Fabiola Beracasa Interviews Christy Turlington
Published July 22, 2009
Christy Turlington is back, on the August cover of Vogue and shooting a documentary about the risks of bearing a child in developing countries. It’s the culmination of years of work, often with the maternity-minded chartie CARE. At an event for CARE at the Temperley store in East Hampton, Fabiola Beracasa asks Turlington about her charity work, and sneaks in some questions about George Michael, Herb Ritts, and the “Freedom” of being a supermodel in 1990.
FABIOLA BERACASA:Â How did you become involved in Care? And how did it come together for you?
CHRISTY TURLINGTON: I have been working with Care since about 2005. I was pregnant with my son and they asked me to get involved in sort of an ambassadorship capacity. So I took the tripâ??I was pregnant at the timeâ??to El Salvador, which is where my mom is from. It was work that I had been doing a little bit before, but I wanted to have a relationship that I could build on. Care was very open and receptive to that. That relationship has completely changed my life in the sense that now I am their advocate for maternal health and I have gone back to Columbia to get my MPH [Master’s in Public Health], so those issues about women and empowerment and children and maternal health are very much the focus of my life now.
FB: And then what’s the relationship to fashion house Temperley?
CT: I have known Alice for the last couple of years now. I have come her shows and she always offered her help. She supports Care because I support Care, and because this store was coming out here and I spend the summer out here it was the first opportunity for us to finally do something together.
FB: So your focus is on maternal health, but CARE also focuses on micro-finance and small business…
CT: It’s all kind of connected. I wanted to focus on maternal healthÂ because I believe that when a mother is pregnant, it’s often times the first time that who she is and her well-being is put on the map. It’s the first time she may ever see a doctorâ??or even a nurse, for that matter. Micro-finance can help a mother take care of her children and allow those children to go to school, so it’s all connected.
FB: Well congratulations on that, but I have a couple other questions … about the “Freedom” videoâ??only because I recently watched it in the gym and I was like, “How in God’s name did they get all those girls?” Did they like all call each other and see if the other supermodels were going to be in it?
CT: A little bit!? It was really fun to do. We were not all there are the same time. There was a little bit over overlap with me and Linda [Evangelista] because we had a scene together, but otherwise everybody had a different day and basically what it was is we had all been on the cover of British Vogue.
FB: Oh that’s what it was.
CT: Actually in the beginning a lot of us couldn’t do it. It’s hard to get everybody from all over the world there at those dates and they had to do them in London because the director David Fincher, was doing Alien Two at the time. It was one of his first huge movie breaks, and he was there for months and months and months.
FB: So did George call all of you?
CT: George Michael saw the January 1990 cover and was completely inspired. Herb Ritts knew David Fincher through Madonna. They called each of us and was like, “Please, please, please do it.” It wasn’t that we didn’t want to do the shoot, it was just a matter of working a schedule out. We were all very happy to do it, and I love seeing it…
FB: I have to tell you it came out at the height of my puberty. And I was at the gym on the elliptical it brought me back to like when new videos were fun.
CT: Aww … And the record hadn’t come out yet when we signed on. We were just getting it when we first arrived there, so we had to learn the lyrics for a long time. For a long time after, when Linda would stay with me before she had her own apartment in the city, in order to wake me up in the morning, she would put that song on.