Models Who Turned To Very Normal Careers

Modeling has certainly become an aspirational career in our culture. Landing that title means you're beautiful, "the most interesting to look at" (to quote our girl, Kim K), and, in a capitalist culture, alluring enough to sell something. A common qualifier was the ideal body that often set the standards of beauty — frequently impossible standards — for the rest of the culture to get behind.

Thankfully, there's been pushback against this unrealistic idealization, and a number of today's top models have broadened notions of what's beautiful have become famous and successful. We need look no further than stunners like Precious Lee, Ashley Graham, and Paloma Elsesser to see that people want to see the concept of beauty expanded. We love it. Rihanna's brand Savage X Fenty has also been instrumental in celebrating range, bringing to the forefront all types of bodies and making them not just ordinary but beautiful.

Despite these strides, the modeling world isn't an easy place to work. As The New York Times stressed in 2017, it "remains overrun with problems that include labor exploitation, sexual harassment and body shaming." Victoria's Secret has long been a brand to face well-earned scrutiny, with models admitting to drinking their meals to meet its physical ideal. And some famous models themselves have been called out for their less-than-lovely behavior. Things catch up to you!

Taking all of this into account, it might not be surprising that many once-famous models have turned to different careers. Some have remained in the spotlight, and some have chosen to turn away from fame entirely.

Karlie Kloss turned to coding

Karlie Kloss is a famous face in the industry after getting scouted in St. Louis, Missouri, at a shopping mall. She was just 13 at the time and told USA Today where her head was at. "I, at the time, had no idea of fashion and of the modeling world," Kloss explained. But things obviously changed, and while still in high school, Kloss was working full-time and walking in huge shows, which included "securing the prestigious position of closing for Marc Jacobs," according to Business of Fashion.

While she still works as a model, Kloss has turned her attention to other ventures. Thanks to a bootcamp, Kloss discovered the world of coding, beginning the company Kode with Klossy. She explained the importance of coding with USA Today: "I have been able to meet so many entrepreneurs in tech, and I think everyone realizes it's the language that's building the technology of today and certainly of our future." It's a free program to give young girls access to this world of tech.

Kloss has also branched into baking, teaming up with Momofuku Milk Bar to create a "fashionably wholesome cookie line called Karlie's Kookies." And in 2018, she took over as host of Bravo's "Project Runway" after Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn stepped down, according to People. However, in April 2021, the series announced that Kloss would be a guest star rather than a lead. Sounds like she has a lot on her plate ... including some cookies!

Claudia Schiffer is into glassware now

German model Claudia Schiffer helped launch the supermodel phenomenon in the '90s, thanks in part to her striking similarity to ​Brigitte Bardot. Schiffer's iconic role in this era is something that's created an arc in her life, and she spoke with Vogue about these memories. "The supermodel was a creation of the late '80s and '90s," she began. "We were diverse in looks and nationalities, but became a force together. We enjoyed a fame that stretched way beyond fashion and across the globe, and we became known by name."

While it made Schiffer a global sensation, it wasn't always easy being in the spotlight in this way. "Being a supermodel was like being a rock star," she told Vogue. "I even had a guard to protect my belongings backstage, as my underwear was constantly getting stolen!" Yikes!

Things have taken a different direction for the supermodel now. She's turned her attention to glassware, specializing in a collaborative collection with Bordallo Pinheiro called "Cloudy Butterflies." True to its name, the nature-inspired motif is featured on wall pieces, vases, and stands. "Claudia Schiffer has allied her appreciation of the English countryside with butterflies," the brand's website says. This isn't all that Schiffer has been up to; she also collaborated on a line of clothing with Réalisation Par. "The 90's is the decade everyone is talking about at the moment," she said, per the label's website. "So we took inspiration from original 90's pieces in my archive wardrobe." Sounds like a very cool shift from modeling.

