The Supermodels of the 1980s

The most iconic faces of '80s fashion.

Yes, the hair was bigger, but that wasn't the only thing that set the cover girls of the '80s apart.
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Cindy Crawford

Before Cindy Crawford became a supermodel, she was on a scholarly track. She was her high school's Valedictorian and studying chemical engineering at Northwestern University before she dropped out to pursue modeling. In 1982, she won Elite Model Management’s "Look of the Year" contest and within months the U.S. had fallen in love with her all-American look. She become one of the original Big Six supermodels, and had the most commercial success of all the girls.

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Brooke Shields

After spending her pre-teen years starring in films such as Pretty Baby (1978) and Blue Lagoon (1980), Brooke Shields made waves in the fashion industry covering the most popular fashion magazines and appearing in Calvin Klein's controversial jean ads. Her bold brows, impeccable bone structure, and long hair were iconic.

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Christie Brinkley

Christie Brinkley didn’t dream of becoming a supermodel. In fact, she was hesitant to abandon her career as an illustrator. But that all changed after she caught the attention of American photographer on the streets of Paris. She decided to embrace the industry and the rest was history. She covered the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition three consecutive times (1979-1981) and starred in national campaigns for Chanel Beauty and Cover Girl. She also had a high-profile relationship with Billy Joel, in which time she inspired his famous song, "Uptown Girl."

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Iman

Iman was discovered in 1975 by Peter Beard who saw her on the street in Nairobi and was taken with her statuesque Somalian beauty. At the time she was at university majoring in political science and fluent in five different languages. She exploded onto the fashion scene, booked many major fashion spreads and covers, and served as a muse to the likes of Thierry Mugler, Calvin Klein, and Donna Karen. She went on to win the affections of another '70s icon, David Bowie, who she married in 1992.

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Elle Macpherson

At the beginning of her career, Elle Macpherson pursued modeling to earn money to pay for her law books at Sydney University. The Australian beauty moved to New York City, only planning to stay a year, but found instant success. By 1986, she had appeared in all the major fashion magazines and covered the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 1986, 1987, 1988, 1994, and 2006. Her unparalleledd physique earned her the nickname "The Body".

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Carol Alt

Carol Alt was enrolled in college on an army scholarship and participating in military drills around the time she was discovered. A photographer walked into a restaurant where she was waitressing and told her she should model. She was introduced to Elite Model Management founder John Casablancas and was offered a contract on the spot. She went on to become one of the most famous cover stars of the ’80s and walk the runway for the likes of Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren.

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Paulina Porizkova

Paulina Porizkova’s modeling career began swiftly after a chance encounter with an Elite Model Management scout on the streets of Sweden. She went on to appear in numerous magazines, star in campaigns for Estée Lauder, Maybelline, Escada, and more, as well as cover the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition in 1984.

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Kim Alexis

Kim Alexis began modeling at 18 after being discovered by Elite Model Management. Although she did high profile fashion work, she became best know for beauty after replacing Lauren Hutton as the face of Revlon's Ultimate II line. She appeared on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover for 6 consecutive years.

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Renée Simonsen

Denmark-born Renée Simonsen's modeling career, which began as a means of paying for university, began when she won the "Face of the Eighties" model search in 1982. She found instant success, starring in major campaigns and covering numerous magazines. Despite being offered to auction for the role of Bond Girl in the next James Bond film, she left modeling at 24 to continues her studies. Today, she’s educated in psychology and is a full-time writer.

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Karen Alexander

When Karen Alexander first began visiting modeling agencies, she was rejected by some of the industry's most influential scouts including Eileen Ford and John Casablancas. She was eventually picked up by Legends Agency, and had a successful career that’s lasted over two decades, with Alexander starring in a Tiffany & Co. campaign in Fall 2008.

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