A slightly-built brunette with electric blue eyes and size four feet, Liberty Ross has been modelling ever since top lensman Mario Testino - when photographing her cousin Frederick Eliot - decided that what the shoot needed was an injection of Liberty. She struck a pose and a new fashion star was born.
Born in 1978, Liberty Lettice Lark Ross has that mix of boho-aristo chic and street-credibility that makes the fashion world's top movers and shakers reach for their wallets. Her maternal grandfather was Lord Killearn, while her father, Ian Ross, was one of the launch team of Radio Caroline, and in the Eighties founded Flipper's, the first roller disco in Los Angeles. While Dad hung out with Prince, Robin Williams and the rock group Queen, Liberty would be pushed round the roller rink in her pram by her elder sister. When the club got closed down by the police, Ian changed tack and became a plummy English butler for a rich family in Hollywood.
When Liberty was six, the family moved back to Britain, where Liberty eventually won a scholarship to a prestigious London day school, gaining more than respectable A Level grades. Hip photographer Corinne Day, who made Kate Moss the fashion icon she is today, first spotted Liberty on the city's Portobello Road when she was just 13 years old. But Liberty was not new to modelling. As a seven-year-old she had appeared in an advertising campaign for chic jewellers Tiffany and, two years later, was photographed for the cover of an Ozzy Osbourne album. "He was sitting on a throne with these skulls," Liberty later recalled. "I was meant to be this little child bride next to him. His hand was shaking wildly and he was pouring with sweat."
But modelling was not really on Liberty's list of Things To Do. "Lots of girls will work for five years before Mario will use them, and I was not prepared to slog around doing that," she said airily. Instead, she became a TV presenter for a Japanese cable station called the Okey Dokey channel. Until Mario came calling, that is. Now she is one of the most in-demand models on the circuit, winning the prestigious Model of the Year Award at the Elle Style awards in 2000.
Emmanuel Ungaro used her to promote his Desnuda fragrance, and she also signed on as the face of Guerlain cosmetics house. There are prestigious magazine covers a-go-go she beat Gisele to the anniversary cover of style bible The Face and she's pulling in $100,000 for two-day ad campaigns with the likes of Prada-owned label Jil Sander. Fashion success has paid off for Liberty, who in 2005 came in at number eight on a list of the richest models under 30.
Although the down-to-earth 20-something appreciates her newfound fortune, she's not planning to stay welded to her career for ever, however. She wed long-term boyfriend, advertising director Rupert Saunders, in 2003 and the couple welcomed a daughter, Skyla Lily Lake, in late 2004.