Stephanie Seymour has a lingerie line

Icon Stephanie Seymour was another model who defined the early '90s as part of the supermodel squad. She also put her clout and beauty behind Victoria's Secret in its heyday, and she was up to the task. Creative director Olga Liriano said that Seymour was ​​"ambitious, disciplined and professional. She had no problems taking off her clothes and doing what had to be done," according to Page Six.

Seymour also made headlines for her relationship history. She married Tommy Andrews, a guitarist, and had a high-profile relationship with Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose, according to Hollywood Life. She ultimately married billionaire Peter Brant, and they welcomed three children.

Once Seymour was ready to shift away from modeling, she took a page out of her past, specifically involving Victoria's Secret, and created a lingerie line called Raven & Sparrow. "I have always loved lingerie," Seymour told CFDA in 2017. "Lingerie has its place in fashion and I believe it's a partially lost art that I would like to bring back." Seymour's choice not to use her famous name in the brand was deliberate. "I wanted to create a brand," Seymour said to the CFDA. "This is not a celebrity line. I work with very good designers, who have a lot to do with what I am doing. I didn't want to put my name out there and not theirs." She's mastered the art of using her past experiences to create something beautiful in her life now.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has made a fortune off of her line

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley rose to fame as a Victoria's Secret Angel, but that's not nearly all she's known for. Discovered as a teen, the model and actor has had an action-packed schedule ever since. "I've worked every day since I was 16 years old," she told Harper's Bazaar in 2019. "I've tried to be professional in every way. I have really dedicated myself to my career. Yes, I am determined. You have to be if you want to continue working. It doesn't just hand itself to you."

While she had major success as a model, Huntington-Whiteley decided to become an entrepeneur in 2018. She launched Rose Inc, a beauty brand and digital world. "It feels like my whole career led me to this point," she said. She collaborated with biotech brand Amyris and made a line of "indulgent color and skincare that outperforms in every category."

Counter to many celebrity cosmetic brands, Huntington-Whiteley's face isn't all over the website. She relies on other models to showcase the natural, efficient products that are quick and easy to use. She stresses that time is the greatest luxury, and makeup shouldn't take up too much of that. As a mother herself, Huntington-Whiteley targets the busy mom and working women. Speaking of luxury, Huntington-Whiteley has done well with her entrepreneurial spirit. Celebrity Net Worth puts her net worth at $30 million thanks to the line, as well as her lingerie collection for Marks & Spencer and all of her modeling and acting.

David Gandy had to work hard to get where he is

David Gandy, famous for his work with Dolce & Gabbana, was one of the highest-paid male models in the world, but it didn't come easy. "You have to have that ambition to know the exact point to where you want to be," he said on "The Diary of a CEO" in October 2021. Gandy said that he kept moving on when he wasn't satisfied with a job and was amazed at the superstar power of the supermodels. He saw that they had teams and were serious about their careers as businesses, so he mimicked them. "It's not a finger click," he added of how arduous the journey was to get there. 

Once Gandy made it to the top, he was ready to try something new. This fresh concept was a brand called David Gandy Wellwear with the mission of empowering "people to live happier, stress-reduced lives, with a greater sense of wellbeing and style." Gandy calls his brand "emotionally durable," meaning that the clothing, including loungewear and sweats, is meant to make the person feel good and confident in what they're wearing.

This concept of emotional wellbeing is key for Gandy. He admitted on "The Diary of a CEO" to struggling with imposter syndrome all these years later. "No one can be as harsh a critic to me as I am to myself," he admitted. "I will beat myself up if something fails. I will beat myself if I don't do the best job." Very candid!

Adrianne Curry said America's Next Top Model didn't keep its promise

Adrianne Curry won the first season of "America's Next Top Model" in 2003, and while she had initial success, the modeling experience wasn't one that Curry wanted to prolong. Not only that, but she claimed that a sponsor of Tyra Banks' reality TV series made promises that weren't kept. In a since-deleted Instagram post, Curry said, "We were led to believe daily the winner would be instantly rich and a huge Revlon cover girl. This was a lie" (via ET Canada).

