biography 
1964  Yasmin Parvaneh Le Bon was born on October 29 in Oxford, the second-born child of Iradj and Patricia Parvaneh.  Her Iranian-born father is a photographer and is later known as lecturer in photography at Oxford Polytechnic (now Oxford Brookes University).  Sister Nadreh is approximately 4 years older.

1965-1981   Yasmin grew up as a strong-willed, "painfully shy" girl (who later came out of her shell after taking drama classes), a big football and motoring fan, and a bit of a nibbler, according to her mother.  Because of her aloof nature, she did not date much as a teen.  "Boys were terrified of her," her mother said.  She did well at school, obtaining six O levels and one A level.

1981  While working part-time selling clothes at the age of 17, Jayne Turner at the Elliott Brown modeling agency in Oxfordshire spotted her; and soon she was signed to their books.  Turner stated that due to the baby fat she continued to carry from snacking, her vital statistics on her composite card were downsized by 5 inches.  She did a lot of hand modeling early in her career and did such small-time work as advertising cars, vacuums, and local hairdressers.  She also appeared in a few fashion shows and competed in local beauty contests, though she finished second.  Her goals at this time were vague; all she knew was that she wanted to travel and see the world.  Friends and family were concerned about her lack of direction and suggested that she try modelling seriously.

1983  Yasmin was a finalist in the Miss Oxford contest.

1983  At the age of 18, Yasmin took the train to London and went to the offices of the Models 1 agency, knowing that they were one of the best.  Soaking wet from a torrential downpour, they managed to see behind this and gave her a one-month trial.  Her clients adored her; and while she was not doing some of the best jobs at first, she was working steadily.  She stated that it was "quite radical" to book her at the time, due to her dark hair and brownish skin coloring, when nearly all models working had "blonde bobs and big gobs" and did not resemble her.  She was unable to get covers, particularly in America.  Among her earliest major campaigns were for British brands Miss Selfridge, Top Shop, and Solo.

1984  During a shoot for "The Wild Boys," Simon Le Bon, lead singer of Duran Duran, spotted a photo of Yasmin on the cover of 19 Magazine in photographer Mike Owen's portfolio.  Telling himself that he could wake up next to that face for the rest of his life, he became determined to find out who she was.  After Owen initially declined, replying that it would be unprofessional to reveal her identity, he slipped Simon her name and the number of her London agency.  Finally, they made contact.  Thinking that it was a joke, she initially hung up on him ("I replied, 'Thank you, but I'd prefer to out with Rod Stewart,'" she recalled later); but he persisted, sending her roses at her home for a week.  She relented and agreed to go out for a first date that summer, not realizing that it was the film premiere of "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom."  "I thought we were just gonna go out to the movies," she said.  She has stated that it was "love at first sight" and that she knew she was going to spend the rest of her life with him.

spring 1985  After having split up (Simon stated in an interview that he only went out with her for 2 weeks because she wouldn't have sex with him), the couple met up in Paris.  Soon, they were inseparable.  Finding time to spend together unfortunately proved an incredible challenge due to both of their hectic lifestyles.  Meanwhile, Yasmin traveled to New York and signed up with mega-agency Elite, making her very successful.  At the same time, however, she was growing increasingly disgusted by the commercialism of the fashion industry, which she believed focused on making a massive amount of money at any expense, and became exhausted by her punishing schedule.  At this time, Yasmin was doing campaigns for big names Calvin Klein, Christian Dior, and Karl Lagerfeld (who continued to employ her for many years) and has appeared on the covers of European issues of ELLE and Vogue.  She was also featured in an American magazine editorial for the first time, in the May issue of Vogue.

August 1985  Yasmin rushed off to Falmouth when Simon and fellow Drum crewmates nearly died after the ship capsized during a yachting race.  Her star continued rising in the fashion world as she was on the cover of the September issue of British Vogue.

autumn 1985  Yasmin scored a major coup by appearing on the covers of the first issues of American and British ELLE.  Throughout the 1980s, ELLE is one of the few magazines to feature a wide range of skin colors in their models.  British ELLE referred to her as "the hottest property on the modelling circuit right now."

