Friday, February 24, 2012

Kathy Ireland

Kathleen Marie "Kathy" Ireland (born March 20, 1963) is an American former model, actress, and entrepreneur. She is the CEO and designer of her eponymous brand product marketing company, Kathy Ireland Worldwide. Starting in 1984, Ireland was featured in the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue for 13 consecutive years, with her final appearance in 1996. In addition to her long tenure within the pages, Ireland appeared on the cover of the annual issue three times, a feat tied by Christie Brinkley and Cheryl Tiegs and surpassed only by Elle Macpherson (with five appearances). Ireland was the cover model for the first time on the 25th Anniversary Swimsuit Edition, which became SI's best selling swimsuit issue to date. She returned to the cover in 1992 and in 1994. In her third appearance, she was accompanied by Rachel Hunter and Elle Macpherson; notably, both Hunter and Ireland were pregnant at the time.

Ireland has appeared in a number of television and movie roles. Her first movie, 1988's Alien from L.A., was later skewered during the fifth season of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Ireland's other appearances include Melrose Place, Boy Meets World, The Larry Sanders Show, Muppets Tonight, Side Out, Mr. Destiny, Necessary Roughness, Mom and Dad Save the World, National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 (alongside William Shatner), Once Upon A Christmas, and its sequel Twice Upon A Christmas (her final film to date). She also appeared in the ninth season of Dancing with the Stars, however, hers was the third couple eliminated in the second week of competition.

In 1993, Ireland put her name on a line of socks. After they proved a best-seller for Kmart, the retailer gave Ireland her own clothing line. She then founded "Kathy Ireland Worldwide," a brand product marketing company in which she holds a majority stake. By 2004, Ireland was marketing products from 16 manufacturers, including those of Standard Furniture. Ireland's long-term exclusive contract with K-mart Corporation lasted until 2003, after which the company contracted with thousands of independent mid-tier retail stores for distribution. By 2005, KIWW products were sold at over 50,000 locations in 15 countries, generating an estimated $1.4 billion in retail sales. Ireland's annual take is thought to be around $10 million, which has prompted Forbes to name her the "prototype for model-turned-mogul," in an article about the trend of modelpreneurs.

Since 1994, Ireland has published several fitness videos.

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