Could you imagine a world where Cindy Crawford wasn't a supermodel?
In her new book, Becoming, a collection of photographs and personal essays to be released this month, Crawford reveals that it almost didn't happen. It turns out that she was bullied while trying to make it as a model in her small town of DeKalb, Illinois.
"When I was a sophomore in high school, I got a call from a local clothing store interested in hiring me to do some modeling for them. I had never dreamed of becoming a model and didn't even know it was a real job. I did read Seventeen
magazine and knew who Phoebe Cates and Brooke Shields were, but that was the extent of my fashion knowledge," Crawford writes in an excerpt from the book shared with Elle
"On the day of the meeting, I slid into my best Gloria Vanderbilt jeans, a cowl-neck sweater and my Earth shoes," she continues. "I set my hair on hot curlers and drove to DeKalb's version of Main Street. I walked into the store and told the girl at the cash register I was there for the modeling job. She looked at me with a blank stare. I asked to see the manager. Several minutes later the manager came out and apologetically told me she didn't know who had called me, but it definitely wasn't her. I felt all the air leave my body."
If that wasn't bad enough, things took a turn for the worst when she saw her high school peers nearby.
"I ran out of the store as fast as I could, only to see two girls from my high school standing on the corner laughing," she recalls. "I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach."
While that easily could have been the end to the now 49-year-old's modeling career
, there was no way Crawford was going to give up. A year later, she decided to give it another shot. She saw that a new clothing store was looking for high school girls to be its brand ambassadors. Shortly after, a local photographer named Roger Legal asked Crawford to pose for him.
"My parents were rightfully suspicious. Roger assured them he was legitimate and invited them to accompany me to the shoot at a nearby park and at my boyfriend's backyard pool. That picture was my first cover," she writes.
Luckily, taking that leap of faith paid off. "My very first paying job was a newspaper ad for Marshall Field's wearing some kind of Cross Your Heart bra," she says. "It appeared in the Chicago Tribune and within hours was plastered all over my high school. I think some of the kids were trying to embarrass me, but what did I care? I had made $150. Modeling sure beat working in the cornfields."
It definitely did! Not only is she now an internationally known model, but she also has been happily married to entrepreneur and Casamigos Tequila founder Rande Gerber
for 17 years. The couple has two kids
, Presley, 15, and Kaia, who just celebrated her 14th birthday this month.
"We started as friends and we remained friends," Gerber, 53, told ET
of the secret to their long-lasting relationship. "You have to just keep that friendship and fun in the relationship."