November 1985  Simon and Yasmin attended the Fashion Aid benefit in New York.  Both were disgusted by the backbaiting, ambition, and oneupmanship at an event that was organized to benefit starving people in Africa, and Yasmin later stated that this was the moment that she decided she had had enough of the fashion business.  Not much later, she decided to stop modeling in spite of the clamoring requests of fashion editors, photographers, and agencies.  Her plan was to return to university to study art.

December 27, 1985  Yasmin and Simon wed in a quiet, 15-minute ceremony at an Oxford registrar's office attended by a few friends and relatives after giving them one day's notice.  Yasmin stated, "I married my only boyfriend" in later interviews.  Following a brief reception in Woodstock, they honeymooned in the south of France and Scotland.  For months afterward, she was pummeled with the anonymous letters, phone calls, and other taunts from thousands of jealous Duran fans.

January 1986  Yasmin found out that she was pregnant.

February 1986  In New Zealand, Yasmin bade Simon goodbye as he departed for the Whitbread Round the World Race.  During the race, she remained with her parents in Oxford.  The couple stayed in regular contact by radio telephone.

March 1986  Yasmin miscarried.  Simon took some time off the boat race to return to her side.

mid-1986  Yasmin returned to modeling.  She has never explained in an interview why she decided to come back; however, she has said that her salary has motivated her to keep modeling and that she loved the pampering.  Simon reportedly encouraged her to keep working despite her desire to stay at home.  She picked up her career almost as if she had never left, still very much in demand, and her star continued to rise throughout the decade due to her beauty and professionalism.

summer 1987  Yasmin accompanied Simon to several of Duran Duran's east coast tour dates.

late 1987  Yasmin became pregnant once again but miscarried five months later and returned to work.

late 1988  Less than a year after her miscarriage, Yasmin was pregnant for a third time.  Rather than stopping work as she had done the previous times, she initially kept working through her pregnancy and did not make any plans for the new arrival.

1989  Yasmin was reputedly the best-paid top model in the world, supplanting Jerry Hall.  At the same time, fearful about losing the baby with the stress of the modeling industry, she took about five months off in order to stay healthy and calm.

August 25, 1989 At 10:39 a.m., 6 lb 4 oz Amber Rose Tamara Le Bon was born at a hospital at St. John's Wood after about 14 hours of labor.  She was a surprise, as her parents did not know if the baby would be a boy or a girl.  Coincidentally, Yasmin had planned to have herself photographed while 9 months pregnant on the same day.  She hoped to have more children, hopefully a boy.  A few days later, Hello! magazine took exclusive photographs of the new family.  Simon's mother, Anne, became Amber's live-in nanny.

September 1989  Yasmin reluctantly returned to work just seven weeks after Amber's birth, doing several spring 1990 catwalk shows.  She did not want to spend time away from her daughter but found it necessary, explaining that the bills piling up on the doorstep prompted her to return to work so soon.  She found herself working harder than ever in the years after Amber's birth.

early 1991  Yasmin became pregnant once again, with a due date of October 10th.  She continued working hard throughout her pregnancy, and several magazines did photo shoots of a pregnant Yasmin with daughter Amber.  She later called 1991 one of her most successful years in her career.

July 1991  Amongst many charitable organizations for whom Yasmin worked during the year, Yasmin had a naked photograph of herself while seven months' pregnant auctioned to benefit Friends of the Earth.  Her husband Simon was the top bidder.

August 1991  Yasmin traveled to the Malaysian rain forest in an expedition organized by Friends of the Earth and sponsored by Hello! magazine (which took exclusive photos and helped to publicize her passion to discourage the logging and purchase of tropical hardwood).

September 25, 1991  Saffron Sahara Le Bon was born a couple weeks earlier than her due date at Humana Wellington Hospital in St. John's Wood after only 4 hours of labor.  Her mother-in-law Anne remained on to help look after the newborn.  Hello! magazine once again snagged the opportunity to take photographs of the expanding Le Bon family.

