Model Cindy Crawford has called out billionaire former talk show host Oprah Winfrey for treating her like a bag of meat many years ago.
In an upcoming Apple TV+ documentary called “The Super Models,” Crawford, now 57, reflects on an interaction the two had during a 1986 taping of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
During the incident, Winfrey introduced Crawford to her audience by saying, “Did she always have this body? This is unbelievable. Stand up just a moment. Now this is what I call a BODY!”
Crawford, who at the time was on the show with John Casablancas of the Elite Modelling Agency, responded by sheepishly standing up and displaying her figure to Winfrey’s audience, according to The Independent.
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Looking back at what happened, Crawford isn’t pleased.
“I was like the chattel or a child, be seen and not heard. When you look at it through today’s eyes, Oprah’s like, ‘Stand up and show me your body. Show us why you’re worthy of being here.’ In the moment I didn’t recognize it and watching it back I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that was so not okay really,’” she says in the documentary.
During another segment of the 1986 show, Winfrey asked Casablancas whether Crawford had been put through a “training period.”
“With Cindy, it was much more psychologically she was not sure she really wanted to model… she didn’t see her potential as clearly as we did… for her it was more a question of mental stability. Little by little, her ambition is growing,” he replied.
“I’m saying it now on this program, if she wants to she can be number one in the business,” he added.
Elsewhere in the documentary, Crawford talks about how she’d worked so hard on the job sometimes that she’d “pass out” from hunger, according to the Daily Mail.
“‘I was 20 years old, I had dropped out of college to model in Chicago and it was great. I was making $1000 a day. The main business there was catalog. There was one main photographer, Victor Skrebneski, and he was the big fish in a little pond. Victor was definitely mentor in the fashion industry, when Victor said don’t move, you didn’t move,” she says.
“I passed out there more than once. Especially right before lunch, you pass out and you would faint. And then they would prop you back up and you would do it all over again,” she continues.
Crawford reportedly isn’t the first model to speak out about Winfrey. Appearing on “The Drew Barrymore Show” last year, fellow model Brooke Shields, now 58, slammed Winfrey for asking her inappropriate questions when she was just 15.
“She asked me what my measurements were and asked me to stand up, and I stand up and she’s like comparing herself to this little girl, and I thought, ‘This isn’t right. I don’t understand what this is.’ But I just, I behaved and smiled and felt like so taken advantage of in so many ways,” she said.
‘But over the years, you know when you’ve been in the public eye and have been commented on all the time, everybody has an opinion, and you all get to say it, and now that’s where social media I think can be dangerous. Then you learn to say no this is my truth,” she added.
Dovetailing back to the documentary, it also features fellow models Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington.
At one point in the documentary, Campbell spoke about the racism she experienced earlier in her career. She specifically cited an example of when she and Turlington were entering a taxi cab and the driver assumed she lived in Brooklyn because she’s black.
“I would put my hands out many times on New York City streets, and the taxis would fly by. Then Christy would put out the hand and they would stop. The guy would be like: ‘I don’t want to go to Brooklyn,’ and I’m like: ‘I’m not going to Brooklyn,’” she says.
“I was just like, why is he saying that? It didn’t strike me until, you know, Christy would have to stand out in front of me, get me a taxi to get it to work,” she continues.
“This isn’t the first time that Campbell has opened up about the racism she faced at the start of career. In a personal essay for CNN Style, published in 2021, she said she ‘wasn’t being booked for certain shows because of the colour of [her] skin,'” The Independent notes.
“For whatever reason, those designers simply didn’t use Black girls; I didn’t let it rattle me. From attending auditions and performing at an early age, I understood what it meant to be Black. You had to put in the extra effort. You had to be twice as good,” she wrote.
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