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As a baby, Brooke Shields was the face of Ivory Soap. At age 3, she toddled down the catwalk for the first time. She was so striking in appearance that by age 8, she was featured in a toothpaste ad - that didn't even show her teeth. The same year, she landed her first movie role in "Alice, Sweet Alice." Brooke became the first child client of Ford models, the casting agency for the world's most beautiful women. At the tender age of 12, she became a national phenomenon when she portrayed Violet, the pre-teen prostitute in French director Louis Malle's film, "Pretty Baby." At the point when most young stars crash and burn or end up in rehab, Brooke Shields ended up at Princeton University, graduating in 1987 with honors in French literature.
Perhaps more striking than her beauty or her intelligence is that after 30 years in the entertainment industry, it is virtually impossible to find anyone who dislikes Brooke. While she professes to have been a "brat" as a child, no one seems to recall it. On the contrary, Brooke is known for having a wicked sense of humor.
What she never had was privacy. Brooke grew up in front of cameras. Her face has been used to sell fashion magazines and products ranging from IBM to Revlon. She was featured on the cover of Life three times, and was utilized as "The Face of the Eighties" on Time magazine. However, life was not always perfect. Her mother was distinctly overbearing, and some of the decisions she made early in Brooke's career are reflected today - in the nude photos of a coifed, 10-year-old Brooke circulating on the Internet.
Along the way to college, Brooke somehow managed to have some "normal" childhood experiences - like participating in a school internship at the San Diego Zoo and developing a ghastly crush on singer George Michael (who later revealed to the world that he was gay). Of course, what made Brooke's crush different than any other high school girl's was that she actually met and started to date the superstar. However, while she was smitten, George was not. He dumped the young, sensitive Brooke the week before she left for college. She cried for a week.
When Brooke went off to college, she wrote a book entitled, "On Your Own," about college life - for which she received flack. She laughs when she thinks back to the experience. While she notes that some of the advice she gave remains pragmatic, she also acknowledges that her childhood and perceptions were "different from the norm." And, while she started out to write lofty theories on coping with freshman life, her editor turned the book into a "Dick and Jane" commentary peppered with such phrases as, "I like school," and, "School makes me happy." It wasn't exactly what Brooke had in mind.
Although Brooke has always tried to maintain
her privacy and keep her private relationships out of the public
eye, it hasn't always worked. When she developed a friendship with
pop star Michael Jackson, the two became fodder for countless trashy
tabloid headlines; and Brooke was hounded by paparazzi during her
1999 divorce from professional tennis player Andre Agassi. Now,
her TV series, "Suddenly Susan," is approaching the end of its final
season. Yet Brooke has managed to keep the external intrusions and
the challenges in perspective, and she just keeps moving forward.
One gets the sense that no matter how much she has already accomplished,
Brooke is just getting started.
Brooke Shields Filmography:
1999 The Bachelor
1999 The Weekend
1999 "The Almost Perfect Bank Robbery" (TV)
1999 After Sex
1999 Black and White
1998 The Misadventures of Margaret
1998 "AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Movies" (TV)
1997 Scratch the Surface
1996 "Suddenly Susan" (TV Series)
1995 "Nothing Lasts Forever" (TV mini-series)
1994 The Seventh Floor
1993 "I Can Make You Love Me" (TV)
1992 Un Amore Americano
1992 Running Wild
1990 Backstreet Dreams
1989 Brenda Starr
1989 Speed Zone!
1988 "The Diamond Trap" (TV)
1984 The Muppets Take Manhattan
1984 "Wet Gold" (TV)
1981 Endless Love
1980 The Blue Lagoon
1979 Just You and Me, Kid
1979 Wanda Nevada
1978 King of the Gypsies
1978 Pretty Baby
1977 "The Prince of Central Park" (TV)
1977 Holy Terror
1977 Alice, Sweet Alice
Photo Credit: Everett Collection
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