Cindy Crawford talks Gigi, Kendall and… corn shucking

Prepping for an interview with Cindy Crawford is intimidating—at best. In case you haven’t noticed, she’s jaw-droppingly gorge, smart, stylish and pretty much ageless. But somehow sitting down with her last week, before she took the stage at Saks Canada’s Fashion Icons talk with Fern Mallis at the Art Gallery of Ontario, felt like catching up with a bestie. She was warm, funny and captivating—I was instantly smitten. At 49, Crawford doesn’t look a day over her famous Pepsi commercial from the early ’90s (that bod, that mole, that hair) and she’s got the pics to prove it. Her latest project, Becoming (Rizzoli), chronicles her life and career as one of the world’s biggest supermodels. The coffee table tome includes iconic and previously unpublished shots, life lessons and a glimpse at her personal life (her 14-year-old look-a-like daughter Kaia has signed with IMG models). Here the model and mogul dishes on today’s top catwalkers, the power of social media, and her early days of shucking corn.

How would you sum up the ’80s and ’90s?
“It was just all about work. For me, it was a huge growth period. I’m from a very small town, but I moved from New York to Paris, Tokyo, and Milan. It was fun.”

Today’s top models, like Kendall and Gigi, have to have a big social media presence. How does that compare to your modeling days during the ’80s and ’90s?
“Social media is great for these young women to have their own voice. We didn’t really have that, we were portrayed the way photographers or editors wanted to portray us. I was lucky because of MTV’s House of Style; that was my first foray into finding my own voice. Then there were my exercise videos and things like that. I do think for this younger group of models, it’s incredible. My daughter’s a fan of all those girls. She loves seeing their pictures in magazines, but she loves seeing them with their dogs even more. It’s more real, she feels like she gets to know them. When we did House of Style, one of the episodes we had the most feedback on was when we showed Naomi Campbell putting zit cream on her face. People loved that; they loved seeing her look not so perfect. When they shot me doing swimsuits, I was like, “Okay, gotta hold my gut in.” That makes you like other women; we are real people. Social media is an opportunity for you to connect to your audience in a real way—you are your own PR person.”

Your Twitter bio includes some unusual skills like pie baking and corn shucking. What makes a great corn shucker?
“When I started on Twitter it was just something to be irreverent. It was for people to know me in a different way. When I was in high school and middle school, I worked in a cornfield. I was good at it. I could do it really fast.”