Claudia Schiffer (born August 25, 1970) is a German model and actress, who reached the height of her popularity during the 1990s, initially due to her striking resemblance to Brigitte Bardot. Schiffer is one of the world's most successful models, having appeared on over 500 magazine covers. Forbes estimated her net worth at about $55m (£38m).
Schiffer was born in Rheinberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, which is a small town 15 km northeast of Duisburg. She is the daughter of Gudrun and Heinz Schiffer, a lawyer. She has two brothers, Stefan and Andreas, and one sister, Ann Carolin.
Schiffer said that she was popular in high school, but felt socially overshadowed by the other girls in her class. She has revealed that because she was so tall, she became very shy and did not want to be noticed. She was also subjected to jealousy by others as she came from a wealthy family that was well-known locally. Schiffer became fluent in French and English.
She originally wanted to become a lawyer and work in her father's law firm. She later dropped these aspirations when in October 1987 at seventeen she was spotted in a nightclub in Düsseldorf by Michel Levaton, the boss of Metropolitan Model Agency who signed her up to become a model.
She completed her education and then began to work as a model. She flew out to Paris for a trial photo shoot and soon after she appeared in the cover of French Elle after being well received in Paris. After several other magazine appearances she quickly achieved supermodel status when she was selected by Karl Lagerfeld to become the new face of Chanel. Schiffer went on to become a world-famous supermodel, becoming instantly recognizable with her blue eyes, blond hair and tall figure, now standing at 5ft 11.
In the early 1990s she starred in highly publicised Guess? jeans adverts in North America which created essential publicity for Schiffer. Paul Marciano said in E! Forbes Top 15 Supermodel Beauties Who Made Bank, "Guess name became really much more known around the world because [of] Claudia". Soon after appearing in the campaigns, her name was launched worldwide, appearing on five magazine covers in the United States and seven covers around Europe. Her modelling career continued to grow. Schiffer joined Thomas Zeumer's prestigious Metropolitan Models and was contracted to model for Revlon. She also became deeply involved in modelling for several catalogues and modelled on high profile catwalk shows. Schiffer has done catwalk modelling for Versace, Jil Sander, Dolce & Gabbana, Ralph Lauren and Valentino. Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, The New York Times and People all saw Schiffer as the first model to make their covers. She has also appeared many times on covers of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Time.
Schiffer has also been the face of Mango, a chain of Spanish clothes stores and Accessorize, where she had her ears pierced especially for her Autumn/Winter 2006 Accessorize advertising campaign in 2006. Schiffer still holds a contract with L'Oréal and Ebel watches, and her billboard picture for Kenar has also hung over millions of tourists at Times Square. Since 1990, she has created a swimsuit calendar each year which she stars in and designs herself.
Schiffer later secured contracts with Pepsi appearing in advertisements promoting the brand, and has also danced with a cartoon version of Mickey Mouse in advertisements promoting Fanta for an estimated $2 million. From her appearances in a 1998 Citroën advertisement, she earned a reputed £3 million. Karl Lagerfeld recently filmed her for a Dom Perignon campaign, some ten years after her first appearances in Chanel adverts.
She is signed to several agencies, including 1/One Management in New York City and her mother agency 'Model Management' in Hamburg.
Schiffer has appeared in a number of films and music videos. Her first appearance in film was in the children's movie Richie Rich in 1994 and then starred opposite Dennis Hopper and Matthew Modine in Blackout. She went on to appear in Friends & Lovers and Black and White in 1999, In Pursuit and Life Without Dick in 2001, and then Love Actually in a semi-cameo role. Schiffer has made several other cameo appearances in film which include, Ben Stiller's Zoolander in 2001.
Schiffer has appeared on several talk shows and sitcoms, such as Larry King Live, The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Dharma & Greg and Arrested Development. She was also in boyband Westlife's music video for "Uptown Girl", and made a cameo in Bon Jovi's video for "Say it isn't so".
She has also released four exercise videos, entitled Claudia Schiffer's Perfectly Fit, which were successful and reached the bestsellers list. Schiffer has hosted the French Fashion Awards and the World Music Awards in Monaco.
With fellow supermodels Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, and Elle Macpherson, Schiffer was joint owner of a chain of fashionable restaurants called the Fashion Café in 1995. Schiffer remains a prominent figure in German society and helped present and carry the trophy with Pelé during opening ceremonies at the 2006 World Cup. She also presented Prince William with a polo trophy in 2002.
When talking about the model profession at present, she said: "Supermodels, like we once were, don't exist any more." She has said that Gisele Bündchen was the only person who comes close to earning the supermodel title.
Schiffer dated magician David Copperfield for about five years from 1994 until 1999. They first met in 1993 at one of Copperfield's stage shows, where he invited her on stage to take part in his 'Flying' illusion, and he then subsequently sawed her in half during a joint appearance on German television. Throughout their relationship, she often joined Copperfield in his stage shows as a "special guest assistant" in a number of illusions, including being levitated, guillotined and sawed in half. Following the end of her relationship with Copperfield, she met and had a relationship with Tim Jefferies.
On 25 May 2002, she married the film producer Matthew Vaughn. Instead of an engagement ring, Vaughn bought her a tortoise. On her wedding day, many journalists and 200 onlookers gathered to see her in her wedding dress. She was married in St. George's church in the village of Shimpling. The wedding reception was held at Schiffer's Elizabethan mansion.
Schiffer and Vaughn have two children: son Caspar Matthew, (born 30 January 2003) and daughter Clementine de Vere Drummond, (born 11 November 2004). They all now live in London. During spare time, Schiffer enjoys horse riding, painting, playing tennis and skiing. She didn't get her ears pierced until 2006, at the age of 35, when she had them pierced especially for her Autumn/Winter 2006 Accessorize advertising campaign.
Schiffer had two significant problems with harassment in the past. In 2002, an Italian kitchen porter, named Agostino Pomata, was arrested after making nine visits to Schiffer's £5 million Suffolk mansion near Bury St Edmunds, attempting to see her. Charges against Agostino Pomata were dropped however, as he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act. He believed that the Pope had told him to marry Schiffer. In 2004 a Canadian man, Louis Brisette, was accused of harassing Schiffer, again at her mansion in Suffolk. He reportedly called at her mansion three times in the hope of seeing Schiffer. He also repeatedly left letters at her home.