An incredibly beautiful person.




As I doubt just the above would survive very long on E2, here is some biographical information:

Kate Moss was born January 16 1974 in Croydon, a borough in south Greater London. Her mother Linda is a bartender, and her father Peter a travel agent. She also has a younger brother, Nick. Media has often referred to a poor working-class background (Cinderella-stories sell), but her own description is "lower middle-class". Kate still has a noticeable south-London accent, according to those who can tell the difference.

The Moss marriage went sour, and in 1987 the couple moved apart, to divorce one year later. Kate decided to live with her mother, while her brother choose the father. The children were left much to themselves during the commotion, and 13-year old Kate was smoking, drinking, and skipping classes.

Kate's modeling career began in 1988. She had been on vacation in Bahamas with her father and brother, but ended up waiting at the New York JFK Airport for three days due to an airline strike. There she was spotted by Sarah Dukas, head of Storm Model Agency. Despite some initial skepticism, Kate started doing modeling work after school, and Sarah Dukas has remained her UK agent since then. For the next two years her career moved slowly, with mainly non-editorial material.

The crucial breakthrough came when she was selected by photographer Corinne Day for a fashion shot in the UK magazine The Face. The first three-page article was published in March 1990, and for the next year Kate worked almost exclusively for The Face. The pictures from that period, by Kate Moss, Corinne Day and stylist Melanie Ward, marked the start of a new trend in fashion photography: in contrast to the glamourous 80s, the early 90s featured models without make-up in casual poses and shabby surroundings. Of course, Kate herself also looked different from previous super-models, given her short height (169cm = 5'7") and slim body. In fashion circles, this trend ("grunge fashion") was considered very important, and symptomatic of the "addiction to reality" of the new decade. Retrospectively, it is often explained as a need for a clean break with the fashion photography of the 80s. But Kate was still relatively unknown to the general public.

During the "Face" period, Kate met Mario Sorrenti (b. 1971), a former model turned fashion photographer. He became her boyfriend, and she moved out from her mother's to live with him in 1991 (when she was 17). He photographed her for many different jobs, notably some of the CK ads.

In 1993, two events made Kate widely known. Fist, the British Vogue published an editorial piece where she posed with a sad look and childish underwear. Later the same year, she was selected to "star" a new advertisement campaign for Calvin Klein, photographed by Patrick Demarchelier. She signed a three-year contract worth several million dollars, and soon afterwards New York was covered with billboards displaying Kate and the muscular musician Mark Wahlberg in CK Underwear.

Both these events resulted in media controversy. Feminists saw the shift towards younger female models in more sexual poses as a blatant display of the patriarchy - "powerlessness as a turn-on". The Vogue article, and in particular the small-breasted and therefore child-like Kate Moss, became a symbol for this. The CK images drew criticism from a related direction: it was claimed that Kate was anorexic (which she has always denied), and that models like her were responsible for the spread of anorexia in society. The phrase "the waif look" was coined to describe the phenomenon that Kate had come to represent, and for some year media was filled with outraged opinions about it. While certainly making valid points, most of them focused on the model, instead of the less visible photographers, stylists, and editors that actually decide how fashion pictures will look. Thus it was Kate Moss that emerged a household name.

Despite its fierceness, and unlike the deeper issues at hand, the controversy turned out to be short-lived. A couple of years later Kate had gained some weight and the "waif look" had gone, well, out of fashion. Since then she has been firmly established as a supermodel, and can afford to be picky about what jobs to accept. (An earning power of $10,000/day has been quoted).

In November 1998, Kate again made some headlines as she checked into The Priory Hospital Roehampton, a private (and expensive!) psychiatric and drug rehabilitation clinic, to be treated for alcoholism. She stayed for five weeks, explaining to the press that she needed some time away from the hectic party life she had been leading to re-evaluate her priorities. Afterwards, in a few unusually open interviews, she admitted to having had drinking problems for a long time.

During her career, many have questioned whether a model that personified "the face of the 90s" could be in sustained demand as trends change. By now, Kate has certainly passed the "test of time" of the above writeup -- if she were to retire tomorrow she would still be recalled as one of the greater models -- but she is not as "super" as she used to be. In interviews she has indicated that she no longer finds modeling as exciting as she used to, but that she will continue as long as possible to save up some (more) money. Supermodels, of course, retire young.

(Most of the above information comes from the interviews collected at http://www.kate-site.com/words.html. Thus, expect some bias.)

I was walking back from lunch, across the intersection of Broadway and Houston on a summer afternoon. There was a modest crowd on the street; I edged towards the crosswalk and started out ahead of the light, as I do, dodging still moving cars, with timing so that flying bumpers come within inches of my shins, but before I made it very far into the street, I was struck gently from the side.

I turned to my left and looked down and saw a short, pale woman, disheveled, with a grungy white blazer and one shoe falling off, glance back up at me. She looked up at me quickly, fearfully, and then jogged across the street, then up Broadway, ahead of me. She seemed disoriented, exhausted, a bit fearful. I thought nothing of it, except that I saw her climb, almost losing the shoe completely, into an RV, illegally parked on the corner.

There are a number of modelling agencies in that neighborhood including one in the building where I worked, though I tend not to notice, as others claim jocularly, that one sees the models "everywhere." It me took another moment to realize it had been Kate Moss, and then, when I had, I felt vaguely, unexplainably sad for a moment.

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