It used to be a running joke that every model secretly wanted to be a singer or an actress, or excel in some other profession. Some of these ambitions quickly became punchlines – you can listen to Tyra Banks’s song Shake Ya Body for proof – but for other catwalk queens, their image as top supermodels took a backseat while their true talents shined. Here are four ladies you may have even forgotten were ever supermodels.
Yes, she of the piercing ice blue eyes and of the many Resident Evil movies was once better known for standing wordlessly behind a camera. Milla began modeling in 1987 at the age of 11, when she became the youngest model to ever appear on the cover of an American women’s fashion magazine. Since that first cover she has appeared on over 100 more and has participated in major fashion campaigns for Dior, Versace, Armani and Revlon, among others.
However, since her acting breakthrough in 1997, Milla is now best known as the queen of butt-kicking for her extensive work in science fiction and action movies, including the Resident Evil franchise, The Fifth Element and Ultraviolet.
Carla Bruni is now most widely known across the globe for being the woman married to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy. However, before that she was a successful singer and songwriter, charting high in Europe and especially in France. She was even invited to sing at Nelson Mandela’s 91st birthday party. But before her success as a singer and songwriter, she was one of the top supermodels of the ’90s, earning a whopping $7.5 million in her peak modeling year.
If we had to pick a career title for Brooke Shields currently, we’d probably go with extremely savvy business woman. She’s got her name attached to everything from high-end skin care products to LA-Z-Boy furniture, and she still has one of the most recognizable faces (and sets of brows) in the world.
Brooke started out as a child model in the ’70s and quickly forced critics to acknowledge how truly talented she is with her star turn in 1978’s Pretty Baby, a movie about a child prostitute. She continued to rule the modeling world into her teens before opting to attend Princeton University and gaining further acclaim and popularity in her acting career, even anchoring her own sitcom, Suddenly Susan.
Auf wiedersehen! As with the other women on this list, when you look at them it isn’t easy to forget that they were once supermodels. But as with the other women on this list, Heidi Klum’s success in another arena does actually overshadow her modeling work, which included a long-running stint with Victoria’s Secret. Heidi is now best-known for hosting the reality series Project Runway which has run for 13 seasons and garnered Heidi two Emmy nominations and one win.