’80s supermodels Paulina Porizkova, Brooke Shields’ resurgence: ‘I’m changing the narrative’

’80s supermodels Paulina Porizkova, Brooke Shields’ resurgence: ‘I’m changing the narrative’

In the 1980s, supermodels once dominated pop culture, with women like Brooke Shields, Paulina Porizkova, Christie Brinkley, Iman and Linda Evangelista outshining musicians, athletes and even movie stars. 

And their time is far from over. 

Here’s a look at where a few of the models from the decade of decadence are today. 

Brooke Shields

Shields began modeling as a child, appearing in Calvin Klein jeans commercials as a teenager in which she professed, “You wanna know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing,” and she first graced the cover of Vogue in 1980 at just 14 years old. 

Hollywood soon followed with breakout films for the young model, like “Pretty Baby” and “Blue Lagoon,” which made her a sex symbol while she was just 15. 


Brooke Shields began modeling at 11 months old. (Getty Images)

At 58, the supermodel and movie star is not shying away from the spotlight. The documentary “Pretty Baby,” which focuses on her youthful rise to stardom, her sexualization at a young age and her relationship with her mother, came out earlier this year. She also hosts the podcast “Now What?”

She also continues to work in movies like “Holiday Harmony” and “A Castle for Christmas.”

Last month, Shields told Glamour she had found a peace in her life she never imagined could happen. 

Brooke Shields at the Glamour Woman of the Year Event

Last month, Brooke Shields said she had found a peace in her life she never imagined could happen. (Getty Images)

“Now I’m at this place which I don’t think I dreamt I’d ever get to,” she said. “I’m changing the narrative that I’ve been playing over in my head: not good enough, too famous, not this, not this, not this. I am so proud. I’m proud of my girls: two vibrant women who are going to be fine, who are unique and smart and funny and different. I feel lucky, and I do feel proud, because I know I had something to do with it.”


Christie Brinkley

Brinkley, 69, became the face of CoverGirl in 1976 and made the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 1979, 1980 and 1981. She also became a mainstay on the covers of magazines like Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar throughout the 1980s. 

Following her original 25-year contract, CoverGirl re-signed Brinkley in 2005, and she was also featured in the SI Swimsuit Issue that year. 

Christie Brinkley then and now split

Christie Brinkley was on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue three years in a row, starting in 1979. (Getty Images)

In 2009, the supermodel returned to the small screen, filming an episode of “Ugly Betty,” and she began a recurring role on Amy Poehler’s “Parks and Recreation” in 2012. She also made her Broadway debut as Roxie Hart in “Chicago” in 2011, which she reprised in Las Vegas in 2019. 


Brinkley appeared on the cover of SI again in 2017 at 63 years old with her two daughters. 


“My first thought was, ‘At my age? No way!'” she told People magazine at the time. “When I turned 30, I was like, ‘This is the last time I’m posing in a bathing suit!’ When this issue comes out, I’ll be 63. I thought, ‘Those days are over.’ But to get to do it with my girls, I thought, ‘One last go!'”

Christie Brinkley on the red carpet

Christie Brinkley on the red carpet with Carson Kressley last month. (Mireya Acierto/Getty Images)

Brinkley will turn 70 next February, which she says she feels good about. 

“I pretty much feel, as I’m approaching 70, the same way that I felt when I was approaching 30. I feel good. I feel strong,” she told People earlier this year.

Carol Alt

Carol Alt became a household name in the early 1980s when she appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. She would go on to appear on the cover of over 700 magazines, and she was named “Most Beautiful Woman in the World” by Playboy magazine, and “Next Million Dollar Face” by Life magazine in 1980.

In 1983, Alt became one of the first supermodels to produce a line of posters, workout videos and calenders, which would go on to become common practice for models. In addition to modeling, Alt appeared in a number of films and TV shows, such as “Thunder In Paradise,” “The Protector” and “Amazon.” 

Carol Alt then and now split

Carol Alt first broke onto the scene in the early 1980s. (Getty Images)

Alt obtained a doctorate in alternative health studies and used her knowledge to write four cookbooks, “Eating In the Raw,” in 2005, “The Raw 50 (Menus),” in 2007, “Easy Sexy Raw,” in 2012, and “A Healthy You with Carol Alt,” in 2015.

