Celeb Brats Can Be Model Kids, Too

updated 06/20/1983 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/20/1983 01:00AM

Before she landed her first movie role, Henry Fonda's daughter Jane was a model whose credits included a Vogue cover at age 20. Today a number of young heirs to famous names, including those on the following pages, are treading the same glamorous path. While they are a long way from the heights reached by Fonda, or by Ingrid Bergman's daughter Isabella Rossellini, who has a multimillion-dollar contract to represent Lancôme cosmetics in the U.S., all possess winning good looks and—though none would choose to switch surnames—a desire to succeed on their merits.

Nat Kelly Cole, 24, the son of the late Nat King Cole and brother of songbird Natalie, is modeling to help pay for the University of Southern California's film school, where he'll study directing and writing. The 6'½" Cole exercises to keep the physique that has earned him $125 an hour posing for a men's store catalog, but he's no Muscle Beach type. "I've never put much energy into just looking good," he says. "I'm more mentally oriented."

At 16, New Yorker Linn Ullmann, daughter of actress Liv Ullmann and director Ingmar Bergman, easily juggles her studies at Manhattan's Professional Children's School and her $2,000-a-day photo assignments for such designers as Michaele Vollbracht and Willi Smith. But the winsome 5'5½" 11th grader, who acted with Liv in The Emigrants and Autumn Sonata, has made a sacrifice: "I can't have M&M's and Nacho chips anymore."

Italy's Alessandra Mussolini, 19, has the eyes of her aunt, Sophia Loren, and the hauteur of her notorious grandfather, Benito Mussolini. A child of Sophia's sister Maria and II Duce's son Romano, she glowed in this Guy Laroche bridal gown at a Paris show but still thinks models are "dummies."

Los Angeles' C.C. Goldwater, 23, switched from runway work to TV ads, where being just 5'5" isn't a handicap. Being a granddaughter of Sen. Barry Goldwater hasn't hurt either, but what got C.C. (her given name is Cynthia) her jobs for clients like Chic jeans is her figure. The child of the Senator's daughter Joanne, C.C. keeps slim by dancing and hopes to host her own TV talk show.

I'm not the typical model," says Robbi Chong, 20, daughter of Tommy Chong. "I love to eat and I dress off the wall." Nevertheless, the 5'9½" half sister of actress Rae Dawn Chong is a $250-an-hour fashion clotheshorse. She'll be with Dad in his next film, Cheech and Chong's Corsican Brothers, but says, "He's happy I'm not a degenerate, living off him."

The son of actor-writer-director Melvin Van Peebles and his first wife, photographer Maria Magdalena, Mario Van Peebles, 26, made his movie debut at 13 in his dad's X-rated film Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. While acting remains his goal (he has a lead role in the upcoming adventure film The Runaways), the 6' Mario has become a sought-after fashion model, appearing in Essence, GQ and other glossy magazines. A graduate in economics from Columbia University, he credits much of his success to his parents. He learned about photography "through osmosis" from his mom. And his dad? "He has shown me how important it is to be creative, and I taught him table manners."

The concrete canyons of Manhattan are a far cry from the slopes of Aspen, Colo., where singer Andy Williams' daughter Noelle lived until just four months ago with her mother, Claudine Longet, and two brothers. Noelle, 19, left home after a scout from the Wilhelmina agency spotted the 5'9" brunette in last year's "New Faces of the Rocky Mountains" contest. "I'm not a city girl," says Noelle, an avid horsewoman and mountain climber, "but I love the cultural possibilities in New York." For now, at least, all she'll see of the rugged life she loves is the modeling work she has done for Ski and Runner's World magazines and a TV ad for the soft drink Mountain Dew.

Although her father, Joseph, and grandfather, Millard, were both Democratic Senators from Maryland, politics isn't for Emlen Tydings, 22. "I used to campaign when I was younger. I would shake hands and hand out pamphlets," she recalls. "I just don't have a mind for those sorts of things." Tydings has done TV ads pitching Sergio Valente jeans ("I run through a jungle") and Clairol's Nice 'n Easy shampoo ("I giggle and shake my hair a lot"). These days the 5'8½" blonde earns $2,500-a-day tees posing for magazines like Glamour, Self and the Italian Bazaar. She began modeling nearly two years ago at the suggestion of her beau's father, a magazine publisher. Her own dad wasn't wild about the idea but has since come around. "He loves to say, 'That's my little girl on TV,' " says Emlen. Despite her success, she is seriously considering quitting to finish college. "I want more of a routine in my life," she explains.

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