Curry went on: "After the show, Revlon informed me it didn't matter who won, they were never going to have us as a model." She said that some employees of the company took pity on her and paid her a small amount to have a makeup artist work on her, but ultimately, it was a hollow offer. "I never got the money. To this day, I have not been paid," she said.

Curry also got breast implants to fit in and had a terrible experience with them. "The one on my right side had ruptured inside and leaked, which caused necrosis — where the flesh dies. So they had to remove most of my real breasts on the right side, which meant they had to give me a huge breast reduction," she told In Touch in 2022. In light of these negative experiences, Curry moved to Montana to seek out a simpler life. She now sells Avon and keeps fans updated on her blog. Hey, it sounds pretty peaceful.

Helena Christensen is a photographer

Danish supermodel Helena Christensen came into the spotlight after winning Miss Universe Denmark in 1986 and joined the iconic team of '90s supermodels who took over the world. She was an Angel for Victoria's Secret and the bathing beauty in Chris Isaak's music video for "Wicked Game." While the music video is an erotic wonderland, Christensen hilariously told Glamour magazine what the reality was. "To be completely honest, and this might ruin the romantic notion of the video, but my legs were bleeding from the knees and down, because I was running on black lava and it was cutting into my skin," she said. "So, not so glamorous and sexy at all ... but who cares — it was worth it!"

But since making it all the way to the top, Christensen has set her sights on other ventures. She now works as a photographer and has had her work featured in all sorts of magazines from Vogue to FAT, as Tomorrow Management notes. But that isn't all that she's done since leaving the modeling world behind. She operated as "a co-founder of Nylon magazine," according to the Daily Mail, which is helpful, considering her talent for photography. On top of this, Christensen operates as the creative director of the luxury fragrance line strangelove, and according to the brand's CEO Elizabeth Gayne, the former model "[worked] closely with us inside and outside the lab on everything from product development to outreach." It's clear that no matter what she's doing, Christensen is completely invested.

​​Rachel Hunter found solace in yoga

New Zealand-based supermodel Rachel Hunter entered the world of modeling reluctantly. She told Beautiful Humans that she didn't ever consider it as a life-long career. "I never wanted to be a model; I did not think highly of it," Hunter explained. "I did the covers of Australian Vogue; I thought I would do modeling for six months, earn some money, and then that would be it."

But of course, that wasn't it. Hunter went on to have an incredibly successful career and starred in the TV series "Rachel Hunter's Tour of Beauty." While she was the cover girl for Italian Vogue, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, and more, it was never the right fit for Hunter. "I would always retreat into a church, into a garden, or into the woods ... into different spiritual practices," Hunter wrote on her website. "My heart yearned always to return to the inner sanctum."

The death of her mother sent Hunter into a different sphere, after hearing her mother say that she regretted the chance in her life to really be herself. In response to her grief, Hunter journeyed to India, a natural choice since she had an ongoing yoga practice. However, the experience was so life-altering that she decided to become a yoga teacher. "I never went to India to teach, but here I am," she wrote. Hunter now hosts yoga retreats in Bali that also offer a surfing experience. 

Kim Stolz went into banking

Kim Stolz gained international recognition on "America's Next Top Model" Season 5. While she didn't win the competition, Stolz became a popular contestant and landed a role as a correspondent on MTV. She was also openly gay and had a brief relationship with another contestant on her season of "ANTM." While Stolz was breaking barriers in the modeling world – Out magazine said that she "defies definition" — she decided not to stick with it.

Instead, Stolz chose a career in banking, and in 2018, Bank of America announced that Stolz was the head of prime brokerage sales, according to Business Insider, which includes services specifically geared for hedge fund managers and major investors. On Twitter, Stolz was quoted as saying of Bank of America: "Diverse and welcoming, it promotes an LGBT-inclusive culture that makes me feel extremely proud to be who I am."

