How I Discovered Cindy Crawford
Over the decades of being a fashion model agent I've been continually asked the same question, "How did you discover Cindy Crawford?". I figured it would be fun to post this story on my blog.
As a twenty-four year old I had just left my position as Studio Manager to a top Chicago fashion photographer, Stan Malinowski and had begun at Stewart Talent working in my new career as a Booker of Women and Artists. One day as I was interviewing the new makeup artist, George Stattner I had seen the attached precious Madonna inspired photo within George's portfolio. Sadly for George, his book was no longer my focus because I was immediately smitten and excited with the model's exotic beauty. He was a great sport about it, thankfully.
George told me her name was Cynthia Crawford. He further explained that she was not a model, that she was a sixteen year old high school student and that she had already been rejected by the Chicago modeling agencies due to her beauty mark. This fact that other agents didn't have the vision that I had for her beauty did not dissuade me. As a previous client I had always preferred to book unusual beauties. It was a cinch in my opinion that the other clients would eventually agree. I thought her beauty mark was interesting and my instincts told me that some day people would know her for that special trait.
It was clear to me that Cindy was remarkable. My eye for beauty had been trained working with Stan Malinowski in all of his international fashion magazine productions - booking top models, artists, wardrobe stylists and beauty editors. We worked with a great deal of high end advertising clients. Cindy was young but I had a vision of what she could grow into. This was obvious to me due to my international exposure in working with the best that the fashion industry had to offer.
Thankfully George and the photographer, Scott Wimer were very helpful in assisting me to reach Cynthia, her mother and eventually her father. It wasn't an easy sell but fortunately their minds were eventually opened to allow me to represent Cindy (I don't recall when we began to call her Cindy instead of Cynthia) to explore what I had to offer. Below is Cindy's first composite that I produced. It was shot by the Chicago fashion photographer, Jerry Brody.
A year later Jane Stewart merged with John Casablancas, Elite New York. Our fashion divisions then became Elite Chicago, while maintaining the actors representation with Stewart Talent. (Elite Chicago's current name is Factor/Chosen and Stewart Talent remained the same)
A little known fact is that Cindy was not an 'over night success'. Initially most of the Chicago photographers and clients didn't get her beauty. My memory recalls initially it was the shooters, Victor Skrebneski and Bob Frame that made the critical difference in their bookings that got the others to come around. I could not be more proud of a model than I am of Cindy. Her work ethic was superb. She worked very hard juggling her modeling career, fabulous grades in high school, family commitments, friends and the commute from DeKalb, Illinois to Chicago.
All the planets were in alignment that exciting day in Chicago when I met with George Stattner and to have seen that specific charming photo in his portfolio. We never know how the ripple effect of one action can change the lives of others. ;-)