October 1991  Only three weeks after Saffron's birth, Yasmin starred in six shows during London Fashion Week and later traveled to Paris and New York for additional spring shows.  "I love my kids, but I could never completely stop working," she said in an interview the following year.

spring 1993    After having her hair dyed progressively darker in the previous 2 years and then adding blonde streaks in late summer 1992, Yasmin had her hair cut into a short-layered style.  Many models recreated their looks during the year with the arrival of the new "waif" models, and she undoubtedly opened herself up to a new group of publications and advertisers in the process.

early 1994    Yasmin became pregnant once again and decided to retire from modeling during the year.

September 10, 1994    Yasmin's third child, Tallulah Pine, was born.

1995    Yasmin returned to modeling, both because she missed working and because she had not received a paycheck in 18 months.  Other models were surprised by the way she had bounced back; and she stated about her career, "They'll have to bury me before I give up."  However, her jobs from this point on have been much more selective, giving her the opportunity to spend time with her family while still doing the work she loves.

November 1995    The 10th anniversary issue of British ELLE, which Yasmin co-edited, hit newsstands.

spring 1996    Yasmin made a trimphant return to the catwalk, doing a handful of shows in London and Paris.  From 1996 to 1998, she did the occasional fashion show for houses for whom she liked working, including Bella Freud, Chanel, Chloe (for both Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney, for whom she appeared in her final exam catwalk show at her London school in 1994), Claude Montana, Roland Klein, and Philip Treacy.

1996-2001    Over the age of 30, Yasmin took on several high-profile campaigns, including Bloomingdale's, Chanel, Dibari, Escada, Etro, Gianni Versace, Harrods, Hennes & Mauritz, J.P. Tod's, Jo Malone, Louis Féraud, Luciano Barbera, Maria Gaspari, Next, Pantene (commercials airing on both sides of the Atlantic featured her hair, but not her voice, which was Americanized in the US), Saks Fifth Avenue, Spiegel, and Toni Gard.

spring 2001    Making a statement that over-30 women can still look great, Yasmin modeled bikinis for Marks & Spencer.  At the same time, she remained the spokesmodel for Australian clothing brand Jacqui E.

fall 2001   Yasmin's mother Patricia died of breast cancer, a cause for which Yasmin has long campaigned.  Especially after her mother's passing, Yasmin made many appearances at London-based fundraisers for cancer and other causes.

2002-2004    Campaigns that Yasmin became the spokesmodel for during this period include Bloomingdale's, Boden, Littlewoods Extra, Moët and Chandon, Phase Eight, Pirelli P Zero, and Schwarzkopf.  Her few catwalks after 1999 were largely in benefit functions, but she made some rare appearances for designers Betty Jackson, Ronit Zilkha, Matthew Williamson, Ermanno Scervino, and Jenny Packham.

November 2003   Yasmin modeled the Blue Empress, one of the world's most expensive diamonds, at Harrods in London.

2006     After modeling for over 20 years and looking even better as the years pass, Yasmin continued to get jobs.  At the age of 41, an age at which most models would have retired years before, Yasmin modelled for Ann Taylor and the Goddess line of Newbridge and did the catwalk in the autumn/winter 2006 Chanel show.  Last September, Yasmin was featured on the cover of the American ELLE 21st birthday supplement as their first cover girl twenty years on, looking more stunning than ever.

2007   While having achieved a sort of "elder spokesmodel" status in the industry, Yasmin's looks, enthusiasm, and professionalism keep her in demand as a working model.  Presently aged 42, she continues to work, having snagged over 6 international fashion magazine covers in the past year as well as sharing the July 2007 British Vogue cover with five other British models.  Her contracts over the past year with Newbridge, Next, Biotherm, and Steilmann attest to her viability.  Her eldest daughter, Amber, made a few tentative steps into modelling by appearing in a charity fashion show in Scotland and signing to her mother's mother agency, Models 1; however, whether or not she will take on modelling as a career remains to be seen.  Later this year, Yasmin was photographed in a major fashion editorial for Indian Vogue, her first for this part of the world.

