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How Brooke Shields Became One of the Most Recognizable Faces of the Century

Whether you recognize Brooke Shields as a model, actress, or spokeswoman, you have to admit she is a pretty cool person. She has had tons of modeling and acting jobs throughout her life and the 51-year-old is still going strong. Shields is one of those celebrities that never seems to age as she is just as beautiful as she was when she was younger. Yet, she is known for more than just her good looks and has had an amazing life, including her professional one! Check out what she’s been up to after the jump.

She got her first job when she was a baby

Brooke Shields started working as a model when she was 11 months old in 1966 and it will be the start of a successful career in the modeling industry!



Her first job involved an advertisement for Ivory Soap, a personal care brand and she certainly proved at a young age that she was great in front of the camera. Apparently, the advertisers liked her because she “knew how to kiss,” which is what they wanted her to do in the ad!

She went on to do more advertisements

The Ivory Soap advertisement was not just a one-time thing and it didn’t take long for the young Shields to find more jobs as a young child model.

Eileen Ford, the co-founder of Ford Modeling Agency, became Brooke’s agent and Ford even said that Shields was the reason why she started her children’s division! The young model worked for brands such as Beck shampoo, Colgate toothpaste, and Band-Aids.

 Pretty Baby was her first movie

Brooke’s mother Teri Shields knew when her daughter was 5-years-old that she was meant to be in show business and became her manager!



Her first role in a film was a bit controversial at the time. Shields played a child prostitute in the film Pretty Baby when she was 12-years-old and the movie even featured some nude shots. Because of her young age, people thought it was considered child pornography and the movie was even banned in some places.

She remembers her first paparazzi experience

It did not take long for the world to realize how special and talented Brooke Shields was! It was no wonder that she had paparazzi following her.



Shields has recalled many times that her first encounter with the paparazzi happened when she was 12-years-old. She was in Manhattan in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldroff Astoria when the paparazzi started taking pictures of her. She recalled how she “stood like a statue wondering why they were all hired to photograph me.” 

She advertised for Calvin Klein jeans

Speaking of controversy, two years later in 1980, the teenaged Brooke Shields became a model for Calvin Klein’s jeans in both print and in a commercial.

In the advertisement, Shields is posing a bit provocatively and she says the tagline, “Do you know what comes between me and my Calvin Klein’s? Nothing.” Again, because of her age, people thought it was too inappropriate and the phrase was a sexual innuendo. Regardless, sales went up 300%!

Her first movie was actually Annie Hall

While it seems to be a common fact that Pretty Baby was Brooke Shields debut film, the actress later revealed that that isn’t entirely true!

Shields was originally in a scene in Woody Allen’s rom-com, Annie Hall, but her scene ended up being cut out. She was around 11 years old when she played a schoolgirl in the Thanksgiving pageant scene who has a crush on the younger Max Singer. It is too bad we never got to see that!

Her next film was less controversial

After Pretty Baby, the young star got even more famous and this lead to more modeling jobs and, of course, more acting roles!

Wanda Nevada (1979) was her next film where Shields played the titular character and it doesn’t have any nude scenes. She plays an orphan whom the gambler Beaudray Demerille (Peter Fonda) wins in a card game and together, they go hunt for treasure that they learn about.

Shields won the Golden Rasberry Award 3 times in the 80’s

Her next couple of movies she did in the 1980’s did not do so well and were not really that notable but it didn’t taint her career, though!

Despite all the attention she got from the film Blue Lagoon, Shields actually won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress for it! Her next two movies, Sahara and Speed Zone, were considered flops and the actress won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor for both.

Shields was the youngest Vogue cover model!

Talk about an accomplishment! Brooke Shields became the youngest model ever to be on the cover of Vogue Magazine!

In 1980, the model was only 14-years-old when she got to be on the cover of the famous fashion magazine, making her the youngest ever! Her modeling agent Eileen Ford once said, “She is a professional child and unique. She looks like an adult and thinks like one,” and a lot of people certainly agreed with her.

Her film The Blue Lagoon made some waves

Pretty Baby was not the only film Brooke Shields starred in that created a lot of controversies! Her next seemingly inappropriate movie was The Blue Lagoon.

In the 1980 movie, the 15-year-old actress played Emmeline Lestrange whose character falls in love with Richard Lestrange (Christopher Atkins) after they survive a shipwreck The movie features nude scenes between the two, although Brooke’s hair was glued to her breasts to hide them. Many people thought she was too young for the movie and child pornography was called into question again.

