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This morning's news that Christy Turlington was returning as the face of Calvin Klein Underwear some 25 years after her first campaign for the brand got us thinking about other models who have enjoyed long tenures as the faces of major brands. These days, models are believed to have the careers of mayflies, what with actresses hogging all the magazine covers and the cosmetics contracts. Here's a look at five models of the past and present who have defied the industry's flash-in-the-pan fickleness.
1. Adriana Lima and Victoria's Secret, 13 years
Meet the longest-running Victoria's Secret Angel in the business. Adriana Lima, who became an Angel in 2000, beats out heavy-hitters like Gisele Bündchen (7 years), Tyra Banks (8 years), and Heidi Klum (11 years) for the title. And the Brazilian model is still under contract with the brand. (Miranda Kerr, in contrast, only lasted five years as an Angel.) Lima's longevity no doubt helped her secure the fourth spot on Forbes' list of the highest-earning models of 2012, with estimated annual income of $7.3 million.
2. Cindy Crawford and Revlon, 13 years
The supermodel was the iconic face of Revlon from 1989-2002, appearing in dozens of print and television ads for the brand, plus in-store displays and product packaging. To anyone who grew up in the '90s, Crawford was Revlon. The end of her contract marked a shift in the cosmetics modeling market: Crawford was replaced not by another model, but by the actresses Halle Berry, Julianne Moore, and Jaime King. Actresses have continued to take the lion's share of beauty contracts since.
3. Isabella Rossellini and Lancôme, 14 years
Rossellini became a face of Lancôme in 1982, when she was arguably better known as a model than as an actress. Before the contract was signed, Rossellini has said she rarely even wore makeup. When the cosmetics company dumped her in 1996–the brand, said Rossellini, told her she had gotten "too old"–some customers protested what they saw as the ageism behind the move. Rossellini continues modeling occasionally today, most recently for Bulgari.
4. Christy Turlington and Calvin Klein, 19-plus years
Turlington began her involvement with Calvin Klein in 1987, when she appeared in a runway show for the brand. In 1988, she shot her first campaign for Calvin Klein Collection; this was followed over the next 19 years by print and television campaign appearances for virtually every Calvin Klein brand imaginable–underwear, swimwear, fragrance, collection–through 2007. That's not to say that Turlington's lucrative Calvin contract was a dream come true: in the early 90s, she found the exclusivity clause was so restrictive that she cut her hair without consulting the company to try and get out of it. Calvin Klein and Turlington's agency renegotiated the terms of the contract so that Turlington could go back to accepting some work for other clients, and she continued as a face of the brand. Now, after a six-year absence from Calvin Klein ads, Turlington is back (at 44) as the face of Calvin Klein Underwear.
5. Yoko Yamamoto for Yamamoto Noriten, 1967-present
According to The Guinness Book of Records, the contractual face with the most longevity in the world is the Japanese actress Yoko Yamamoto. She has been the face of the nori seaweed company Yamamoto Noriten since 1967. (Being the face of a nori company must be a cushy gig: the only Yamamoto ad we could find was this thumbnail on the company Web site.) Turlington would have to keep modeling for Calvin Klein until at least 2033 to beat that record.
— Jenna Sauers
· Christy Turlington is the Face of Calvin Klein Underwear (Again) [Racked]
· All Campaigns Coverage [Racked]