Vogue's Cover Girl
“Start each day being thankful for all that you have. Having an attitude of gratefulness helps you stay energized.” Niki Taylor
American model Niki Taylor is famous as the youngest model ever on the cover of “Vogue” at age 15. She has since appeared on hundreds worldwide magazine covers, including “Elle,” “Harper's Bazaar,” “Mademoiselle,” “Allure,” “Self,” “Shape,” Marie Claire,” “Cosmopolitan” and “Glamour.” She is mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest model to sign a six figure deal, thanks to her exclusive contracts with L'Oreal and CoverGirl Cosmetics. She was a star of “Sports Illustrated'”s annual swimsuit issue, among other accomplishments.
Taylor has been married twice. Her first marriage to former Miami Hooters linebacker Matt Martinez lasted from 1994 to 1996. The marriage produced twin sons, Jake and Hunter (born Decemebr 1994). After the divorce, Taylor had several high profile relationships with NHL hockey player Rob Niedermayer, Chris Paciello, and country music artist Keith Urban, whom she met during the production of Urban's music video “Somebody Like You” (2002). Taylor and her twins later relocated from South Florida to Nashville, Tennessee, to be with Urban. The two had an on and off relationship until December 2004, and eventually ended the romance after Urban met actress Nicole Kidman in the following month. Currently, Taylor is married to NASCAR driver Burney Lamar. They have one daughter, Ciel Taylor Lamar (born March 2009). She is currently expecting her fourth child.
Childhood and Family:
Nicole Renee Taylor, who would later be popular as Niki Taylor, was born on March 5, 1975, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Her father, Ken, is a Florida Highway Patrolman, while her mother, Barbara, is a photographer. She has an older sister named Joelle. Her younger sister, Krissy, who had a promising modeling career, died in July 1995 from asthma complications. Niki was raised in Pembroke Pines, Florida, and attended Cooper City High School.
A few months after completing high school in the fall of 1993, Niki met ex-Miami Hooters linebacker Matt Martinez during a coin-toss at an Arena football game in Miami. They eloped to Las Vegas in January 1994 and got married later on July 19, 1994 in McCammon, Idaho. The couple welcomed their twins, Jake and Hunter, in December 1994, but divorced in 1996.
Following a series of failed romances, Niki eventually was engaged to NASCAR driver Burney Lamar in October 2006. The coupled exchanged wedding vows on December 27, 2006 at the Grande Colonial Hotel in La Jolla, California. Their first child, daughter Ciel Taylor Lamar, was born on March 4, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. In May 2001, she informed that she is expecting her second child with husband Lamar.
An aspiring marine biologist, Niki Taylor subsequently turned her attention to modeling after her mother sent her daughter's photos to a Florida modeling agency. At the age of 13, Taylor signed with Irene Marie Models in South Florida, and met photographer and her future manager, Jean Renard, there. It was not long before she experienced her big break by winning a Fresh Faces contest in New York City and a $500,000 modeling contract. Taylor made her first magazine cover in an issue of “Seventeen” in August 1989, when she was 14 years old. In the following year, she graced the cover of “Vogue.”
In 1991, Taylor was named one of People magazine's “50 Most Beautiful People.” Her profile rose even higher when she signed with Cover Girl Cosmetics to become their spokesmodel in 1992. A then 17 year old Taylor became the first spokesmodel under 18 to be placed under exclusive contract with the cosmetic company. She became the youngest model ever to sign a multi million dollar contract when she became a “L'Oreal” spokesperson.
Taylor has also done ad campaigns for Gap, Liz Claiborne, Nokia, Ellen Tracy, Lee Jeans, Nokia, Rampage clothes, and Pantene, among others. She also had six enormous billboards in NYC's Times Square simultaneously, including a year long presence on the three Liz Claiborne Times Square billboards.
In May 1996, Taylor appeared on the cover of the six major American women's fashion and fitness magazines in the same month: “Allure,” “Elle,” “Vogue,” “Marie Claire,” “Self” and “Shape.” So far, she has appeared in over 400 magazines covers worldwide. Taylor was featured in the 1997 and 1998 editions of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and on the cover of their 1998 Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar.
On May 2, 2001, Taylor was critically injured in an automobile accident in Atlanta, Georgia, when her then boyfriend, Chad Renegar, was trying to answer his cell phone and swerved off the road. She suffered severe internal injuries, including a collapsed lung and serious liver damage, and was unconscious for six weeks. She needed about 56 surgeries and significant physical therapy, and has been recovering outstandingly.
In July 2005, Taylor opened a clothing store, Abbie and Jesse's, in Franklin, Tennessee, with her manager and friend Lou Taylor. Later that same year, she launched her first fragrance, “Begin by Niki Taylor.” Three years later, she and male model Tyson Beckford co-hosted the new Bravo series “Make Me a Supermodel,” which debuted on January 10, 2008. She did not return for a second season due pregnancy.
Recently, in 2011, Taylor became a contestant on the fourth edition of “The Celebrity Apprentice.” She became the third person to be fired.