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Elle Macpherson

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Elle Macpherson

Elle Macpherson
Elle Macpherson in Sydney in 2011
Born Eleanor Nancy Gow
(1964-03-29) 29 March 1964 [1][2]
Killara, Sydney, Australia
Spouse(s) Gilles Bensimon
 (m. 1986–89)

Jeffrey Soffer (m. 2013)
Partner(s) Arpad Busson (1996–2005)
Children 2
Modelling information
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)[3]
Hair colour Light brown[3]
Eye colour Brown[3]
Measurements 36C-25-35[3]
Dress size (EU) 40[3]
Official website

Elle Macpherson (born 29 March 1964) is an Australian businesswoman, television host, model, and actress. She is well known for her record five cover appearances for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue beginning in the 1980s, leading to her nickname "The Body". She is also known as the founder primary model and creative director for a series of business ventures, including Elle Macpherson Intimates, a lingerie line, and The Body, a line of skin care products. In 2010, she became the host and executive producer of Britain & Ireland's Next Top Model. She is currently an executive producer of NBC's Fashion Star and was the host for the first season.

Early life

Macpherson was born Eleanor Nancy Gow in Killara, New South Wales in 1964, the daughter of entrepreneur and sound engineer Peter Gow, a former president of a Sydney rugby league team, the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, and Frances Gow, a nurse.[4] Macpherson's parents divorced when she was 10 years old, and she moved with her mother and two siblings. Her mother later remarried, and a clerical mistake in registering at her new school meant that her surname was changed from Gow to Macpherson (her stepfather's surname).[5][6]

Macpherson grew up in East Lindfield, a suburb in the Sydney's North Shore, and attended Killara High School, completing her Higher School Certificate in 1981. She briefly studied law for one year at the University of Sydney. Her sister is businesswoman and environmentalist Mimi Macpherson, born Miriam Frances Gow.[7]


Rise to fame as model

Macpherson enrolled to study law at Sydney University. Before beginning her university studies, she visited the United States to spend one year doing modelling work to earn money to pay for her law books.[8] She travelled to New York City, where she initially signed up with Click Model Management. Her modelling career began in 1982 with a television commercial for Tab which established her as a "girl next door" figure in Australia.[9]

In 1986, Time magazine had already put her on the cover (with a feature entitled "The Big Elle") but by that time, she had also appeared on the covers of Cosmopolitan, Elle, GQ, Harper's Bazaar and Vogue.[10] She cemented her high profile through frequent appearances in Elle, where she appeared in every issue for six straight years. During that time, at the age of 21, she married Gilles Bensimon, the creative director of Elle.[11]

External images
Macpherson's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover, 10 February 1986
Macpherson's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover from 9 February 1987
Macpherson's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover from 15 February 1988
Macpherson's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover from 14 February 1994
Macpherson's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover from 17 February 2006

Eventually she garnered more exposure through Sports Illustrated magazine's annual Swimsuit Issue. She appeared on the cover a record five times: 1986, 1987, 1988, 1994, and 2006. Along with Naomi Campbell, she co-hosted the Miss Universe 2001 pageant. Her popularity had reached such a level that Australian government offered her a position on its tourist commission as an unofficial ambassador.[12]

After appearing nude in the 1994 film Sirens, Macpherson learned that the media had begun searching for nude photos of her, including contacting her ex-boyfriends. To address this, Macpherson appeared in a nude pictorial in the May 1994 issue of Playboy magazine, to produce nude photos "on her own terms".[13] She returned to the runway in 2010 to close the fall Louis Vuitton show for Marc Jacobs in Paris.[14]

Business career

Macpherson in September 2008 at Fashion Fest

In the 1980s, together with Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz, Naomi Campbell, Pavlína Pořízková, and Cindy Crawford, Macpherson became part of the new generation of supermodels.[15] In 1989 she was given the nickname Elle "The Body" Macpherson by Time Magazine after she appeared on their cover. She went on to use the name in a number of business ventures.[16]

In 1994, she left her agency, [15] She soon went on to produce her own highly popular series of calendars, each of which was accompanied by a "making of" television program in 1992, 1993, and 1994. She used this success as a springboard to create the "Your Personal Best – The Body" series of workout videos.[15]

She later diversified her portfolio of businesses, and in 1990 launched her lingerie collection 'Elle Macpherson Intimates' in partnership with Bendon Limited Apparel. Intimates met with remarkable international success, becoming the single best-selling lingerie line in both Great Britain[17] and Australia[18]

The partnership was among the first instances of a crossover between a model and a fashion label. In 1989, when she was first approached by Bendon to promote their lingerie in Australia, Macpherson saw an opportunity to reverse their strategy and suggested a licensing arrangement, with products bearing her name and designs created in partnership with Bendon's team. Though commonplace now, the idea was unorthodox at the time.[19]

Macpherson took a leading role in the development and management of the company, serving as chief marketing officer and later Creative Director. In January 2010, Macpherson expanded the line, launching Obsidian as a sub-brand.[20] While nursing her second child, she spearheaded the development of a signature maternity bra line.[21] Intimates has retained a high brand recognition into the 2000s, appearing as a featured brand on America's Next Top Model; last year, the brand celebrated 10 years of being stocked at Selfridges.

