Everything You Wanted to Know About Vintage Supermodel Cheryl Tiegs

by Sammy in 15 Comments — Updated April 4, 2020

cheryl tiegs

Before there was supermodel Cindy Crawford, there was supermodel Cheryl Tiegs.

Credited as the first “All-American Model,” Cheryl became an iconic California swimsuit model of the ’70s, her athletic (but healthy!) body gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated and capturing the attention of men and the admiration of women alike.

Cheryl’s fame blossomed as a swimsuit model in the ’70s and expanded as a fashion designer of her own brand name for department store Sears in the ’80s. Since then, she’s launched her own makeup line and become spokesperson for healthy, mindful living and exercise.

It’s safe to say that Cheryl’s lived an abundant and successful life since her start as a model on the cover of Glamour Magazine at just 17 years old.

But 64-year-old Cheryl Tiegs isn’t done using her All-American supermodel status just yet! She’ll be appearing on this season of Celebrity Apprentice as an entrepreneur under the critical eye of Apprentice host Donald Trump, alongside American Idol famed Clay Aiken, comedian/radio host Adam Carolla, ’80s pop star Debbie Gibson, Growing up Gotti star Victoria Gotti and more in the announced 5th season Celebrity Apprentice cast.

Since Cheryl Tiegs is making a comeback in the world of fashion thanks to her Celebrity Apprentice casting, I researched more on her inspired life and career so that vintage sellers & buyers could learn and be armed with everything they ever wanted to know about this model-turned-fashion-designer!

Being a lover of vintage style isn’t just admiring the pretty clothes to see and wear. It’s also about the people whose lives inspired and defined the styles of the era.

And as you’ll learn reading today’s post Cheryl Tiegs is as much a vintage fashion icon as she is an All-American supermodel turned Celebrity Apprentice superstar!

Whose your favorite “vintage” supermodel I should write about on the site? Let me know in the comments below.

Say hi on Twitter, Facebook & Email!

xx, SD



cheryl tiegs

Cheryl Tiegs has made a return into the consciousness of the average American once again — but not as the “All-American” model Time Magazine so famously coined her in 1978.

She’s making her comeback alongside 17 other celebrities in the 5th season of Celebrity Apprentice, hosted by Mr. Moneybags himself, Donald Trump.

As of this post’s publish date, the show has yet to air. But I predict that thanks to Cheryl’s history of product creation (including a fashion line for Sears, anti-aging products and authoring a book in the early ’80s), we’ll see Cheryl pull out the entrepreneurial card of experience to rise against her famed competitors (one of whom includes the man we knew as The Incredible Hulk!).


cheryl tiegs

Credit: Wikipedia (left, 1970s) & Zimbio (right, present day)

Cheryl’s had an illustrious and varied career from pin-up model, Cover Girl makeup spokesperson to an entrepreneurial philanthropist and health advocate today.

As soon as she gained a stamp of  “sexy” fame in the ’70s, she turned away from swimsuit modeling full time and channeled her new-found mainstream appeal to designing for her own line for women and girls’ with American department store Sears in the 80s.

In the ’90s she worked as a spokesperson for health foods and launched her own makeup line, Ageless Woman. In her ’50s she returned to the world of fashion and makeup endorsements, releasing a Cheryl Tiegs’ branded line for QVC and makeup/hair accessories for Revlon.

Celebrity Apprentice isn’t her first TV appearance — she was the host of a 13-part Travel Channel series called “Pathfinders: Exotic Journeys” and has appeared as a guest star on various TV shows.

The best part? Cheryl’s accomplished all of this — and more! — from 17 years old to her ripe young age of 64 today. She’s not just a fashion icon, but a fashion role model for women.



cheryl tiegs glamour magazine

Credit: Pdxretro

Born in rural Minnesota in 1947, Cheryl’s family moved to Southern California when she was 5 years old.

She accidentally launched her career thanks to the encouragement of her peers to audition for TV commercials as a teenager. She was cast in various roles, and the doors opened for this budding beauty from there.

The exposure in the entertainment industry at such a young age — which was during the early days of television itself — landed her the break of her youth: Appearing on the cover of Glamour Magazine when she was just 17 years old.


cheryl tiegs

Credit: Vintage Alliance on Ebay

From there the magazines came knocking because they desired the “California look” (tan, blonde & tone) that Cheryl eptomized gracing their covers for newsstands sales.

After graduating high school in 1968 she moved to New York City to pursue bigger modeling opportunities, rounding out the 1960s as a magazine and print campaign fashion model. Over the course of her modeling career in the 1960s and 1970s, she’d appear on Seventeen, Elle and Glamour magazines as well as high-fashion publications Vogue & Harper’s Bazaar.



cheryl tiegs sports illustrated

Credit: 1970 issue / Sports Illustrated Vault

But it was a famous Sports Illustrated cover that landed her the title of America’s Sexiest Swimsuit Sweetheart, when she revealed a little something more than usual in her ’70s swimsuit. It was because of this photoshoot that Cheryl Tiegs gained “pin-up” popularity for all the American boys of the ’70s and ’80s.


cheryl tiegs sports illustrated

Credit: 1970 issue / Sports Illustrated Vault

The revealing and scandalous (for its time!) inside photo from Cheryl Tiegs’ first of four appearances on the cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine. Her last appearance on Sports Illustrated was in 1996, when she was 49 years old!


cheryl tiegs sports illustrated

Credit: Sports Illustrated Vault

And then in 1978 came the money shot: This was the poster hung on every teenage boys’ wall in the late ’70s. Let’s just say Mom got to know Cheryl REAL well!


cheryl tiegs

Credit: Top Tier Autographs on Ebay

cheryl tiegs

Credit: Movie Market on Ebay


cheryl tiegs time magazine

Credit: Pursuit of Happiness

It was in 1978 that the deal was real: Cheryl Tiegs had been named “All-American” model by TIME Magazine.

