Christy Nicole Turlington (born
January 2, 1969) is an American model best known for representing Calvin
Klein from 1987 to 2007. She has worked on dozens of modeling contracts
with companies including Maybelline Cosmetics and Versace. Turlington
starred in her fashion documentary Catwalk and Isaac Mizrahi's Unzipped.
She was added on as the fourth model investor, after Elle Macpherson,
Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer of the now defunct Fashion Cafes.
Turlington was born in Walnut Creek, California, the middle of three
daughters born to Dwain Turlington, a pilot for Pan American World Airways
and a flight attendant from El Salvador, María Elizabeth (née Parker).
She was discovered while horseback riding in Miami, Florida by local
photographer Dennie Cody, where her father was working as a training
captain for Pan Am. Turlington began modeling after school from age 14 to
16 and during summers until she graduated from Monte Vista High School.
After graduation, she moved to New York City to model full-time.
Turlington has several accomplishments in the modeling industry, having
had several million dollar contracts with companies like Maybelline,
Chanel and Calvin Klein. Although she is known as one of the most
successful supermodels, Turlington has rejected the 'supermodel' label.
She is widely respected in the fashion industry as one of the friendliest
and most professional models in the business.
During the 1990s, she appeared in Unzipped, a documentary about fashion
designer Isaac Mizrahi, and the fashion mockumentary film Prêt-à-Porter by
famed director Robert Altman. Additionally, she was featured in Catwalk, a
documentary about her life on the fashion runways by director Robert
Turlington also appeared in two music videos. Fellow model Yasmin Le Bon
got her husband Simon LeBon of Duran Duran to feature Turlington in their
'Notorious' video in 1986, at the age of 16. In 1990, singer George
Michael drew inspiration from Peter Lindbergh's January 1990 British Vogue
cover (which features Turlington, Campbell, Evangelista, Crawford and
Patitz) for his 'Freedom' video. The video featured all top 5 female
models along with their top 5 male counterparts, lip-syncing the song. The
video was shown during George Michael's 2008 concert tour while he sang.
She has appeared on over 500 magazine covers and has been featured in
several professional photobooks, including Peter Lindbergh's '10 Women',
the cover of Arthur Elgort's 'Model Manual', Herb Ritts 'Man/Woman' and
Karl Lagerfeld's 'Off the Record'. In 1993, she posed nude for PETA's
anti-fur campaign. Also in 1993, her face was used on 120 mannequins
created by Ralph Rucci for the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan
Museum of Art, causing her to be called the 'Face of the 20th Century'.
In the 2000s, she has become a partner in a variety of business ventures:
an ayurvedic skincare line (Sundari) and two clothing lines produced by
Puma: Nuala, an active women's clothing line; and Mahanuala, a women's
On August 11, 2006, Women's Wear Daily reported that Turlington had signed
a multiyear contract with Maybelline, marking her return to the company
that made her famous with its 'Maybe She's Born With It' ad campaign from
In honor of Turlington's fortieth birthday, W magazine put together an
online slideshow of iconic images from her career, from runway shots from
the late eighties to today.
As of 2008, Turlington has been making brief visits to Africa on behalf of
Product Red and to Latin America on behalf of CARE (relief agency). Her
involvement with CARE was influenced by her mother Elizabeth, who has been
a longtime CARE supporter through her former flight attendants’
organization, World Wings. The FEMME project, a coming together of CARE,
Columbia University, and local government, brings health-care
practitioners together to find better methods of serving the large number
of women needing assistance who are too intimidated to seek help in a
clinic or traditional hospital.
Turlington appears several times a year on the Today show discussing her
charity work. She also appeared on Martha Stewart's show on February 13,
Turlington is an avid yoga practitioner, and studied with Larry Schultz
and Johannas Van Vugtin in San Francisco. Turlington is the author of
Living Yoga: Creating A Life Practice (ISBN 0-7868-6806-6). Owing to this
interest in Eastern religions she went back to school in 1994 and
graduated cum laude in 1999 from the Gallatin School of Individualized
Study of New York University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree
with a concentration in Comparative Religion and Eastern Philosophy. She
appeared on Late Night with David Letterman in 1999 to discuss her
schooling. Despite this interest, she has remained a practicing Roman
Catholic since childhood. Previously a vegetarian, she has gone back to
being a meat-eater. An ex-smoker whose father died of lung cancer,
Turlington is also an anti-smoking activist and an ambassador for CARE.
Turlington dated actors Roger Wilson, Christian Slater, and Jason Patric.
In late 2000 she met actor/director/writer Edward Burns at a Hamptons
party and within weeks, the two of them were engaged. After postponing
their October 2001 Italian wedding due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, just
blocks from where they lived in New York City, they broke up. The couple
re-united and married on June 7, 2003. It was also the 5th anniversary of
her father's death from lung cancer. Despite numerous erroneous media
reports, Turlington was not given away by good friend Bono. Bono attended
the San Francisco wedding but Christy said, "He (Bono) was there, of
course, but I gave myself away. I mean, I was 25 weeks pregnant at the
time. Eddie met me halfway down the aisle." Burns and Turlington have two
children: a daughter Grace born October 25, 2003, and a son Finn born
February 11, 2006. Christy's sister Kelly is married to Edward's brother
Brian Burns, and together they also have a son born in early 2008. The
family resides in New York City, near Ed Burns old loft that was formerly
owned by John F. Kennedy Jr. It is not known whether Ed still owns this
loft or if it was sold.
As of 2009, Turlington was studying for a master's degree in public health
at Columbia University.