussing schedules. Suddenly, Gere said, 'By the way, I'm going to knock up my wife tonight.' Crawford winced. 'Richard!' she groaned. 'Now that's going to be in the interview.' She was wrong. It's only in the introduction."
[Q] Playboy: Do women know what they're showing every moment they're showing it?
[A] Crawford: Models learn early that the camera could be shooting at any second. So even if I drop an earring or I'm fixing my shoe, I do it in a way that I think would be aesthetically pleasing. However, when models become actresses, we are sometimes too aware of the camera and forget just to act.
[Q] Playboy: A woman decides for herself whether or not she will pose nude. What are the best and worst reasons--including your own--for posing in the nude?
[A] Crawford: Women are particularly hard on themselves and their bodies, so if you trust the photographer, to capture a beautiful moment is great. In the mirror, you mostly see what's wrong. Seeing yourself through another person's eyes helps you appreciate yourself. Then you can say, "God, all that working out is paying off," or "I'm going to save this until I'm fifty, when everything's down to my knees." The worst reason to do nudity is for money. You live to regret exploiting yourself. 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.
[Q] Playboy: Where do you draw the line? What wouldn't you do in front of a camera?
[A] Crawford: For one photo, I was asked to carry a gun. They thought it would look cool. I disagreed. It added nothing. They said, "You're a model and that's what you do." So I said, "Listen, I'm for gun control. I don't want to promote people running around with guns just because you think it's chic."
[Q] Playboy: When you find a guy staring, how do you interrupt his reverie?
[A] Crawford: Usually it's easy to ignore. But today I was on the freeway and a good-looking guy in a Miata was driving next to me. He kept looking over, speeding up, slowing down. I hate that! I kept looking over to see if he was gone, and he probably thought I was looking at him. I don't think it registered who I was. He probably thought I was just some cute girl. Most people don't flirt with me now because they know I'm married and to whom. So, message to the guy in the Miata: You're cute, but I'm married.
[Q] Playboy: When you married Richard Gere, you chose a quickie Vegas wedding. Was it everything you imagined?
[A] Crawford: A major delight was the absence of paparazzi hovering in helicopters. Also, since I had only a couple hours' notice, there was no planning, no figuring out who to invite. I didn't have to worry about a wedding dress, either. I've worn so many wedding dresses for Bride's magazine that the thrill was gone, anyway. The rest was just like a traditional wedding. We were both laughing and smiling and looking at each other. And it was serious.
[Q] Playboy: What domestic behavior in men drives you crazy?
[A] Crawford: When they offer to help and then they don't. Like, "Can I do anything?" and you say, "Yeah," and then they stand there looking lost.
[Q] Playboy: What tells you a photographer doesn't know what he's doing?
[A] Crawford: I look at the lighting. I know what good lighting is. I know what makes me look good. So if the light is going to make me look like Frankenstein's bride, I don't trust the photographer. It's not good for me to have bad pictures out. No one says the photographer is terrible--they say Cindy looks terrible. They forget I don't control the light. I don't care how good the makeup is, how beautiful the hair is, in bad light you look like shit.
[Q] Playboy: Complete the sentence: Fashion photographers are frustrated. . . .
[A] Crawford: When they work past five. And so is Cindy.
[Q] Playboy: You're a corn-fed Illinois girl. Tell us the best way to prepare and to eat corn.
[A] Crawford: I usually throw it into boiling water for eight to ten minutes. I eat it typewriter style, with butter and pepper but no salt. And no corn holders. I'm too lazy to stick them in.
[Q] Playboy: David Letterman once did a top-ten list of models' complaints. One was that Paulina Porizkova's husband, Ric Ocasek, gave geeky guys the impression that models really could be interested in them. Is that just a funny line, or do average guys really have a shot at a beautiful woman? What's your advice for men who find themselves in love with animpossibly beautiful woman? Are there typical mistakes to avoid?
[A] Crawford: Ric is a strange-looking guy. But he's nice, and if a guy is nice, why not? There are two reasons so many models are with famous people: One, they happen to be the people they meet, and two, famous people can understand each other's lifestyle, the pressures of being a celebrity, of just walking through an airport. If my husband were Mr. Wall Street, don't you think it would be hard for him to see me doing nude pictures or running all over the world? But if you're with someone who has to go off to make movies and who does love scenes with other women, it creates a certain kind of understanding.
Every woman wants to feel beautiful. Sometimes when a guy is with a beautiful woman, he doesn't compliment her because he thinks, Oh, she knows already. Not true. I have fat days, ugly days, blimp days, days that I just feel terrible about myself. And then there are guys who make you feel that all they care about is how you look. I don't want to have to be beautiful all the time. I want to be able to look cruddy in my weekend sweats, with a pimple on my face and pimple cream on top of the pimple. The expectation to always be beautiful bothers me.
[Q] Playboy: What kinds of things don't look good on you?
[A] Crawford: Hats, except for baseball caps. And bicycle shorts.
[Q] Playboy: What is the toughest topic you have covered on MTV's House of Style?