 Shields was the youngest guest star on The Muppet Show

Over the course of her career, Brooke Shields has been in many TV shows but back in 1980, she was remembered for being the youngest guest star to be on The Muppet Show!

In the April 1980’s episode, Shields played Alice in a muppet version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that, of course, involved a lot of shenanigans!  Miss Piggy even gets jealous of the young model!

 She was also the youngest host on Fridays

Brooke seems to have a knack for being the youngest person to do something! When she was 16, she became the youngest person ever to host Fridays!

brooke shields

Fridays was an ABC program that was similar to Saturday Night Live as it was a late-night live comedy show and featured celebrity hosts. In a 1981 episode, the young model got to host the show and even did a parody of herself!

Shields toured with Bob Hope

In the 1980’s, Shields became involved with the United Service Organizations, which brings programs, services, and entertainment to people in the military.

Bob Hope was a very active member of the USO so it was no wonder that when Shields joined the organization, she got to tour with him! This photo was taken during a skit called, “Bob Hope’s High-Flying Birthday Extravaganza,” and features the country singer Barbara Mandrell!

 The story of Endless Love

Despite the fact that Shields was still a child, she kept on being cast in mature films but she later said she never lost her innocence because of them!



Her next graphic film was Endless Love in 1981 where she played Jade Butterfield who falls in love with a guy her friend sets her up with. In the film, the couple has many sex scenes and when it was originally released, it was giving an X rating before it was eventually re-edited to fit an R rating.

 15. She appeared on international magazine covers at a very young age

Shields had quite the modeling career for someone who wasn’t even 18 yet. She had one of the most recognizable faces in the 80’s and 90’s!

Ever since her Calvin Klein’s advertisement and being on the cover of Vogue Magazine, everyone wanted a piece of Shields. Time magazine featured her on their cover in 1981 and even Playboy magazine wanted her! Her fame soon spread outside of the states when she appeared on the cover of Paris Vogue and Italian Vogue.

 She stopped acting to go to Princeton University

As famous as she was, Brooke Shields still thought getting a good education was important, which is why when she graduated from High School she went straight to an ivy league school.



Shields put her modeling and acting career on hold while she attended Princeton University from 1983 to 1987. There, she studied French literature and received her BA with honors after she graduated. She did her senior thesis on “The Initiation: From Innocence to Experience: The Pre-Adolescent/Adolescent Journey in the Films of Louis Malle, Pretty Baby and Lacombe Lucien.” Bet it was interesting to read!

 17. Shields and the King of Pop were close friends

This is probably a friendship that not a lot of people knew about! When Brooke was 13-years-old, she met the King of Pop.

It was the start of a long friendship and when Michael Jackson died in 2009, Shields was very emotional. At his funeral, she gave a tearful eulogy and said, among other things, “Both of us needed to be adults very early, but when we were together, we were two little kids having fun.”

18. Brooke Shields released her first autobiography, On Your Own in 1985

She’s a model, an actress, and in 1985, Shields became an author! She wrote and published the book On Your Own when she was studying at Princeton.

In the book, she talks about her life but also gives advice on dating, studying, and having a career. It is meant for teenagers so it also includes exercise tips and makeup tutorials! Shields also included some personal photos.

 She guest starred on Friends

There were so many famous guest stars on Friends, it is easy to forget who was on the show but Shields made a pretty memorable appearance!

NBC/Getty Images

NBC/Getty Images

She guest starred on the 1996 episode “The One After the Super Bowl” and played Joey’s stalker! Her character believed that he was actually Dr. Drake Ramoray, not just someone he plays on TV, but Joey was so mesmerized by her beauty, he couldn’t resist her no matter how creepy her character was.

20. Suddenly Susan brought her more fame

Brooke did such a good job on that Friends episode that NBC decided the actress needed her own show and gave her the starring role in Suddenly Susan!

The sitcom was about a San Francisco magazine writer who has to learn to adjust to the single life and being on her own after her long-time boyfriend dumps her. Shields stayed on the show during its entire run from 1996 to 2000 and won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Female Performer in a New Television Series!

In The Misadventures of Margaret, she played an unconventional character

At the time, this movie may have been a bit controversial in the United States but in Europe, it certainly wasn’t in 1998!

