She has even had herself featured in famous fashion documentaries, such as Unzipped (by Isaac Mizrahi) and Catwalk.
A Natural Model
Christy’s exquisite fashion sensuality is something that greatly gets the attention of everyone that looks at her. She has that simple and innocent look on her, but don’t get fooled. Even though there is nothing about her that makes her seem wild, Christy’s sex appeal is definitely palpable in the lens of the camera.
She has received numerous praises not just for her natural beauty and incredible body, but also for her amazing talent in modeling. In fact, James Scully, a well-known casting agent for big fashion companies, said of Christy:
“The greatest model of all time! You could combine every model to this day into one person, and they wouldn't come close (sorry, girls). Probably the biggest crush I've ever had on a girl. It would be a dream to have the opportunity of working with her on a show again before I retire, but that seems about as likely as winning the lottery.”
Writing Living Yoga: Creating A Life Practice and Many More
Aside from her modeling career, Christy has also become popular for her endorsement of yoga meditation—something which she says has helped her greatly in balancing her lifestyle and giving her inward peace and rest. Christy practices Jivamukti Yoga, a style of yoga that not only focuses on the overall well-being of the person, but also encourages the practitioner to engage in animal rights, veganism, environmentalism, and social activism.
Christy’s passion for practicing yoga is such that she has even written a book about yoga titled “Living Yoga: Creating A Life Practice.” When she was interviewed regarding the benefits she believed yoga has brought her, Christy stated:
“Yoga really helped me cope with all of this and then it guided me to pursue other business interests (once I graduated) that incorporated yoga with wellness and in service, as in my current advocacy work. Yoga also better prepared me to climb a mountain and endure two un-medicated natural deliveries. I would credit yoga for all of the positives in my life over the past fifteen years or so. It has brought me closer to the person that I want to be and will be someday.”
Christy also loves to write—she is a contributor to many popular fashion magazines and websites, such as Teen Vogue, Marie Claire, Yoga Journal, the Huffington Post, Globe and Mail, and the Evening Standard. Christy has also made contributions in television shows, such as the National Broadcasting Company’s Today Show: one was regarding a report on the status of Afghan girls’ education, and the other was an interview with the Dalai Lama in India.
But what really makes Christy so extraordinary is that with all the busy schedules that she has in her modeling career, Christy has two things that she never forgets to attend to—family and philanthropy.
Christy is a family person, and always makes sure she spends time with her family no matter how busy her schedule is. In many interviews, Christy often states her passion in spending time with her children, and how she loves to take time whenever she is with them. Christy’s intense love for her family has influenced her attitude towards life—to always dwell in the now. In an interview, Christy stated:
“I generally try to live in the moment, and not dwell too much in the past or future. I am eager to share more of the world with my kids, however, and can see that in the not too distant future. It would be amazing to do the work that I am doing now side by side with my daughter someday. I want the world she inherits to be safer for girls and women. Seeing the world and being with people from different cultures is incredibly comforting to me and feeds my soul more than just about anything.”
No Woman, No Cry and Every Mother Counts
Christy’s philanthropic work reflects her passion—the welfare of the pregnant mothers, new born babies and children. She is the founder of two very successful projects that has been significant in giving help to many of the mothers and children in the world today: No Woman, No Cry and Every Mother Counts.
Both projects focus on the state of maternal health all over the world and constantly promote the wellbeing of mothers all across the world. Christy said in an interview regarding her campaigns:
“No Woman, No Cry is the result of a journey to better understand the barriers to accessing health care at a critical point in most women’s lives and Every Mother Counts is the campaign that I launched once the filming was complete to engage other moms and families to support the girls and women who are most vulnerable.”
Christy Turlington’s Early Bio
Christy was born in Walnut Creek, California on January 2, 1969. Her parents were Dwain Turlington, a pilot for the Pan American World Airways; and Maria Parker Elizabeth, a flight attendant from El Salvador. Christy was the middle child of three daughters, something that she came to love because at times, she acted as the ‘mediator’ between her older sister and younger sister.
Growing up in a well to do family, Christy lived quite the comfortable life. This was further enriched by the love and care that her parents showered her as she matured in age.
Like her sisters, Christy was interested in horses even at a young age. In fact, she and her two sisters loved horseback riding that even in their elementary years, they were already good riders. Christy did not have any interest in the world of fashion back then. She was so occupied with her love of horses and horseback riding that she saw herself becoming a successful jockey one day.
