Cindy Crawford on her modelling career, family, and unforgettable moments with Omega
The OG Supermodel
It's not every day you get the opportunity to meet a supermodel, let alone an OG—a face I grew up seeing in glossy magazines, and plastered across advertisements, telling me her choice of watch brand, and which lipstick shade to buy. We're in a room at the glitzy Peninsula hotel in Paris, where after a short wait, I come face to face with Cindy Crawford; we exchange pleasantries, shake hands, and then I smile (rather awkwardly) at the camera, her in her 6-inch heels, me in my Gucci flats. Note to self: when the next opportunity to meet an OG arises, please wear 6-inch heels.
In Paris for the launch of the Omega Her Time exhibition, it was also revealed that morning that Cindy's children, Kaia, and Presley Gerber will be joining her as ambassadors for the Omega brand. With a 20-year-relationship with Omega, and counting, it was an appointment that made perfect sense.
How have you evolved since joining Omega as an ambassador 20 years ago?
When I first joined Omega, they had hired me as a model for an ad. I think at that time, they saw me as a fashion model, and I saw them as a job. But when we did the shoot, everyone got along, and they invited me to an event in Milan that they were doing, and that's when we really connected. Omega is all about heritage, quality, legacy, the moon...there's so much history there. And even as young woman, I knew that I wanted those same qualities to be associated with my brand.
When we first started working together, it was sort of like dating. You go on a first date, then the second, and then you decide to get married. I always joke that I have been with Omega longer than I have been with my husband. And I love that they are not expecting me to still be a 25-year-old model. They embrace that I'm now a mother, wife, businesswoman, that I'm 51, no longer 25, and they're not trying to make me be that. They've let me grow up and they appreciate this history that we have had together.
And now, my children are joining the Omega family and I'm so excited for them. Omega is all about legacy and obviously my kids are part of my legacy so I think it's great—they know what Omega stands for, and they're really excited about this.
What sort of legacy do you hope to see your kids carrying forward?
For both of them, it's about finding their passion. My husband always tells them, if you love your job, it'll never feel like a job because you're just doing what you love. And I think for both of them, to help them define what it is that they love, and to help them figure out how to make their work life a part of that. I'm sure Kaia's career will be different to mine because the world has changed. We didn't have social media then. My son likes modelling too, loves watches and cars—he's a typical guy, but he also wants to follow in my husband's footsteps. My husband is a businessman and he wants to follow in that path. So it's helping them both find their passions and bringing that to light. That would make me feel like I was a successful parent.
What's the first thing your husband said to you when Omega signed up your children?
He's excited for the kids. He knows what an incredible relationship it's been for me for the last 20 years and he thought it made sense, which is how I feel about it as well.
What are the specific values that Omega has that speak to you? Do you think those are different for your kids?
For me, what I love about Omega first of all, is quality. Seeing how much pride the watchmakers have in their work and their attention to detail—I have a whole new appreciation for a quality timepiece. Omega stands for legacy, history and timelessness. Even though it's about time, there's a sense of timelessness about the Omega brand. For my kids, I think legacy will probably be the most important thing because they grew up with Omega. I grew up in a time where you had to wear a watch to tell the time. For my kids it's different. Wearing a watch is about the statement they're making. So it'll be interesting for them to redefine why a quality timepiece matters to their generation.
What do you love about wearing a watch?
It used to be that I wore a watch every day because I'm a very punctual person. A watch was a necessity—I even slept with my watch (a clear Swatch watch). I think that's why Omega likes me, too, because I'm always on time. But now, no one needs to wear a watch. We all have our phones so the watch has become strictly an accessory. But to me a watch has become a statement accessory and different watches make me feel different. It's like the difference between wearing flats and heels. You feel different when you're wearing different shoes, and it all comes down to how I feel that day: do I want to wear a more masculine watch with a shirt and jeans or do I want to wear a more feminine watch, or something with more sparkle and bling? I've come to really appreciate the craftsmanship of a quality timepiece and also just having fun with a watch wardrobe and wear what I want. My basic, everyday watch is a stainless steel with rose gold watch, with a black face.
