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Supermodel Linda Evangelista loves her job, a glass of wine and a good cigar.
Mervyn Rothstein
From the Print Edition:
Linda Evangelista, Autumn 95

(continued from page 4)

Her career acceleration was swift. The magazine covers began coming, and once they began they never stopped. Marie's firm merged with Elite, and Evangelista was back with her original New York agency.

Now her face, and especially her hair, are going to become even more familiar to her appreciative public. Evangelista recently signed on as the official Clairol spokesmodel, specifically for its Ultress hair tint.

It's a multiyear, multimillion-dollar contract--the gossip columnist Cindy Adams wrote that it would bring in between $5 million and $7 million, plus percentage. Evangelista's agent, however, would not provide the official figures.

The deal involves magazine ads and television commercials worldwide and seems particularly appropriate for Evangelista: Ultress comes in 33 shades, and the supermodel is widely known as the "chameleon" of hair styles and colors. She reportedly has changed her coloring a dozen times in five years, going from platinum to red, with many stops in between. In the first four ads, Evangelista reportedly is light blonde, dark blonde, red-brown and auburn.

To Evangelista, her success is more than she ever expected. "I certainly never dreamed this high," she says. "My dream wasn't being a supermodel. They didn't even use that word when I started. My dream was to wear the clothes."

And she most certainly enjoys wearing them. "I love modeling," she says. "I know it sounds so corny, but everyone who works with me knows how much I love my job. I'm not going to say I don't do it for the money. Yes, it's become all about money. But I do it because I love my job. And you don't hear a lot of models saying they love their jobs."

The privacy of photographic work is what she prefers, rather than walking down a runway with hundreds of people watching and scores of flashes flashing. "I'm not that crazy about the runway," she says. "I don't think I'm a great performer in front of a live audience. I prefer being in the studio with people I know in a closed environment."

She readily admits that there is a negative side to success and celebrity, to the barrage of publicity and to being constantly in the public eye. And she has adopted a strategy to deal with the problem, when necessary. "I worked in, of all places, Wall Street, on the street at lunchtime, right in the middle of all those people, and I had so many eyes on me," she says. "But I just don't see them. I sit there in this little cocoon. I have to put myself in a cocoon. I'll be out with a group of friends, and they'll say, 'Oh, that table's staring at us.' But I don't see them."

It is, however, not always that difficult. "It's not that I'm recognized all the time on the street," she says. "After all, a lot of people don't give a damn about models. They don't read fashion magazines, and they don't know who we are. And most of the time people who see me think I just look like Linda Evangelista."

The pace of success can also be wearing. "Sometimes I feel like I'm going to cry," she says. "It's just amazing that my schedule is so jam-packed. There's not a day off in sight. I told myself a couple of years ago that I would start allowing time for myself and maybe work three weeks and take 10 days off, or work two weeks and take a week off. But that's not happening. I've just done four weeks straight. I had the weekend off. My first weekend off in some time."

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