Claudia Schiffer (born August 25,
1970) is a German model and actress, who reached the peak of her
popularity during the 1990s, initially due to her striking resemblance to
Brigitte Bardot. Schiffer is one of the world's most successful models,
having appeared on over 500 magazine covers. Forbes estimated her net
worth at about $55m (£38m).
Schiffer was born in Rheinberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany,
which is a small town 15 km northeast of Duisburg. She is the daughter of
Gudrun and Heinz Schiffer, a lawyer. She has two brothers, Stefan and
Andreas, and one sister, Ann Carolin.
Schiffer said that she was popular in high school, but felt socially
overshadowed by the other girls in her class. She has revealed that
because she was so tall, she became very shy and did not want to be
noticed. She was also subjected to jealousy by others as she came from a
wealthy family that was well-known locally. Schiffer became fluent in
French and English.
She originally wanted to become a lawyer and work in her father's law
firm. She later dropped these aspirations when in October 1987 at
seventeen she was spotted in a nightclub in Düsseldorf by Michel Levaton,
the boss of Metropolitan Model Agency who signed her up to become a model.
She completed her education and then began to work as a model. She flew
out to Paris for a trial photo shoot and soon after she appeared in the
cover of French Elle after being well received in Paris. After several
other magazine appearances she quickly achieved "supermodel" status when
she was selected by Karl Lagerfeld to become the new face of Chanel.
Schiffer went on to become world-famous, recognizable with her blue eyes,
blond hair and tall figure, standing at 1.80m.
In the early 1990s she starred in highly publicised Guess? jeans adverts
in North America which created essential publicity for Schiffer. Paul
Marciano said in E! Forbes Top 15 Supermodel Beauties Who Made Bank,
"Guess name became really much more known around the world because of
Claudia". Soon after appearing in the campaigns, her name was launched
worldwide, appearing on five magazine covers in the United States and
seven covers around Europe. Her modelling career continued to grow.
Schiffer joined Thomas Zeumer's Metropolitan Models and was contracted to
model for Revlon. She also became deeply involved in modelling for several
catalogues and modelled on high profile catwalk shows. Schiffer has done
catwalk modelling for Versace, Jil Sander, Dolce & Gabbana, Ralph Lauren
and Valentino. Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, The New York Times and People
all saw Schiffer as the first model to make their covers. She has also
appeared many times on covers of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan,
Tank Magazine and Time.
Schiffer has also been the face of Mango, a chain of Spanish clothes
stores and Accessorize, where she had her ears pierced especially for her
Autumn/Winter 2006 Accessorize advertising campaign in 2006. Schiffer
still holds a contract with L'Oréal and Ebel watches, and her billboard
picture for Kenar has also hung over millions of tourists at Times Square.
Since 1990, she has created a swimsuit calendar each year which she stars
in and designs herself.
Schiffer later secured contracts with Pepsi appearing in advertisements
promoting the brand, and has also danced with a cartoon version of Mickey
Mouse in advertisements promoting Fanta for an estimated $2 million. From
her appearances in a 1998 Citroën advertisement, she earned a reputed £3
million. Karl Lagerfeld filmed her for a Dom Perignon campaign, some ten
years after her first appearances in Chanel adverts.
She is signed to several agencies, including 1/One Management in New York
City, Simon Fuller's 19 Entertainment in London for her non modelling
interests and her mother agency 'Model Management' in Hamburg.
Schiffer has appeared in a number of films and music videos. Her first
appearance in film was in the children's movie Richie Rich in 1994 and
then starred opposite Dennis Hopper and Matthew Modine in The Blackout.
She went on to appear in Friends & Lovers and Black and White in 1999, In
Pursuit and Life Without Dick in 2001, and then Love Actually in a
semi-cameo role. Schiffer has made several other cameo appearances in
films, including Ben Stiller's Zoolander in 2001.
Schiffer has appeared on several talk shows and sitcoms, such as Larry
King Live, The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan
O'Brien, Dharma & Greg and Arrested Development. She was also in boyband
Westlife's music video for "Uptown Girl", and made a cameo in Bon Jovi's
video for "Say It Isn't So".
She has also released four exercise videos, entitled Claudia Schiffer's
Perfectly Fit, which were successful and reached the bestsellers list.
