Official Magazine of the Denver Bar Association

Kristi Anderson Wells: From Ford Model to Family Law

Law & Entertainment: Attorneys in the Limelight

Back in the days when Duran Duran ruled the airways, DBA member Kristi Anderson Wells was a long way from her role as a family law attorney at Gutterman Griffiths PC. Wells spent the late 80s working in fashion as a Ford Model.

Growing up in Seattle, Wells aspired to be a ballet dancer. She was “discovered” at the age of 14, when she responded to an ad for dance catalogue models posted in the studio where she took dance classes.
“I was a skinny thing and taller than most of the boys at that age,” Wells laughs. “I really had no conception of myself as being model material.”

She first met Eileen Ford, the matriarch of the Ford Models empire, when Ford traveled through Seattle on a scouting tour.

“The event was being covered by the local television stations. There was a long line of aspiring models waiting to meet Eileen,” Wells says. “When they got to me, Eileen flipped through my book, asked that the cameras be turned off, and told me I was too short to ever be a model. I was crushed.”

Not one to take “no” for an answer, Wells traveled to Europe with a Ford affiliate agency and established herself as a model. She spent a year in Milan and a year in Paris before landing the L’Oreal contract that made Eileen Ford ask her to join Ford Models.

Among the more prestigious assignments of Wells’s modeling career, she was the face of Gloria Vanderbilt’s perfume “Glorious.” She graced the cover of many magazines, including “Paris Vogue,” and anchored the 1987 campaign for Italian fashion designer GianMarco Venturi. She also worked on many commercials, selling products in Italy, Spain, Mexico and the U.S.

Wells says that modeling has terrific perks, including the travel. Some of the more exotic locations in which she shot included Calcutta, the former Soviet Union, the Maldive Islands, Mauritius and Kenya. However, modeling is a short-lived career. By the time she was twenty-four, her career was winding down and many of her colleagues were leaving the industry.

“If you aren’t Christie Brinkley or Iman, it is somewhat difficult to make a living as a model after a certain point,” Wells says. “I had to figure out how to support myself in the manner to which I had become accustomed. I was always a studious sort, so I went back to school and got my undergraduate degree in Journalism, then went straight into law school and finished with a master’s degree in taxation.”

Wells says she feels lucky to have landed at Gutterman Griffiths, where her family law practice is both rewarding and challenging.

“It is wonderful to be able to work in a field where you feel you are actually making a difference in people’s lives,” she says.


By James R. Garts, III

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