Born February 2, 1954
Height 5' 8"
Dress size 7-9
Ethnicity White American
Curvaceous California girl Christie Brinkley stumbles upon a modeling career while studying art in Paris in the mid-1970s and begins her career shooting a cover for Parents magazine. She had expected to be modeling clothes but "they hand me this yellow bikini, and I was absolutely scared to death to walk out of the dressing room."
But bikini bravery becomes a Brinkley benchmark when she is hired by Sports Illustrated swimsuit editor Julie Campbell and debuts the first tanga to appear in the magazine's every-popular annual swimsuit issue (CB7501).
A generation removed from Suzi Parker and Lauren Hutton, Brinkley rapidly becomes a favorite bikini model, grabbing the cover spot on Cosmopolitan in 1977 (CB7710) and again in 1979, and on Sports Illustrated in 1979 (CB7905), 1980 and 1981.
Brinkley's bikini career always hinged at wearing the smallest bikinis (CB7950, CB8205), but it is not until the early 1980s that she reintroduces bare-butted designs in Sports Illustrated, wearing a string halter and tanga in 1980 (CB8001), and introducing the maillot g-string the following year (CB8101). It is suffice to say that after Christie, all the supermodels tangaed. Not only Kim and Elle and Paula, but all the rest too.
By the early 1980s Brinkley has become the world's top-earning model, making the cover of Life (CB82P1), headlining Eileen Ford's model book, and posturing for People (CB8601). Among the supermodels, only the slightly older Cheryl Tiegs rivals her preeminence as a media bikiniite and cover girl, especially for magazines like Cosmo and Glamour.
Rivals and the Next Generation
Although few of Brinkley's elder peers are prepared to go head to head with her endless buttage exposures (for example CB8401), some, including rival Tiegs, are prepared to bend the rules in an arena where Brinkley draws a firm line, that of the topless bikini. Although Brinkley is prepared to flirt with nudity (CB8501), overt nudity demarcates her generation, for the younger models, starting with Janice Dickinson and continuing through the 1960s-born Cindy Crawford and Stephanie Seymour, express no such reserve, and pose topless and nude.
Brinkley brings the v-kini and the tanga to mainstream.