Monday, July 3, 2017

Best-Built Fords

Shelley was one of the highest-paid Ford Models
in the 1970s to the early 1980s

Shelley was spotted by  A&P supermarket heir Huntington Hartford at a debutante ball when she was just 14 years old and he urged her to try modeling. Shelley wasn't interested at first. But then she was taught never to close doors on opportunities that came her way; so she decided to take a peek. She ended up in model agent Eileen Ford's office in New York (her mother, a former model herself, and Mrs. Ford were acquainted); and the rest is history. She became one of the top Ford Supermodels of all time and one of the first models to sign those lucrative and exclusive modeling contracts models nowadays aspire to get.

a writeup on the top Ford Models of all time, circa 1987

Many of the most famous models in the world were Ford Models. In 1987, a writeup called "Best-Built Fords" listed them all down with comments from The Godmother Eileen Ford herself. The list included Suzy Parker, Jean Shrimpton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Ali MacGraw, Shelley Hack, Lauren Hutton, Cheryl Tiegs, Cristina Ferare, Kim Basinger, Jerry Hall, Christie Brinkley, Shari Belafonte and Brooke Shields. The list wasn't complete though. The other notable Ford Supermodels as of 1987 were:

Carmen Dell'Orefice
- now known as the world's oldest working Supermodel

Jean Patchett
- the model on two of the most famous Vogue covers - January and April 1950

- her photo set, Dovima and the Elephants by Richard Avedon, is legendary

Wilhelmina Cooper
- she eventually opened her own successful modeling agency

- the face of Youthquake in the 1960s

Evelyn Kuhn
- probably the very first model to ever sign an exclusive contract

Angelica Houston
- who went on to win an Academy Award

Karen Graham
- Estée Lauder's breathtakingly beautiful muse and spokesmodel for 15 years

Beverly Johnson
- Donyale Luna was the first black model on the cover of any Vogue [Vogue UK March 1966]. Beverly was the first black model on the cover of "American" Vogue, which is a huge feat in itself

Shelley Smith
- she was so versatile, she was on covers of rival mags simultaneously

Rene Russo
- she was a favorite of Vogue for covers and editorials

Margaux Hemingway
- the first model to ever get a million-dollar contract, not a series of contracts that amounted to millions

Rosie Vela
- she too was a favorite of Vogue for covers and editorials

Janice Dickinson
- she was initially turned down by Ford for being too ethnic, but was eventually taken in

Kim Alexis
- she appeared in a gazillion ads and spreads during her tenure as a Supermodel

other notable Ford Supermodels as of 1987:
Carmen Dell'Orefice, Jean Patchett, Dovima,
Wilhelmina Cooper, Twiggy, Evelyn Kuhn
Angelica Houston, Karen Graham, Beverly Johnson
Shelley Smith, Rene Russo, Margaux Hemingway
Rosie Vela, Janice Dickinson, Kim Alexis