While Philip Morris was tying its Virginia Slims brand to women’s liberation as well as to respect and equality for professional women athletes, the company was relying on stereotypical sexual appeals to men by using supermodel Cheryl Tiegs, whose image was featured on two covers of the annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Tiegs also appeared on the cover of TIME Magazine on March 6, 1978 as “The All-American Model. The accompanying article included this description of a photo-shoot session for Virginia Slims cigarettes:
“Though smoking is the point of it all, Tiegs does not smoke. She holds her long, skinny cigarette unlit in her long, graceful fingers. In the finished ad, the cigarette will be lit for her, politely, by the retoucher. As she walks off the set to be dressed in her next costume, she drops the Slims to the floor. By the end of the day, Tiegs, Nancy and Cristina will have, in such fashion, gone through more than a pack.”
The All-American Model A famous face is now a name: Cheryl Tiegs
Time Magazine March 6, 1978
To add insult to irony, in 1980 cigarette supermodel Tiegs was selected to co-host “The National Health Quiz” on the Public Broadcasting Service, produced by KERA-TV, Dallas. Promotional material for the quiz noted that it would enable viewers to “evaluate their health risk factors for the four leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, stroke, and auto accidents. In the heart disease category, viewers will be able to determine how many such factors as blood pressure, cholesterol level, family history of heart disease, cigarette smoking, weight, and exercise habits combine to increase or decrease their risk of death within ten years due to heart disease.”
Source: Blum A: Virginia’s sins. US Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence. October, 1980.