INTERVIEW: You opened the Versace couture show this past June—26 years after you first started working with the house. Did it feel the same backstage as it did all those years ago?
NAOMI CAMPBELL : For me, absolutely. I didn’t do it for 14 years, and I had to keep my appearance a secret for many months. When I walked in to do my fitting, it just felt like being around the family again, like no love had been lost. Donatella and Allegra—it was her birthday—and all the people that I’ve known for many years. It was very emotional. I had been wishing I could do Versace one more time.
INTERVIEW: If you hadn’t become a model, what do you think you would have done instead?
AMBER VALLETTA: I thought of doing many things. I wanted to be an archeologist at one point, but I was a little kid. I wanted to be a social worker. I don’t think I really had any idea. I don’t even know what would have happened to me had I not become a model. I don’t know if I would have gotten out of Oklahoma. I was so young when things started happening for me and I realized I could make a living. After the first summer modeling, I came home with almost as much money as my mom made in a year—after being away for about two months. I just decided to give it a shot, and if it didn’t work, I was going to go to college.
INTERVIEW: Now you’re 29. Are you ever surprised that you’ve been doing it for so long?
DARIA WERBOWY : Sometimes I am still surprised that I’m a model and that people think I’m good-looking. I’ve gone through a lot of different phases on what I do and why I do it—morally and ethically. I’ve tortured myself about it, especially in dealing with success and money. I just had to learn to look at it as a job, as opposed to identifying myself as a model and thinking of myself as a part of this industry. I just thought, Okay, this is an opportunity to learn and see and meet people. Still, I am a Scorpio and I’m quite competitive. If I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it as best I can. I’m going to give it everything.
INTERVIEW: You were really the first model where it was acceptable for any kid to put a picture of you up on their bedroom walls—straight girls, gay girls, straight boys, gay boys. Everyone had Kate Moss up and everyone agreed you were beautiful. Before you got into this business, who did you have up on your walls in your bedroom in Croydon?
KATE MOSS : I had David Bowie and Rob Lowe. I had boys. But I met a friend who had Linda Evangelista on her wall. Those famous Peter Lindbergh pictures.
INTERVIEW: You just did an underwear campaign for Calvin Klein, a brand you’ve had a long association with over the years. Then, on the flipside, you also just did the campaign for Jason Wu, a younger designer. How does it feel to be working on those different kinds of projects now?
CHRISTY TURLINGTON: While I haven’t worked as a full-time model for about 20 years, I’ve always maintained a few relationships. Calvin and Maybelline are the two longest. I’m flattered by the offers I receive, but there’s no real strategy to the way I choose what to do these days. If I’m in a good mood and have the time, I’m more likely to consider it. Often the photographer and team are important factors, too. I needed to think seriously about the CK underwear campaign, because I knew it would be everywhere, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be photographed in my underwear now that I’m a mother. But I knew the images would be tasteful and I liked the idea of continuing a relationship with a brand that I grew up with. The Jason Wu campaign was totally different. I’ve worked more with Inez and Vinoodh than with any other photographers over the last dozen years, and I trust their vision and instincts. I know the photos will be pretty and the day will go smoothly. I was worried about having two fashion campaigns out at the same time, and when I got the offer for Jason Wu, I had just shot Prada with Steven Meisel, and my kids were in their final week of school. But I’m happy I agreed in the end. People seem to really like them.
INTERVIEW: So much of fashion photography—especially today—is about the image, the end product. But what, for you, is the most enjoyable part of it? Is it seeing that iconic picture? Is it the process?
STEPHANIE SEYMOUR : Oh, it’s always the process. I know that there is so much more that they can do now with computers, so making images has become a different process. But without the process, I don’t believe that you can have that product of a photograph that is memorable. But in terms of retouching and postproduction, Dick was doing all of that stuff, too, swapping heads out and things—and way before computers. I did this photograph with him with these monkeys. It was a double-page and I was looking at the monkey and the monkey was looking at me. We had these two baby monkeys, which were on my arm, but they couldn’t be separated from their mother and they were all screaming. So we did the picture where I’m screaming at the monkey, but we couldn’t get the shot where I’m screaming at the monkey and the monkey is screaming back at me and we’re both facing each other. So Dick shot the monkey separately with the mother where I was, and then he just put it together to create the image.
INTERVIEW: Did you ever keep a diary during your early days as a model?
LINDA EVANGELISTA : I used to keep a diary in the beginning. I had my agenda with my appointments in it, and used to put Polaroids in there from the shoot and make a note. That lasted a couple of years. When my son was born, I thought, I will never forget this moment, and I thought that every day after. And recently he asked me, «When did I lose my first tooth?» And I said, «I don’t remember.» [laughs]