2:40 PM – Thursday, September 21, 2023
Former supermodel Cindy Crawford has called out notable talk show host Oprah Winfrey for making her feel “objectified” during an interview in 1986.
In the new Apple TV+ docuseries called The Super Models, Crawford opened up about her early life and career. She also revealed that she felt objectified regarding how the talk show host treated her during her first appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986.
Crawford, 57, explained that it had happened when she and her Elite Modeling Agency representative John Casablancas went on the show.
When the former model was 20-years-old, she recalled how Winfrey had requested for her to stand up in front of the live audience and show off her body while she complimented her.
“Did she always have this body?” Winfrey asked Casablancas, who was the founder of Elite Model Management whom is credited for discovering Crawford. “Stand up just for a moment. Now this is what I call a body,” Winfrey said.
“Did she have to go through that training period, or no?” the talk show host inquired of Crawford’s path to a slim figure.
“I was like the chattel. Or a child — be seen and not heard,” Crawford said. “When you look at it through today’s eyes when Oprah’s, like, ‘Stand up and show me your body.’ Like, show us why you’re worthy of being here. In the moment, I didn’t recognize it. Only when I look back at it and I was, like, ‘Oh, my gosh, that was so not okay, really…’ Especially from Oprah,” Crawford continued.
The newly dropped docuseries provides a behind the scenes take on the lives of some of the most successful supermodels throughout the 1990s, including Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington.
The docuseries also represents the models’ reflection on how they came to dominate the fashion industry.
“I never felt like I looked special or different. If anything, I wasn’t like the ugly duckling, but in my high school the pretty girls were like the little petite cheerleaders. That was what the idea of beauty was in my small town,” Crawford recalled of her upbringing. “I never even thought about modeling. I didn’t even know it was a real job. I didn’t know how I would get from DeKalb, Illinois, to a magazine.”
The interview from 1986 had been available on Winfrey’s YouTube channel up until Wednesday.
The Super Models launched on the evening of Wednesday, September 20th, which was only a few hours after the interview showcasing Crawford was taken down on Youtube.
Winfrey had adamantly questioned Crawford’s agent and he spoke on Crawford’s behalf.
“With Cindy, it was much more psychologically she was not sure she really wanted to model…little by little, her ambition is growing. She’s getting a sense, and I’m saying it now on this program, if she wants to she can be number one in the business,” Casablancas said.
His prediction regarding Crawford’s modeling success certainly came true.
However, the model revealed just how hard she was working to make it throughout the early days of her career. She even admitted that she would often “pass out” from hunger during her long shoot days.
“I was 20 years old, I had dropped out of college to model in Chicago and it was great. I was making $1000 a day,” she explained. “The main business there was catalog. There was one main photographer, Victor Skrebneski, and he was the big fish in a little pond. Victor was definitely a mentor in the fashion industry, when Victor told you not to move, you didn’t move.”
Crawford continued, “I passed out there more than once. Especially right before lunch, you pass out and you would faint. And then they would prop you back up and you would do it all over again.”
“It wasn’t about, ‘Oh wow, you’re so pretty, we’re gonna take pictures of you,’” she says of the attitudes towards models at that point in her career. “It was like, ‘Your job is, you’re helping me sell this jacket. We’re all here to sell this jacket.”
Additionally, the model revealed that her parents were extremely hesitant of her joining the industry in the early days of her career.
“My dad really didn’t understand that modeling was a real career. He thought modeling was like another name for prostitution,” she said. “They came with me to my very first modeling appointment.”