Moms Who Made it Big: Cindy Crawford's Ever-Evolving Career Path

Cindy Crawford Decisions about having children are tough for any career woman, but when giving birth could actually ruin your professional life as you know it and cut short the career you've loved and mastered, those decisions can be especially grueling. Think of how difficult it could be, say, for an iconic supermodel, who could potentially trade her figure, fortune and lifestyle in exchange for bearing children.

"The timing is never going to be right," says supermodel, entrepreneur and mother of two Cindy Crawford, who noted that having children is a difficult choice for any woman, no matter what her field. There is always some reason to put it off. "For us, the question wasn't about the right time, but the right person. Rande (Gerber) is the reason I wanted to get married and have children." She firmly believes that it wasn't any particular point in her career that determined the right time to start a family--it was more about finding the perfect partner for the journey.

That's a very un-Hollywood sentiment, but one most of the rest of the country would probably applaud. So many celebrities seem to have babies almost as a fashion accessory, giving little or no thought to whether or not a daddy is in the picture. But then, Crawford has never taken the typical Hollywood path. Still modeling, (although not as much) endorsing, fund raising and actively mothering two daughters, Kaia, 10 and Presley, 12, Crawford has allowed her career to merge organically with her life.

Growing up gracefully

She's 45 years old, and not afraid to admit it -- which also goes against the Hollywood grain. Rather than desperately trying to hide her age, she embraces it, and believes that it enhances her career. "Now those who followed me when they were in their 20s are in their 40s, and they relate to me as a wife and mother," she says. It's as if we all grow up and take on adult responsibilities together. Her close friend Brooke Shields -- who was with her the day AOL caught up with her at a fitness event and fund raiser for Much Love pet adoptions, presented by Pepsi's new flavored fitness water Propel Zero -- is in the same boat.

The event was the perfect example of how Crawford's career evolves with her personal life. Held at the breathtaking Church Estate Vineyard in Malibu, not far from her home, it was called Propel Zero to 1,000, and was meant to encourage people to add 1,000 minutes of moving to their lives, and what better way to do that than by walking an adopted dog?

She's not encouraging people to run marathons or do extreme sports; she's merely suggesting that busy people do something realistic -- like becoming healthier, and rescuing a pet. She and her two "Morkies," rescued Maltese and Yorkshire terrior mixes, led everyone and their dog on a 20-minute walk, all the while sipping Propel, which she not only endorses, she actually drinks -- a lot!

Lifestyle vs. career

Her product selections for endorsement have also changed over the years. No one will ever forget Crawford's iconic Pepsi commercials, which made a big splash during the Super Bowl. That advertising campaign was legendary. But now she's "graduated" to being the spokesperson for another Pepsi product, Propel Zero. "I try to select products that fit my lifestyle," she says. "Water is almost all I drink now, and I can give it to my girls. It makes sense for a healthy lifestyle."

Crawford led quite the exciting life in her 20s and early 30s -- appearing on countless magazine covers, fashion spreads, advertisements, television shows, you name it. She also married and divorced Richard Gere, an actor known for his intellectual pursuits, and Crawford could keep up, having graduated as valedictorian from DeKalb High School in Illinois, and receiving an academic scholarship to study chemical engineering at Northwestern.

Once she met famous club owner Rande Gerber, however, she decided to make a change and settle down. They were married in 1998 and had their first child about 13 months later. Crawford gave up full-time modeling in 2000 for other pursuits that were more compatible with her lifestyle at the time, and has been making decisions based on that ever since.

Sure, everything has to be infinitely easier and more glamorous for a supermodel millionaire than it is for the rest of us average Janes -- but consider the tremendous pressure and temptation of her world, as compared to ours. If Cindy Crawford can adjust her career to fit her lifestyle, rather than adjust her lifestyle to fit her career, maybe we can too. She somehow gives us permission.

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