Carmen Kass was born September 14, 1978, in Tallinn, Estonia. Raised by her mother in Paide -- where Carmen was probably the only fashionable and glamorous thing about the city -- the blue-eyed brunette won the Miss Paide crown and secured her royal position as Miss Jrvamma afterwards.
A 14-year-old Carmen had already received recognition by the time she was discovered in a supermarket in Tallinn by an Italian modeling scout. She was ready to set her sights higher and go for the Miss Estonia title, but the offer to fly to Milan to jump start a modeling career seemed like a more glamorous and lucrative option.
Despite her mother's disapproval of Carmen being whisked away to Milan, Carmen found a way to go by forging her mother's signature of "approval". Carmen was off to Milan for the next three months, ready to start her career as one of today's supermodels.
After being represented in her native Estonia by a small agency called "Baltic Models", Carmen moved to Paris at the age of 18. She received exposure on the cover of magazines worldwide, namely L'Officiel and Vogue (France) in 1997, Elle (Australia), Image (UK), Madame Figaro, Numero France, Vogue (France), and Vogue (US) in 1999.
In 1999, Carmen was also one of the fashion runways' hottest commodities. She strutted down the catwalks for the top designers in the world such as: Alberta Ferretti, Anna Sui, BCBG, Bill Blass, Calvin Klein, Chanel, Christian Dior, DKNY, Dolce & Gabbana, Gianfranco Ferrй, Gianni Versace, Gucci, Jill Stuart, MaxMara, Michael Kors, Moschino, Nicole Miller, Prada, Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Gianni Versace, Louis Vuitton, and Valentino.
Although now Carmen has become a sought-after model for big advertising campaigns, we can't say she started small either. She has posed in advertisements for Calvin Klein, Chanel, Donna Karan, General Motors, Guy Laroche, Krizia, and Versace.
She is most recognized for the Gap denim advertising campaign, which shouldn't have made it hard for the company to make jeans a popular item again.
Carmen is presently a spokesperson for Sephora, one of the world's leading cosmetics retailers, and the Christian Dior perfume, "J'adore".
Presently residing in New York, Carmen has become a staple for the two biggest American fashion magazines, Vogue and Harper's Bazaar . Carmen is represented by "Women" in New York, and "City" in Paris, while she has reportedly bought part of her first agency, "Baltic Models".
When she's not cuddling up to her public relations/marketing boyfriend, Richie Akiva, Carmen keeps herself busy with sports and exercise, horseback riding, obsessively checking her email, and kicking butt in chess.
It's clear that even off the chessboard, Carmen's making all the right moves as the 2000 VH1/Vogue's "Model of the Year" (Gisele Bundchen's successor) and as the quintessential beauty of the post-waif generation.