Schiffer has hosted the French Fashion Awards and the World Music Awards
With fellow models Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, and Elle
Macpherson, Schiffer was joint owner of a chain of restaurants called the
Fashion Café in 1995. Schiffer remains a prominent figure in German
society and helped present and carry the trophy with Pelé during opening
ceremonies at the 2006 World Cup. She also presented Prince William with a
polo trophy in 2002.
When talking about the model profession at present, she said:
"Supermodels, like we once were, don't exist any more." She has said that
Gisele Bündchen was the only person who comes close to earning the
Schiffer dated magician David Copperfield for about five years from 1994
until 1999. They first met in 1993 at one of Copperfield's stage shows,
where he invited her on stage to take part in his 'Flying' illusion, and
he then subsequently sawed her in half during a joint appearance on German
television. Throughout their relationship, she often joined Copperfield in
his stage shows as a "special guest assistant" in a number of illusions,
including being levitated, guillotined and sawed in half. Following the
end of her relationship with Copperfield, she met and had a relationship
with Tim Jefferies.
On 25 May 2002, she married the film producer Matthew Vaughn. Instead of
an engagement ring, Vaughn bought her a tortoise. On her wedding day, many
journalists and 200 onlookers gathered to see her in her wedding dress.
She was married in St. George's church in the village of Shimpling. The
wedding reception was held at Schiffer's Elizabethan mansion.
Schiffer and Vaughn have two children: son Caspar Matthew, (born 30
January 2003) and daughter Clementine de Vere Drummond, (born 11 November
2004). They all now live in London. On January 15, 2010, it was announced
that the couple is expecting their third child, and that Schiffer is due
in May. During her spare time, Schiffer enjoys horse riding, painting,
playing tennis and skiing. She didn't get her ears pierced until 2006, at
the age of 35, when she had them pierced especially for her Autumn/Winter
2006 Accessorize advertising campaign.
Schiffer had two significant problems with harassment in the past. In
2002, an Italian kitchen porter, was arrested after making nine visits to
Schiffer's £5 million Suffolk mansion near Bury St Edmunds, attempting to
see her. Charges against him were dropped however, as he was sectioned
under the Mental Health Act. He believed that the Pope had told him to
marry Schiffer. In 2004 a Canadian man, was accused of harassing Schiffer,
also at her mansion in Suffolk. He called at her mansion in the hope of
seeing Schiffer. He also repeatedly left letters at her home.
"I know one day I'll be
considered too old. I think 40-year-old women actually look more
healthy and fit than some girls in their 20s. I've met women who
have way better bodies in their 40s because they've been working on
them for all these years."
"I actually don't meet very many men because they are, I guess,
afraid to approach me or think that I'm from another planet." - on
turning 30, to the German magazine Stern
(on turning down appearing in Playboy in the nude): "It's not that
I'm against nudity. I'm German, I'm very open, in Germany they lay
in the park naked. It's just the principle."
"I always wanted to be less tall. When I was at school I was the
same height as all of my girlfriends and then suddenly I was turning
12 and almost overnight I got really tall. I became the height I am
now from one day to another... and everyone else stayed short. Boys
don't want to be seen with a girl that is taller than them. It was
totally isolating because I was different from my friends."
"I used to work every single day and travel round the world. I
worked weekends, I never took one second off. When I met my husband
I said, "You know what, this is important. I'm not going to work
weekends any more." And when I had kids, I became even more careful.
Modelling work is fine because you can do one day here, two days
there, you're never long gone."
"I love being pregnant. You can do whatever you want. You don't feel
guilty, because I used to feel guilty about having a day off. And,
you know, something really strange happened to me. Before my
pregnancies, I was someone who had to watch their weight."
"I love wearing flat shoes, but I am not one of those girls who
walks around in sweat pants and sneakers. I think I have something
going on with shoes. Flat shoes. I buy them in several colors at
once. High heels are for work and they have always been
uncomfortable for me. I'm amazed when I see mothers wearing high
heels. If your kids run off you can't run after them."
"I just love to shock people. Yesterday my friend said, "What a
great top, is it Stella?" I said, "No, it's Mango, £25." I'm never
head-to-toe in anything. I like to mix things from Prada, things
from Marc Jacobs. But, you know, you can spend several thousand
pounds on something, wear it for one day and the button falls off. I
get really pissed off when you spend so much money."