The Red List

The Red List

The Misadventures of Margaret is a French-British rom-com about a female professor who decides to write an erotic novel. Shields played Lily, a lesbian who befriends the main character.

She didn’t shy away from controversial roles in What Makes a Family

Three years after she was in The Misadventures of Margaret, Shields played another character who was a lesbian but this time, in America!

What Makes a Family was a television movie that aired on the Lifetime channel in 2001 and is based on a true story. Shields played the character Janine Nielsen who, along with her partner, decides to have a baby in Florida.

 She became a Broadway regular

She didn’t just keep her acting to movies and TV shows! Shields also performed on Broadway many times over the years.

Some of her theater productions included playing Betty Rizzo in the 1994 revival of Grease and Sally Bowles in the 1998 revival of Cabaret! Shields also was in Wonderful Town and Chicago, the latter of which she performed in London’s West End. Her most recent production was The Addams Family in 2011 where she played Morticia Addams.

Brooke Shields also starred in a lot of independent films

After Suddenly Susan was canceled in 2000, Shields continued her acting career by doing a bunch of independent films.

She starred in the movie Black and White (1999) with Robert Downey Jr. She also appeared in the rom-com The Bachelor (1999), which featured Mariah Carey in her debut film. Other notable indie films Brooke did was Mayor of the Sunset Strip (2003) and After Sex (2000).

 She talked about her new book on Oprah

Brooke Shields married her second husband, Chris Henchy, in 2001 and they have two daughters together. Later, the actress revealed that she suffered from Postpartum depression.

In her book, Down Came the Rain, Shields talks about her battle and everything that went along with it. In 2005, she appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show to talk about her experience and also to promote the book. She wants there to be a better awareness of postpartum depression!

She got into a feud with Tom Cruise

After publicly talking about her postpartum depression, Tom Cruise talked out against Shields for using the drug Paxil.


As a Scientologist, Cruise is against psychiatry and wasn’t happy that the model publicly advocated for the antidepressant. Shields fought back, defending her use and said, “let mothers decide the best way to treat postpartum depression.” Later, Cruise privately apologized and they seem to have made up because Shields went to his wedding to Katie Holmes.

 Shields played Jackie’s mother in That 70’s Show

Jackie Burkhart was known as the pretty one on That 70’s Show and when her absent mom came on the show, it was clear where she got her looks from!



During the 2004 season, Shields played Pam Burkhart, Jackie’s (Mila Kunis) mother who was always off drinking on some island. Pam goes on to date Donna Pinciotti’s (Laura Prepon) dad, Bob (Don Stark), but eventually gets written off the show when they break up.

Shields even guest-starred on Hannah Montana 

Disney channel viewers probably remember Brooke Shields as the woman who played Miley Cyrus’ mom on Hannah Montana.



In 2007, Shields was in an episode where Miley dreams about her mother Susan Stewart, who died in a car crash. Shields appeared in a couple more episodes, either as a flashback or dream as Miley/Hannah and Jackson’s mom. While Cyrus and Brooke were working together, the model took her kids to see Hannah Montana concerts!

Shields is a regular guest star

It seems like a lot of people wanted this beautiful, well-known actress to appear on their TV show as a guest and Shields was happy to be on them!



In season 4 of FX’s drama series Nip/Tuck, Brooke played Dr. Faith Wolper, Christian’s psychiatrist, for two episodes. She also appeared in Two and a Half Men as Charlie and Alan’s neighbor, Danielle. In 2005, the actress was in an episode of Entourage and they poked fun at her old film by calling the episode “Blue Balls Lagoon.”

em>. Lipstick Jungle was the next TV show she starred in

In 2008, Shield finally got to star and be a main character in a TV series. While the show didn’t last long, it was still memorable for having three beautiful, female leads!


Lipstick Jungle is about 3 professional women who are all the top of their careers and are all best friends. Besides Shields, the show also stars Kim Raver and Lindsey Price. The comedy-drama lasted 2 seasons and 20 episodes before it ended up getting canceled.

 30. She had an accident while filming Army Wives

In 2013, it was announced that the famed model and actress will be in an upcoming episode of Lifetime’s Army Wives.

Fred Norris, Lifetime

Fred Norris, Lifetime

Shields certainly remembered her first day on the set as she fell down the stairs of the C-17 plane her character was set to fly! Luckily, Shields wasn’t injured. She played Air Force Colonel Katherine “Kat” Young in an episode and her character wasn’t supposed to be clumsy like that!