When Christy was around her early teens, Dwain brought her and the entire family to Miami, Florida so he could work as a training captain for Pan American Airlines. He encouraged Christy’s interest by training her in Coral Gables, a place where she could practice horseback riding near where they lived. At age 13, Dwain started enlisting Christy in local competitions to further develop her horseback riding skills.
It was around this time that Christy became noticed by Dennie Cody, a local photographer for various modeling agencies. While Christy was riding horses with her sisters, Dennie approached Maria and asked her if she could take Christy’s pictures. She was taken by Christy’s innocent beauty at that time, although Dennie did not herself realize Christy’s potential in becoming a celebrity.
Soon after she had her pictures taken, Christy began receiving offers from a local agency to do modeling work for them. Like what most parents would do, Maria and Dwain were initially reluctant in letting Christy venture into the world of modeling, but after seeing the interest that she had in the industry, they eventually gave their consent.
Christy Starts Modeling
Christy then applied in a local agency and was immediately hired. Her very first shoot was for a set of advertisements for “Emporium Capwell,” a local store chain. After the release of the advertisements, Christy began receiving more offers, which further developed the interest in the now-teenager Christy. In an interview made with her many years later, she related:
“My older sister Kelly and I rode horses competitively as kids and one day after school when we were taking a lesson at the stables (where we kept our horses) a photographer approached our mother about letting him take our photos. We were living in South Florida at the time and my first jobs were for local department stores and catalogues. I was fourteen with braces and in a real awkward stage, so I was a little surprised at the interest in me but I was tall… I quickly learned that it would be a good opportunity for me to gain some financial independence from my parents, contribute a little and see the world.”
It was like everything was already set for Christy from day one. Not long after her first modeling project, Christy began to get numerous offers from different fashion agencies all over the city of Miami. Miami’s fashion world began to familiarize itself with Christy’s beauty, making this young beauty an instant celebrity.
During this time, Christy was still in her high school studies, where she attended the Monte Vista High School. She was among the very popular students in the school, primarily due to her modeling career. It was not long before Christy got the attention of Eileen Ford, a top scout in the modeling industry, who saw the great potential in the young Christy and offered her a job in Paris.
Christy’s initial modeling efforts in Europe were not as successful as Eileen hoped for, and after sometime she returned to the United States. Refusing to give up in Christy’s potential for stardom, Eileen continued to promote the young Christy. Soon enough, Eileen found Christy a good opportunity by sending her to New York City to its most well-known photographers and magazines.
Accompanied by her mother, Maria, Christy flew to New York and was soon taken in for a photo shoot by Vogue magazine. By this time, brunettes were becoming the ‘in’ thing in the fashion world, with models like Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, and Stephanie Seymour gaining noticeable attention.
Christy’s New York venture was a success, and soon enough she was getting a lot of offers from big time companies there. While a lot of people were seeing this as a great opportunity to rise up in the fashion industry, Christy herself was not at all impressed. She had not yet graduated from high school, and her modeling career was starting to hinder her education. She stated in an interview:
“When I was a teenager and modeling full time I really started to not enjoy the job. The pace was great at first but also took a real toll at times. Once modeling was my “job” and I was no longer a student, it started to feel like it was my whole identity, I began to resent it and all the obvious cliché trappings of the profession.”
Posing for Vogue and Maybelline
Right after appearing in Vogue U.S., Christy returned with her mother to Florida so she can complete her high school studies. She was 18 when she finally graduated from Monte Vista High School, after which Christy became satisfied enough for her to return to New York to resume her modeling career full-time. Immediately upon her arrival, Christy did a cover shoot for Vogue Italy—this became the start of Christy’s rise in the fashion world. After that edition was released, she began to receive offers from the best photographers in the world.
Christy caught the attention of designers, such as Christian Lacroix, Chanel, Azzedine Alaia, and Gianni Versace, who were looking for fresh faces for their fashion shows.
Christy’s supermodel career would not end there. In 1989, she received an offer from the famous fashion designer and entrepreneur Calvin Klein to represent his perfume “Eternity.” She accepted the offer and was signed into a contract with the company, a job that Christy would enjoy for the next two decades.
