Born in California, Christy Turlington Burns, 48, was scouted to be a model at 14 and went on to become one of the original supermodels. After suffering a postpartum haemorrhage in 2003, she took a masters in public health and set up non-profit organisation Every Mother Counts, addressing global maternal health. The charity has partnered with Toms shoes. She is married to actor Ed Burns, has two children and lives in New York.
When were you happiest?
Before kids, when I was 13 or so, on the back of my horse, running at full speed in an open pasture. Post kids, happiness happens often, but in more subtle ways. I now prefer the word “content”.
What is your greatest fear?
I don’t fear anything but fear itself. Fear makes humans behave inhumanely.
What is your earliest memory?
I have a collage of memories beginning around age four: my first walk alone to a store or to school, and early trips to Central America with my mom to visit her family.
Which living person do you most admire, and why?
A midwife named Jennie Joseph. She is a tireless activist for women, family health and equal access to quality maternity care.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I sometimes set unreasonably high expectations of myself and those around me.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
There are too many to name, but none of them keeps me up at night.
What makes you unhappy?
Government policy decisions that negatively impact the health and wellbeing of women and families.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Having to talk about it.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
The world does not need a film about my life.
What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
A boyfriend once told me there was always going to be someone smarter, funnier and prettier than me, which at the time felt pretty mean, but it was true.
To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
To strangers. Living in New York, I see individuals every day who are invisible to so many. I want to say sorry that so many of us think their pain and suffering is not our own.
What was the best kiss of your life?
The first kiss from my husband and every one since.
What has been your biggest disappointment?
My father’s death before my marriage, and motherhood.
If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I might speed up a few details, but wouldn’t change anything, other than my dad still being here.
How do you relax?
Yoga, running, recreational reading.
What is the closest you’ve come to death?
The birth of my daughter.
What keeps you awake at night?
The fact that at least 300,000 women die every year from pregnancy and childbirth-related issues that are largely preventable.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
That I am more than I thought I was.
How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who didn’t waste a minute.