05/03/1993 at 01:00 AM EDT
Being called supermodel puts a woman in a pretty exclusive sorority. But to label her the fairest of them all raises her to a stratospheric pedestal. When New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art needed the ideal features to grace the 120 mannequins in its revamped Costume Institute, it was Christy Turlington's face that they chose to cast in fiberglass. "We wanted beauty that transcends time, like the faces on ancient Egyptian carvings," explains associate curator Harold Koda. "Christy's face is the most elegant I've seen, all in perfect balance."
The aqua-eyed Turlington, 24, chalks her memorable allure up to "my mixture of ethnicity." Her El Salvadoran mother, a former flight attendant, passed on her olive skin to Christy, and her American father, a pilot, contributed his great bone structure. Discovered by a photographer at age 14 while horseback riding near her Miami home, Turlington has racked up magazine covers by the score, as well as ad campaigns for Calvin Klein and Michael Kors. "Her beauty has nothing to do with trends," says Kors. "She's not a voluptuous bombshell or a fragile waif. She has no specific time zone."
Except when she travels, which is some 300 days a year. Otherwise, Turlington collects pottery for her two-bedroom Manhattan apartment, where she lives alone. (A six-year romance with actor Roger Wilson ended last year.) Her mother, Liz, insists that Christy hasn't let her face go to her head. "When she comes home, people expect a glamorous woman," she says. "But they see her and realize she's just Christy, like she's always been." To somebody, at least, Turlington actually is the girl next door.