NOT many, if any, models can hold on to the same campaign contract for 20 years. But this is no ordinary model, it’s a supermodel. Cindy Crawford – in London to open watch brandOmega’s new Oxford Street flagship – has been a spokesmodel for the company for almost two decades, and even she thinks that is good going.
“I had a meeting the other night when I arrived with my agency in London, Storm, and we were saying we can’t think of anyone who has had a longer contract as the face of a brand – not just a watch, anything,” she nodded – exactly as luminously beautiful as you would hope a supermodel would be in the flesh. “Why it originally made sense was because it was an international brand, and their core qualities – tradition, craftsmanship, timelessness – were all things that I felt that I would want to be aligned with. I started with them almost 20 years ago and it’s been an incredible experience. I have literally been around the world with them more than once.”
In Moscow with Omega in 2011
Known for her down-to-earth manner almost as much as her gravity-defying hair and signature beauty mark, Crawford has cultivated a strong working relationship with Omega – over years of campaign shoots and far-flung store openings – and she’s known the team even longer than her husband Randy Gerber, who she married in 1998.
With Stephen Urquart in 2006
“We’ve been together so long, we’re like family now,” Crawford smiled. “An investment piece like this is on-trend, of course, but it’s not trendy. So I think the relationship with spokespeople has to be long-lasting. You do kind of get married, and you invest in each other. We’re happily married for sure. We’ve never even had a fight! I like knowing that there’s a long-term commitment. It makes both parties look good.”
“We like to keep the relationship fresh and new,” Stephen Urquart, Omega president, concurred. “We’ve been very fortunate to have Cindy for the last 20 years. It really has to be long-term for us. People do jump ship – we’ve had one or two tennis players or golfers who’ve gone after a few years – but it’s different with Cindy.”
Everything, it seems, is different with Cindy, who is as eye-poppingly beautiful as in her heyday. Her beauty is more subtle, less pneumatic, than her Pepsi-Cola, Versace-catwalk, George Michael-video days – but no less traffic-stopping, as the crowds gathering outside the store to catch a glimpse of her will attest. While little has changed where her beauty is concerned, the supermodel has observed several key shifts in the watch market since she joined Omega in 1995.
“Before I went to Switzerland with Omega, to see the watches being made, I didn’t really understand anything about them aside from the aesthetic,” she explained. “I think, if anything, watches as a fashion statement now are more important. You don’t need to wear your watch for the time now, most of us have our phones with us all the time, and half the time if I travel I don’t even re-set it to the right time. Twenty years ago, I used to sleep in my watch because I always like to know what time it is, but – now the necessity is gone – it’s a fashion statement.”
Knowing what is necessary and what is superfluous comes naturally to the supermodel who – having turned her had to acting in the Nineties, with the critically lampooned but now cult Fair Game opposite Billy Baldwin in 1995 – is comfortable in the knowledge that Hollywood is not for her.
“I do not like acting,” she deadpanned. “I just did a commercial this week with Sophia Vergara – and she’s so funny. We had a scene together, and I kept saying to the director, ‘Please, remember I’m not an actress!’ She’s just funny, she can do these crazy things with her face, and I just realised after the shoot I just don’t enjoy it. I’m very comfortable being myself in front of the camera – but not trying to be someone else.”
Another theme of Crawford’s latter career is just that self-truth. Far from endorsing a wealth of products for the probably exorbitant sums offered to her, she has handpicked companies who align with her beliefs and interests, launching her own skincare line – Meaningful Beauty – and fronting campaigns for just a handful of fashion names. And her relationship with Omega – during which time the company has seen its customer breakdown go from 20 per cent female to almost 50 per cent – brings her even more than it did in those early days.
“The relationship has definitely evolved. For example Omega has partnered with a charity called Orbis, which takes a plane that is outfitted like a surgery with doctors in to countries and performs eye surgeries – and in January I got to go to take my daughter and go Peru with them and see what they do, which was an incredible experience. Of course they make watches, but they are also incredibly philanthropic, so the fact that they allow me to be their ambassador on charity projects too is amazing.”
Watches notwithstanding – “I always give them to my loved ones, of course” – what does the woman who has everything want for Christmas?
“Hmm,” she pondered. “Just to be with everyone I love.”