FASHION / Christy Turlington's big adventure

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The Independent Culture
FOR a brief time in her life when she was a teenager in San Francisco, hanging out in McDonald's like any all-American kid, Christy Turlington went unnoticed. Then she was discovered at the age of 15 and, nine years later, it's hard for her to go anywhere without attracting autograph hunters.

Following today's screening on prime time television across the US of Christy Turlington Backstage, it's not going to get any easier. One of an elite clique of supermodels dubbed 'the new movie stars', she hopes to fulfil this prophetic tag with her celluloid debut, directed by Robert Leacock of In Bed with Madonna fame. Originally intended as Christy Turlington's guide to the fashion world front and back stage, it has evolved into a documentary which dwells more on than off Christy's beautiful face. It is, essentially, all about her.

The 50-minute film may not win an Oscar but it will satisfy the legions of teenage wannabees and the simply curious who don't know their Versaces from their Valentinos. Filmed last October at the ready-to-wear shows, it begins in Milan, passes through Paris, and ends up in New York.

The film's strength lies in those apparently candid moments when Christy is caught away from the catwalk and the backstage chaos. We journey with her and Naomi Campbell in stretch limousines; we enter hotel bathrooms and bedrooms where we are treated to more poignant moments, with Christy (the highest earning model in the world) looking reassuringly tired and drawn. Sitting on her Louis XIV bed in the Paris Ritz she has dark circles under her fragile eyes; she has just done her umpteenth show and she's had a faceful of make-overs. 'Usually I don't look this tired but it gets crazy after three weeks of being pushed, touched and poked at,' she confides. 'It gets a bit annoying and I get homesick for America. Sometimes I just wanna stay in one place, never move, never have to see anyone.'

We eavesdrop on conversations which invariably come around to her increasingly public love life - like whether or not she's dating Christian Slater. (By the end of the film you realise it's a relationship purely for the paparazzi.) And we learn that models just love the telephone; Christy appears to treat it as an umbilical cord.

The film also charts a long and wearying journey through hundreds of frocks in 24 different fashion shows. Back at the hotel, exhausted and vulnerable, she confesses that 'I don't find it very glamorous.' But they will back at McDonald's.

(Photographs omitted)

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