Your favourite Omega watch?
I'm the most sentimental about the Constellation because when I first started working with Omega, I went to Switzerland and met with the watchmakers and they were redesigning it at the time. I actually got to have a little bit of input so I will always have a connection with the Constellation.
What's the most unforgettable moment with Omega?
There have been so many—I've ridden elephants in India, we've gone to the Olympics with Omega several times, but I think the one that was the most impactful was when I went to Peru with my daughter, Kaia, three years ago. We did a documentary with the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital, and I'm grateful to be able to share that with my daughter, and to work with a company that gives back. I think for Kaia, that trip made a big impression. She saw that you can make a difference even in a country that's far away from your own, and I think that that was a great thing to share.
If you could turn back time and relive one day of your life, what would that be?
If I had a career moment, I think I just got to do it at the Versace show (the Versace SS18 show honoured Gianni Versace's 20th death anniversary), because that original Versace moment in 1991 (at the Versace AW91 show) where we walked to George Michael's Freedom...it was like, "this is special." I felt it in that moment. To do it again last September at Milan Fashion Week, even though some of the women were different, and they had a different version of the George Michael song, and Donatella was there, it was kind of like reliving that moment in a weird way. It was like there was no time, but then also a lifetime in between. It was especially exciting because my daughter was also in the show, and I don't think that's very normal for mothers and daughters to be walking in the same show. After we walked off, everyone got a little teary. Then we had dinner with Donatella at the Versace home and it was like a flashback.
What are the main differences about working in the fashion industry in the 80s and 90s, compared to today?
Doing the show is exactly the same. Doing a photoshoot is the same, except now they're using digital cameras, but that's been happening for 15 years. The only difference is social media. And that's a big difference, because it's like another job. Now it's everything to support the photoshoot: the Boomerangs, the behind-the-scenes, the Instagram...it makes it more work. I also think that because of social media, everything is accelerated. My daughter did one show and all of a sudden, she's everywhere. We had a slower build then, but now, if it captures people's imagination, it just goes from 0 to 60 really fast.
Is that a good or bad thing?
I think you can't really control it. It is what it is. I worry that the shelf life is going to be shorter, because we use up images faster now. It's not just every day, it's multiple images every day, and we all use our phones for entertainment now. Like you're on Instagram and all of a sudden, half an hour went by—we use up content much faster. For me, as a mother of a young model, I don't want people to be sick of her before she's even started. How do you manage that? I'm not sure you can. Some of it is beyond your control. One picture goes a lot further now.
If you could give one watch to your daughter some day, what would it be?
I helped consult on the design of the Constellation in the '90s when they relaunched the collection, and Mr Hayek Senior made me a special version in platinum. It looks just like the stainless steel version but in platinum. It's one-of-a-kind and that's the one I would give to Kaia.
Who are some women who inspire you?
There are so many but I'll have to say my mother and sisters are my biggest role models. My mother had bumps in her life—she went through a divorce, lost a child, but she always made the best of everything. It was only when I became an adult that I realised how incredibly strong that is; she always chose to see the good side of things, and the good side of people. And that doesn't come naturally—that's a choice, and I remember when I became a mother myself, I kind of realised that was my mother's power. She wasn't an executive woman with a power suit and briefcase—her power was in how she chose to deal with the life that was handed to her, how she approached life and I think that's a great quality. My sisters are both also very similar to her.
You're now 51 and you still look amazing. Tell us your secret?
As a model, I think it was very hard to turn 50—I was like 'yikes!'. There's nothing girly about turning 50—you're a real grown-up; 50 is not young. But the day after I turned 50, I felt like the same person. You then realise that the anticipation is worse than the reality. I'm lucky because I have one grandmother still alive, my parents; I have great genetics I suppose. Since I started modelling, I exercise and try to eat healthy. I definitely don't look the same as I did in my twenties; I wished I did but I shouldn't, either—I have kids who are almost 20 themselves. Getting older is about taking care of myself but also developing other areas in my life. Yes, the past was great and I had fun, but I also want the present to be great, and for the future to be great. So it's about embracing where you are today and not just being nostalgic for the past.