Afterwards, Christy also received a contract from Maybelline for her to represent their cosmetics line. From this time on, Christy began working with these two companies. In an interview made with her years later, she recalled:
“The first contract I was offered was with Calvin Klein. I was nineteen. It was an honor to have been chosen for this coveted spot but turned out to not be so much fun. It was an exclusive contract and I didn’t have to work much but was on call for whatever they needed me to do. I wasn’t ready for so much freedom and was eager to get back on the road after a year or so with them. I got my second contract with Maybelline at 22. I started my own skincare line when I was 30 and after a few years, my Maybelline contract ran out but they came back to me five years later when I was pregnant with my second child and I have been under contract with them ever since.”
Christy Turlington Discovers Yoga
Christy first encountered yoga when she was around 18 or 19 years old, being introduced to the art by a friend in the fashion industry. Back then, Christy was already quite stressed out with her career as a model, and saw yoga as a good way to balance her life. She said of yoga:
“I went to my first yoga class at 18. A friend was doing it, and I admired the discipline and focus. I decided I wanted that positive focus in my life to help me cope with the erratic lifestyle my career perpetuates. It was, and remains, an invaluable source of energy and inspiration for me, and all of my efforts in life, both personal and professional.”
Appearing in Unzipped and Catwalk then Going Back to School
During the nineties decade, Christy appeared in various documentaries. The first one was “Unzipped,” which was a fashion documentary about the famous designer Isaac Mizrahi. Later on, Christy was featured in a documentary about her own life on the runways which was titled “Catwalk.”
Christy left the runway in 1994 so she could go back to her studies, something that she had always wanted to do since she graduated from high school, but was hindered by her modeling career. In 1997, Christy applied for New York University, where she was accepted and studied Comparative Religion and Eastern Philosophy at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study.
Christy’s newfound interest in life studies greatly helped her in becoming one of the school’s top students, and in 1999 graduated cum laude from New York University and received her bachelor’s degree. When she was asked why she chose to study those courses (which was very far from what she was doing at that time, which was modeling), Christy answered:
“Everything I read in school, from Nietzsche to Hannah Arendt and Victor Frankel, helped shape the way I see the world, but I was particularly drawn to religious, mystical, spiritual texts and scripture, which reiterated the essentials of life that I hold valuable. My study of religion, philosophy and art, plus my practice of yoga and my career as a model, all brought me to where I am today. I have incorporated everything I have learned and applied it to my businesses, Sundari and Nuala.”
Meeting her Future Husband, Edward Burns
After graduating from the university, Christy began to venture into the business world by establishing her own skincare line, Sundari. She also partnered with Puma to produce her own clothing lines, Nuala (an active women’s clothing line and a women’s yoga-wear line). In this same year, while attending a Hampton’s party, Christy met Edward Burns, a well-known actor, director, and writer.
The Wedding and Childbirth
The couple took a liking to each other, and by the end of the year they were engaged. Two years later, however, a few months after the couple bought their New York property, Christy and Edward decided to split up for certain differences. They reunited in 1993 and in June of that year, got married. Christy bore Edward two children: a daughter, Grace (born in 2003) and a son, Finn (born in 2006).
When Christy was pregnant with Grace back in 2003, she suffered several complications that made the pregnancy very difficult. Eventually, her daughter was born healthy and Christy’s strength and health were restored.
While doing research on her experience, Christy learned that over 500,000 women die every year during their childbirth, but what really struck her was realizing that over ninety percent of these deaths were preventable with the right knowledge and equipment. This led to her commitment to help mothers worldwide in her own way.
Working with CARE
After giving birth, Christy entered the Columbia University to study public health in the Mailman School of Public Health. She earned her master’s degree two years later and started working with the international humanitarian organization CARE, where Christy was appointed Advocate for Maternal Health. In an interview, Christy related the events that led up to her philanthropic work:
“I experienced a complication after I delivered my daughter seven years ago that I would later learn was the leading killer of pregnant women around the world. I learned this through my work with CARE and that hundreds of thousands of women die each year while almost all of these deaths are preventable. I was pregnant for the second time when I started working with CARE. We traveled to El Salvador, where my mother was born, when I was almost seven months pregnant and I spent some time with other pregnant women who lived miles from a hospital, let alone a paved road or electricity. I imagined giving birth in these conditions and of course thought of my previous complication. It prompted me to want to do something about it.”
The FEMME Project
Since then, Christy has become an active supporter of CARE and often goes around the world to participate in the organization’s campaigns. One of the campaigns that Christy worked with was the FEMME project, which brought together CARE and other organizations, both in the public and private sector, to find better methods of giving service to the numerous women who need assistance and are too intimidated to ask for help in a clinic or a traditional hospital.
