Elle Macpherson dominated the modeling world when she entered the scene in the early 1980s. As SI Swimsuit lore goes, she was only 17 when she interviewed with legendary editor Jule Campbell and came in a bit unprepared. “I’ll have to talk to you again later,” said Campbell. “You don’t have pictures and I can’t really see what your body looks like.” Macpherson ripped off her sweater for Campbell to see what Time would dub “The Body” in 1989. Macpherson made her first SI Swimsuit Issue appearance (of 10) in 1985, landing a record five covers. During her modeling career, the Australian native walked in numerous runway shows for brands like Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren and appeared in campaigns for Christian Dior and Escada. But, what has the 58-year-old been up to for the past few decades? Here’s what we know.
Acting and Hosting
Macpherson proved she had both runway and silver screen chops. She appeared in several movies throughout the ’90s, and early 2000s, like The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996, with Barbra Streisand), Batman & Robin (1997, with George Clooney), The Edge (1997, with Anthony Hopkins) and South Kensington (2001). She has worked with directors Woody Allen and Franco Zeffirelli and has had a recurring role on Friends as Janine LaCroix (Joey’s roommate and girlfriend) and Claudia Foster in 2009’s The Beautiful Life: TBL.
Outside of playing fictional characters, the model was also in demand for TV hosting gigs. She hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live in 1996 and was the host for Britain’s Next Top Model and Fashion Star.
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Macpherson’s popularity is so popular that even governments were eager to work with her! The Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda used her face on postage stamps in 1999, making her the first model to appear on legal tender. She also became an unofficial ambassador for the Australian government's tourist commission.
Early on, Macpherson realized the power she had as a brand. It started when Bendon Limited Apparel asked the model to promote their lingerie in Australia. Instead of just being a promotional face, she set up a licensing agreement and partnership to use her name and designs on their products. In 1990, Elle Macpherson Intimates launched, becoming the best-selling lingerie brand in the U.K and Australia and marking one of the first times a model had her own product line.
She followed up this successful pursuit by founding her own company, Elle Macpherson Inc., in 1994. Under that enterprise, the model launched several ventures, including a series of calendars and TV shows that revealed a behind-the-scenes look at their production. That turned into a series of workout videos called “Your Personal Best – The Body.” Macpherson has also created her own line of beauty products, maternity bras and a wellness supplement called The Super Elixir through her other company, WelleCo.
Being a Mom
In addition to being a supermodel and mogul, Macpherson is also a super mom to two sons, Cy, 19, and Flynn, 24 (their father is financier Arpad Busson).
In August 2019, the trio appeared on the cover of Vogue Australia. In the cover story, Macpherson opened up about keeping her kids out of the spotlight when they were younger and why this was the right time to make their family photo shoot debut. “The boys are coming of age…so it’s sort of this seminal moment in our lives,” she said. “We kept the children out of the public eye…. We didn’t think it necessary for them to be recognizable in public.”
The next year she celebrated her 40th anniversary in the modeling industry, headlining the cover of French Elle with her sons, one of which is signed by Next Model Management. Macpherson and her sons are clearly still close. She and son, Flynn, even attended the Dior runway show this past July.
Recently, Macpherson has been focused on wellness and her inner journey, telling Stellar Magazine that, “'Beauty was [in the past] associated with youth, but I [have] come to learn that beauty is more strongly aligned with wellness.” Her company WelleCo Is specifically focused on providing vitimans and elixirs that are made to help people feel their best.