2008   Following widespread reports that she had retired from modelling in late 2007, Yasmin snagged five covers (for Vogue Gioiello, Red, DV Mode, House of Fraser magazine, and the debut of Henna), a number of editorials (including Italian Vanity Fair and American Vogue), and a major campaign (for Britain's House of Fraser).  She also continued to use her celebrity to call attention to important causes, particularly those benefiting breast cancer research.

2009  Upon the invitation of Arcadia Group owner Sir Philip Green, Yasmin collaborated on an autumn/winter collection for high street retailer Wallis under the label YLB for Wallis, consisting of over 20 pieces inspired by her own wardrobe and her Persian roots.  She stated that it helped renew her belief in herself after a dark period in her life and was highly involved in the design process.  A spring/summer line came out the following year.  The collection does not mark Yasmin's permanent retirement from modelling, as she appeared on four covers (for i-D, Wonderland, L'Officiel NL, and Easy Living) and in several editorials.  She has also continued her efforts for charity by helping to found Mothers4Children, which is dedicated to raising funds to improve the lives of children in the UK and Europe.

2010  Yasmin keeps working steadily throughout the year, notably as one of Avon's international ambassadors.  She has been the face of the brand's Anew Reversalist line, for women aged 40 and up.  Her editorials and covers have been for Red, Harpers Bazaar, D, bmm, and Stylist.  Among her accomplishments for the year include serving as part of the illustrious board of judges for the Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize, modelling in the London Fashion for Relief show side-by-side with daughter Amber, being guest of honor at the unveiling of Jonathan Wylder's sculpture of her, and continuing her charity involvement for Mothers4Children.  She also made a surprise appearance on the Paris catwalk in John Galliano's spring/summer 2011 show.  In December, she was honored for Outstanding Achievement as a Model by Marie Claire Espana.

2011  The year has been an active one for Yasmin's career.  Notably, she fronted Moschino's spring/summer 2011 advertising campaign as photographed by Juergen Teller.  She also walked in the Issa autumn/winter 2011 catwalk show in London and Little Joe Woman spring/summer 2011 show in Sydney for friend Gail Elliott.  In December, she appeared in  the Chanel pre-fall 2012 show, nearly 25 years after her first time on the Chanel catwalk.  She also served as the face for David Morris in the British jeweller's 25th anniversary campaign and for Canadian clothier Joseph Ribkoff in addition to her work for Avon.  In other notable news, she designed a line of dog walking accessories for Mungo & Maud and appeared for the first time ever in a Duran Duran video, "Girl Panic!"

2012  One major highlight of the year was Yasmin's appearance in Stéphane Rolland's spring/summer 2012 haute couture show, in which she wore a spectacular grand finale gown weighing 50 kilos (110 pounds) that was so massive that she required two escorts to descend the runway.  Who else but a modelling legend to command such an impressive garment?  Later that year, she appeared in shoots for Vogue Spain and Vogue Paris and became the face of Monsoon for its 25th anniversary (along with daughter Amber) and Winser London, for its launch.

2013  One year after having her hair shaved into an edgy undercut for a The Gentlewoman shoot, the ever-versatile Yasmin, in a fit of boredom over growing it out, had it dyed platinum blonde.  It was a look that she showcased in work for S Moda, The Times Magazine, and Elle Spain.  Having a passionate interest in photography as instilled by her father, Yasmin both photographed and styled herself in an editorial for the 200th issue of Stylist, where she also served as fashion director.  She also did the autumn/winter campaign for Turkish clothier Vakko as well as continued her contracts with Monsoon and Winser London.  In her personal life, she and longtime friend David Gandy participated in the grueling Mille Miglia race throughout the Italian countryside.  They and their vintage 1950 Jaguar XK120 placed 169th overall (out of the 415 cars that began the race) after recovering from a minor accident about midway through the race.

Bio written by me for this site.  Do not reproduce without permission.
updated 20 January 2014

 

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