Macpherson has also created her own line of beauty products: "Elle Macpherson – The Body". The line was carried at Boots,[22] and Australian suncare brand Invisible Zinc.[23] She spent a year on the board of directors at Hot Tuna, advising on product development, brand positioning and sales strategy.[24]

In 2007, the BBC TV series The Money Programme aired a documentary which followed Macpherson through her day-to-day business as she continued to develop her international lingerie business. In 2009 Macpherson delivered the Keynote Address at the annual meeting of the International Trademark Association.[25]

In March 2008, she signed a three-year deal with Revlon Cosmetics, which named her a Global Brand Ambassador.[26] She has since been featured in print and advertising campaigns for the company.


Macpherson has received a number of awards recognising her business acumen and the success of Elle Macpherson Intimates. In 2005, she was named Glamour Magazine's Entrepreneur of the Year;[27] in 2007, she received an Everywoman Ambassador Award recognising her success as a businesswoman;[28] in 2008, the Underfashion Club's Femmy Awards crowned her Lingerie Designer of the Year; in 2009, she received a World Career Award from the Women's World Awards.

Acting career

Macpherson (centre) modelling for Virgin Australia in October 2011

Macpherson made her film debut playing an artist's model in the 1994 film Sirens, which starred The Edge with Anthony Hopkins, and The Mirror Has Two Faces with Barbra Streisand. In 1996 Macpherson hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live.[29]

In 1999, Macpherson appeared in five episodes of the American TV series Friends as Joey Tribbiani's roommate and eventual girlfriend, Janine Lecroix. Macpherson went on to act in the movie Jane Eyre with William Hurt, and she has also appeared alongside Ben Stiller and Sarah Jessica Parker in If Lucy Fell. Her most controversial acting role was in the Showtime cable network miniseries, A Girl Thing, as a woman experimenting with bisexuality. In 2001, she appeared in the Italian movie South Kensington. She played agent Claudia Foster in The Beautiful Life, appearing with Mischa Barton, Sara Paxton and Corbin Bleu. The show centred on aspiring models working for a modelling agency, trying to make it big in New York City and in the fashion world.[30] In March 2011, she starred with Gary Lineker in an advertisement for Walkers Crinkles.[31]

Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model

In July 2010, Macpherson became the new host of Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model, taking over from Lisa Snowdon. She also serves as executive producer on the show. The revamped show's panellists now include OBE-winning fashion designer Julien Macdonald, designer Whitney Port and male model Tyson Beckford.[32]

Fashion Star

Macpherson hosts and executive produces NBC's reality competition series Fashion Star. The series gives 14 unknown designers, mentored by celebrities such as Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie, and John Varvatos, the chance to launch their collections in three of America's largest clothing retailers, including Macy's, H&M, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Its first season was sold to 75 countries.[33]

Extortion attempt

According to a police statement reproduced online, between 11 and 22 July 1997 William Ryan Holt and Michael Mischler broke into Macpherson's Los Angeles home while she was away on business in Chicago.[34] They stole an estimated $100,000 worth of jewellery, $6,000 in cash, and several photographs. The two were arrested on 4 August 1997. Mischler, 29, pled guilty to one count of attempted extortion and one count of burglary. He received a six-year and eight-month prison sentence. Holt, 26, a former US Air Force enlisted man and a military-justice convict out on parole, pled guilty to one count of extortion, and he was sentenced to one year in prison.[35]

Philanthropic work

Macpherson is a European Ambassador for RED, an initiative set up by Bono and Bobby Shriver to raise money and awareness for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria[36] and to help eradicate AIDS for women and children in Africa. She is also an ambassador for UNICEF.[37]

In Australia, she is an ambassador for the [5][6] She has also modelled for charitable causes including fundraising for 2007 British flood victims,[38] and child welfare group Absolute Return for Kids.[39]

In 2012, Macpherson led Sky's campaign for International Women's Day.[40] MacPherson is a patron for the National Association for the Children of Alcoholics (NACOA).[41]

