Yasmin Beat Battle of the Bulge To Become Catwalk Queen
The Weekly News 1 June 1991

interview: uncredited


The new breed of supermodels have eclipsed pop stars and actresses in the celebrity stakes.  Their faces and figured have rocketed them to fame and fortune.  They have the ability to transform a nondescript outfit into a stunning creation.

Yasmin Le Bon is the envy of women the world over.  She seems to have everything - good looks, a spiralling career and a doting husband. Yasmin, who is 26 and married to singer Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran, is pregnant with their second child, due this autumn.

The couple's first child, Amber Rose, was born on August 25, 1989, and has already taken her first tottering toddle in mum's footsteps as a model.  Little Amber Rose had the photographers wildly snapping as she accompanied Mummy at the Chanel collection in Paris, showing off an exclusive Karl Lagerfeld romper suit, costing far more than many women spend on outfits in a year.

But the Le Bons can afford it.  Simon made millions as a pop star heart-throb in the 80s, but his wife has even more money-earning potential.  While the fickle world of pop turned sour as the teenyboppers rejected more adult, sophisticated record releases by Duran Duran, Yasmin's career soared.  A couple of years ago, Yasmin was already on the cover of over 40 magazines worldwide.  Everyone was claiming she was the most beautiful woman in the world.  Suddenly it wasn't Simon who was the sex symbol, but his lovely young wife.

Said Simon, "Yasmin has the potential to earn far greater amounts than me.  I grew up thinking that the man was the breadwinner and the provider, and that is not what happened with Yasmin and me."  In fact, the whole family recently had a go at modelling.  Simon joined his wife in matching black leather suits by trendy London designer, Joe Casely-Hayford.

Yasmin and Simon met on a blind date.  Simon saw her photo in someone's modelling portfolio and her face "just got to him."  He was shy of approaching her himself so he asked his manager to contact her.  He did and they went to the premiere of the film, "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom."  They fell in love and were married on December 25 [sic], 1985.

The birth of Amber Rose was a particular triumph for her mum, who had suffered the agony of two miscarriages.  Yasmin was back on the catwalk seven weeks after Amber was born.  She had taken a year off before when she was pregnant.  In total, the baby cost Yasmin 250,000 in lost modelling fees.  But money is no substitute for the joy of having a family, she has admitted.

"During my two previous pregnancies, I kept working but this time I didn't want to take any risks," she said.

Yasmin is half-British, half-Iranian.  Her father, Iradj, is a photography lecturer.  Her mother, Patricia, and elder sister, Nady, encouraged Yasmin to take up modelling.  It wasn't Yasmin's first choice as a career - some kind of job helping others was what she had in mind - and she wasn't exactly the perfect shape for a catwalk queen.  But she beat the battle of the bulge and can now command modelling fees of up to 10,000-plus on a good day.

At 17, she could be described as pleasantly plump, although she appeared in a few fashion shows after working as a part-time assistant in a dress shop in Oxford.  She was tall and carried herself well.  She appeared in local advertisements, selling cars, vacuum cleaners and local hairdressers' services.

After leaving school with six O-levels and one A-level, Yasmin wanted to see the world.  But her mum was mortified at the thought of her daughter hitch-hiking.  So she persuaded her to have a serious goal at modelling.  Yasmin caught a train to London and went to the offices of Models One, a leading agency.  She got caught in a downpour and arrived soaked to the skin, but at the end of the interview, had made a big enough impression to be taken on for a month's trial.  From then on, the phone has never stopped ringing with offers of modelling work.

Yasmin's determined attitude to her career and a completely professional approach shows through in her stunning catwalk displays.  Through daily swimming, gymnasium workouts and an automatic Stairmaster machine at an exclusive Chelsea health club, she has kept her figure in stunning shape.  She has also curbed her naturally-sweet tooth and sticks to a healthy high-fibre diet, based on fish, beans, salad and vegetables.

On the catwalk, the world sees only the cool, confident Yasmin and for a fee of 3000 for around nine minutes' work, it looks like a dawdle.  But what the public sees is only a glimpse at the whole exhausting day, with a six o'clock rise, a fitting at seven, two hours of hair and make-up for the first show.  Then the whole thing goes on - squeezing in fittings and rehearsals with other designers, often up to midnight and beyond.

Many models have multimillion dollar beauty contracts with cosmetic companies.  Yasmin has only one, signed with Pure and Simple soap, worth thousands rather than millions.  Showing a down-to-earth approach to these things, Yasmin offered her services, because she liked and regularly used the product.