Stephanie Seymour

US Playboy February 1993

Stephanie's Secret

Supermodel Ms. Seymour, who does so much for th clothes she's paid to wear, feels best wrapped in nothing at all

LOOK CLOSE. Keep looking. Study every pose, every photo from here to the picnic on page 77, if you haven't already, and remember one thing: There is no S on Stephanie Seymour's chest. Although you seldom see her name in print without the word supermodel attached, the S word isn't sufficient to specify Ms. S. "Celebrity" is better, but that rings of empty glamour. "Beauty" is not enough. In fact, this famously beautiful woman resists any single word. That's one of her secrets. Like anyone worth dreaming of, Stephanie is a bit of a mystery enigmatically wrapped. In this portofilo by Sante D'Orazio, she is wonderfully wrapped in nothing at all. Harper's Bazaar called her "one of the world's most sought-after and highly paid models." By way of self-definition, she tells us, "I'm a model, a mother, but mainly just a normal goil." Now, on the isle of St. Barth's in the Caribbean, you can see this superb model modeling nothing but herself. "I do love posing nude. For me the feeling in these pictures is freedom and strength. Put clothes on me and I wouldn't look pretty anymore, I'd look sad!"

Stephanie, 24, took Manhattan by storm in 1985 as the latest in a line of long, leggy cover girls launched by the Elite modeling agency. Romantically linked to Elite guru John Casablancas, Stephanie became a star. Her love life was tabloid fodder, her privacy gone for good. Soon came four stellar appearances in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue, along with fashion shoots for magazines from the West Coast to the Ivory Coast to the Côte d'Azur. Allure magazine namend Stephanie, along with her friendly rivals Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell and Elle Macpherson, as the embodiment of "perfection for the Nineties." "I don't have the perfect Barbie-doll face," she says modestly, "but I did get famous for this body." Less perfect that Stephanie's flesh was the psychic cost of stardom. First, a fling with Warren Beatty titillated celebrity hounds. Then came her relationship with Axl Rose of Guns n' Roses - producing a gossipfest that welcomed Stephanie to the jungle of heavy-metal fame. Axl gave her a $20,000 ring after a lovers' spat, the papers said. Axl reportedly canceled a concert bacause she had dumped him for Cahrlie Sheen - a story denied by Rose's spokeman. (Sheen's spokesman did confirm the romance, however.) Axl ripped "old man" Beatty's "parasitic needs" onstage in Paris. He was just sticking up for the goil he loved. "Axl is the most honest, open, bright and sensitive man I know," she says of the noted musical maniac. "I'm sad the world doesn't know him the way I do or the world would love him, too. You know what we do? We go to the grocery store and then cook. He's a little domestic head." She has a son from a marriage that ended last year. "We're toilet training now, Glamourous, huh?" Not as glamourous as her Victoria' Secret spreads, and not close to these pages.

Now for the news: "I don't think I'll do any more nudes. It's done. The pictures are strong and unique and maybe a bit shocking. I didn't hold anything back," says Stephanie "So save this issue, people. It's my grand finale." Five years ago Stephanie was in such demand on New York City's social circuit that it seemed she never slept. "Life was moving too fast," she says. Weary of that sleepless town, she returned to California, her home state. Stephanie lives in Los Angeles an communes with the sea, generally dressed in jeans an a T-shirt, not a gown. "I'm no fashion plate at home," she says. "That would be like work." Although she played Axl's bride in a Guns n' Roses video, in real life they're not Man n' Wife and aren't telling if they will be. "I don't want to jinx it," says superstitious Stephanie.

What is it about Stephanie that magnetizes men? Her eyes, which may be green or blue depending on the light, are unique. Ditto her modeling technique: A photographer friend calls it sensuous creativity. Maybe her secret is secrets. Stephanie seems to keep them behind those changeable eyes. "I am a very private person," she says. "I don't open up easily, share my feelings impulsively. I think a person's feelings should be sacred." Stephanie Seymour, supermodel? "Why not?" she asks. "I guess it's good to be a super something." Her credentials are in order. Like Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell and a few others, she is gorgeous, glamourous and seldom seen in public without a famous man beside her. But Stephanie is also a devoted mother, an independent thinker, a celebrity in her own right. More than her looks or her press clips, she is, in one fan's words, "a superwoman."