By  on September 8, 2006

Supermodel Linda Evangelista was so in demand back in the Eighties that she famously quipped she and her sister supe Christy Turlington never got of bed for less than $10,000 a day. But as Hollywood superstars supplanted supermodels in the fashion and beauty universe, numbers like that were more of a dream than reality for many models.

In the last five years, Uma, Gwyneth, Nicole et.al. have replaced Linda, Christy, Kate and Cindy as the reigning faces of the times. Gone were the days of models in music videos, cola commercials and peering out from the cover of every major magazine in America. In their stead cavorted celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker and J.Lo, posing on countless Vogue covers, landing coveted cosmetics contracts and signing deals to produce their own perfumes.

Save for a few breakthrough names like Gisele and Carolyn Murphy—who became celebrities in their own right—models were relegated to the inside pages of magazines.

Not anymore.

It seems that the model is, at last, back. Witness Evangelista on Vogue's August issue, the first time in 14 months a model held that position, or Kate Moss on the cover of September's Vanity Fair (not to mention almost every major ad campaign this season, including Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Calvin Klein Jeans). Designer Donatella Versace, who has tapped pals like Madonna and Halle Berry for recent campaigns, went with five top models for this fall's Versace ads, while Revlon is rumored to have signed some of the hottest up-and-coming girls (the industry's favored term for a model) for a 2007 launch.

"Celebrities have become lifestyle icons. We know everything about them and we even call them by their first names," says Rochelle Udell, executive vice president, chief creative officer of Revlon. "With reality television, the whole world is a celebrity. There's a specialness about the model again. They take us into a world that is aspirational and fantastic."

What with the omnipresence of Tinseltown's brightest stars, and the profusion of publications devoted to chronicling their every move, it's no wonder that models, who are seen but rarely heard, are enjoying a resurgence. "Call it celebrity fatigue," says Charles DeCaro, a partner in the ad agency Laspata/DeCaro. "When you first saw boldface names in advertisements and magazine covers it was novel, but it's become so ubiquitous it's one big bore."

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