Christy Turlington Traded Her Supermodel Career for Three University Degrees, a Husband, and Two Children, and Is Now an Avid Activist
Christy Turlington took the fashion world by storm in the nineties before suddenly disappearing off the radar. The supermodel, who’s been on over 500 magazine covers, decided to retire from the profession to pursue higher education and devote time to her husband and children. All her plans have come to fruition, and even exceeded expectations. We’ve decided to take a look at what Christy has been up to all these years, and what important work she’s dedicated herself to now.
She was part of “the holy trinity”
Christy started modeling at the age of 13. She was spotted while riding a horse. At 16, Turlington signed a contract with the agency Ford Models and a year later appeared on the cover of Vogue. The height of her career came during the “model era.” Turlington was part of “the holy trinity” with fellow models Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista. The trio got this nickname because they were often seen on the catwalk together.
She left modeling to become a writer
The popularity of supermodels in the nineties was perhaps comparable to that of the Kardashian-Jenner family nowadays. Christy, for example, appeared in music videos for the likes of George Michael and Duran Duran. Her catwalk and fashion magazine appearances made her one of the wealthiest models in the world.
There’s a time for everything. As the “modeling era” drew to a close, Christy paused: “I thought, you know what? I’d rather end it when I want to end it, rather than somebody else doing it for me.” The superstar intended to become a writer after retiring from modeling.
She earned three academic degrees
As a teenager, Christy didn’t gravitate towards education, but at 26, the model enthusiastically returned to university. In 1995, Turlington enrolled at New York University. The star obtained two degrees at once, in Comparative Religious Studies and in Eastern Philosophy. But Christy’s studying days didn’t end there. At the age of 40, she earned her Master’s degree in Public Health at Columbia University.
She doesn’t remember the first time she met her future spouse
Alongside her academic studies, Turlington was also putting her personal life in order. Christy met her husband-to-be, director Ed Burns, while she was still a supermodel. Ed was working as an assistant on a TV show and brought the star a coffee. But Christy has no recollection of this moment of their lives.
She got engaged after a few of months of dating
They officially met in 2000 at a charity event. Six months later, the couple got engaged, but because of postponing the wedding and a short breakup, the ceremony didn’t take place until June 2003. Among the guests were huge stars such as Sting, Vin Diesel, and U2’s Bono.
She instilled the love of horses in her daughter
In October 2003, Christy gave birth to a daughter, Grace. Today, the girl is taking her first steps in modeling and blogging. Miss Burns not only inherited her mother’s dimples and tall stature, but also her love of horses. Christy herself used to ride horses as a child: “When I was 13, I started modeling, and so sadly, that part of my life stopped, along with my youth and freedom.”
Grace is now 19, and the roles of mother and daughter have somewhat changed: “Now my daughter will make me something to eat and bring it to me if she sees that I’m on the phone for too long, you know what I mean? There’s a sort of role reversal.”
She almost died during childbirth
Turlington’s first delivery had complications. Christy had a postpartum hemorrhage, but luckily the doctors were able to stop it. In 2006, the Burns family had another child. They called the boy Finn.
The supermodel admits that her husband has always been her partner in everything — especially parenthood: “Eddie supported all of my maternal instincts in pursuing our birth options. He was as involved as I needed him to be and then when our children were infants, he took on as much of the burden as I was willing to relinquish.”
She made a film about maternal mortality
In 2010, Turlington released the documentary No Woman, No Cry. In this film, Christy talked about the problem of maternal mortality. The film includes personal footage of the model during her first childbirth, when the star was on the brink of death due to the hemorrhage.
She found herself through activism
Childbirth and motherhood have completely changed Christy Turlington’s world. The star’s role model is not a fashion icon, but activist and midwife Jennie Joseph. The supermodel herself is also involved in activism. Christy founded the company Every Mother Counts. This organisation works to improve maternal health and reduce maternal mortality.
Christie considers activism her core business, and she sees her mission on earth as ensuring that all mothers on the planet are safe during childbirth: “I’m just like any of the other women in terms of giving birth. You’re always vulnerable in that state, and you always need support.”
Have you ever had to leave a job at the height of your success? And what would you choose, career or family?