The 1980s supermodel, Kathy (Marie) Ireland was born on March 8, 1963 in Santa Barbara, California. Since beginning her career as a model over twenty years ago, she has gone on to become an actress, author, enterprising businesswoman, activist and one of America’s top selling retail fashion designers.
Growing up in Santa Barbara, California with an American mother and British father allowed Kathy Ireland to have a positive outlook on life. In it, she learned about multiculturalism which is reflected in her post modelling career activities.
By the age of 15, Kathy had developed into a beautiful and stunning California teen. When she was 17, she was discovered by a scout from Elite Modeling Agency. She was an immediate hit and began being photographed by the top photographers. She made the covers of all the top fashion, beauty and women’s magazines including Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, McCall’s, People, Harper’s Bazaar, Redbook, Shape and Fit Pregnancy. However, she is most remembered for her covers and appearances in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Today, she is still considered by readers to be the favourite model and cover girl for the Swimsuit Issue.
Confident thanks to her years of experience in the fashion business as a woman, Kathy became a designer. She teamed together with the retailer Kmart and sold a line of women’s wear bearing her name.
To continue in her fashion business endeavours, she founded Kathy Ireland Worldwide (KIWW). According to Ireland who is also the company’s CEO as well as its head designer, “Our mission statement at Kathy Ireland Worldwide is to find solutions for families, especially busy moms, because that’s what I am”. She also said, “My background in modelling alerted me to images and clothing that were unrealistic. It’s important that everything under my label carry my personal involvement”.
This attitude towards business and families has earned her praise from the Associated Press and the London Times, which called her “a best friend to working mothers. Women’s Wear Daily placed her brand 7th among America’s most popular in its category. It also ranked N° 1 in Product Innovation in America by Kurt Salmon Associates, the US’s leading research firm. She was awarded the Entertainment Businesswoman of the Year Award by the National Association of Women Business Owners.
Her collections can be found in the fashion editorial pages of Elle, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Teen People, Latina; McCall’s, Glamour, Redbook, etc. along side the creations of the world’s top fashion brands including Gucci, Cartier, Donna Karan, Oscar de la Renta, Tommy Hilfiger, Liz Claiborne, and Charles Jourdan. A published marketing study also confirmed that her brand is unsurpassed in consumer loyalty by other industry leaders including Liz Claiborne, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, and Gap.
Kathy’s collections also include a women’s swim line, a successful maternity collection, an accessories collection and a successful home collection. She diversified her business activities to include retaining the services of Celebrity Ambassadors and experts to facilitate the Brand mission statement; AndreCafé.com (an integrated brand devoted to food and entertaining) and Jardin du Jour (a division of KIWW devoted to outdoor living), which debuted in 2001. The later received the Gold Medal for design excellence at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show, the US’s leading horticultural exhibition.
Kathy Ireland is a wife and mother of three children (Erik, Lily and Chloe). Her husband Greg, is an emergency room physician. Kathy is also a certified fitness instructor and Sunday school teacher. She is an activist on many socially sensitive issues and politically questions such as abortion rights.
On the 32nd anniversary of the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision (in which abortions were legalized in all fifty US states), Ireland appeared on the TV show Politically Incorrect. She took part in a debate about abortion “rights” and whether or not Florida should approve “Choose Life” license plates. In her much publicized challenge to Bill Maher, she said, “I was once pro-choice and the thing that changed my mind was… I read my husband’s biology books, medical books, and what I learned… At the moment of conception, a life starts. And this life has its own unique set of DNA, which contains a blueprint for the whole genetic makeup. The sex is determined. We know there’s a life because it’s growing and changing.”
Kathy loves acting. She had roles in Side Out, Mr. Destiny, Loaded Weapon 1 and Necessary Roughness. She guest starred in and made appearances in some of today’s most popular television shows including Strong Medicine, Touched By Angel and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She has done stage work including a role in the stage version of Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize winning Three Tall Women. She has signed deals with Viacom and NBC. In 2000, she co-starred in the highly successful Once Upon A Christmas, the PAX Network’s first original movie of the week. She later starred in the network’s sequel, Twice Upon a Christmas. She has also lent her voice to animated versions of King of the Hill, The Fantastic Four, The Hulk and Duckman. She has also appeared as herself on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, MSNBC, The Today Show, Rosie O’Donnell, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, The Main Floor, and specials on E! and VH1.
Kathy created the Dream Foundation, the US’s first and only national wish-granting organization for terminally ill adults. She is also a Dream Ambassador. Kathy represents the Dream Foundation to corporations, helping to strengthen and build the resources necessary to make dreams come true for families.
She authored the book, Powerful Inspirations: Eight Lessons That Will Change Your Life. UCLA named her as one of the top 10 women’s health advocates in America. She is a member of the Entertainment Industry Foundation.
UCLA named her as one of the top 10 women’s health advocates in America. Kathy is the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s (EIF) Ambassador for Women’s Health Issues and EIF’s Ambassador for the National Women’s Cancer Research Alliance. She is also an ambassador of Hope for the City of Hope. She is the national chair of Family Services and Parenting for Athletes and Entertainers for Kids. She is active in the Special Olympics, and partners with Feed The Children, underwriting the distribution of 170,000 pounds of food, clothing and toys to children.
Kathy created www.kathyireland.com out of her desire to provide information to the public on issues concerning fashion, home, health, family, grooming, fitness, business and travel. The award winning website has received honours from Yahoo!, USA Today and Entertainment Weekly.