Elle Macpherson, born 29 March 1964)
is an Australian model, actress, and businesswoman. She is perhaps best
known for her record five cover appearances for the Sports Illustrated
Swimsuit Issue beginning in the 1980s. She is also known as the founder
and primary model for a series of business ventures including Elle
Macpherson Intimates, a lingerie line, and "The Body", a line of skin care
products. According to Forbes, MacPherson possesses assets around 60
million pounds sterling.
Macpherson was born in the Cronulla neighborhood of Sydney, Australia, and
she was the daughter of Peter Gow, a former president of a Sydney rugby
league team, the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. Her mother Frances worked as
a nurse before she married. Elle reportedly grew up in Killara, a North
Shore suburb of Sydney, and she attended the Killara High School. Elle is
the eldest of four children including the activist and sometimes model,
Mimi Macpherson. Macpherson’s parents divorced when she was 10 years old,
and she was moved away with her mother and two siblings. Her mother later
remarried, and a clerical mistake in registering at her new school meant
that her name was changed from her father's, Gow, to her stepfather's,
By the age of 17, Macpherson had blossomed into a tall, lovely young
woman, and she enrolled at Sydney modeling agency Chadwick's. Before
beginning her college studies, Elle visited the United States with the
intent of spending one year doing modeling work in order to earn money to
pay for her college education. Macpherson traveled to New York City, where
she initially signed up with the Click Model Management company. This
became the beginning of a 25-year stay in modelling work.
Macpherson's modelling career began in 1982 with a television commercial
for the "Tab" brand soda which established her as a something of a "girl
next door" figure in Australia. By 1986, Time Magazine had already put her
on the cover (with a feature entitled "The Big Elle"). By that time, she
had also appeared on the covers of Elle magazine, GQ, Harper's Bazaar,
Vogue magazine, and Playboy.
Already possessing some widespread name recognition, Macpherson cemented
her high profile through frequent appearances in Elle magazine, where she
appeared in every issue for six straight years. During that time she got
married when she was 21 to the "Elle" Creative Director Gilles Bensimon.
Eventually she gained even more exposure through Sports Illustrated
magazine's annual Swimsuit Issue. She appeared on the cover a record five
times, in 1986, 1987, 1988, 1994, and 2006. Her popularity had reached
such a level that Australian government offered her a position on its
tourist commission as an unofficial ambassador.
In the 1980s, together with Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Naomi
Campbell, Paulina Porizkova and Cindy Crawford, Macpherson became part of
the new generation of "supermodels". In 1994, she left her agency, Ford
Models, to work more lucratively for her own company, Elle Macpherson Inc.
This company would serve as a financial and organizational base for her
MacPherson soon went on to produce her own highly popular series of
calendars, each of which was accompanied by a "making of" television
program in 1992, 1993, and 1994. She used this success as a springboard to
create the "Your Personal Best -- The Body" series of workout videos.
Macpherson later diversified her portfolio of businesses, and in 1990
launched her lingerie collection 'Elle Macpherson Intimates' in
partnership with Bendon Limited Apparel. Intimates met with remarkable
international success, becoming the single best-selling lingerie line in
both Great Britain and Australia Breaking the mould of many models,
Macpherson took an active role in the development and management of the
company, serving as Chief Marketing Officer and later Creative Director.
While nursing her second child, she spearheaded the development of a
signature maternity bra line. Intimates has retained a high brand
recognition into the 2000s, appearing as a featured brand on America's
Next Top Model.
More recently, MacPherson created her own label of beauty products: 'Elle
Macpherson - The Body'. She has launched or served as spokesmodel for
campaigns by Boots, Invisible Zinc, and Hot Tuna.
The BBC-TV series The Money Programme aired a documentary which followed
the supermodel-turned-entrepreneur Macpherson through her day-to-day
business as she continued to develop her international lingerie business.
In March 2008, Elle signed a three-year spokesperson deal with Revlon
cosmetics. She has since been featured in print and advertising campaigns
for that company; it has been announced by Macpherson herself that she
would expand her underwear line by creating a new Lingerie Collection
baptised 'Obisidion' which would be launched in Spring 2010.
Macpherson made her movie debut playing an artist's model in the 1994
Sirens, which also starred Hugh Grant, Sam Neill, Tara Fitzgerald, Kate
Fischer, and Portia de Rossi. Macpherson gained nine kg (20 lbs.) to
disguise her athletic frame for the period role. After Sirens, Macpherson
followed with a to-year series of acting roles, appearing in films such as
Woody Allen’s Alice, Batman & Robin alongside George Clooney, The Edge
with Anthony Hopkins, and The Mirror Has Two Faces with Barbra Streisand.
In 1999, Macpherson appeared in five episodes of the American TV series
Friends, as Joey's roommate and girlfriend, Janine Lecroix. Macpherson
went on to act in the movie Jane Eyre with William Hurt, and she has also
appeared alongside Ben Stiller and Sarah Jessica Parker in If Lucy Fell.
Her most controversial acting was in the Showtime cable network
miniseries, A Girl Thing, in which she plays a woman experimenting with
bisexuality along with Kate Capshaw.
Elle played the modeling agent, "Claudia Foster" in the "CW"-network drama
series, The Beautiful Life, appearing with Mischa Barton, Sara Paxton and
Corbin Bleu. The show centered on aspiring models working for a modeling
agency, trying to make it big in New York City, and in the Fashion World.
The show was canceled after two episodes.
Macpherson met Gilles Bensimon in 1982 on a photo-session for Elle
magazine. They were married in 1985, but got divorced in 1989.
Elle Macpherson has two sons with her former long-term boyfriend, the
French financier Arpad Busson as their father, whom she never married. Her
sons are Arpad Flynn Alexander Busson (born 14 February 1998), and
Aurelius Cy Andrea Busson (born 4 February 2003). The two parents started
their romantic relationship in 1995, they became engaged in August 2002,
but they called off the wedding in July 2005.
Macpherson currently resides most of the time in the United Kingdom along
with her two sons.
Elle speaks English and French fluently, and she is somewhat
conversational in Italian and Spanish.