Not My Job: Supermodel Cindy Crawford Gets Quizzed On Scale Models Cindy Crawford obviously knows everything there is to know about modeling. But what about scale modeling? You know, building those detailed miniature versions of things? We'll find out.

Not My Job: Supermodel Cindy Crawford Gets Quizzed On Scale Models

Not My Job: Supermodel Cindy Crawford Gets Quizzed On Scale Models

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Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Cindy Crawford attends the CHANEL Dinner For NRDC 'A Celebration Of Art, Nature And Technology' held on May 31, 2013 in Los Angeles.
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Cindy Crawford obviously knows everything there is to know about modeling — and shares some of that wisdom in her new memoir Becoming. But what about scale modeling? You know, building those detailed miniature versions of things? We'll quiz Crawford on the origins of model planes, an unlikely scale model world record, and more.


And now the game where we ask famous people about obscure things. About 30 years ago, when a young model name Cindy Crawford asked to reschedule a shoot with a photographer here in her hometown of Chicago so that she could take a gig out of town, the photographer said if you canceled on me, I will never work with you again. And she canceled on him and he kept his word. We're kind of worried about what happened to her since, so we're glad to check in with her. Cindy Crawford, welcome to WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME.



SAGAL: So as everybody knows who has, say, looked at a magazine or a music video or just about anything in the last 30 years, you did OK despite that blow. But you were born near here in Chicago, right?

CRAWFORD: I am. I'm from DeKalb, which is about 60 miles straight west.

SAGAL: Yeah, DeKalb, it was - when you were growing up there - was sort of a farm town turning into a suburb. Is that about right?

CRAWFORD: It was a small town surrounded by cornfields. And it was a great place to grow up.

SAGAL: Did you have dreams growing up there of being, well, frankly, a supermodel, being internationally famous and et cetera?

CRAWFORD: No, I mean, I wouldn't have even know to dream a dream like that. I did, though, know at a very young age - like, I wanted something different. And I felt like - I remember thinking, oh, I want to be the first woman president or a nuclear physicist just because those were - those are two big jobs.

SAGAL: Yeah, they are.

CRAWFORD: Yeah, I was like, I want to do something big.

SAGAL: You were. You did some modeling in high school, right?

CRAWFORD: Yeah, I started my junior year of high school.

SAGAL: Was that off to be an actual model in high school?

CRAWFORD: Well, it definitely beat working in the cornfields.

SAGAL: Yeah.

CRAWFORD: I used to do that for minimum wage.

SAGAL: Oh, yeah, 'cause you write in your book that you used to, like, detassel corn in the summer.

CRAWFORD: Yeah, everyone did.


CRAWFORD: Detasseling.

POUNDSTONE: Detasseling?

AMY DICKINSON: How do you do that?

SAGAL: Cindy Crawford - I would like Cindy Crawford, supermodel, to explain detasseling corn. Go ahead.

CRAWFORD: Well, OK, so you walk down every row by row of corn. And you cut the tassels off or tear the tassels off or snap the tassels off of every plant so they don't cross-pollinate. It sounds very scientific, but...

PETER GROSZ: It sounds scientific. It just amounts to, like, ripping the tops of corn off.

SAGAL: Welcome to this week's episode of Agronomy with Cindy Crawford. I love this. Now, there's a...

CRAWFORD: Next week we'll talk about when we had to give the plants shots because we did that also.

SAGAL: You were walking up and down the rows injecting corn?


POUNDSTONE: You had to give the plants shot? And then did somebody come behind you with lollipops?

CRAWFORD: No, little Band-Aids.

SAGAL: Now, you tell this story - again, in your book - 'cause I know the guys and the gals at Northwestern are very proud of this - that you went to Northwestern for a short period of time, right?

CRAWFORD: I did, but as my children will never let me forget - they're like, but you dropped out, Mom.

SAGAL: Really?

GROSZ: Well, you know what, Cindy, I graduated from Northwestern and you didn't miss anything. I think you did OK.

SAGAL: And you were going...


SAGAL: You were going to be a chemical engineering major.

CRAWFORD: Yeah, I know, crazy.

SAGAL: No, it's not crazy.

CRAWFORD: It's good party trivia. Like, I pull it out at dinner parties.

POUNDSTONE: You know what...

SAGAL: You would have changed the reputation of chemical engineers forever.

DICKINSON: I know, really.

SAGAL: You would've - like, the entire understanding of chemical engineers would've been changed if you had become one. People are like, you take off that sexy dress. Who do you think you are, a chemical engineer?


SAGAL: You can't go out like that. I don't want my daughter dressing like a chemical engineer.



SAGAL: I - we want to talk about your mole. Or, as it is called, the mole, the most famous mole in fashion.


SAGAL: And you write that - this is, of course, your beauty mark on your - just above your left lip. Do you - did you ever feel self-conscious about it?

CRAWFORD: Oh, absolutely. I mean, my sisters, they - because that's what sisters do - told me that if it was on the right side, it's a beauty mark. But, unfortunately, the left side makes it an ugly mark.

SAGAL: That is mean, even for a sister.

CRAWFORD: I did mean things to them, too.

SAGAL: (Laughter).

