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Christy Turlington - Biography

Christy is a model and humanitarian

christy turlington burns jaw dropping photo
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
Updated: June 29, 2023
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Christy Turlington's early life

Born on January 2, 1969, in California, to a Pan Am pilot and a Salvadorian flight attendant, Christy grew up in San Francisco and Miami. She was spotted by a model scout when she was 14, and just two years later signed with the Ford agency. 

When she was 18, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in modeling and later graduated high school. She returned to education in 1994 and graduated from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study of New York University with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Comparative Religion and Eastern Philosophy.

Christy Turlington's modeling career

By 1985, Christy was doing editorial work for Vogue magazine and soon became a catwalk staple, most notably setting the runway on fire each season at Versace. At 20, she signed an exclusive three-year deal with Calvin Klein that reportedly set a world record in modelling, bringing her a seven-figure income for three months' work a year. 

Christy has been featured in advertising campaigns for a number of high-fashion brands, including Calvin Klein, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, Prada, Valentino, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Bally, Jason Wu, Max Mara, Michael Kors, and Maybelline. 

Away from modeling, Christie is also a partner in a variety of business ventures, including an ayurvedic skincare line, called Sundari, and two clothing lines produced by Puma.

Christy Turlington's humanitarian work 

Christy is also known for her extensive humanitarian work. She began working with the international humanitarian organization CARE in 2005 and has since become their Advocate for Maternal Health. She is also an Ambassador for Product Red, which seeks to raise awareness and funds to help eliminate HIV/AIDS in eight African countries.

She has visited Swaziland, El Salvador, Peru and Ethiopia on behalf of the two organizations. 

The model has directed two documentary films in connection with her charity work. Her directorial debut, No Woman, No Cry, was released in 2010 and profiles the status of maternal health using cases from Tanzania, Bangladesh, Guatemala, and the United States.

Her second film, Every Mother Counts, urges audiences to take action to support maternal health programs around the world.

When her father died of lung cancer in 1997 Christy was galvanised into offering her services to the American Cancer Society. Her commitment to the cause was further strengthened when, in 2000, she was horrified to discover she had contracted smoking-related, early-stage emphysema, an incurable condition.

Christy Turlington's personal life

In the summer of 2000, Christy met Saving Private Ryan actor Ed Burns at a party. After a whirlwind five-month romance, the two announced their engagement. But the model's wedding in Italy never took place. Just months after buying a home together in New York, in March 2002 Christy and Ed split.

However, seventh months later the supermodel and the director gave the relationship another chance and tied the knot in June 2003. In October of that year, they welcomed their first child, Grace, was born. The couple added to their family with the arrival in February 2006 of a son, Finn.

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