Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Kathleen Marie "Kathy" Ireland Biography

Kathleen Marie "Kathy" Ireland (born March 20, 1963) is an American former model, actress, CEO and designer of her eponymous brand product marketing company, Kathy Ireland Worldwide.

Kathy Ireland was born in Glendale, California, the daughter of John Ireland, a labor union organizer, and Barbara Ireland. At age 17, Ireland was "discovered" by an agent for the Elite Model Management company, and by the time she graduated from high school, she was working steadily as a model.

Sports Illustrated
Starting in 1984, Ireland was featured in the annual Swimsuit Issue 13-consecutive years, before 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 six or more 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. MacPherson would also become a mother within 18 months.

Ireland has appeared in a small 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 also appeared in Melrose Place, Side Out, Mr. Destiny, National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1, alongide William Shatner, Once Upon A Christmas, Twice Upon A Christmas, Mom and Dad Save the World and Necessary Roughness.

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 and 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.

Ireland has also written three children's books. "Mona's Favorite Words," "What Do Mommies Do?" and "An Angel Called Hope," which were published by Publications International, LTD.

In 2004, Ireland wrote the book, Powerful Inspirations: Eight Lessons that Will Change Your Life, published by Random House. In the book, Ireland uses the Bible and her Christian faith to highlight her life story and beliefs.

Personal life
Kathy Ireland is married to Dr. Greg Olsen, a physician, and they reside in Santa Barbara, California, with their three children: son Erik, born in May 1994; daughter Lily, born on 27 October 1998; and daughter Chloe, born in March 2003. Kathy Ireland has two sisters: Mary Ireland and Cynthia Ireland.

Ireland gave a speech at the fourth Youth Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters on August 13, 2007, on a subject of social entrepreneurship and partnerships.

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