[A] Crawford: They wanted me to interview Madonna, but I was too scared. I've seen interviews she's done with women, and I didn't want her to be mean to me. I don't think she wanted to be interviewed by me, either, so my producer did it. I wasn't ready for that kind of humiliation. That's probably something I should work on.
[Q] Playboy: What is the most interesting conversation you have had with a designer?
[A] Crawford: I asked Jean-Paul Gaultier how he got started in designing. He said he used to have a teddy bear when he was seven years old, and he would make cone bras for it--like he does now for Madonna. Apparently, he was intrigued by what he found in his grandmother's lingerie drawer.
[Q] Playboy: On House of Style you did a show about breast implants. All the models you interviewed said, "Not me, mine are real." What do you know that we don't?
[A] Crawford: [Laughs] We had a little trouble with that. I thought it would be cool for these women to talk about implants, that it might be helpful to others who had them or were considering them. But no one wanted to get personal.They wouldn't answer the questions. And because they're friends, and since I don't believe in negative gossip, I didn't feel it was my business to tell whose were real and whose weren't. [Smiles] Of course, this is easy to say because I have real ones, and I'm not that attached to their size. Maybe I can't relate to their problem. But the idea of putting something fake into my body scares me. Women say they do it for their boyfriends or for modeling. Well, Linda Evangelista isa top model and she's very small. It's an interesting women's issue, especially since lots of eighteen-year-old girls are running out to get implants. We also had guys talking about the implants. I wanted to know if they liked them, and most didn't. Most of my guy friends hate the way artificial breasts feel. So why do it?
[Q] Playboy: When isn't a model beautiful?
[A] Crawford: Ugly behavior makes everyone ugly. Temper tantrums. Acting like a slut. If we're shooting bikini bottoms at a hotel, you don't walk topless through the lobby. You cover up until you get to your little area. I'm not an exhibitionist, but some models are, and I get embarrassed around them because I think people then think all models are that way. Also, showing up late. Tardiness is the biggest disrespect. It's saying that your time is more important than everyone else's. Unfortunately, my husband is always fifteen minutes late, but I forgive him because at least he is dependably fifteen minutes late.
[Q] Playboy: Should kids model?
[A] Crawford: No. A set is not a healthy environment for a kid. I've seen five-year-old girls putting on mascara, and it makes me sick. And they won't share their hair ribbons with other five-year-old models because they want to look better. It's: "Those are my hair ribbons!" When puberty hits, you're already so self-conscious of the way you look. It shouldn't happen any faster. So when people ask me about this, I say, yeah, your kid's cute, but a kid's not really going to make that much money modeling. There are hundreds of kids on every go-see. Maybe you get one big commercial, but some parent has to schlepp these kids around. And if they're in a bad mood the day the director's looking at them, you're out of luck. When I have kids, they won't model unless they get the idea on their own.
[Q] Playboy: Have you experienced celebrity stalking firsthand?
[A] Crawford: When I was modeling in NewYork, a guy started following me. He found out my address and phone number. When he saw me leaving my apartment with a suitcase, he broke in. Once in, he had my keys reproduced. He was a professional burglar. Then he slept in my bed every night. He would call before he came over, and if no one answered, he figured the coast was clear. One night he called when I had just gotten back from China. I picked up the phone, said hello, and he said,"Is this Cindy?" and I said yes. He said, "You know the top left-hand drawer of your dresser, where you keep the two-dollar bill that your grandmother gave you for your sixteenth birthday?" I got very scared, but I pushed the record button on my answering machine and taped the conversation. He wanted to meet right then. He said he was coming over--it was two o'clock in the morning. I said, "I'm out of here, but I'll meet you for lunch tomorrow." I told him I was bringing someonbecause I wouldn't meet him alone. He said, "Yeah, but you better not bring any cops." We made arrangements. Then I called the police. The next day I didn't have time to get wired, so the police told me to get a confession from him in front of my friend and then get back the keys to my apartment as evidence. They said I should take my sunglasses off the table and put them on my head, and that would be their signal to arrest him. So I was drinking iced cappuccino, waiting, trying to keep it together, and the guy walked up. He looked around to find out where the exits were, then just came over and threw the keys down. He said, "Here are your keys back, I'm sorry." And my friend just lost it. I asked, "Are you on drugs? Are you out of your mind? What do you mean, you're sorry? You don't live in someone else's apartment. Exactly how did you get in?" And the guy started to tell us. Then I put my sunglasses on and the undercover cops arrested him. He plea-bargained andwent to jail. He's since written me to say that he's sorry.
[Q] Playboy: What's the deal with bikini waxing?
[A] Crawford: I know. It's weird, isn't it? But if you want to wear those little things, it's necessary.
[Q] Playboy: Your bio says you never received less than an A in school after the sixth grade. Really?
[A] Crawford: I bet my dad two hundred dollars in sixth grade that I would get straight A's all through junior high school. And high school, also. And I did. I occasionally got a B on a paper, but not on my report cards. I was afraid I was going to lose my bet. I realize now what a fool I was. Seven years of straight A's is worth a lot more than two hundred bucks!
[Q] Playboy: Of what animal noises do you have a virtuosic command?
[A] Crawford: None. I have a stupid human trick, though. [Demonstrates] I can touch my nose with my tongue.
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