Francesca "Frankie" Rayder (born
January 26, 1975 as Heidi Rayder) is an American model who appeared in the
annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show four times and in the Sports
Illustrated Swimsuit Issue twice. She has an extensive portfolio of
covergirl appearances for numerous high fashion magazines and was once a
VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards for Model of the Year nominee. She has performed
in many runway shows and has been featured in numerous print ad campaigns.
At the peak of her fame, she was an it girl according to The New York
Times and GQ once named her the Sexiest Woman in the World.
She is well known for her print work for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit
issues (including the 40th Anniversary), The Gap holiday ads (along with
her sisters), a Godiva Chocolatier ad campaign and the 50th anniversary
Ann Taylor ad campaign. She has appeared on the cover of US Vogue, Vogue
Paris, Vogue Italia, British Vogue, German Vogue and Vogue España.
She is the wife of Michael Balzary, who is better known as Flea from the
band Red Hot Chili Peppers, with whom she has one child. After giving
birth in 2005, she took a hiatus from modeling until 2008. At first, she
only returned to print work, but she has also returned to runway modeling
in 2009. In her comeback, she achieved a Vogue España cover in February
2009. She has a younger sister, Missy Rayder, who is also a fashion model.
Rayder was born in River Falls, Wisconsin, where she was known as Heidi
Rayder. As a teenager, she moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, a large city
close to her home town, where she was first approached by a model scout
who spurred her interest in the industry. Her first major success came in
1992, when she met photographer Steven Meisel. Meisel booked her for a
photo session, which became the first of many. Rayder's first session were
soon featured in the magazine Italian Glamour. She is a graduate of River
Falls High School, where she played for the basketball team, and she began
her modeling career with Caryn Modeling & Talent Agency in Minneapolis.
She worked at a golf clubhouse in her youth. She was given the stage name
Francesca to seem more exotic.[
Rayder made her Paris runway debut on the 1997 fall runway for designers
like Chanel, Christian Lacroix, and Dries Van Noten. In 1998, she was in
high demand and her booking prices were sometimes bid up to $25,000 by
clients hoping to pay her enough to cancel other appearances. In 1999, she
became the face of Givenchy and Meisel photographed her for Dolce &
Gabbana and Versace ad campaigns. In the fall of 2000, The New York Times
referred to her and her sister collectively as the famous Rayder Sisters.
At the same time, it also described Frankie as an it girl.
In 1999, she became the face of Givenchy. During Fashion Week 1999 in New
York City, Rayder was booked solid for four or five shows a day for
designers such as Marc Jacobs, Badgley Mischka, Daryl K, Tommy Hilfiger
and John Bartlett in typical day. In 2000, she was one of the top-priced
models. That season she modelled in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.
Later that year she was a nominee at the 2000 VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards for
Model of the year along with Gisele Bundchen, Carmen Kass, Angela
Lindvall, and Maggie Rizer, but Kass was the winner after defending-winner
Bundchen withdrew to host the show.
In 2003 she became the face of Chanel. Rayder worked New York Fashion Week
for top designers for several years. During the 40h Anniversary Swimsuit
Issue shooting, Stewart Shining photographed Rayder. Rayder is, along with
Cheryl Tiegs and Melissa Keller, one of several models associated with
Minnesota who have made a name in the Swimsuit Issue. She has also
appeared in 1999, 2000, 2002, and 2003 Victoria's Secret fashion shows and
a cameo role in the 2001 movie Zoolander. In the early 2000s, GQ named her
the Sexiest Woman in the World.
In 2004, she was one of the featured models (along with Linda Evangelista,
Patti Hansen and her daughters Alexandra and Theodora Richards, Twiggy,
and Beverly Johnson) in the 50-model 50th Anniversary Ann Taylor ad
campaign photographed by Annie Leibovitz. Rayder was also mentioned in the
press for several months for an ad campaign for Godiva Chocolatier. In
2005, she appeared in ads, which also included models such as Sophie Dahl,
and Anouck Lepere, where the models posed lovingly with chocolate goods
for Valentine's Day in Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Elle. The promotion was
for chocolate products that came with a "lottery" ticket that potentially
could give the buyer 52 pairs of Manolo Blahnik shoes, including one
custom-designed by Blahnik himself. The ads began receiving publicity in
the fall of 2004.
Between 2004 and 2009, Rayder took a hiatus from runway modeling. She
returned to the stage in New York in February 2009 for the Fall 2009 show.
She had previously made a return to print work in fall 2008 advertisement
campaigns for both Stella McCartney and Roberto Cavalli and for the 2008
Gap holiday campaign. Rayder also became part of The Gap's United States
and Japan 2009 spring/summer campaigns. As part of her comeback, Rayder
performed covergirl work for the February 2009 Vogue España and one of
fourteen alternate covers for the September 2008 V magazine.
In 2002 Rayder was falsely linked to Nicolas Cage after his relationship
with Lisa Marie Presley ended and when she was dating his cousin Roman
Coppola. Her relationship with Coppola was widely-chronicled and serious;
that year, she was close to marrying the son of Francis Ford Coppola by
some accounts. Early in her career Frankie and Missy lived across the
street from each other. They were featured together on the May 2000 cover
of Harper's Bazaar. The Rayder sisters (along with a third sister named
Molly) appeared in holiday advertisements for Gap as siblings in 2003 to
the tune of "Put a Little Love in Your Heart". In later years, Missy and
Frankie appeared in Gap holiday advertisements as a pair.
In January 2005, she and Balzary publicly announced their engagement. On
October 26, 2005 Rayder gave birth to her first child, a daughter named
Sunny Bebop Balzary, with fiancee Michael Balzary, better known as Flea
the bassist and trumpeter from the band Red Hot Chili Peppers. Balzary's
bandmate, John Frusciante, is Sunny's godfather. There are a total of four
Rayder sisters and they have one brother and her father continued to live
in River Falls in 2004. Rayder and Balzary live together in Malibu,
California. Some sources state that the couple have married, but no
official confirmation is available. Rayder is a knowledgeable Boston Red
Sox fan, and she is also a Green Bay Packers fan. Rayder has volunteered
her time for programs for youth in the arts. Rayder has a tattoo on her