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Brooke Shields – Iconic Actress and Inspiring Role Model

Brooke Shields is an iconic American actress and model who rose to fame at a very young age. She has captivated audiences for over four decades with her talent, charisma and determination. Let‘s take a closer look at her life and career.

Full Name Brooke Christa Shields
Age 58 years old
Birthday May 31, 1965
Net Worth $40 million
Social Media Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Early Life and Child Modeling Career

Brooke Shields was born in New York City in 1965. Her mother, Teri Shields, quickly steered Brooke into child modeling, landing her first job for Ivory Soap at just 11 months old. Teri was determined to make Brooke a star, and she succeeded – by age 12, Brooke had already appeared in dozens of ads and fashion spreads.

Her breakout modeling gig was a controversial Calvin Klein jeans campaign in 1980. The sexually provocative ads featuring a 15-year-old Brooke were banned in several countries. But they cemented her status as a modeling phenom.

Looking back, Brooke acknowledges that her mother was sometimes overly pushy. But those early modeling years taught her discipline and poise that paved the way for an incredible career.

Breakthrough Role in Pretty Baby

The Calvin Klein ads brought 12-year old Brooke to the attention of director Louis Malle, who cast her in his 1978 film Pretty Baby. She played a child prostitute in New Orleans‘ red light district in the early 1900s. The role was highly mature for her age and sparked intense backlash and controversy. But Brooke‘s performance was critically hailed as the standout of the film.

While uncomfortable with some elements of Pretty Baby in hindsight, Brooke considers it a valuable learning experience. It tested her acting chops at a young age and propelled her into the spotlight. And the film marked the start of a friendship with Susan Sarandon, who played her mother.

Global Success with The Blue Lagoon

Brooke‘s controversial turn in Pretty Baby led directly to her casting in 1980‘s The Blue Lagoon. Only 14 during filming, she starred as Emmeline Lestrange, a Victorian girl marooned on a tropical island with her male cousin. As they grow up alone together, they fall in love and explore their sexuality.

The Blue Lagoon was slammed as overly sexual by many, especially given Brooke‘s age. She had to testify before a U.S. Congressional inquiry that a body double was used for the nude scenes. However, the film was a major commercial success, grossing $58 million worldwide. And Brooke‘s emotional performance again earned praise.

Both Pretty Baby and The Blue Lagoon cemented Brooke as a serious dramatic actress willing to take on provocative material. Though controversial, the roles propelled her career skyward.

Ivy League Education at Princeton

Despite her early acting achievements, education was always a priority for Brooke. She was an honors student in high school. In 1983, she deferred her admission to Princeton to continue acting. But in 1985, she finally entered Princeton as a French Literature major.

At Princeton, Brooke flourished academically, learning to speak French fluently and studying abroad in Paris. She also dabbled in acting with the school‘s famed Triangle Club theater troupe. Brooke has said Princeton gave her a sense of normalcy outside Hollywood. The Ivy League degree became a lifelong source of pride for the former child star.

Broadway Debut and Critical Acclaim

After graduating from Princeton with honors in 1987, Brooke returned to acting, this time on the stage. Her Broadway debut came in 1994 playing Rizzo in Grease. In 1998, she took on her most acclaimed role – Sally Bowles in the revival of Cabaret opposite Alan Cumming.

As Sally, Brooke completely transformed herself, adopting a thick German accent and showstopping vocals. Her performance earned raves, a Tony nomination, and the Outer Critics Circle Award. The Cabaret role cemented Brooke as a serious dramatic actress with impressive range.

Television Success with Suddenly Susan

In 1996, alongside her Cabaret stage triumph, Brooke also found television success headlining the NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan. She played Susan Keane, a San Francisco magazine writer navigating work life, friendships, and relationships.

Brooke demonstrated excellent comedic timing and charisma that made her a TV star. She earned two Golden Globe nominations for the role. Suddenly Susan showcased Brooke‘s talent for both comedy and drama in front of a primetime audience.

Inspirational Activism and Charity Work

An inspiring role model, Brooke has championed numerous charities and activism efforts. After suffering postpartum depression, she became a spokesperson for Postpartum Support International. She testified before Congress, encouraging steps to combat maternal mental health issues.

Brooke also partners with organizations supporting lupus research, children‘s health, and disaster relief. Following her own mother‘s death from alcoholism, she worked with DrinkAware to promote education around responsible drinking.

Brooke frequently speaks on issues of body image and self-acceptance. She‘s an outspoken advocate for women‘s rights and a devoted philanthropist. Her charity work makes Brooke a true inspiration beyond her acclaimed acting career.

Why We Love Brooke Shields

There are so many reasons to admire Brooke Shields. Here are just a few:

  • Her natural acting talent has enthralled us since she first appeared onscreen as a child.
  • Her determination to balance education with Hollywood is inspirational.
  • The courage and grace she displays battling personal and health issues.
  • Her extensive charity work and activism make her a model citizen.
  • Her resilience and work ethic are second-to-none after over four decades in the spotlight.

5 Interesting Facts About Brooke Shields

  1. Her first television appearance was in a Tide commercial at just 11 months old.
  2. She was the youngest model ever to grace the cover of Vogue magazine.
  3. She can speak fluent Italian thanks to learning the language to speak with her grandmother.
  4. She loves classic films and her favorite actor is Montgomery Clift.
  5. Her great-grandmother was rumored to be an Italian princess descended from nobility.

Brooke Shields: Final Thoughts

Brooke Shields is an amazing woman who has lived an extraordinary life in the public eye from a very young age. Her early modeling and controversial film work catapulted her into stardom. And her acting achievements have never slowed across television, film, and theater. Off-screen, she sets an inspirational example overcoming challenges and giving back.

Now 58, Brooke‘s career is still going strong five decades after it first began. She serves as a reminder that lasting success in Hollywood requires natural talent combined with intelligence, education, determination, and grace. Brooke Shields is a true inspiration – both on and off the screen.