Erin O'Connor

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Erin O'Connor
Erin O'Connor.jpg
O'Connor in 2016
Born (1978-02-09) 9 February 1978 (age 38)
Brownhills, West Midlands, England
Partner(s) Steve Gibson
Children 1
Modelling information
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Hair colour Dark brown
Eye colour Hazel
Manager Jonathan Sanders & Co

Erin O'Connor (born 9 February 1978) is an English model.

Early life[edit]

O'Connor was born and brought up in the Brownhills, West Midlands,[2] where she attended Brownhills Community School. She was raised Catholic and her father is Northern Irish, from Ballycastle, County Antrim.[3] On a school trip to the Birmingham Clothes Show, she was spotted by a talent scout.[4]

Modelling career[edit]

Shortly after starting modeling she found herself working with Richard Avedon on the Versace campaign.[5] Aged 20, Erin met Jean-Paul Gaultier, a unique friendship was born and he has entrusted her to realise his vision both on the catwalk and in advertising campaigns ever since. But it wasn’t until hairdresser, Guido Paulo, cut off her hair in 1999, that Erin truly found her confidence as a model. “It was liberation,” she says. “I didn’t have the more typical attributes of a woman, so I learnt how to push my chest out and use my hands in a way I hadn’t before.”[6]

In 2002, her profile was raised further after she appeared in the acclaimed Channel 4 series, This Model Life. Erin’s versatility is endless, and she is to this day one of the only living people to have appeared on a specially commissioned 1st class set of postage stamps, shot by the iconic photographer Nick Knight.[6]

With her dramatic shock of dark hair, alabaster skin, graceful presence and statuesque beauty, Erin has become one of our greatest and most original exports, single-handedly purveying a dynamic new look in fashion and acting as a muse for numerous designers, artists and photographers. In 2002, illustrator David Downtown held an exhibition featuring line drawings of Erin, the first time an exhibition of its kind had been devoted to one model.[6]

She has appeared on many front covers from Vogue and Numero to i-D. Advertising campaigns include Chanel, Givenchy Donna Karan, Valentino, Armani, Versace, Anne Taylor and Dolce & Gabbana, to name but a few. Always in high demand, Erin has shot with some of the most prestigious photographers in the industry including Tim Walker, Steven Meisel, Mario Testino, Irving Penn and Jaurgen Teller.[6]

With a career spanning of over 15 years, Erin has become most known for her appearances on the catwalk. Walking for designers include Jean Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen, Ralph Lauren, Vivienne Westwood, Valentino, Yohji Yamamoto, Giles Deacon and John Galliano at Christian Dior. Gaultier once quoted “she isn’t only a model. She is quite like art. She is like theatre. She is an extraordinary inspiration.” [6]

Erin’s poise, elegance and intelligence led to a highly coveted association to British Fashion Council as Vice Chairman of London Fashion Week, and alongside this she worked on a number of exciting new projects and initiatives including becoming a founding member of the first Model Union, joining the model health enquiry chaired by baroness Denise Kingsmill and attending the House of Lords with her fellow panellists to propose recommendations which were then subsequently recognised by the industry.[6]

In summer 2007, Erin contributed to the Model Health Enquiry and founded the country’s first Model Sanctuary for models working at London Fashion Week. The Model Sanctuary was a non-profit health and wellbeing organisation set up for young models participating in London Fashion Week. They offered free advice from qualified experts including a nutritionist, life coach, osteopath as well as make up tips, healthy food all day and a place to relax and recharge in between castings and shows. After 5 successful years Erin has now handed over the initiative to the BFC to continue the good work that she started.[6]

She continues to write on a regular basis, and has written for leading publications including The Times, I-D Magazine, The Guardian, Stylist Magazine, and YOU Magazine. She gave a lecture at London’s V&A Museum on the history of couture, and was appointed as a trustee for the prestigious museum, the youngest ever to be given the government appointed role. She also regularly chairs forums for art and fashion students, and chaired a symposium for new generation designers. Erin also featured as one of the Modern Muses in a photographic exhibition shown at the National Portrait Gallery photographed by Bryan Adams and has also appeared as the poster girl for the BP awards painted by Jonathan Yeo.[6]

