I recently returned from a trip to London where one of the highlights was catching up with my bestie Yasmin Le Bon (aka Yassy). We met for a long lunch with our husbands, and catching up with Yassy always brings back memories of us as young girls just starting out in the modeling industry. It’s been a while since I’ve seen her as she resides in London and I’m now in Bali. Yet despite time and distance, Yassy and I can always pick up where we left off much like the first time we met. She’s been my “person” for the past thirty years.
I first met Yassy in the late 1980s at the Grand Hotel Fiera in Milan. I was booked for a week of shows and fittings in Milan fashion week. Milan's influence as a global fashion capital meant the shows were becoming more important to designers and the models. A typical show schedule in Milan was 20 shows and fittings in a span of five days! Thankfully, an espresso is always around the corner.
On that day, I recall checking into my hotel and the desk clerk handing my room key, and to my surprise, a Jean-Paul Gaultier carrier bag. The desk clerk mentioned that the gift was from another guest by the name of Yasmin Parvaneh.
Yasmin Le Bon, Gail Elliott & Christy Turlington
I had heard of Yasmin Parvaneh (her maiden name before marrying Simon Le Bon, lead singer of the iconic band Duran Duran). She was fast becoming one of the hottest models of the moment and we also shared agents in London, Milan and Paris. She was also all over the British press having been Simon’s date to the London premiere of the new Raiders of the Lost Ark movie. I was booked to be in the upcoming Duran Duran video for the new James Bond flick, A View To A Kill. I had also admired her work and so I was very interested in meeting her.
After opening the package (a lovely Gaultier cashmere scarf), I called her room to thank her for the beautiful gift and we arranged to meet at the hotel bar later that evening. We immediately hit it off. We spoke for hours in that hotel bar chatting until two in the morning. And we have been inseparable ever since.
After that night in Milan, we both went on to have very successful careers and continued to work together doing editorials, fittings, and runway shows in Milan, Paris, London and New York. We became part of a group of twenty-five girls who worked consistently doing shows, editorials, and covers. Though these days the Internet has vastly changed the model landscape, we were just a small and tight knit group of working models supporting another. And for that reason, many of us also became lifelong friends (and some my bridesmaids).
When I look back at my career, many of the best of times was working with Yassy. We were so fortunate as we were great friends able to navigate our careers together, including some big fashion moments like walking side by side at Chanel, celebrating together at Gianni Versace’s historic ‘Freedom’ show, lunches with Azzedine and the girls, great editorials together with iconic photographers, and many flights on the Concorde (one very memorable one with Naomi). Yassy has always been by my side throughout my journey in the fashion industry. She is still a force in the fashion industry and modeling today, having recently shot the new Armani campaign with famed photographer Peter Lindbergh.
I have a great admiration for her and believe she does for me as well. We have been through marriages, babies, homes, great times and even some sad moments in our lives. All the elements in life that make you grow. And she has been with me through all of them. There is an enormous amount of love, trust and respect between us and I know she would do anything for me. It’s interesting to think that my life would have been very different had I not accepted that invitation to meet Yassy at that hotel bar in Milan some thirty years back. And it’s amazing how those small decisions can have such impact on your life. Fortunately for me, I made the right choice.
Thirty years of friendship with Yassy has taught me that that your friendships are key in life as they help get you through the good and the bad.