Supermodel Cindy Crawford on family, furniture and heading home to Chicago for philanthropy.
Cindy Crawford is currently reaping the benefits of her 20-year modeling career and bona fide icon status: She’s just returned from celebrating George Clooney’s wedding in Venice, where she and her husband, Rande Gerber (Clooney’s best man), boated around the romantic city with the groom and his bride, Amal Alamuddin. “It was a very glamorous and happy occasion,” Crawford says. It was apparently an exhausting one too — the wedding weekend left Crawford with almost no voice. (When we joke that she sounds like Kathleen Turner, she laughs: “Oh, good! Maybe I should change the message on my phone!”)
Even jet-lagged, Crawford, 48, still radiates charm and Midwestern modesty — when asked about the secret to her success, her first response is, “There’s luck.” It’s that down-to-earth personality — plus her legendary looks — that helped Crawford transform from a young girl growing up in DeKalb to one of the world’s first “supers” and, these days, an entrepreneur. She currently manages her own skincare line, Meaningful Beauty (which we can assume is highly effective because Crawford still looks every bit as beautiful as when she started her career at 16), and oversees Cindy Crawford Home, her thriving furniture line. “I feel like all the hard work I did in the first 20 years of my career enabled me to create my own businesses,” she says.
Cindy Crawford Home also gives the multitalented model the chance to give back to the city that kick-started her career. Crawford has sold her line at Art Van Furniture (2606 N. Elston) for more than 10 years, but this year she’s taking on a new role: She’ll join the brand as Charity Challenge Ambassador, creating PSAs and raising funds for local charities. Through the annual challenge, Art Van asks charities to compete against one another to raise the most money; the furniture giant then doles out $1 million in prizes.
It’s clearly a winning strategy: Over last five years, the challenge has donated more than $6 million to 205 local charities. On Oct. 29, Crawford will appear at Art Van’s A Shining Star event to accept her new position — and she’s thrilled at the opportunity. “It’s a great way to come back home and help raise money,” Crawford says. “It’s a no-brainer.”
In her own home, Crawford is having a full-circle moment: Her 13-year-old daughter Kaia, a virtual clone of Crawford, is making her way into the modeling world — she starred as the face of Young Versace in 2012. And while Crawford is supportive, she’s very much the cautious mother. “Look, she’s still a 13-year-old girl, and she’s very happy [being a kid],” she says. “I would really feel like a hypocrite if I told her she couldn’t do it, but I can at least use what I’ve learned to help her make good decisions.” Her most important lesson? “You have to trust your instincts and work hard. Gamble on yourself — you know how hard you’re willing to work.”
For now, most of Crawford’s difficult work is done, and she’s looking to relax a bit. “I think that a lot of times, people get so caught up in what’s next, that they don’t [focus on the present],” she says. “You have to water the garden that you have.” She pauses, then adds a typically charming aside: “I don’t have a green thumb, so that was a metaphor.”