Man, they just don’t make them like Veruschka anymore. Most fashion models reach the heights of their profession by being as blank a canvas as possible, but not her. Veruschka not only had an unusual directness about her modeling style (she almost seems to be daring the viewer in some way), but a dramatic backstory that borders on the unbelievable. Born Vera Gottliebe Anna Gräfin von Lehndorff-Steinort in East Prussia, daughter to an honest-to-God Count and Countess, her father was a member of the German resistance and was executed for plotting to kill Hitler when she was five years old. She spent the remainder of her childhood in labor camps or homeless. Somehow she made it Florence to study art where, at 20 years old, she was discovered and eventually wound up in front of the cameras of Irving Penn, Richard Avedon and David Bailey. She’s often considered the face of the ’60s “youthquake,” possibly because she was particularly adept at working the more outrageous and avant-garde styles of the day. She retired in 1975, complaining of Vogue editor in chief Grace Mirabella “She wanted me to be bourgeois, and I didn’t want to be that.” Which is kind of funny, because we don’t think this one-of-a-kind supermodel/Countess/war orphan could be anything so dull if she tried.
[Photo Credit: Pinterest, Worthpoint.com, eBay]
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