Jean Shrimpton

People | November 21, 2012

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Jean Shrimpton

Jean Shrimpton was considered to be one of the world’s first supermodels way back in the Swinging Sixties. She was born in 1942 in Buckinghamshire and began her education at a Convent School in Slough.

It was at the age of seventeen in 1960 when Jean Shrimpton was training at Secretarial College in London that the course of her life changed forever. Purely by chance she met a director who tried to cast her in a film. It didn’t work out, but he suggested that she’d make a great model.

Jean Shrimpton then enrolled in a modeling course and more or less straight away began to appear on the front covers of such exalted titles as Vogue and Vanity Fair.

Jean Shrimpton became, alongside Twiggy, perhaps one of the most famous faces of the sixties and made popular a very sexy, smouldering look of long hair with a short fringe and beautifully made up doe eyes. She provided a nice contrast in looks to the pixyish, gamine look favoured by Twiggy and other models of the era.

She’s also credited with launching the popularity of the miniskirt, at a time when women really didn’t dare to wear anything above the knee line. The sight of Jean Shrimpton visiting the races at Melbourne in 1965 wearing a very unconventional outfit of short skirt with no hat or gloves set tongues wagging and pulses racing.

Jean Shrimpton is most possibly also well known for her work with David Bailey, with whom she had a relationship for a number of years. This itself was the basis of a BBC Drama screened in 2012 called “We’ll Take Manhattan” starring Karen Gillan as Shrimpton.

Once her modelling careers ended, Jean Shrimpton married the photographer Michael Cox and their son Thaddeus was born in 1979.

The family went on to buy and run the Abbey Hotel which can be found in Penzance, Cornwall.

Shrimpton herself is now retired and according to various reports lives a more or less reclusive existence, a far cry from her origins as the face of the 1960s.

Photo by James Vaughan

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