Model Cindy Crawford has criticized billionaire and former talk show host Oprah Winfrey, for her treatment of her during a 1986 taping of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” In an upcoming Apple TV+ documentary titled “The Super Models,” Crawford, now 57, reflects on this incident and expresses her discontent.
— New York Post (@nypost) September 20, 2023
During the interview, Winfrey introduced Crawford to the audience by making comments about her body and asking her to stand up. Crawford, at the time appearing with John Casablancas of the Elite Modelling Agency, complied, displaying her figure.
“I was like chattel or a child, to 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,’” Crawford recalled.
In another segment of the show, Winfrey asked Casablancas about Crawford’s readiness for the modeling world, and he spoke about her psychological readiness and ambition. In the documentary, Crawford recalls her early days as a model, mentioning that she worked so hard that she would sometimes “pass out” from hunger.
She reminisced about starting her career in Chicago, where she made $1000 a day mainly through catalog modeling. She also mentions Victor Skrebneski, a prominent photographer in the industry, as her mentor. Crawford’s revelation about Winfrey’s treatment is not the first instance of a model speaking out about oppressive or rude media personalities.
Brooke Shields, another model, criticized anchor and journalist Barbara Walters for asking her inappropriate questions when she was just 15. Shields felt uncomfortable when Walters asked about her measurements and compared herself to the young model before remarking “It’s very hard when you have a little kid this high to keep her down to size, isn’t it?”
The documentary also features other supermodels, including Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington. Campbell discusses the racism she encountered earlier in her career, such as the prejudice she and Turlington faced when trying to hail a taxi in New York City.
Ultimately, Crawford’s honest account of her experience with Oprah Winfrey shines a spotlight on the often harsh and degrading treatment endured by models in the fashion industry; reminding us of the crucial need to speak up and hold celebrities accountable for their actions, no matter how powerful and influential they may be.