April 5, 2000
Schiffer's big shift
Supermodel gears up for new life as an actress
By LOUIS B. HOBSON
TORONTO -- Supermodel Claudia Schiffer may lead a colourful life -- but she stills views her world in terms of blacks and whites.

 "There's no question I was born under a lucky star," says Schiffer.

 "When I look at how far I've gone with my career, I realize it's destiny, but I was instrumental in making that destiny a reality. I acted on what fate presented me."

 She's making the most of her opportunities again, as she's branching out into feature films.

 Her latest movie role is in James Toback's urban drama, Black and White, which opens in Calgary today. She plays Greta, the girlfriend of an up-and-coming basketball star.

 "I'm almost 30. I have to recognize that I can't be a model forever. That's why I am pursuing films," says Schiffer, whose other films include Blackout, Shiny New Enemies, Ready to Wear, Richie Rich and Friends and Lovers.

 "It's going to be harder for me than it is for many aspiring actresses because I will always have to prove myself, having come through the modelling route."

 She sees this transition into acting as a natural move.

 "I'm comfortable around cameras. When I'm doing a scene, I'm so relaxed that I feel as if I'm in my own living room.

 "Right now, I have to fight for every role I get. That's quite a switch from modelling, where I can be very selective."

 Before she was discovered by a German photographer, Schiffer was planning to be a lawyer.

 "My father is a lawyer and I am the oldest of four children, so it was always the plan that I would work for him and take over the family business when he retired."

 Schiffer never made it to university.

 The 5-ft.-11 blond was too busy wriggling in and out of Guess jeans and splashing on Channel cologne. But with incredible fame came unbelievable intrusion.

 "One time I was in a toilet stall when I heard the paparazzi conspiring to literally scale the walls to get photos of me. That's about the craziest things have gotten."

 The paparazzi swarmed around Schiffer for the five years she was engaged to illusionist David Copperfield. She is currently engaged to businessman Tim Jeffries and rumours abound they're planning to wed next month.

 "We haven't set a date and I prefer not to discuss this relationship. I was open and honest about my relationship with David and look where it got us.

 "All the lies that came out were so stressful. It was so unfair."

 But Schiffer says the pressure of the rumour mill was not a major factor in the breakup.

 "It was our work schedules that ended the relationship. It's very difficult when you're both so much into your careers because you don't want to say no to any opportunity."

 Schiffer is not concerned with aging. In fact she welcomes it.

 "I think that women in their 40s look healthier and more fit than some girls in their 20s.

 "I've met women in their 40s who have much better bodies because they have been working on them so much longer."

 She is all for having that work include a visit or two to a plastic surgeon.

 "I'm not against a few nips and tucks. If you're really unhappy with the declining state of your body, why not? It's just wrong when women overdo it, or when they have nice breasts and want bigger ones."

 Just because she has graced more than 500 magazine covers and been voted one of the world's most beautiful people by both

 People and US magazines doesn't mean Schiffer doesn't have to work at being beautiful.

 "I have this horrible metabolism. I have to watch everything I eat. If I don't exercise for even one day, I can feel my body sagging."