Personal life

Macpherson met French fashion photographer Gilles Bensimon in 1984 on a photo session for Elle magazine. They wed in May 1986, and divorced three years later.[42][43]

Macpherson began a relationship with London-based French financier Arpad Busson in 1996.[44] They have two sons together: Arpad Flynn Busson, known as Flynn (born February 1998 in New York City),[45] and Aurelius Cy Andrea Busson (born February 2003 in London).[46] The family lived together in London until Busson and Macpherson's separation in July 2005.[44]

Macpherson subsequently began dating Miami, Florida-based hotel heir and billionaire Jeffrey Soffer in early 2009.[47] They broke up in March 2012,[48] but reconciled following his injury in a helicopter accident in November 2012.[48] They became engaged in March 2013,[48] and married in July 2013 at the Laucala Resort in Fiji.[49][50]

After living for many years in the UK,[51] it was reported that Macpherson also lives in Florida, where Soffer is based.[52] Besides English, she speaks fluent French and is conversational in Italian and Spanish.[21]


Year Title Role Notes
1990 Alice Model
1994 Sirens Sheela
1996 If Lucy Fell Jane Lindquist
1996 Jane Eyre Blanche Ingram
1996 The Mirror Has Two Faces Candice
1997 Batman & Robin Julie Madison
1997 The Edge Mickey Morse
1998 With Friends Like These... Samantha Mastandrea
2001 A Girl Thing Lauren Travis TV film
2001 South Kensington Camilla
Year Title Role Notes
1996 Saturday Night Live Herself "Elle Macpherson/Sting" (season 21: episode 14)
"John Goodman/Everclear" (season 21: episode 15)
1999–2000 Friends Janine LaCroix "The One Where Phoebe Runs" (season 6: episode 7)
"The One with Ross' Teeth" (season 6: episode 8)
"The One Where Ross Got High" (season 6: episode 9)
"The One with the Routine" (season 6: episode 10)
"The One with the Apothecary Table" (season 6: episode 11)
2008 America's Next Top Model Herself "Top Model Makeovers" (cycle 10: episode 3)
2009 The Beautiful Life: TBL Claudia Foster Main role; series cancelled after 2 episodes
2010–present Britain & Ireland's Next Top Model Herself Host; reality TV series
2012–present Fashion Star Herself Host; reality TV series

