The new Apple TV+ docuseries “The Super Models” goes behind the camera to tell the story of four iconic ’90s super models: Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington. These four women lived very much in the public eye, dominating magazine covers, tabloids, TV commercials, and runways. The new docuseries tells their stories – through interviews with them and the people who worked with them – about what it was like to be managed and leveraged by others from the time they were teenagers. Here are the five biggest bombshells we learned from the new series.
#1: The super models almost did not appear in George Michael’s “Freedom! ’90” music video. Linda Evangelista was against it at first, but eventually the four women came to a group decision to do it. Campbell was the one who told Michael yes. “Basically, I’m in a nightclub in LA, The Roxbury actually on Sunset, and George is there and he comes up to me and he says, ‘So what is it that you guys want?,’” the model recalled. “I said, ‘We want this much money and round-trip Concorde tickets.’ He goes, ‘And that’s it?’ I said, ‘That’s it.’” The women flew to London but Evangelista and Turlington had to cram to learn the words to the song! “When I got to the set and they wanted me to lip-sync, I didn’t know the words. I had to learn them very quickly in the trailer while they were doing my hair and makeup,” said Evangelista. Turlington remembered: “My very first scene that I shot was where you just see my eyes through, like, this cutout. You see my mouth, then you see my eyes, you see my mouth, you see my eyes,” she said. “And anytime I dip down it’s because I don’t know the words yet. I’m not that great with lyrics.” Crawford added: “I just remember it being super dark and someone explaining to me that I was going to be in a bathtub. I was like, ‘Really?’ I felt like everyone else had a better part than me.”
#2: Campbell discusses the racism she faced in the fashion industry and her struggle for equal pay. “It was hard to be an outspoken Black woman and I definitely got the cane for it many times,” she said. When Campbell left Ford Models for Elite Modeling Agency, founder John Casablancas took her to a meeting at Revlon. The company offered her a contract with less money than white models. Campbell turned Revlon down, which infuriated Casablancas. He went to the media and told them she was “difficult,” a description that stuck with Campbell for years and years.
#3: Evangelista accused her ex-husband of abuse. She married Gérald Marie, the former head of Elite Model Management’s Paris office, when she was in her 20s. “It’s easier said than done to leave an abusive relationship. I understand that concept because I lived it. It wasn’t a matter of just saying, ‘I want a divorce, see ya.’ It doesn’t work that way,” she said. “He knew not to touch my face, not to touch the money maker, ya know? I married him when I was 22 and I got out when I was 27, and he let me out as long as he got everything. But I was safe and I got my freedom.” In 2021, 15 women accused Marie of rape and sexual assault. This past February, French prosecutors closed the cases because the cases were outside of the statute of limitations.
#4: Crawford fought to be in “Playboy” magazine. Most people in her life told her not to do it, but Crawford saw “Playboy” as an empowering moment in her career. She said “you almost couldn’t tell which pictures were for FrenchVogue and which pictures were for Playboy.” She did not want a big payday for the pictures, either, saying “as long as I [could] have control of the images and I wanted the right to kill the story if I don’t like it. I never felt like a victim of that decision.”
#5: Turlington nearly died during childbirth. “After I delivered, I hemorrhaged. It became a complication that had to be managed, which was painful and I lost a lot of blood, but my child was born, she was healthy,” she said. The experience sparked her interest in women’s health. “I was so informed and I had so many resources, why did I not know this was possible and why did I not know that so many women die from similar complications around the world? I just sort of dove in and started this organization called Every Mother Counts.”
“The Super Models” is streaming now on Apple TV+!