Spotted at the age of 19 and going on to star in campaigns for Christian Dior, Givenchy, Chanel and Yves Saint-Laurent, Carla Bruni made her name and fortune as a model. Now, after over a decade spent away from the industry to focus on her music career, France's former first lady is going back to her fashion roots with a modelling campaign for luxury brand Bulgari. The 45-year-old, who is married to ex French President Nicolas Sarkozy, is said to have been photographed by Terry Richardson in Rome this week for her first campaign for the jewellers.
She follows in the footsteps of Julianne Moore, Rachel Weisz and Isabella Rossellini, who have all fronted the brand in the past. This undoubtedly lucrative modelling coup does not spell the end for Carla's musical ventures. In May, she embarked on a new life after husband Nicolas Sarkozy was defeated in the polls by Francois Hollande. Since leaving the Elysee Palace and her glamorous term as France's First Lady, the mum-of-two got back on the music scene, lending her sultry vocals to a duet with Algerian singer Enrico Macias. Their track features on the disc Venez tous mes amis – a homage to Enrico's 50-year-career that includes various artists reworking his favourite hits.
Carla was a stellar addition to the line-up. In 2002, her debut album Quelqu'un m'a dit was released, becoming an instant hit in France. She followed it up in January 2007 with her second disc No Promises – which helped take her music sales to over two million discs. Her personal triumphs rose in direct proportion to her music sales. In autumn 2007 she met French president Nicolas Sarkozy at an official gathering. A whirlwind media-friendly romance followed with the pair making their union official in a private Paris ceremony at the Elysee Palace on February 2, 2008. Their daughter Giulia was born in October 2011, joining her half-brother, Aurélien. While the couple decided not to officially announce the birth, the French leader did react warmly when he was congratulated on a scheduled visit. When workers at an industrial site presented him with gifts – including a bib, a diet book for Carla and a small oak tree to plant – Mr Sarkozy thanked them, saying he felt a "very profound joy, a joy all the deeper because it is private". Whilst her husband was in power, Carla's colourful past and free-spirited demeanour brought fresh interest to politics. Now navigating a new era for herself and her family, the guitar strumming troubadour has gone back to what she loves best.