“To be able to say NO [to work], you have to be HAPPY, and I am. I am BALANCED”
and Cosima, three. “Matthew and I decided that it wasn’t a healthy environment in which to raise children. Now they are in a country school and it is completely private. It's bliss.”
The couple bought their countryside home 13 years ago after falling in love with it from afar and knocking on the door to see whether the owners would sell. “We were looking for somewhere to get married and we thought it would be lovely to live in a place that had all our memories together from the beginning. So once we bought the place, we got married in a nearby chapel and had the party at the house.”
The quiet country life could spell tedium for someone as high profile as Schiffer, but despite the risqué Guess? images, she is not a natural show-off. In fact, she says, she has
been plagued with shyness her whole life.
“When I started modeling I wouldn’t say a word,” she remembers. “I literally wouldn’t open my mouth. If someone talked to me I would go bright red, and I spent the whole time praying that I wasn’t the next person in the pictures, as I hated being the center of attention.” Modeling seems an odd choice of career then and, in fact, she never intended it to be so – spotted at a disco in Dusseldorf aged 17, near her hometown of Rheinberg in Germany, she thought of it as a hobby at first, imagining she may become a lawyer like her father.
Yet 26 years later, Schiffer is still one of the most in-demand models in the world, although she is very selective about what she says yes to. “To be able to say no you have to be happy in yourself, and I am,” she says. “I am balanced and, though I am shy, I am secure and safe. I’m also secure in my position in fashion as I know I worked really hard over a long period of time.”