January 27, 1975
It may have been intended as a visual reminder that despite their 12-inch height difference, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and model Cheryl Tiegs see eye to eye on the sweatshop issue. Last summer the 4'10" Reich invited the 5'10" Tiegs to address the Fashion Industry Forum. At a press conference with Tiegs, Reich stood on an apple crate to appear her equal in stature. Tiegs, a pioneer of celebrity-endorsed apparel, appreciated the gag, but, like Reich, she didn't consider the subject they were addressing to be a laughing matter. Since first agreeing to an apparel contract with Sears in 1980, Tiegs has vigilantly monitored the production of her signature lines. Referring to price-conscious consumers who don't want to pay the price for clothing guaranteed to be sweatshop free, she said, "They may have to accept that they'll pay more than rock-bottom prices. They can't have their cake and eat it too."
That sort of public advocacy was a rare gesture by Tiegs, who these days usually casts herself as a work-at-home mom. With her name attached to lines of hosiery, eyewear and watches, she is financially secure. Recently divorced from third husband Anthony Peck (son of Gregory), she is remodeling a California home that she will share with the five-year-old man in her life, son Zack. And, at 49, she still smolders in a bikini. "When I don a swimsuit," says Tiegs, who did so in 10 SI swimsuit issues from 1970 until '95, "I still wear a bikini. It always feels so good."
Bikinis and Tiegs have long been a perfect fit. A 1978 poster of her in a pink two-piece made her a widely studied subject in college dorms across the nation. Three years earlier she had pranced in the Cancún surf at dawn and come away with a cover (above), even though only six frames were taken during that shoot. "That shot looks warm and inviting, but the water was cold, and it was too early," says Tiegs, who also graced our cover in '70 and '83. "I've never been a morning person."
Until she became a mom. "Zack has definitely altered my sleep schedule," says Tiegs. "I don't mind. He's the love of my life." But Zack seems to have eyes for one of mom's younger colleagues. "He absolutely has the biggest crush on Kathy Ireland," says Tiegs. "By his bed is a picture of her that she signed, 'To Sweet Zack, I adore you.' "
A lot of us feel the same way about Zack's mom.