Cindy Crawford On Her Early Fame, Selfie Struggles, and Learning Social Media From Kaia

"She's like, 'Mom, quit hashtagging.'"

Cindy Crawford Ladies First
Photo: Courtesy of Cindy Crawford

Some may think that being a globally known supermodel does a thing or two to your ego. But an inflated ego is not something that supermodel Cindy Crawford is familiar with.

Despite all of her success and fame, the model and mom of two has remained very level-headed and humble. She didn't even like the term "supermodel" at first. In fact, on this week's episode of Ladies First with Laura Brown, she says she thought it was "ridiculous." She partly attributes her humility to imposter syndrome — she didn't really believe she belonged in the room.

"All of a sudden you find yourself at the Academy Awards or whatever. And you're like, 'How did I get here?'" Crawford explained to Brown. "And some of it's like, you just fake it till you make it. And you try to pretend that you belong there until eventually you do. So I think in some ways, my insecurity made me take like a little bit of a back seat, which served me well."

And while many people try to overcome imposter syndrome or spend years learning to shake it off, it's actually something Crawford hopes to instill in her kids, Kaia and Presley Gerber.

"I really try to tell my kids everyone feels the exact same way. And if they don't, they're probably a jerk. If they're like, 'Hey, I deserve to be here.' That's probably not the person I'm going to want to talk to you."

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For a while, Crawford tried so hard to be a normal mom and do it all, that at one point, she embarrassed Kaia at her school show by showing up with curlers in her hair.

"I have the hairdresser come to my house at five in the morning to start all the process," she remembers. "She has to put these gigantic rollers in my hair, and it's raining, so then I have to put like a gigantic scarf over the gigantic rollers, but I am going to make it to Kaia's thing. I show up, I'm sitting there, and I've got the car waiting to whisk me to set the second she goes off stage. She was so mortified that I showed up 'cause I'm sitting there literally with like a scarf and dark glasses."

As one can imagine, raising a family in the limelight can be stressful and taxing. On this week's podcast, Crawford recalled having to explain to her children what fame was and why strange men were hiding behind bushes taking their photos on the way to preschool. Crawford credits her first husband Richard Gere for showing her the ropes on how to handle fame (the two wed in 1992 and divorced in 1995; Crawford married her husband Rande Gerber three years later).

"I will say being with someone as my own fame was starting, being with someone who had already dealt with that, was a good entry," she tells Brown. "I don't deal with it the exact same way he does, but I did learn a lot from him just about like how to navigate that."

And while she's been able to pass along some of this wisdom to her model-daughter, who's already had a taste of the spotlight, fame is a wholly different thing than it was during her first go-round.

"For me, I was able to tack [social media] on to what I was already doing," she said. "I think for this young generation, it all happens at once in such a big, huge way. In some ways, I wasn't able to guide [Kaia]. And also I don't speak that language natively, you know, in some ways she has to teach me, she's like, 'Mom, quit hashtagging.'"

Though Crawford claimed she's not as well versed in social media as her daughter, she still insists she has the upper hand on taking photos.

"When Kaia asked me to [take photos], I'm like, 'Let's try this, let's try this,'" she explained. "And then if I ask her to do it for me, my eyes are closed in every single one. So yeah, I usually find like an assistant because they're getting paid." She added, "The self-timer became essential for selfies because my arms aren't quite long enough for my good angle."

Listen to the full episode and subscribe on Apple, PlayerFM, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts. And tune in weekly to Ladies First with Laura Brown hosted by InStyle's editor in chief Laura Brown, who speaks to guests like Michelle Pfeiffer, Emily Ratajkowski, Cynthia Erivo, Naomi Watts, La La Anthony, Ellen Pompeo, Rep. Katie Porter, and more to discuss current events, politics, some fashion, and, most importantly, the major firsts in their lives.

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