In one of her most memorable shoots Erin can be seen tapping into her renowned British sense of humour by appearing in British Vogue photographed by Mario Testino in collaboration with Matt Lucas and David Walliams for Little Britain in an episode of the South Bank Show.[6]

Erin has featured as the face of Marks and Spencer and more importantly has been credited with changing the fortunes of the high street retailer. The campaign is renowned as the retailers most successful.[6]

Over the years Erin has received numerous awards in recognition of her career including Model of the Year at the British Fashion Awards, Model and Style Icon of the Year at the Elle Style Awards as well as Model of the year in Paris. Karl Lagerfeld has described her as "one of the best models in the world." [6]

In addition to the above Erin has launched her own line of Fairtrade cotton T-shirts and bags with stylist Kate Halfpenny featuring quirky slogans such as ‘She died of Beauty’ and ‘She lived for Love’ Each product is lovingly created with a sense of purpose using ethically and organically sourced materials “after all there’s no reason why style and conscience can’t co-exist!” say Erin & Kate.[6]

Erin is currently managed by Jonathan Sanders & Co. Photographed by Emma Summerton and styled by Caroline Newell. She is now based in London.[6]

Television and Radio[edit]

In 2001 she appeared as herself in the "Paris" episode of Absolutely Fabulous.[7][8] In March 2003, O'Connor was featured in a three-part Channel 4 documentary This Model Life.[4] O'Connor wrote and presented two documentaries on fashion, Erin's Model World (12 April 2008) and In Search of Beauty (28 November 2009), for BBC Radio 4.[9] In April 2009, she appeared as a mentor and judge on the Irish reality TV series The Model Agent for RTÉ Two. In the autumn of 2013, Erin O’Connor made her television debut, starring on ‘The Face’ on Sky Living HD alongside fellow supermodel Naomi Campbell and Caroline Winberg. The hugely successful series followed the three supermodel mentors, as they competed with each other to find 'the face' of Max Factor beauty. Erin subsequently appeared on the cover of YOU Magazine and The Independent on Saturday magazine.


She writes a column for London Fashion Week paper The Daily Rubbish, contributes a regular blog to the British Vogue online and has written for The Sunday Times and the Daily Mail.[6]


She is also a co-founder of the award winning All Walks Beyond the Catwalk initiative alongside Caryn Franklin and Debora Bourne. All Walks Beyond the Catwalk is an initiative working with influential Catwalk designers and top industry creative to celebrate more diversity within the fashion industry. For the launch campaign Erin swapped roles and stood behind the camera for the first time to photograph models holding the slogan ‘Size Me Up’. Erin was recently recognised in the Houses of Parliament by Lib Dem Minister Jo Swinson for her dedication to models working within the industry.[6]

Erin was a spokesperson for the fair trade charity Traid. Erin was an ambassador for the RED initiative. In 2011, Erin became an Ambassador for ‘Save the Children’. Erin travelled to Delhi and Jaipur as part of the ‘No Child Born to Die’ campaign. The trip was documented by The Independent magazine newspaper to highlight the need for resources in clinics and schools.[6]

Other ventures[edit]

O'Connor launched her own line of fairtrade and eco friendly cotton T-shirts and bags with stylist Kate Halfpenny, She Died of Beauty, featuring quirky slogans such as ‘She died of Beauty’.[10]

See also[edit]

Sara Ziff


  1. ^ a b c Erin O'Connor at the Fashion Model Directory
  2. ^ Freeman, Hadley (2006-09-21). "Standing tall". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  3. ^ Addison, Harriet (2009-01-31). "Frequent flyer Erin OConnor". The Times. London. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  4. ^ a b "Erin O'Connor - Model Profile". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2007-11-27.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "nymag" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p [2]
  7. ^ Lyall, Sarah (11 November 2001). "A Bit Older and Sadder, but Still 'Absolutely Fabulous'". New York Times. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  8. ^ "Episode 3:Paris". BBC. Retrieved 22 January 2014.  External link in |work= (help)
  9. ^ Mahoney, Elizabeth (13 April 2008). "Radio review". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  10. ^ "ERIN O'CONNOR'S NEW CLOTHING LINE". Stylist. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 


External links[edit]

  1. ^ "Erin O'Connor". Erin O'Connor. Retrieved 2016-04-28.