Family & Companions
A former supermodel and actress who appeared in 13 consecutive swimsuit issues of Sports Illustrated, Kathy Ireland made the transition from model to mogul when she launched her highly successful business venture, kathy ireland Worldwide. Born on March 20, 1963 in Glendale, CA, she was raised by her father, John, a labor organizer, and her mother, Barbara. When she was 17, Ireland was discovered by an agent for the Elite Model Management company and was working steadily as a model by the time she graduated from high school in Santa Barbara. She soon found herself appearing in numerous magazines, including the famous swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated. The emerald-eyed beauty graced the cover of S.I. three times, tying Cheryl Tiegs and Christie Brinkley, while also appearing on covers of Glamour, Cosmopolitan and Bride. Meanwhile, her annual swimsuit calendars remained one of the best-selling pictorials in the world.
Thanks to her fast popularity in the modeling world, Ireland tried her hand at acting, though with a lesser degree of success, due in part to her unusually high, girlish speaking voice. She made her feature debut in "Alien From L.A." (1988), a cheesy fantasy about a California Valley Girl (Ireland) who falls down a whole and discovers the lost city of Atlantis. The movie was later lampooned in a season five episode of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" (Comedy Channel/Sci Fi Channel, 1988-99). Following small roles in "Side Out" (1990), "Mr. Destiny" (1990) and "Necessary Roughness" (1991), she starred in the made-for-television movie "Danger Island" (NBC, 1992), an action-adventure about a plane full of vacationers crash landing on a bizarre island. Meanwhile, she started her entrepreneurial career with a line of socks. Ireland put her name on a line that was sold at Kmart, which quickly proved to be a bestseller. The nationwide chain store soon offered Ireland her own clothing line, which led to her founding kathy ireland Worldwide.
As her business took off, Ireland continued modeling and acting, appearing more on television than in movies, mainly because the films she appeared in were best forgotten, like "National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1" (1993) and "Back Fire!" (1994). Following her third and final cover of Sports Illustrated in 1994, she had a recurring role on "Melrose Place" (Fox, 1992-99) while scoring episodes of "Suddenly Susan" (NBC, 1996-2000) and "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" (ABC/The WB, 1996-2003). Meanwhile, she began another offshoot career as a fitness instructor, releasing exercise videos and DVDs since 1994. As the years went by, Ireland onscreen appearances became infrequent; she showed up in the occasional made-for-television movie like "Once Upon a Christmas" (ION Television Network, 2000) and "Twice Upon a Christmas" (ION Television Network, 2001). She also entered the book world, publishing her inspirational book, Powerful Inspirations: Eight Lessons That Will Change Your Life in 2002.
In 2003, Ireland was released from her exclusive contract with Kmart, which allowed her company to license her clothing lines to numerous stores across the country and the world. By 2005, kathy ireland Worldwide was a $1.4 billion company that was profiled in Forbes magazine as being an exemplar for models-turned-entrepreneurs. Following a series of children's books which included What Would Mommies Do?, Ireland took up the cause of poverty with a speech at the Youth Assembly at the United Nations in 2007. She published another book, Real Solutions for Busy Moms: Your Guide to Success and Sanity, which was released in 2009. Meanwhile, she made news for her gradual weight gain over the years, which led to a renewed commitment to diet and exercise, and an appearance on "Larry King Live" (CNN, 1985- ) in 2009 to discuss her struggle. Also that year, Ireland was included in the season nine cast of "Dancing With the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ), joining the likes of Macy Gray, Donnie Osmond and Kelly Osbourne.
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Worked for Elite modeling agency in New York from the age of 17
Film acting debut, "Journey to the Center of the Earth"
Appeared as the cover model for the first time on <i>Sports Illustrated</i> 25th Anniversary Swimsuit Edition
Featured in the comedy "Necessary Roughness"
Returned to the cover of <i>Sports Illustrated</i> annual swimsuit issue
Founded the design and marketing firm, Kathy Ireland Worldwide; was the CEO and chief designer
Appeared in "National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1"
Appeared on her third and final cover of <i>Sports Illustrated</i> annual swimsuit issue with Rachel Hunter and Elle Macpherson
Had a recurring role on Fox's "Melrose Place" as a mysterious woman with an agenda
Had featured role in the spoof "Back Fire!"
Lent her voice to the syndicated series "Fantastic Four"
Guest-starred on two episodes of NBC's "Suddenly Susan"
Played Santa's daughter in the family film "Once Upon A Christmas"
Reprised role as Santa's daughter in "Twice Upon A Christmas"
Published the book <i>Powerful Inspirations: Eight Lessons That Will Change Your Life</i>
Joined the ninth season of ABC's reality series "Dancing With the Stars" as a contestant
Wrote second book, <i>Real Solutions for Busy Moms: Your Guide to Success and Sanity</i>
Launched the "Diamonds by Kathy Ireland" jewelry collection