“The amazing thing about my change of diet to raw was that I was able to eat more, I was never hungry, I was never feeling bad, and I always had energy,” she shared on her website. “And today raw is everywhere! Once you know what to look for, you will be shocked at how readily available, delicious and healing it is.”

Carol Alt on the runway for Sports Illustated

Carol Alt attributes her youthful appearance to her raw food diet. (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)

She also had a successful skincare line which she promoted on QVC, and she sold it in 2013. 

Alt can now be found on OnlyFans, a decision she called “major,” explaining “there were so many things that I had to think about.” In the end, she said her decision to create an account “was about empowerment” and “it was about control.” 

“I just wanted another way to connect with fans where I felt like I could put up whatever I wanted to put up, talk about whatever I wanted to talk about and connect more with my fans,” she told Fox News Digital in November.

Carol Alt on the red carpet

Carol Alt joined OlnyFans in order to control what comes out about her and to connect with her fans. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Wayuu Taya Foundation)

Coming up, Alt is set to star in “Paper Empire,” alongside Denise Richards and Kelsey Grammer.

Kathy Ireland

Kathy Ireland began modeling at 16 years old in 1979, appearing on the cover of many magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Seventeen and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. During Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s 50th-anniversary event in 2014, Ireland’s 1989 cover was declared “The Greatest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Of All Time.”

In 1993, Ireland founded Kathy Ireland Worldwide, which started as a partnership with Kmart, but it became a global licensor in 2003 after breaking off the partnership. That year, she started a sock line, which sold 100 million pairs, leading to her starting her own clothing line. 

Kathy Ireland then and now split

Kathy Ireland saw modeling as a way to save money in order to start a business. (Getty Images)

“Modeling was not part of my plan,” Ireland told Fox News Digital in December 2019. “It was offered to me and I thought it would be an opportunity to save money to either go to college or start a business. The entire time I worked as a model, I was trying and failing [different] businesses and so had one of those businesses taken off my modeling career wouldn’t have gone on as long as it did.”

From 2005 to 2012, Kathy Ireland Worldwide generated over $2 billion in sales, marketing products from 16 manufacturers in over 14 countries. In 2006, Forbes referred to her as a “prototype for model-turned-mogul,” and British Vogue called her the world’s richest model in 2012.


Since then, she has launched her own line of wedding gowns, became chief designer for Royal Footwear & Accessories, designed a collection of jewelry inspired by Elizabeth Taylor, launched a collection of pet products called Loved Ones, teamed with Michael Amini to create a new home-furnishings line, partner with SG Blocks, a container company, and many other ventures.

Kathy Ireland on the red carpet

Kathy Ireland was named one of America’s 50 most successful self-made women by Forbes in 2015. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Her company was listed as the 26th biggest licensor in the world in 2019 by License Global, and in 2015, Forbes named Ireland one of America’s 50 most successful self-made women.

In addition to her business ventures, Ireland has also written many children’s books, releasing her first novel, “Fashion Jungle,” with author Rachel Van Dyken, in 2020, which is based on her experiences in the modeling industry.

Paulina Porizkova

Porizkova, 58, also began modeling as a child, leaving her native Czechoslovakia for Paris as a teenager. She made a name for herself in the U.S. after she graced the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue in 1984, became the face of Estée Lauder in 1989 and starred in movies like 1987’s “Anna” and 1989’s “Her Alibi,” opposite Tom Selleck. 

Porizkova returned to the spotlight in 2007, competing on “Dancing with the Stars” and writing her first novel “A Model Summer.” Last year, she wrote the memoir “No Filter: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful,” which focused on her career and tumultuous marriage to Cars frontman Ric Ocasek, who died in 2019. 


Paulina Parizkova then and now split

Paulina Porizkova says she now feels free to show herself as she is. (Getty Images)

The supermodel also posed topless on the most recent cover of Elle Czech, writing on Instagram, “I was brought up in a culture and time where nudity was common and absolutely accepted as a part of being human. I was never made to feel ashamed of an unclothed body, mine or anyone else’s.”


