Claudia Maria Schiffer was born 25 August 1970 and is a German model, actress, and fashion designer, based in the United Kingdom. She rose to fame in the 1990s as one of the world’s most successful models, cementing her supermodel status. In her early career, she was compared to Brigitte Bardot. 

She has appeared on more than 1,000 magazine covers and holds the record for the model with the most magazine covers, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Schiffer was born in Rheinberg, a small town 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) northwest of Duisburg, on 25 August 1970 to Gudrun and Heinz Schiffer (1937–2007), a lawyer. She has two brothers, Stefan and Andreas, and one sister, Ann Carolin (born 1975). Schiffer is fluent in three languages–German, English and French.

Schiffer originally aspired to become a lawyer and used to work in her father’s law firm. In October 1987, at age 17, she “was spotted” in a nightclub in Düsseldorf by Michel Levaton, the head of Metropolitan Model Agency, and was signed to the agency as a model. After leaving high school, Schiffer flew to Paris for a trial photo shoot, and subsequently appeared on the cover of Elle.

In the early 1990s, she starred in campaigns for Guess. Guess co-founder Paul Marciano said that she made the Guess name really much more known around the world. After several other magazine appearances including the cover of British Vogue, shot by Herb Ritts, Schiffer was selected by Karl Lagerfeld to become the new face of Chanel. In May 1997, Schiffer was featured on the cover and in the pictorial of Playboy

Schiffer appeared on the November 1999 millennium cover of Vogue as one of the “Modern Muses”. Named one of the most beautiful women in the world, her ability to appeal to a global audience assured an internationally successful career spanning over 25 years. Other magazines Schiffer has appeared on the covers of include Vanity FairRolling StonePeopleHarper’s BazaarElleCosmopolitan and Time. Schiffer has walked in fashion shows for numerous fashion houses, including Versace, Karl Lagerfeld, Chloé, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Fendi, Michael Kors, Dolce & Gabbana, Ralph Lauren, Balmain, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Valentino.

She has appeared in advertising campaigns for Chanel, Versace, Balmain, Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld, Dom Pérignon, Alberta Ferretti, Bulgari, Chloé, Escada, Blumarine, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Max Mara, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren, Emporio Armani, Liz Claiborne, Prada, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs, Guess?, Salvatore Ferragamo, Neiman Marcus, Gap, Dillard’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, L’Oréal, Revlon, Intergaz and Pepsi.

As well as endorsing luxury brands, Schiffer has appeared as the face of high street retailers including Mango and Accessorize, and had her ears pierced for the first time specially for the 2006 Autumn/Winter Accessorize campaign. From her appearances in a 1998 Citroën advertisement she allegedly earned £3 million. Schiffer still holds a contract with L’Oréal and is one of their longest standing ambassadors.

Schiffer was a judge on Fashion Fringe in 2011. In 2012, she posed for Guess again, marking the brand’s 30th anniversary.

Schiffer launched her eponymous cashmere collection during Paris Fashion Week in March 2011. The Autumn–Winter 2011 season saw her fashion design debut and was followed by a Spring–Summer 2012 collection.

Schiffer made her film debut in the children’s movie Richie Rich (1994, as the title character’s personal fitness trainer). She then starred opposite Dennis Hopper and Matthew Modine in The Blackout (1997). She then went on to appear in Friends & LoversBlack and White (both 1999), In PursuitLife Without Dick (both 2001), and Love Actually (2003) in a semi-cameo role. Films in which Schiffer has made cameo appearances include Ben Stiller’s Zoolander (2001).

Schiffer has appeared on several talk shows such as The Oprah Winfrey ShowLarry King LiveLate Show with David LettermanLate Night with Conan O’BrienThe Jonathan Ross Show, and sitcoms Dharma & Greg and Arrested Development. She made a cameo appearance in the music video for Bon Jovi’s “Say It Isn’t So” in 2000, and appeared in the music video for Comic Relief‘s 2001 charity single, Westlife’s “Uptown Girl”.

Schiffer began her involvement with UNICEF by becoming a member of the Arts & Entertainment Support Committee, and is currently a UK Goodwill Ambassador for the organization. Schiffer was also a spokesman for Make Poverty History, and appeared in their “Click” campaign. In July 2005, she appeared as a presenter at both the Berlin and Edinburgh Live 8 concerts.

Along with fellow models Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, and Elle Macpherson, Schiffer was joint owner of a chain of restaurants called the Fashion Café in 1995. Schiffer helped present and carry the trophy with Pelé during the opening ceremonies at the 2006 World Cup. She also presented Prince William with a polo trophy in 2002.