Shields was a featured celebrity on Who Do You Think You Are?

Who Do You Think You Are is a genealogy documentary series on NBC that discovers what a celebrity’s family tree and heritage is.



Brooke Shields was one of the featured celebrities in the show’s first season in 2010 and we found out some interesting facts about her. Apparently, the actress is a distant cousin (on her father’s side) of King Louis XIV of France, which means she is also a descendant of Saint Louis and Henry IV!

Speaking of her heritage…

While she didn’t know she had some royal relatives in France at one point in time, Shields did know about this cool fact about her family!

The Italian princess Donna Marina Torlonia is actually Brooke’s paternal grandmother as the princess’ mother was an American socialite and her father was an Italian nobleman. So basically, Shields shares genes with a beautiful Italian princess. No shock there!

 She is a spokeswoman for Tupperware

When she isn’t being a model or actress, Shields is a spokesperson for a cause she believes is important—giving girls the confidence they need to take on the world.

Janette Beckman/Getty Images

Janette Beckman/Getty Images

In 2007, it was announced that the actress will be the global spokeswoman for the company Tupperware’s Chain of Confidence campaign, which promotes healthy lifestyles for girls while also encouraging them to have strong friendships. Brooke told NY Daily News“My friends have been the one constant throughout my life with regard to who I go to in times of need, and who I go to to share joy as well as sorrow.” 

She is an animal rights activist

Another cause she is passionate about is animal rights and has gotten the opportunity to hold many exotic animals like a mountain lion, kangaroo, and even giant snakes.

Steve Starr/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Steve Starr/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

The actress is a well-spoken vegan and an active animal rights activist. In 2010, however, PETA spoke out against Shields for endorsing a fur campaign but the model still considers herself to be a vegetarian and cares for animal rights.

She did 3 movies with Drake Bell

If you are a fan of Drake Bell movies then you have probably seen Brooke Shields in some of them as she has done 3 movies with the actor.

D Dipasupil/Getty Images

D Dipasupil/Getty Images

She was in the 2013 animated film A Monsterous Holiday with Bell, Sean Astin, and Jon Heder. The next year she did two more movies with the Nickelodeon star, Adventure Planet and Under Wraps. These are the last three movies she has done.

People loved her on The Middle

Brooke Shields played a memorable character on the ABC sitcom The Middle, playing the difficult neighbor Rita Glossner.



Rita is the mother of three horrible boys who terrorize the neighborhood and she does nothing to stop them, evening referring to them as good boys. She is also the nemesis of the main character Frankie Heck (Patricia Heaton). Shields played the awkward mom for 5 episodes in 2010 and 2012.

She did a Hallmark TV movie

When Shields was on the Today Show, she was happy to announce that her latest 2016 project was actually a movie “my kids could watch!”

She played the flower shop owner Abby Knight in the TV movie Flower Shop Mystery: Mum’s The Word. Her character used to be an NYC lawyer who has to use her detective skills after a murder happens near her. The movie is based on a novel series and Shields reprises her role for two other Flower Shop Mystery films.

Yet another autobiography

In 2014, Brooke Shields published another book about her life but this time, it was about the relationship between her and her mother.

Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images

Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images

There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me was published just two years after her mother passed away and although their relationship was complicated, Brooke loved her mom. It was Teri Shields who launched her daughter into show business and became her manager to make sure the world knew how special Brooke was!

 Brooke Shields’s Christmas special

So far in 2017, the actress has only been on screen once and it was for a Netflix variety special that aired in February. Let’s just say, it has a real interesting plot!



In Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Special, Santa’s elves accidently make way too many gifts so, in order to save Christmas, Michael Bolton has to convince people to have 75,000 more children. He does this by hosting a Valentine’s Day special that features many celebrities, including Shields, Adam Scott, Bob Saget, and more.

She’s been busy in April!

While she hasn’t done a lot of filmographies, Shields still has been a busy lady! In April, she has been especially occupied with a vacation, ball, and foundations!

Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Shields spent the first couple of days of April getting some sun and swinging from a rope in the Bahamas! Then, when she returned, she attended the opening of the Broadway play War Paint in New York City on April 6th! On the weekend, the model went to the New York Academy of Art Tribeca Ball, the sixth annual New York spring reception for Bottom Line, and the Fragrance Foundation Awards luncheon!

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