Cindy Crawford decides modeling isn't all that super

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Cindy Crawford comes right out and says it: "Modeling's just not my favorite gig anymore."

Pause.

"I really want to concentrate on the more challenging things."

Supermodel Crawford is on the car phone, heading for New York's LaGuardia airport and Los Angeles, where she'll do the "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno before going up to San Francisco to push some products.

She's finishing a conversation that started when she was in Chicago a few weeks ago taping "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Afterward, backstage, there was giggling, teasing with Mom, Grandma and sister Chris, then a Thai dinner before she headed for New York to do several TV shows promoting her exercise video.

Then it was to work in Europe. Now, back in the States after a whirlwind 10-cities-in-10-days trip -- Madrid, London, Munich, Paris among them -- doing personal appearances for Revlon Inc. and a runway stint for designers Dolce and Gabbana in Milan, she picks up the thread of that previous "what's next?" conversation.

Where do you want to be five years from now, Cindy?

"The one thing I feel most sure about is having kids by then," she says, without a moment's pause. Kids, of course, with her famous husband, Richard Gere.

Any news there? Nope, not yet. Forget the stuff in the gossip columns.

She strongly feels, too, that her career is headed for television and videos.

"I think that's what I'll be concentrating on, maybe even in the next year. I really like doing the television thing," she says, referring to her role as hostess of MTV's "House of Style," recent guest appearances on talk shows -- and more.

She's been talking with Fox, she says, about doing "a Barbara Walters for the '90s" sort of program. Ms. Crawford, however, says they are talking about focusing on young people's issues -- "issues that affect me and my friends. We've been discussing things. The next step is the nitty gritty" -- working out the format and the details -- she says.

Doug Herzog, senior vice president of MTV programming, says Ms. Crawford "is going to be a major personality on TV -- on MTV and possibly elsewhere. She's looking at opportunities that won't conflict" with MTV.

In five years, he forecasts, "She's going to be a force to be reckoned with. She has a great deal of intelligence and personality. Yes, she's drop-dead gorgeous," but, Mr. Herzog adds, in interviewing and on the air "she has such a friendly, casual way about her."

Mr. Herzog also points out that "she certainly can hold her own on both sides of the microphone," referring to her poise and popularity as a guest on shows such as NBC-TV's "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno and "Late Night with David Letterman."

Her exercise video, "Cindy Crawford -- Shape Your Body rTC Workout," which was released in late September, has spurred her to think about doing additional videos. She already has an idea for one -- not another exercise video -- which she can't talk about "because somebody else will pick up on it."

Ms. Crawford says she's proudest of the creative role she played in that video.

"It was my idea and I worked on it from start to finish and it was fun, too. I was the co-executive producer of it, hired everybody for it and put it together."

She says her reasoning behind doing the exercise video was simple: "The program helped me have more confidence about my body." Since she began working with her personal trainer, Radu, she says, "I am much stronger, much more toned. I feel better now about my body than I have in my whole life. I wanted to share that same kind of workout with people who can't afford a personal trainer. I also wanted to do a video that would be interesting to look at, like a music video is. We did some black and white, some color, very fast cutting, hip music. Not in a gym. Not like Cher's or Jane Fonda's."

And, just where does modeling fit into the five-year plan?

Modeling for Revlon will certainly still be part of her life.

Modeling in the strict sense -- doing runway shows, advertising photography -- is another thing. "I like it less and less. It's not the most important gig I have going. I don't have much time, and if I have to cut things out, they'll be the less challenging things."

"I don't know how she does everything she does," says Monique Pillard, president of Elite Model Management in New York, Ms. Crawford's agency, and the person who has guided Ms. Crawford's career.

Ms. Pillard claims that the MTV fashion specials and Pepsi commercials have played major roles in making Ms. Crawford a high-profile personality. "People see her as a person, sometimes even like a friend."

Designer Calvin Klein, who has used Ms. Crawford in his runway shows, says "she's more like a movie star now, she's a celebrity." He adds, "What I love about her as a model is that she can put on something mannish or sexy and carry it off with her own sense of style."

One thing Ms. Crawford won't be doing in the next five years is another calendar. She's skipping '94, and the '93 one out now could become a collector's item.

Ms. Pillard claims it's one of the best-selling model calendars in the United States, though not a money-making venture for Ms. Crawford.

Ms. Crawford's mother, Jennifer Crawford of De Kalb, Ill., says her daughter's proceeds go to the University of Wisconsin Medical Center in Madison, Wis., for research for children suffering from leukemia and other cancers, in memory of her brother, Jeffrey, who died from leukemia when he was almost 4. "The calendars have been meaningful to Cindy for that reason," says her mother.

Has Cindy changed much since she left those fabled cornfields around DeKalb?

"Is any 26-year-old the same person she was at 17? I hope not. Who would want to stay the same? She has grown a lot. And she has become one of the most nurturing people," said Jennifer Crawford, referring to her daughter's frequent phone calls home and the family visits back and forth on both coasts, even "the wonderful backrubs Cindy gives me when we're visiting. And, the way she is with her sisters and everybody she's around, she will be a great mom."

And, just what does Mother Crawford think her daughter's going to be doing in five years?

"She's going to be driving a Volvo station wagon filled with kids. Well, maybe she won't fill it in five years, but there'll be some kids in there."

One of the things that Ms. Crawford is putting on her agenda during the next five years is a change in lifestyle.

She never finished college -- she had a scholarship in chemical engineering at Northwestern University but gave it up when her modeling career started exploding -- so she'd like to take some classes. She'd also like to do things that she enjoys but never has time for. "I like to paint. I love to cook -- I make a good risotto and great grilled vegetables. And I want to take pottery lessons.

"I've been working hard for the past six years, and I'm ready to take time for my personal life," she says, adding quickly, "The kids will probably take up a lot of my time, but I'd really love to take time to do something that's productive for no one other than myself."

MORE ABOUT CINDY

Stats: 5 feet, 9 1/2 inches tall; 130 pounds; size 6.

Biggest indulgence: "Having a facial and a massage to relax. Working out with a personal trainer. But, these are also business. have to take care of myself."

Greatest pleasure: "Not to be on a schedule. To be able to go to movies, work out, spend time with [husband] Richard [Gere]."

Leisure time: "Horseback riding with Richard. Reading."

Home: "I live one-third New York, one-third L.A., one-third other [planes, airports, photo locations, appearances]. The New York apartment is near SoHo. In California, our house has two bedrooms and no furniture because we haven't decided what we're going to do. We just bought a house in Malibu, and that's probably where we'll live. The previous owners lived there 30 years, and it looked like the Brady Bunch decorated it. We cleaned it out and we're deciding what to do. I want a schlumpy [carefree] beach house where people can drag sand in and not feel guilty. I'm more into comfort; he's more into design."

Income: Never reveals that. "I even have a silence thing [clause] on my Revlon contract."

Regarding reports that she gets $7,000 per fashion show: "I've gotten more, I've gotten less. It depends on the circumstances. If I go to Milan for [Gianni] Versace to do his show, he pays me not to do other shows, so that can be a lot of money. But I don't have a flat fee for a fashion show."

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