And with this endorsement by TIME, she had hit the peak of her modeling career, and the entire world knew that she was (for the day) America’s Top Model!


cheryl tiegs

Credit: Magic Electron on Ebay (left) & Veritas 104 on Ebay (right)

Most of us know Sears department store, and we’re familiar with celebrity-endorsed fashion lines. Case in point: The Kardashian sisters’ “Kardashian Collection” for Sears, full of leopard print and day-to-night womenswear endorsed by the celebrity sisters.

Founded in 1893 and truly a piece of America’s retail history, Sears was revered by the American family for having everything they needed to clothe son, daughter, Dad & Mom … within a budget!

But when the department store’s profits showed deep losses by the early ’80s, Sears executives were pushed to think creatively and out-of-the-box.

Enter Cheryl Tiegs, a few years out of her successful modeling career and presumably looking to branch into a fresh niche of fashion.

In 1981 Sears hired Cheryl Tiegs as promotional spokesperson for a self-named lined of women, juniors & girls clothing for Sears. The styles were cool, casual and totally American.

Western influences from the ’70s carried throughout her collection, which for women was a mix of casual wear for the practical everyday and sportswear accessories like bathing suits, sunglasses and denim.

Sears was the first department store to hire a celebrity spokesperson as creator of their own clothing brand. And according to press releases made by Sears for the Cheryl Tiegs line, she worked closely with designers as the creative visionary for what each collection would represent.

She also appeared in most of the print campaigns modeling the clothing — just like you’d expect a celebrity fashion spokesperson to do today.

The line lived in Sears stores from 1981 to 1989, and Cheryl Tiegs vintage can be found today when shopping vintage online.


cheryl tiegs sears advertisement

Credit: Sears Archives, 1981


cheryl tiegs sears advertisement

Credit: Sears Archives, 1983 fashions for girls

cheryl tiegs sears advertisement

Credit: Sears Archives, 1984 women’s fashions


cheryl tiegs sears advertisement

Credit: Sears Archives, 1986 women’s fashions


cheryl tiegs sears advertisement

Credit: Sears Archives, 1987 color-coordinated fashions


cheryl tiegs

Credit: Autograph Mark on Ebay (right)

Buy a Cheryl Tiegs One-Piece Ruched Swimsuit, $128 on Etsy


cheryl tiegs sunglasses


Buy Cheryl Tiegs Sunglasses (left), $17 on Etsy

Buy Cheryl Tiegs Sunglasses (right), $24 on Etsy

cheryl tiegs skirts


Buy a Cheryl Tiegs Denim Skirt (left), $22 on Etsy

Buy a Cheryl Tiegs Plaid Skirt (right), $20.50 on Etsy

cheryl tiegs sears


Buy a Cheryl Tiegs Plaid Top (left), $20 on Etsy

Buy a Cheryl Tiegs Ruffled Red Top (right), $19 on Etsy




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15 thoughts on “Everything You Wanted to Know About Vintage Supermodel Cheryl Tiegs”

  1. great stuff as always Sammy!

    • Hey Zen! Thank you so much! Did you have a poster of Cheryl on your bedroom wall too? ;-)

  2. I LOVE seeing the old sears ads. She is so beautiful and has such style! A real ageless America’s Sweetheart!

    • Putting together this post is really inspiring me to buy the SEARS Catalog books! You can get them for each decade!!

  3. I must borrow this. She’s super iconic and you know me and my 70’s! These were the days. I have a magazine with her on the cover..How do you say… ((((LOVE))))

    Muahhhhh…From Eclectic Freebird

    • Freebird, Cheryl Tiegs is so YOU! XO

    • Freebird, Cheryl Tiegs should definitely be on your mood board of ’70s inspiration!

  4. You realize that the dark haired girl in the blue pants in the shot near the bottom is Jennifer Connelly, don’t you?

    • Had no idea! Thank you Tom!

  5. Cheryl Tiegs was super gorgeous. But I dont believe she has any right to talk any kind of negativity in terms of revealing little-clothing toward Kate Upton’s SI cover. She needs to look back at her own photos with her nipps showing(i mean, its nice dont get me wrong) & just not say anything about the current SI cover. Its annoying when people try to say crap but yet they’re guilty of whatever there trying to talk negative about themselves. I know she just made a simple comment that wasnt necessarily mean but damn, look at yourself before you say anything about someone else’s business.

    • Hi Drew! First, thanks so much for this comment. There are some valuable insights here and I appreciate them so much. There are definitely moments we speak without thinking! This is a great reminder for us all to muse on our words before they are vocalized! thank you, Drew!

  6. In case no one knows what I am talking about, Cheryl Tiegs made a comment about Kate Upton’s SI cover being too revealing or some crap like that. Its a hot swimsuit on a gorgeous woman Cheryl, its okay to be sexy & show it off, esp. when you got something worth showing off…you know that, you’re an original!!

    • ;-)

  7. Does anyone remember a print ad in Seventeen Magazine, for hair color, I think Clairol, that has a blond model (I think Cheryl Tiegs) leading a palomino horse in shallow water? I remember that ad very well, but cannot find it anywhere online.

  8. She is a real jerk, no wonder she was married 4 times. What a miserable, leftist diva, pretty on the outside and ugly in the middle.


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