Elle Macpherson biography: where is the 90s supermodel now?

Born Eleanor Nancy Macpherson on 29 March 1964, Australian model Elle Macpherson is also a businesswoman, television host, and actress. Following her record five cover appearances for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue — beginning in the 1980s — she earned the nickname “The Body” for her stunning height and athletic figure.

Elle graced the covers of several famous magazines like British and Australian Vogue, New Yorker, Cosmopolitan, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar. She also modeled for big brands like Perry Ellis, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Louis Vuitton and featured in Revlon, Christian Dior, Omega, and many other ad campaigns.

As a businesswoman, she is the founder, primary model, and creative director for a series of business ventures, including Elle Macpherson Intimates (a lingerie line) and The Body (a line of skincare products). In television, she has been the host and executive producer of Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model from 2010 to 2013. She is also an executive producer of NBC’s Fashion Star and hosted the first season.

Elle’s acting career features starring roles in the films South Kensington and The Edge. She has also had other supporting roles in films like Batman and Robin and The Mirror Has Two Faces. She featured in a recurring role in the comedy sitcom Friends and has hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live.

With such an incredibly impressive CV and list of accomplishments, Elle Macpherson is arguably one of the most successful entertainers alive. She has touched different industries and left her mark, and more interestingly, stayed relevant through the evolving times. There is so much to learn about her, and we hope to cover s much ground as possible in this article. Firstly, here are ten interesting facts about Elle.

10 facts about Elle Macpherson

  1. Elle Macpherson, the Australian model, was actually born Eleanor Nancy Gow in Killara. Macpherson is her stepfather’s last name, and it was misused to register her in a new school when she was young.
  2. Elle’s parents got divorced when she was just ten years old, and she moved with her mother and two siblings.
  3. Macpherson got admission into Sydney University to study Law, but before resuming school, she spent a year in the US to raise money for her books by doing modeling work.
  4. Elle’s nude appearance in the 1994 film Sirens sent the media on a frantic search for her nude photos, and in their desperate attempts, they contacted her ex-boyfriends. She then appeared in a nude pictorial in the May 1994 issue of Playboy magazine on her own terms.
  5. In 1999, the twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda honored Macpherson by using her face on a series of postage stamps, the first model to appear on legal tender.
  6. Elle Macpherson is so popular that the Australian government offered her a position on its tourist commission as an unofficial ambassador.
  7. In 1999, Elle appeared in five episodes of the American TV series Friends as Joey Tribbiani’s roommate and eventual girlfriend, Janine Lecroix.
  8. Between 11 and 22 July 1997, William Ryan Holt and Michael Mischler broke into her Los Angeles home while she was away on business in Chicago and stole an estimated $100,000 worth of jewelry, $6,000 in cash, and several photographs.
  9.  In Australia, she is an ambassador for the Smile Foundation, which helps the families of children with rare diseases and organizes government research grants.
  10. According to several sources, Macpherson has a staggering net worth of $95 million.

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Early life and education

Elle Macpherson was born in Killara, New South Wales, in 1964 to entrepreneur and sound engineer Peter Gow, a former president of the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, a Sydney rugby league team, and Frances Gow, a nurse of Scottish descent. Elle was 10 when her parents divorced, and she moved with her mother and two siblings. Her mother later married multimillionaire Neil Macpherson, and it is the last name that she now bears today.

Elle attended Killara High School, completing her Higher School Certificate in 1981. She also briefly studied law for one year at the University of Sydney.

Modeling career – which supermodel was nicknamed “the body”?

Elle Macpherson the body

Macpherson enrolled to study law at Sydney University. However, before beginning her university studies, she visited the United States to spend a year doing modeling work to earn money to pay for her law books. She ended up in New York City, where she signed a contract with Click Model Management. Elle’s official debut as a model came with a TV advertisement of the Coca-Cola company manufactured diet cola soft drink called Tab. The famed commercial gave her a “girl next door” image in her homeland of Australia.

The following years had her featuring on magazine covers like New York, Australian and British Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Time, and Elle. She also became the long-time face of the French luxury skincare company Biotherm in 1985.

In 1996, Frank DeCaro of The New York Times cited Macpherson, along with Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen, and Claudia Schiffer as “The Magnificent Seven”. Macpherson emerged as one of the new generations of supermodels in the company of the likes of Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Paulina Porizkova, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington, and Linda Evangelista.

One of the high points in her modeling career is her featuring in the annual Swimsuit Issue of American Sports Illustrated magazine in 1986. She went on to create a record of gracing the cover of the Swimsuit Issue for five years — in 1986, 1987, 1988, 1994, and 2006. In 1989, after featuring on the cover of Time Magazine, she got nicknamed Elle ‘the body’ Macpherson.

Elle has modeled for fashion houses, luxury retail companies, and fashion designers like Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior, and Donna Karan. She has also worked with renowned fashion photographers like Bob Carlos Clarke, Steven Meisel, Ellen von Unwerth, and Francesco Scavullo.