She added, “So perhaps it stand[s] to reason that as long as it is MY choice to undress, it actually makes me feel strong. It makes me feel like I have nothing to hide. This is where my power lies. Not the nudity per se, but the ability to show myself as I am.”

Paulina Porizkova with a copy of her book.

Paulina Porizkova attends the East Hampton Library’s Author’s Night in August. (Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images)

Elle Macpherson

Soon after starting her career as a model in 1982, Elle Macpherson appeared on the cover of Vogue, Glamour, Allure and Elle, going on to appear in every issue of Elle for six straight years. She also made history by appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue five times.

Macpherson went on to be known as “The Body.” She started an acting career in 1994, appearing in the film, “Sirens,” later starring in “Batman and Robin,” “The Edge” and “A Mirror Has Two Faces,” before landing a recurring role on the popular show “Friends.”  

Elle Macpherson then and now split

Elle Macpherson started her modeling career in the early 1980s and started acting in 1994. (Getty Images)

Since stepping back from modeling, Macpherson has dipped her toes into many business ventures, starting her own line of lingerie and beauty products, as well as founding her own wellness company, WelleCo. She also hosted reality shows, including “Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model” and “Fashion Star.”

The model celebrated the 20th anniversary of her sobriety in September 2023, letting her fans know she does not regret getting sober.

Elle Macpherson on the red carpet

Elle Macpherson recently celebrated 20 years of getting sober. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

“Life beyond my wildest dreams they say – as I celebrate my 20 years anniversary this week…I am also celebrating 365+days of heart expanding bliss,” she wrote on Instagram alongside a series of photos with her boyfriend Doyle Bramhall II.


Iman, 68, made a name for herself in the 1970s and 1980s as a runway model and on the covers of magazines like Vogue and Essence. The Somali-born beauty was discovered in Kenya and moved to New York to start her career in 1975, paving the way for other Black models who followed in her footsteps. 

The supermodel and widow of David Bowie launched a cosmetics line in the 1990s, of which she remains the CEO, and in 2010, she received the Fashion Icon Award from the Council of Fashion Designers. 

Iman then and now split

Iman was discovered while living in Kenya as a refugee. (Getty Images)

In 2021, Iman said she did not plan to remarry after losing her rock star husband in 2016. Last year, she told “Today” she hopes to reunite with him after death. 

“If there is an afterlife, I’d like to see my husband again,” she said, adding, “Don’t call my husband ‘late.’ He’s not my late husband. He’s my husband, and he’ll always be.”

Iman also works as a humanitarian for charities like Champions for Children, Keep a Child Alive, the American Foundation for AIDS Research and was named Global CARE Advocate in 2019. 

Iman on the red carpet

Iman at the Prince’s Trust Gala in Manhattan in April. (Andrea Renault/AFP)

Linda Evangelista


Evangelista graced the covers of hundreds of magazines throughout the 1980s and modeled for Chanel, Versace, Oscar de la Renta, Giorgio Armani and Clavin Klein among many others. 

She began doing ads for Revlon in 1987 and became famous for uttering the line: “We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day.”

Linda Evangelista then and now split

As a young model, Linda Evangelista made the now infamous statement, “We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day.” (Getty Images)

Evangelista recently settled a $50 million lawsuit she filed against CoolSculpting in 2021, after claiming she had been disfigured by the cosmetic weight loss procedure. 

“To my followers who have wondered why I have not been working while my peers’ careers have been thriving, the reason is that I was brutally disfigured by Zeltiq’s CoolSculpting procedure which did the opposite of what it promised,” she wrote on Instagram at the time.


Linda Evangelista on the red carpet

Linda Evangelista attended the WSJ. Magazine 2023 Innovator Awards in November. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for WSJ. Magazine Innovators Awards)

Earlier this year, Evangelista was the subject – along with Naomi Campbell, Christie Turlington and Cindy Crawford – of an Apple TV + docuseries called “The Supermodels,” which explored their domination of popular culture in the 1980s and 1990s. 

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