Aside from actively supporting the cause of maternal health and welfare, Christy is also an anti-smoking activist. Being an ex-smoker herself, Christy has personally witnessed the dangerous and deadly effects of smoking on the human body (her father Dwain died due to lung cancer that was brought upon by smoking). She stated in an interview once:
“There are so many important causes in the world, but I have learned that I can be most effective through my anti-tobacco work. It has been great because it has turned so many personal negatives into positives for me. I was addicted to tobacco for many years and then lost my father to lung cancer due to his addiction to the substance. Now I can share my experience and struggle and encourage others to take better care of themselves. I also continue to help a variety of other not-for-profit, grassroots organizations in areas involving children, education, the environment and animal rights, but given my time constraints and desire to focus on making the most impact, anti-tobacco remains my platform.”
No Woman, No Cry Gives Way to Every Mother Counts
In 2010, Christy made her debut as a director on the launch of her documentary film titled “No Woman, No Cry.” Focusing on maternal health, the documentary showed four cases from countries such as Tanzania, Guatemala, Bangladesh, and the United States. After being featured in the Tribeca Film Festival, the documentary film received numerous praises from critics and even earned Christy a nomination for the Do Something With Style Award in the VH1 Do Something Awards.
To follow up on the success of “No Woman, No Cry,” Christy established Every Mother Counts, a campaign to help end the preventable deaths that are caused by pregnancy and childbirth. Through Every Mother Counts, Christy was able to further promote the importance of maternal health, and mobilize its audiences to take action to improve the wellbeing of girls and women internationally. Since 2011, Christy has participated in the New York City Marathons to raise awareness of maternal health.
In 2011, Christy, collaborating with numerous artists, such as Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Martha Wainwright, Dixie Chicks, Karen Elson, Jennifer Lopez, and Ani DiFranco, released a compilation album which was titled “Every Mother Counts,” based on her organization. The aim of releasing the album was to use part of the proceeds as a means to fund CARE and the Every Mother Counts organization in their efforts to support maternal health care programs in various countries worldwide. Another compilation was released in 2012.
Christy never seems to get tired of helping others. Her passion in being an advocate of maternal care is truly amazing, as even in her busy modeling career she finds time to support her causes. She said in an interview:
“The commitment I have made to this issue is a long term goal. I hope to contribute significantly to a global movement to make a lasting impact. If the film that I have made gets more people to talk about maternal death, really mainstream the issue, inspire others to take action and make their voices heard to prevent girls and women from dying from pregnancy related causes, then I would be satisfied. I hope to help connect the dots for people who may want to contribute in their own way but need some guidance to do so in a way that feels meaningful.”
The Key to Having Christy's Body: Running and Diet
It cannot be denied that Christy is naturally endowed with a killer figure. But what's really incredible is how she maintains her body even now that she is in her 40s. She's a runner. She used to smoke back when she was in her early 20s but as she got older and had to do work out to keep fit, she appreciated having a healthy body and what it allows you to do. So alongside running, Christy maintains a healthy diet. According to her, she did Clean Cleanse, designed by Dr. Junger.
Christy Turlington-Burns' Net Worth at 18 million Dollars
As a professional model, Christy has fetched millions. Her appearance in documentaries and music videos added up to her income. She also invested in clothing and skin care. She's currently valued at 18 million dollars.
Christy has Instagram and Twitter Account!
Those who want to get a regular update from the activist model may see her photos on Instagram, which she regularly updates. She has at the moment already posted 458 photos and has almost 40,000 followers. If you follow the celebrity's Twitter account, you would notice that most of her posts are related to the social work she is doing. As a matter of fact, her profile reads: "Mom, Wife, Daughter, Yogi, Marathoner, Founder, Every Mother Counts, Author, Living Yoga: Creating A Life Practice, Model. I tweet about Global Maternal Health everymothercounts.org."
Organizations and Programmes Supported
- Every Mother Counts
- No Woman, No Cry
- Baylor College of Medicine Children’s Foundation
- Saving Mothers, Giving Life
- Midwives for Haiti
- Bumi Sehat
- White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood
- The Global Organization for Maternal & Child Health
Awards and Achievements
- 2011: Nominated for the Do Something With Style Award at the VH1 Do Something Awards