Mind The Gap: Supermodel Lauren Hutton's Imperfect Beauty, Then And Now
Model Lauren Hutton in Vogue in 1969 wearing a Kimberly wool knit tunic and pants with multicolored dyed mink muffler. (Photo by Gianni Penati/Condé Nast via Getty Images). Hutton with Burt Reynolds in Gator 1976. Source: (IMDB.com)
Famous for her gap-toothed smile, Lauren Hutton is among the most successful models in history. In 1973, she signed a contract with Revlon that made her the highest-paid model in the world, and she appeared on the cover of Vogue a record 26 times, feats that made her one of the first supermodels. As an actress, Hutton has co-starred with Burt Reynolds, Robert Redford, and James Caan, and in the '90s she hosted her own talk show.
Long before Michael Strahan turned his gapped tooth smile into a money maker, Lauren Hutton did it first. And let the record show that Lauren Hutton’s industry, fashion, is slightly more critical of looks than Strahan’s, the NFL. Hutton’s now famous uneven smile almost stopped her from working in fashion altogether. New York City fashion agents either dismissed her off hand or recommended she fix the gap in her teeth using morticians' wax.
She worked at the Playboy Club in New York where she went from Mary Laurence Hutton to Lauren Hutton because the Playboy Club employed too many Marys. Eventually, her offbeat smile helped her become one of the original supermodels. In time, her game-changing contract became even more famous than her distinct smile.
Fake It Until You Make It
Hutton found her first modeling gig through a New York Times ad for Christian Dior. The ad read "experience required." Though she had never modeled, her boyfriend gave her some classic New York advice: lie. She did get the job but for less than the minimum wage, $50 a week at the time. Despite her uneven start in the business, Vogue editor, Diana Vreeland saw potential, “You have quite a presence, I think I’ll call Dick [Avedon.]”
A Firecracker Start
Initially, her shoot with famed photographer Richard Avedon went poorly. However, when Avedon asked her about her childhood pursuits, her potential became clear. Hutton told Avedon that she loved jumping over snakes as a kid living in Florida. Avedon instructed her to do just that - jump! The rest, as they say, is history.
Industry Changing Mentality
Lauren Hutton’s run-and-jump pictures made her into a star but she wanted more. Again, inspired by a New York Times article reporting on one man’s $1 million contract, Hutton thought, how do I get that? Previously models only received payment on an hourly basis. Hutton took her idea for a contract to her friend, Avedon who brainstormed making it an exclusive deal. In 1973 Hutton pitched the idea to Revlon who signed her to a landmark $400,000 contract.
More Than A Model
Very quickly, thanks to Lauren Hutton’s deal, models went from making $60 an hour to $1500 a day. Around that time, Hutton made the transition from modeling to movies. Although she made her silver screen debut on Paper Lion co-starring Alan Alda in 1968, her big break came in 1980 with American Gigolo. She also started her own cosmetics line and became an advocate for the environment. All told she appeared on Vogue a record 26 times. However, Hutton’s life did not come without a few close calls.
Jeremy Irons Saves Her Life
In 2000, Hutton age 57, joined a motorcycle group with other celebrities like Dennis Hopper, Jeremy Irons, and Laurence Fishburne. Hutton always enjoyed motorcycles, explaining her enjoyment of them as so, “I love the feeling of being a naked egg atop that throbbing steel. You feel vulnerable — but so alive.” The group planned to ride in celebration of an exhibit at the Hermitage-Guggenheim museum in Las Vegas.
At the beginning of the ride, Dennis Hopper recalled Jeremy Irons thankfully making a change to Hutton’s helmet, “She had on a little helmet, sort of tied under her chin. It was cute. And Jeremy [Irons] came up to her and said, ‘You got to be kidding.’ He took it off her and gave her a proper helmet.” Near the Arizona-Las Vegas border Hutton crashed going nearly 100 miles an hour. She fractured her legs, arms, broke her ribs and chest, as well as punctured her lung. She remembered the crash in an interview with the Huffington Post:
“I was going too fast, hit some rocks, flew up 25 feet, jumped off and pushed (myself away from the bike) and headed back so that I wasn’t hitting pavement, I was hitting land. Then I skidded across that red, rocky ground for 170 feet. But that visor saved my life because those rocks probably would have torn out my eyes and maybe even part of my frontal lobe. So I’ll always be grateful to Jeremy Irons for insisting that I change helmets moments earlier!”
All's Well That Ends Well
Despite the hellacious accident and ensuing coma, Hutton made a full recovery. Her cosmetics line is still in full swing. Today, she spends her time living in Taos, New Mexico and trying to save the environment. She wrote a book in 2013 detailing her crazy journey through life.
Tags: Ladies | Lauren Hutton | Then And Now | What Did She Do?...
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