Even before the emergence of it-girls in today’s fashion scene such as Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and Bella Hadid, who promote their careers through social media, there were a number of models who caused a sensation in the 1990s and dominated the catwalks. Among them are Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Christy Turlington, and of course Niki Taylor.
Taylor, an American supermodel and television presenter, is one of the ubiquitous faces and one of the most sought-after models of the 90s. From setting a world record as the youngest model to sign a six-figure deal, to create a fashion story by appearing on the covers of six major women’s fashion and fitness magazines called the “Niki Six”, here are 5 facts you should know about the phenomenon of modeling.
Niki Taylor’s Bio
Nicole Renee Taylor was born on March 5, 1975, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the daughter of Ken, a lieutenant in the Highway Patrol, and Barbara Taylor, a photographer. She grew up in Pembroke Pines, Florida, and attended Cooper City High School.
Growing up, Niki was this very tall girl with looks and features that were made for the catwalks and magazine covers. So she slipped into modeling and established herself in the arena in no time.
Being the gorgeous daughter of a photographer has its advantages, and Niki was a recipient of such advantages. She was just debuting as a teenager when her mother took her first model photos, which were sent to local modeling agencies in Fort Lauderdale with one, Irene Marie Models, who eventually signed her.
At the age of 14, she appeared on the cover of her first magazine, an issue of Seventeen in August 1989, after which her career took an explosive boom and in the 1990s she became one of the most ubiquitous faces in the fashion industry, adorning countless catwalks and magazine covers such as Vogue, People, Marie Claire, Harpers Bazaar, Sports Illustrated.
In 1992, Niki Taylor was included in CoverGirl’s national advertising campaign and was her first voiceover model under the age of 18 to sign a major contract. Her other advertising campaigns include those for Thierry Mugler, Escada, Liz Claiborne, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Versace, Versus, Anne Klein, L’Oréal, Gap, Lee Jeans, and Pantene.
In addition, she has reached several milestones in her career and has set some records to be surpassed. At 15, she was the second-youngest person to appear on the cover of Vogue after Brooke Shields, and at 16 she was the youngest person ever to be portrayed as one of People magazine’s most beautiful people. Niki remains the only person to have simultaneously placed six huge billboards in New York Times Square, including a year-old picture of her on the three Liz Claiborne Time Square posters.
In May 1996, she also made fashion history when she appeared on the covers of six major women’s fashion and fitness magazines, including Allure, Vogue, ELLE, Marie Claire, Self, and Shape, which were later called the “Niki Six. Since then, the supermodel has appeared on the covers of over 400 magazines, with the covers of Allure magazines holding the highest record of 11. She has also walked the catwalk for top fashion designers like Chanel and Givenchy.
After a break from the industry in 2001, she made a comeback as a model in September 2016. Effortlessly and gracefully, the ageless supermodel returned to the front row of the arena with an infectious smile, doing what she does best – photographing covers, editorials, and features for major magazines – and has become a fixture in the fashion and mainstream press.
Niki has also been praised for her personal style, which has earned her the titles “Best-dressed” in Vanity Fair, Vogue, Hello Magazine, and Women’s Wear Daily.
Niki Taylor, although one of the most sought-after models of the 1990s, is not only successful in the fashion industry but also a television personality, speaker, entrepreneur, philanthropist.
Taylor launched her first perfume “Begin by Niki Taylor” in 2005 and has made a number of appearances as a TV presenter. She was an interviewer for parts of the syndicated program “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”, reported on events for NBC, was a guest presenter on MTV’s “Fashionably Loud”, hosted the new Bravo series “Make Me a Supermodel” alongside male model Tyson Beckford in 2008, and introduced the finalists on Girlfriend and Co-Cover Girl spokesperson Tyra Banks’ talk show in 2007.
She also participated in the fourth edition of Donald Trump’s The Celebrity Apprentice in 2011. She also founded the Begin Foundation for the Advancement of Women in Business and supports the American Red Cross.
In addition to her beauty and charm, Niki has the ability to continuously increase sales and interest in brands or events, something industry insiders have come to know as the “Niki Effect. Her image has sold billions of dollars worth of products and services, and her appearance on magazine covers has increased street sales. Moreso, their image is also the driving force behind entire multi-year campaigns. Her calendars have all been bestsellers, and as proof of their exceptionally broad appeal, Niki Taylor was the only supermodel to sell a calendar at the world’s leading retail store, Wal-Mart.
She is in the Guinness Book of Records and is the youngest model to sign a six-figure deal. Her net worth was estimated at 18 million dollars.
Family – Husband, Kids, Sister
The supermodel was born with fashion in the blood of Ken and Barbara Taylor as the second of their three daughters, including Joelle and Krissy.
Her photographer mother was also a model and was on the cover of Gold Coast magazine in the 1970s, the same one Taylor published in 2000. However, the duo were not the only ones who were in love with the camera. Niki’s younger sister Krissy followed in their footsteps. She appeared on the cover of Seventeen together with her older sister Niki, and together they competed in many European fashion shows, which Niki considered one of the highlights of her career.
Unfortunately, Krissy died on July 2, 1995, at the age of 17 in her family home. The cause of death was originally suspected to be an asthma attack, but later it was discovered that the cause of death was a rare heart disease known as arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD).
Niki was married to the former linebacker of the Miami Hooters, Matt Martinez, from 1994 to 1996. She had twin sons, Jake and Hunter, in December 1994. Ten years after her separation from Matt, she entered into a marriage with NASCAR driver Burney Lamar on December 27, 2006, at the Grande Colonial Hotel in La Jolla, California.
The couple’s daughter, Ciel Taylor Lamar, was born on March 4, 2009, followed two years later by her brother, Rex Harrison Lamar, who was born on November 16, 2011.
Taylor is one of those celebrities whose offspring will follow in her footsteps. Her daughter already knows how to do striking poses without her mother teaching her. The two of them did a shooting together for Allure Russia in 2017, and Ciel was also allowed to participate in a Sherri Hill fashion show during New York Fashion Week in 2018. One of their twin boys, Hunter, is also good on the catwalks, and Niki is happy to share a little of her world with them.
She’s a Survivor
Niki Taylor had her own fair share of ups and downs associated with life, but she recovered after each low point to rising even higher. Her life was struck by tragedy in 1995 when she discovered her sister’s lifeless body. Although she felt the loss on a broad front, Niki continued on. Then came the time of marriage, followed by the motherhood of her twin sons and divorce in her early 20s.
Then tragedy struck again. On April 28, 2001, she almost died in a terrible car accident in which she was in a coma for six weeks, with serious internal injuries, including a collapsed lung and severe liver damage, and she had to have two steel rods implanted in her back to hold her spine together. She underwent no less than 50 operations and received extensive physical therapy.
The near-tragedy changed her attitude to life on and off the runway forever. Although it took her years to recover and make a comeback as a model, she is very grateful to be alive and greatly appreciates the support system she has. Taylor also credits blood transfusions for saving her life, and so in 2007, she joined the American Red Cross as an ambassador.