The late pop performer, who died Saturday at the age of 53, tapped Turlington and a slew of other catwalk queens to co-star in his 1990 music video for “Freedom,” which went on to become one of Michael’s most popular hits. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, the supermodel recalls working with Michael on the project and what she admired most about him.
“I remember him being kind of shy,” she explained to the mag. “He was a person who was certainly in control; his aura. He came in with a baseball hat. He didn’t have an entourage or anything like that. The whole production seemed pretty pared down, in retrospect.”
And despite the wild lifestyle that many perceived Michael to lead, Christy insisted it wasn’t a “party atmosphere” on set without much “hanging around.”
Christy Turlington, George Michael
“He was super focused on the production and getting it exactly as it seemed he had in his mind. He was super hands-on and looking through the camera oftentimes and just incredibly engaged in each shot. I’ve heard since that he micromanaged it quite a bit and I think he ultimately had the final cut, which I learned about only this year,” she continued.
Of the lessons she took from the British singer, Turlington offered, “It was about his vulnerability. Without knowing him very well, certainly there was a sense that he was a person who struggled a lot having a persona and trying to maintain some kind of private life publicly.”
“There are some people who do it better than others, clearly, and I thought he was just very open-hearted about what he was dealing with in the moment at any phase of his life and career. And I think that’s something to respect. It’s something to learn from,” the 47-year-old reflected.
She also commended George for his fearlessness in the face of adversity: “I was aware enough at the time that there was a struggle with the label and to think that an artist could have the ability to turn it around like that and to not silently lose control of your persona or your voice, but to be able to have the last word, was impressive.”
“He did and has. It feels very pointed and very powerful,” she concluded.