See also


  1. ^ Low, Jenny Ann (30 March 2014). "Supermodel Elle Macpherson still stunning at 50". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  2. ^ "BIOGRAPHY: Elle Macpherson Lifetime". 29 March 1964. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Elle Macpherson profile at; retrieved 8 August 2008.
  4. ^ timeout magazine "Colourful Sydney Identity #50", 19 November 2008 edition
  5. ^ a b Davidson, Andrew (23 March 2008). "Elle Macpherson looks good with Intimates".  
  6. ^ a b Above Magazine (Fall 2008). "Body Talk with Elle Macpherson", pp. 16–31
  7. ^ "Mimi Macpherson declared bankrupt". Sydney Morning Herald. 18 December 2008. 
  8. ^ Sowray, Bibby (2 July 2010). "Elle's Law".  
  9. ^ "Elle Macpherson Tab Commercial". Lifelounge. 11 June 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2011. 
  10. ^ "Elle Macpherson profile". Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  11. ^ Evening Standard, 23 April 2004, pp. 30–33: "Before starting college, Elle went on a skiing trip to Aspen, Colorado. On the way home, she was persuaded by her Australian modelling booker to stop off in New York City to see if she could get some work. She stayed for 20 years, marrying the photographer Gilles Bensimon at 21. She was his muse, but the age difference ... proved to be too great, and they divorced six years later (1989)."
  12. ^ "Elle Macpherson – Fashion Model". New York Magazine. Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  13. ^ Marlowe, Rachel (28 November 2011). "'I did it my way': Supermodel Elle Macpherson bared it all for Playboy – but on her own terms". Mail Online.
  14. ^ "Elle Macpherson Closes The Louis Vuitton 2010 Show!".  
  15. ^ a b c Daily Mail, You Magazine (Sunday edition), 15 September 2002, pp. 28–33: "The Elle calendar became a worldwide hit, and a new version has been produced twice since, while her 1995 video, Your Personal Best Workout: The Body, was also a bestseller".
  16. ^  
  17. ^ The Sunday Times Business, 23 March 2008, p. 17: "Macpherson, supermodel-turned-lingerie queen, has made that her leitmotif. Elle Macpherson Intimates range is the biggest selling brand of fashion lingerie in Britain."
  18. ^ Tatler, July 2002, vol. 297, num. 7, pp. 98–107: "We're going through Elle's underwear. This is what she does. She designs knickers and bras. She's very good at it, very successful. It makes her more money than modelling, and Elle has made a lot of money modeling."
  19. ^ Rebecca Gonsalves (12 December 2011). "A head for business and a body for lingerie".  
  20. ^ "Elle Macpherson Intimates Launching Luxury Line 'Obsidian' for Spring 2010 – StyleList". 31 August 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  21. ^ a b The Wall Street Journal Europe, Style Journal, Winter 2006 Edition, pp. 36–42: "And so, Macpherson made the transition from model, to designer and chief marketing officer for the growing product line. The company credits her with the ideas for many products, including its successful maternity-bra line, which Macpherson designed while nursing her second child."
  22. ^ "Supermodel Elle Macpherson The Body Relaunches at Boots. Bath and Body Care Products. Photo". Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  23. ^ Danks, Katherine (4 January 2008). "Elle Macpherson is new face of WA sunscreen". The Sunday Times. 
  24. ^ Staff (11 July 2006). "Elle Macpherson Hired as Hot Tuna Director". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  25. ^ Staff (2 April 2012). "Elle Macpherson on the State of the Internet and Future of the Economy". Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  26. ^ "Revlon Taps Macpherson As Global Ambassador".  
  27. ^ Glamour. "All the winners from the 2005 GLAMOUR Women of the Year Awards".  
  28. ^ everywoman (2 April 2012). "NatWest everywoman Awards Finalists". Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  29. ^ "Saturday Night Live hosted by Elle Macpherson". Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  30. ^ "The Beautiful Life". The CW Television Network. Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  31. ^ "Gary Lineker and Elle Macpherson in Walkers crisps ad". Daily Mail (UK). 31 March 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  32. ^ "Elle Macpherson takes over Britain's Next Top Model", BBC News, 1 February 2010
  33. ^ Leffler, Rebecca (4 February 2012). "MIPTV 2012: 'Fashion Star' Generates Global Buzz". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  34. ^ Staff (28 June 1997). "Go To Elle: Macpherson Helps Nab Dirty Duo". The Smoking Gun. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  35. ^ Errico, Marcus (4 December 1997). "Elle's Extortionists Plead Guilty". E!. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  36. ^ "Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria website". The Global Fund. Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  37. ^ GQ Australia, Winter 2006, pp. 90–99: "I am working on projects like my ex's education program [ARK, a charity that funds schools for needy children world-wide], with Bono and the American Express RED project—which is all about poverty and AIDS support—and UNICEF's breast-feeding program."
  38. ^ "Models of charity". Brisbane Times. 12 September 2007. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  39. ^ "Elle's body shop". Sydney Morning Herald. 22 May 2003. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  40. ^ "Sky celebrates International Women's Day". Sky. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  41. ^ "About the National Association for Children of Alcoholics". Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  42. ^ Swift, E.M. (7 February 1989). "What's The Big Deal?". Sports Illustrated. 
  43. ^ "TIPOFF: When fashion photographer Gilles Bensimon...". Lakeland Ledger: 2A. 5 June 1986. 
  44. ^ a b Silverman, Stephen M. (24 June 2005). "Supermodel Elle Macpherson, Partner Split". People. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  45. ^ "Elle Macpherson Gives Birth To Son in Manhattan". Chicago Tribune. 17 February 1998. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  46. ^ "Elle's new baby Aurelius". Associated Press via  
  47. ^ Hallett, Kate (5 August 2013). "Elle Macpherson Marries Jeffrey Soffer". Who. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  48. ^ a b c Johnson, Zach (10 March 2013). "Elle Macpherson Engaged to Billionaire Jeffrey Soffer!". Us Weekly. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  49. ^ Galla, Brittany (3 August 2013). "Elle Macpherson Married to Billionaire Jeffrey Soffer!". Us Weekly. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  50. ^ Blumm, K.C.; Marx, Linda (5 August 2013). "Elle Macpherson Marries Jeffrey Soffer". People. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  51. ^ Buckland, Lucy (23 October 2011). "Elle Macpherson shows 'The Body' nickname is still valid at 47".  
  52. ^ "Elle Macpherson Is Engaged!". Access Hollywood. 10 March 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 

External links

  • Elle Macpherson on
  • Elle Macpherson at the Internet Movie Database
  • Elle Macpherson Celebrity Style Profile
  • Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Collection of Elle Macpherson
  • Elle Macpherson interviewed by Ginny Dougary (2005)
  • (October 2007)Harper's Bazaar AustraliaElle Macpherson interview by
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