Childhood & Early Life
Elle Macpherson was born Eleanor Nancy Gow on March 29, 1964, in Killara, New South Wales, Australia, to Peter Gow and Frances Gow.
Her father was an entrepreneur and sound engineer who was president of Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, an Australian professional rugby league team while her mother was a nurse. When she was 10, her parents divorced following which she and her two siblings lived with her mother.
Her mother remarried multimillionaire Neil Macpherson. She and her younger sister, Miriam Frances Gow (now a famous environmentalist Mimi Macpherson) adopted surname of their stepfather. She has another sister, Elizabeth, and a brother, Brendon.
She was raised in East Lindfield. In 1981 she completed her Higher School Certificate studying at the Killara High School. She studied law for a year at the University of Sydney.
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Prior to her studies at the University of Sydney she visited the US ito pursue modelling for a year so that she can purchase her law books with the earnings. She went to New York City where she soon signed contract with ‘Click Model Management’.
In 1982, she made her debut in modelling with a TV advertisement of ‘The Coca-Cola Company’ manufactured diet cola soft drink ‘Tab’. The popular commercial gave her a “girl next door” image in her homeland.
The rest of the 1980s saw her featuring on prominent magazine covers including ‘New York’, Australian and British ‘Vogue’, ‘Harper's Bazaar’, ‘Cosmopolitan’, ‘Marie Claire’, ‘Time’ and ‘Elle’ among others. The latter saw her featuring on many of its covers as also making appearances in all its issues for six consecutive years.
Eventually, she emerged as one of the new generation of supermodels along with Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Pavlína Pořízková, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista.
As a result of her early success in modelling, she became the long-time face of French luxury skin care company ‘Biotherm’ in 1985.
Her burgeoning modelling career further bolstered when she featured in the annual Swimsuit Issue of American ‘Sports Illustrated’ magazine in 1986. She created a record of gracing the cover of Swimsuit Issue for five times in 1986, 1987, 1988, 1994, and 2006 respectively.
’Time Magazine’ gave her the nickname Elle "The Body" Macpherson in 1989 after she graced its cover. She later used this name in many of her business endeavours.
Her successful modelling career saw her walking the ramp for imminent fashion houses, luxury retail companies and fashion designers like Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior and Donna Karan. She has also posed for several ace fashion photographers like Bob Carlos Clarke, Steven Meisel, Ellen von Unwerth and Francesco Scavullo.
Basking with a flourishing modelling career Macpherson endeavoured into films featuring as a model in the Woody Allen flick ‘Alice’, an American romantic fantasy that released on December 25, 1990.
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She has also endeavoured as an entrepreneur that saw her launching lingerie collection 'Elle Macpherson Intimates' in 1990 partnering with Bendon Limited Apparel. With time it garnered international success and emerged as the single top-selling lingerie line in Australia and Great Britain.
Other business ventures of Macpherson includes her own line of beauty products, ‘Elle Macpherson – The Body’ and Elle Macpherson Inc.
She featured nude in the 1994 hit film ‘Sirens’ that created a furore among the media, so much so that her ex-boyfriends were also contacted for more of such pictures. She then went on to pose nude for ‘Playboy’ in its May 1994 issue to come out with such pictures "on her own terms".
The ensuing years saw her working on many other films with big names of the industry. These included ‘If Lucy Fell’ (1996) with Sarah Jessica Parker, ‘The Mirror Has Two Face’ (1996) with Barbra Streisand; and ‘Batman & Robin’ (1997) with George Clooney. She also played main roles in ‘The Edge’ (1997) with Anthony Hopkins; and ‘South Kensington’ (2001) with Rupert Everett and Sienna Miller.
Her television pursuits include performing in the film ‘A Girl Thing’ (2001); featuring in shows ‘Saturday Night Live’ (1996) and ‘America's Next Top Model’ (2008, 2016); in TV series ‘Friends’ (1999-2000) and ‘The Beautiful Life: TBL’ (2009); and hosting the shows ‘Britain & Ireland's Next Top Model’ (2010–2013) and ‘Fashion Star’ (2012–2013). She is also an executive producer of the latter.
In 1999, she became the first model to feature on a legal tender when twin island nation of Antigua and Barbuda used her face on several postage stamps.
The 2000 Summer Olympics closing ceremony featured her along with other Australian icons. She was also offered the post of an unofficial ambassador in the tourist commission of the Australian government.
The Miss Universe 2001 pageant held in Puerto Rico on May 11, 2001 saw her hosting the event along with English model Naomi Campbell.
In 2006, she was bestowed with the Style Icon award at the Elle Style Awards.
She was named Global Brand Ambassador of Revlon Cosmetics following her three-year deal with the company in March 2008. Since then she has featured in several print and ad campaigns of the company.
Over the years she has featured on several ads including that of ‘Victoria's Secret’, ‘H&M’, ‘Omega’, ‘Christian Dior’, ‘Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’, ‘Garuda Airlines’, ‘KFC’, ‘Chrysler’ and ‘Diet Coke’ among others.
Personal Life & Legacy
In the early 1980s she was romantically associated with Billy Joel. In 1984, she came across French fashion photographer and Creative Director of Elle magazine, Gilles Bensimon. The two married in May 1986, but the marriage culminated into divorce after three years.
She was in a relationship with Arpad Busson, a London-based French financier, from 1996 to July 2005. They together have two sons, February 1998 born Arpad Flynn Busson, and February 2003 born Aurelius Cy Andrea Busson.
In early 2009, she started dating Jeffrey Soffer, a hotel heir and billionaire from Miami, Florida. After a short break-up they got engaged in March 2013 and tied the knot in July that year. In 2017, the couple announced that they are going for a divorce.
She is an ambassador for ‘UNICEF’, for ‘Smile Foundation’ in Australia and European Ambassador for ‘RED’ apart from being a patron for ‘National Association for the Children of Alcoholics’.