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Christy Turlington Discusses Pal Gwyneth Paltrow’s Singing Ability

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From model to music mogul!

Supermodel Christy Turlington, 42, recently took a break from her catwalking duties to curate the hit tunes about motherhood on Every Mother Counts, a charity compilation album featuring tracks from Madonna, Jennifer Lopez… and her old pal Gwyneth Paltrow!

Now, mom of two Turlington (she has daughter Grace, 8, and Finn, 5, with filmmaker Ed Burns) opens up to about the disc (proceeds go to maternal health organizations, including her own which the CD is named after) and how Paltrow’s recent singing turn is no surprise at all to her! To pick up a copy of Every Mother Counts, go to Starbucks stores where the disc is on sale until May 9. How did this came into being? I know you directed a documentary about the subject, but can you tell me how it went from documentary to album?

Christy Turlington: I did direct a doc called No Woman, No Cry, and I heard from Starbucks' Howard Schultz saying they would love to do anything to support my work. We already had our soundtrack, and I already had Martha Wainwright singing "No Woman, No Cry," which was great, but it got us all thinking that a compilation CD would be a great way to target women who are artists and also mothers and see what they're willing to contribute. So I wrote some letters and spoke to a few of the women that are on the CD, and threw the idea out and pretty much everybody that we went to is on this list and said yes and was really excited.

Us: Wow. How did Gwyneth get on board? This singing thing is kind of new for her, so how did that come to be?

CT: She's actually a really good friend, and I've been aware of her singing talents for years. She's always been an amazing singer, but I think she's just had this wonderful opportunity in the last couple of years to actually exercise that. When she chose "This Woman's Work," I remember going, "Wow! That's a hard one. Kate Bush nailed that song." (Laughs) But I think she did such an amazing job. In fact, anyone who hears it, it brings tears to their eyes. I think it's one of the best ones on there, and the first time I heard it, it gave me chills.

Us: How did Starbucks get involved and how did it go to this level of being this album for Mother's Day?

CT: Starbucks has partnered for twenty years or so with CARE and I have been a maternal health advocate for CARE for more than 5 years. We decided Mother's Day would be perfect — my film is going to air on the Oprah Winfrey Network on the eve of Mother's Day, and it felt like this would be the perfect thing to push for a Mother's Day item. With Starbucks support, and just the access they have, people are exposed to music or to an issue while doing the things that they'd do anyway. Whether it's getting their coffee or their tea, it's such a great opportunity.

Us: Where do the proceeds go?

CT: $8 from every CD goes to CARE and to maternal health programs in coffee-growing countries, which happen to be some of the highest burden of maternal mortality in the world, and also to Every Mother Counts, which is the campaign that I started — an advocacy campaign, which is all around maternal health relief.

Us:  Obviously, being a mother has changed you. Do you think that that has opened your eyes more and made you more sensitive to these issues?

CT: Yes. I've done a lot of traveling in the world, and I think that's been a big part of my exposure to so many different kinds of people and the disparities that exist in every country, really. But I did have a personal complication with my first delivery, which is what kind of got me aware of this issue in 2003. When I learned after that complication that the complication that I had was the leading cause of maternal death in the world, that certainly made an impact. I started traveling and working with CARE, and learning that the global statistics were that hundreds of thousands of women were dying every year in pregnancy and childbirth, but that 90% of those deaths are preventable. That just felt so hopeful to me — that we could be doing a better job. And because I had had this complication, I felt that I could contribute in a very personal way, which I think makes a huge difference.

Us: Have you informed your kids? I know they're very young, but have you informed them of these issues?

CT: They are young. My daughter is 7 now, and it was when I delivered her that I had my personal complication. Throughout her life, I've gotten to learn more and more. I went back to school three years ago to get my Masters in Public Health — all around this issue and being able to do a better job advocating it. So when I travel, which I do quite a lot, she knows why I'm going and what I'm doing when I go to Africa to visit hospitals and clinics and see what's happening and to be able to report on those things. My son who is 5, is starting to get a grasp of it, but he certainly will in a couple of years.

Us: Absolutely. How are they growing up? Are they more like you or more like Ed?

CT:  I think they're a pretty good mix. My daughter, is starting to look more like me because her coloring is a bit more like mine, but she looked like her dad for definitely the first five years of her life. She has his eyes exactly. She's just incredible, active, and very curious and very interested in the world. I've gotten to travel with her a bit. And then my son doesn't look anything like me. He's a little blond, blue-eyed sweet, sweet, gentle guy. So far it's easier for me to keep them home because Eddie's around and he doesn't like to travel so he's actually been an amazing support.

Us: And hopefully they'll be as altruistic…

CT: Yeah, I think that you set examples as parents. My mom was very service-oriented. She did a lot of volunteering all through my life, and I think that does make a mark and sets a certain tone of what's important and that we all do have something to contribute regardless of our means.

Us: Right, totally. You and Ed have obviously been married for eight years, how do you guys do it? I know you get asked that a lot because you're one of the longer lasting relationships in Hollywood.

CT: Well, I think we're both pretty normal. I think we connected because we both come from sort of similar backgrounds and similar family structures and that we're both very, very close to our families. I'm really trying to show our kids that equal marriage is possible and we really share most roles very evenly. I think our kids see that we are both passionate about what we do and that we're hardworking and that we love each other, and I think that's the best that two people can do.

Us: Do you still talk to, are you still friendly with all of the models you used to work with?

CT:  Yeah! Everybody lives in a different part of the world, but we keep in touch a bit and certainly over the holidays and things like that, we send Christmas cards to each other. Cindy Crawford lives in California so when I'm there, I seek her out, but I don't go there very often. And then I see Naomi Campbell from time to time. I saw Claudia Schiffer in the fall because my film was at the London Film Festival. It's hard because we're all living far away, we all have little kids for the most part, and our lives are all very busy and different. But it was an amazing several years there that we spent very closely together so you can't really not stay in each other's lives.

By Ian Drew for To read more of Ian's blog, click here, and don't forget to follow him on Twitter.

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