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Modeling’s Mother Hen: Eileen Ford

Modeling Industry Trailblazer and Model Den Mom

The matriarch of modeling, Eileen Ford, co-founder of Ford Models, passed away last week. As a teenager growing up in the 1980s, I heard stories about the strict disciplinarian from a leggy girl on my synchronized swim team. Ford signed her when she was a junior in high school and off she went to live in the Ford’s apartment on the Upper East Side. I was so envious and couldn’t believe it when the teen returned to Rochester several months later, homesick. She couldn’t stick it out. Eileen’s home was no fun house; the girls were there to work, behave and learn manners and good posture.

Ford Models

Eileen and Jerry Ford at the Ford Agency

Anecdotes from Katie Ford, Lauren Hutton, and Half a Century of Supermodels

Katie Ford, Eileen’s daughter, who later ran the agency, told me how there was a shuffle at the table when Eileen sat down—a gaggle of girls all scurrying to sit up as tall as they could. Lauren Hutton told me about Eileen insisting the gap-tooth beauty fix her teeth and her nose. She didn’t mince words. (Lauren, just as strong-willed as the agency icon, never did.)

The anecdotes about Eileen Ford go on and on. Don’t miss these fascinating articles about this modeling industry trailblazer:

Eileen Ford’s Legacy

Eileen Ford, Grande Dame of the Modeling Industry

Eileen Ford: Through the Years

Eileen Ford: Promoter of World’s Supermodels

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