Acting career

Macpherson made her film debut playing an artist’s model in the 1994 film Sirens. She featured as a model in the 1990 Woody Allen American romantic fantasy film Alice. In 1999, she appeared in five episodes of the American TV series Friends as Joey Tribbiani’s roommate and eventual girlfriend, Janine Lecroix. She further appeared in other productions such as Jane EyreIf Lucy Fell, among others.

Elle appeared in the controversial role of a woman experimenting with bisexuality on the Showtime cable network miniseries A Girl Thing. Her other features include films like South Kensington, the TV film The Beautiful Life, where she played agent Claudia Foster.

As Julie Madison in Batman & Robin

Batman & Robin is a 1997 American superhero film based on the DC Comics characters Batman and Robin. The film follows the titular characters as they attempt to prevent Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy from taking over the world while at the same time struggling to keep their partnership together. It is also, to date, the only live-action film appearance of Batgirl, portrayed by Silverstone, who helps the title characters fight the villains.

Macpherson starred in a supporting role as Julie Madison, Bruce Wayne’s girlfriend. Julie proposes to Bruce, but he does not respond out of fear for her safety.

Elle Macpherson as Julie Madison in Batman and Robin, alongside George Clooney
Elle Macpherson as Julie Madison in Batman and Robin, alongside George Clooney

Also read: Penn Badgley and Cardi B | 5 celebrity friendships we didn’t see coming.

As an entrepreneur

Macpherson launched the lingerie collection ‘Elle Macpherson Intimates’ in 1990, partnering with Bendon Limited Apparel. It soon scored international success and emerged as the single top-selling lingerie line in Australia and Great Britain.

After leaving her agency Ford Models in 1994, Elle formed her own modeling company, Elle Macpherson Inc. It went on to serve as the financial, organizational base for her endeavors from that point forwards. She produced her own series of calendars, each of which was accompanied by a “making of” television program in 1992, 1993, and 1994. She used this as a stepping stone to creating the Your Personal Best – The Body series of workout videos.

In 2014, Macpherson co-founded WelleCo and released its flagship product, an alkalizing wellness supplement named The Super Elixir.

As a TV host

Macpherson took over from Lisa Snowdon in 2010, becoming the new host of Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model. She also serves as executive producer on the show. Elle is also the host and executive producer of NBC’s reality competition series Fashion Star.


Macpherson is a European Ambassador for RED, an initiative set up by Bono and Bobby Shriver to raise money and awareness for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. She is an ambassador for UNICEF and Smile Foundation in Australia, which helps the families of children with rare diseases and organizes government research grants.

Macpherson has also modeled for charitable causes including fundraising for 2007 British flood victims, and child welfare group Absolute Return for Kids.

Elle Macpherson relationships

Macpherson first got married at the young age of 22, but before then, she was involved in a brief relationship in her teens. Records of her dating life go back to the early 1980s when she was romantically associated with musician Billy Joel. Nothing became of the relationship, however. In 1984, she met French fashion photographer and Creative Director of Elle magazine, Gilles Bensimon. The two got married in May 1986 but got divorced after three years.

Elle Macpherson 90s

Elle was in a relationship with Arpad Busson, a London-based French financier, from 1996 to July 2005. Though they never got married, they have two sons together: Arpad Flynn Busson and Aurelius Cy Andrea Busson. The family lived together in London until their separation in July 2005.

Elle Macpherson on Vogue Cover
Elle and her sons

Much later after her separation from Arpad, Elle started dating Jeffrey Soffer, a hotel heir and billionaire from Miami, Florida. They got engaged in March 2013 and tied the knot in July that year. Sadly, in 2017, the couple announced that they were getting a divorce.

In July 2018, it was reported that Macpherson was dating British ex-physician and anti-vax activist Andrew Wakefield.

Latest news- Elle Macpherson now

According to Domino, Elle has been mostly busy managing her businesses. “I am based in Miami, and my two businesses are in Australia. My lingerie business ‘Elle Macpherson Body’ is based in Melbourne, and WelleCo’s head office is on the other side of Australia in Cottesloe, Western Australia. Both companies distribute globally, so coordinating everything, everyone in the different time zones (10 to 12 hours) can be a logistical whirlwind,” she explained in a recent interview.

Net worth

From the long list of endeavors Macpherson has been involved in over the years, and the corresponding successes, it won’t come as a surprise that she has a handsome net worth. Celebrity Networth and many other sources report that she is currently worth $95 million.


Fulfillment! That is the word that comes to mind. To have started out so young, and crushed it every step of the way is not a common feat. Elle successfully diversified her portfolio into entrepreneurship and other aspects of entertainment, excelling at all. With thriving businesses, thriving TV shows, and many productive years still ahead, Elle is indeed accomplished. We hope that she lives the rest of her days in sound health.

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