CRAWFORD: I probably deserved it. But, you know, as a kid, anything that makes you different, you're self-conscious of. So I kind of always grew up, you know, a little - feeling weird about it. And I got teased about it in high school. Kids would be like, hey, you got chocolate on your face, you know. And it would be, like, the senior guys when you're a freshman girl. And you would just, like, put your head down and, like, never go up the main stairway again. And even as a model, when I first started going to agencies and some photo shoots, they would retouch it up or put makeup on it. But when I did do my first Vogue cover with Richard Avedon, they left it in. And it was kind of like, wow, if it's good enough for Vogue, then it wasn't even a question anymore.

SAGAL: All right, I'm going to ask you this.


SAGAL: Everybody, I think, has had the experience of going on FaceTime or Skype or whatever and you turn it on, and you see an image of yourself looking at the camera. And there's that shriek of horror...


SAGAL: ...To find out what you look like.

CRAWFORD: Oh, yeah.

SAGAL: Please tell me that you, Cindy Crawford, do that too.

CRAWFORD: Oh, that's 100 percent - like when it's down in your lap and you look down and it's bad lighting. And you're like, who is on my phone? Like, you realize it's you and that's even scarier. Oh, my gosh.

SAGAL: It's probably worse...

CRAWFORD: It's worse than that clown - worse than that scary clown you were talking about.

SAGAL: I know. Those - I only wish - and Apple, if anybody out there is listening - if there could be some software so that when I turn on my iPad and look at it, my own image, I see Cindy Crawford's.


SAGAL: I think everybody would feel better.

CRAWFORD: Well, I say in the book, even I don't wake up looking like Cindy Crawford.


SAGAL: You have the best chance of all of us. Well, Cindy Crawford, it is a pleasure to talk to you. We have asked you here to play a game we're calling...

BILL KURTIS, BYLINE: Sweetie, OK. Look up, look right, make love to the camera, baby. Yes, that's it.

SAGAL: Now, that has nothing to do with the game we're going to play. We just wanted to hear Bill say it.


SAGAL: You know everything about modeling. Why would we ask you about that? But what do you know about making models? We're going to ask you about the other kind of model, the scale model kind. Get two out of three questions right, you'll win our prize for one of our listeners, Carl's voice on their voice mail. Bill, who is supermodel Cindy Crawford playing for?

KURTIS: Brian Day of Columbia, S.C.

SAGAL: All right, ready to do this? You ever make models when you were a kid or with your kids?

CRAWFORD: Legos, do those count?

SAGAL: No. All right, that's good. Here's your first question about models. Dr. Henry Tribe of Birmingham, England holds a Guinness world record because he created what? A - a one-to-one scale model of his own house, which critics say is just another house.


SAGAL: B - the world's largest model of an E. Coli bacterium; or C - the world's largest collection of model cuts of meat.

CRAWFORD: Oh, my God. What kind of answers are those?

SAGAL: One of them is true.

CRAWFORD: What was B? I think I might have to go with - yeah, I got to go with B.

SAGAL: Very good. You're right.


SAGAL: He does, in fact, have the Guinness world record for the largest - he has the Guinness world record for the largest model of an E. Coli bacterium.

CRAWFORD: OK, he needs to get a life.

SAGAL: I was about to - no, it's not him who needs to get a life. It's the guy with the second biggest. 'Cause he put so much effort into it and he didn't even get the record. All right, here is your next question. That was very good. Model airplanes were all the rage in the '50s and '60s. But some think the model airplanes were actually invented by whom? A - the Wright Brothers, who followed up their successful first flight with the first souvenir model kit; B - the French philosopher Voltaire, who used to torment his enemies with paper airplanes during arguments; or C - the ancient Egyptians who were taught to make airplanes by aliens.

CRAWFORD: I'm going to go with the Wright Brothers.

SAGAL: The Wright Brothers. That would have been brilliant for them to, like, sell little models after they, you know, made the plane. But no, it was actually, according to some, the ancient Egyptians. The Saqqara Bird is a sculpture of a bird. It's from about 300 BC. And some believe - like, say, Ben Carson - it is actually a model airplane, proof that the ancient Egyptians knew how to fly. Other experts say this is so much horse pucky (ph). All right, now this - if you get this one right, you win. Now, modeling can be dangerous. In 2011, a man went to the emergency room after what happened in England? A - he tried to ride his large-scale model train when it derailed from its tracks and fell on top of him.


SAGAL: B - a man tied a model plane to each arm and jumped off a roof...

DICKINSON: Oh, come on.

SAGAL: ...And it didn't work; or C - a man tried to look inside his scale-model TARDIS time machine from "Dr. Who" and permanently glued it to his face.


CRAWFORD: OK, I have to go for A with the train.

SAGAL: The train? You're right.




SAGAL: Bill, how did Cindy Crawford do on our quiz?

KURTIS: She got two out of three. And that means she won.

SAGAL: Congratulations.


SAGAL: Cindy Crawford is a former chemical engineering major at Northwestern who went on to other things. She has a wonderful new book from Rizzoli called "Becoming." It's out now. Cindy Crawford, thank you so much for joining us.

CRAWFORD: Thank you. So much fun.

DICKINSON: Thanks, Cindy.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.


KRAFTWERK: (Singing) I saw her on the cover of the magazine. Now she's a big success. I want to meet her again.

SAGAL: In just a minute, Bill tells you why you should never fly in a plane with Kenny G. It's the Listener Limerick challenge. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to join us on the air. We'll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME from NPR.

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