Claudia Schiffer has reflected on her 30-year modelling career, bullying in the fashion industry and why she’s embracing the ageing process in a new interview.
Gracing the cover of ELLE UK’s May issue, the catwalk queen, 49, compared her status as one of the ‘original supermodels’ to being a ‘rock star’, and even revealed security workers were hired to guard her underwear at the height of her fame.
The German bombshell – who looked as youthful as ever in the publication’s accompanying photoshoot – admitted that while she’s flattered by ‘the wonderful compliments’ she’s received from being in the public eye, she’s ready to ‘move with the times’, quipping: ‘You don’t have to be called [beautiful] your entire life!’
She’s still got it! Claudia Schiffer has reflected on her 30-year modelling career, bullying in the fashion industry and why she’s embracing the ageing process in a new interview with ELLE UK
Claudia rose to fame in the early 90s after she was scouted in a Düsseldorf nightclub.
Ditching her aspirations of becoming a lawyer, the runway diva quickly became a household name, starring in massive campaigns for Chanel, Guess? and Balmain.
On being considered as one of the world’s most iconic models, the media personality explained: ‘It was insane… like being like a rock star.
‘You couldn’t get to your car unless a path was carved for you. People would cut holes in the fashion tents and try to take pictures of us. We had security at every fashion show.
Working it: The catwalk queen, 49, looked as youthful as ever in the publication’s accompanying photoshoot
‘When I was out on the runway I’d come back and constantly my underwear would be gone – my bra, my knickers… gone!’
During the early stages of her career, Claudia missed out on an opportunity to star in the late George Michael’s Freedom! ’90 music video alongside the likes of Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, and Tatjana Patitz – a decision she now refers to as ‘stupid’.
‘I was working with a lot of high-end brands at that time and I just thought, that doesn’t fit with the strategy right now’, she admitted. ‘It [missing the opportunity to be in the video] was stupid.’
Nearly three decades on, the blonde beauty insisted she’s ready to pass on the baton to the younger generation, and has come to terms with ageing.
‘It was insane’: Claudia compared her status as one of the ‘original supermodels’ to being a ‘rock star’ (pictured in 1994)
Regrets: Claudia missed out on an opportunity to star in the late George Michael’s Freedom! ’90 music video (Naomi Campbell pictured) – a decision she now refers to as ‘stupid’
The fashion star said: ‘I’ve had many wonderful compliments in my time. But then you get to the next stage and you move on.
‘You don’t have to be called [beautiful] your entire life. It’s a nice memory, but then the next generation starts and you hand over.
‘For me, it’s a natural thing to do… to hand over, to not be envious or jealous. As a matter of fact, I can’t think of anything worse right now than if you said, “There’s a magic pill and it’s going to make you look 2O again.”‘
Detailing the advice she’d give to models currently dominating fashion’s leading catwalks, Claudia added: ‘I would definitely say to the younger generation of models, it’s a job at the end of the day – just don’t mix it in with anything else. Sometimes, of course, you can’t avoid it, even with those rules.’
The Love Actually star also touched on witnessing fashion executives abusing power: ‘I have seen it and it’s not nice. I’m not talking about sexual terms, but just bullying and exercising of power that you don’t need.
‘Nerves were intense’: As Claudia holds the record for the model with the most magazine covers, it comes as a surprise that she describes herself as ‘shy’
‘Or asking for things that you don’t need. I’ve seen that a lot and I’ve made a mental note that I don’t want to work with those people again. And I haven’t.
‘Sometimes they are not great people, but at the same time the photos are really great and sometimes you make compromises. And that’s life…’
In the shoot, captured by Sebastian Kim, the Versace model showcased her lean legs in high-waisted camel briefs, styled with an animal print cardigan.
For another look, the TV and film star put on a busty display in a plunging black dress, before switching into a bondage-style bralet and edgy shorts.
As Claudia holds the record for the model with the most magazine covers, it comes as a surprise that she describes herself as ‘shy’.
Out soon: The May issue of ELLE UK is on sale from April 2
On her reserved personality, she added: ‘I remember one day sitting next to [film director] Luc Besson on a first-class flight.
‘I loved all of his films but all I thought was: Oh no! My shyness kicked in and I thought, I’m just going to pretend to be sleeping the whole time, so I don’t have to speak to him.
‘And then there was Michael J Fox. I thought he was amazing. I bumped into him somewhere and I couldn’t even say hello. He asked me to work with him on a TV series, but I said no. It was too much!’
Claudia also spoke about battling with nerves before hitting a catwalk show: ‘The nerves before a catwalk show could be intense sometimes.
‘I enjoyed them when they were over and we were all celebrating, but before I did not enjoy it. And getting there, I literally had to convince myself to go to each one.
‘It was a very fast learning curve. Suddenly I was thrown into this world… I just thought: Close your eyes and jump in.’
The May issue of ELLE UK is on sale from April 2. This month – and going forward – ELLE UK will be offering single issues delivered directly to your door.
Click www.magsdirect.co.uk/magazine/elle-may-20 or download digitally https://gb.readly.com/products/magazine/elle-uk
‘It’s a natural thing’: Nearly three decades on, the blonde beauty insisted she’s ready to pass on the baton to the younger generation, and has come to terms with ageing (pictured in 2019)