But this isn't all Stolz has accomplished. She wrote a book, "Unfriending My Ex and Other Things I'll Never Do," in 2014, which explores our social media-driven culture and her history of relationships. Stolz participated in an "Ask Me Anything" thread on Reddit where she spoke with fans about her time on "ANTM" and her book. She answered a fan question about past relationships and social media, saying, "As for unfriending, [I] almost think it's a compliment from an ex. [P]robably too painful for your ex to look at your feed all the time if she misses you." Clearly, Stolz has gotten a lot of mileage from her modeling exposure.

Linnea Eleanor 'Bunny' Yeager masters the art of the pin-up

Linnea Eleanor "Bunny" Yeager is another example of someone who found success in the modeling industry but chose photography instead as her ultimate creative medium. But while still in front of the camera, Yeager was an active participant in beauty contests and even went on a date with Joe DiMaggio, famous baseball player and later husband of Marilyn Monroe. When she decided to pursue photography in 1953, U.S. Camera magazine said that she was the "prettiest photographer in the world," (via The Washington Post). She explained to WTVJ in 1965 that she decided to step behind the camera because she was a mother of two, and photography allowed her to "make my own hours." 

What Yeager became most famous for was her skill at shooting a pin-up scene, and she worked extensively with icon Bettie Page. Yeager's innovation was two-fold: she often sewed the outfits that she wore and the ones she put on her models, and she also photographed her models outside, The Washington Post notes. Shoots had previously been relegated to indoor sets. 

Yeager was responsible for the famous photos of Page seated next to two cheetahs, and she took many photos for Playboy magazine and other men's magazines. She was also responsible for scouting many models herself. She famously said, "It's easier for a woman to ask a girl to take off her clothes." When Yeager died in 2014, her work was being exhibited in numerous museums.

Whitney Thompson Forrester opened a vegan restaurant

Whitney Thompson Forrester won the 10th cycle of "America's Next Top Model," and while she did make groundbreaking headway as a plus-size model, the industry wasn't enough to hold all of her ambition. Thompson Forrester decided to open a restaurant that aligned with her stance as a vegan. Her restaurant, Craft 850, is located in Panama City Beach, Florida, and offers a "comprehensive and delicious vegan menu" for the plant-eating diner.

Thompson Forrester uses her social media presence and her blog to take a stance against the pervasive and toxic diet culture of which she is, unsurprisingly, extremely critical of. "You have to realize that we have a multi-BILLION dollar diet industry who only makes money if they can convince you that you need to lose weight," she wrote in a blog post. "There's a reason that no one loses weight and keeps it off." But Thompson Forrester has also opened up about her pregnancy journeys and walking through the experience as a vegan. She spoke about pushback that she received, saying in another blog post, "When I first announced that I was going to have a vegan pregnancy, and raise a vegan baby, I was met with some negativity." But with guidance from her doctor, Thompson Forrester found a way to have a healthy pregnancy and pass on the advice to other curious readers. Sounds like an interesting shift from modeling. 

Kathy Ireland has a multi-billion dollar empire

Kathy Ireland was another member of the iconic supermodel group in the '90s. She was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated three times from the late '80s to the early '90s. She was even featured once while she was pregnant, according to People, and was featured in the magazine a total of 13 times. 

Shifting from modeling, Ireland went on to launch a clothing line that was featured at Kmart. It blew up into an empire of home goods called Kathy Ireland Worldwide, and in 2012, Forbes magazine claimed that she was more successful than Martha Stewart. This entrepreneurial spirit has proven to be a success for Ireland, who sells everything from mattresses to rugs and has a primary audience in busy moms. In 2019, the Daily Mail put her business at the $2 billion mark. Based on her website, it seems like there's nothing that Ireland doesn't sell, and the payoff is huge.

Ireland doesn't use her fame to lure customers. She told Forbes that in the early days, she didn't do in-person launches because too many people came to met the model and not the mogul. "What happens is the store gets cluttered with guys who are there with 500-year-old copies of Sports Illustrated," she explained. "How does that help a busy mom? These people are just in her way." Clearly, Ireland's passion lies with her business and not the modeling success of her past.