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Internet’s marvelous pioneer Cindy Margolis: How she shaped today’s digital world and beyond


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While raising her three children the one thing Cindy Margolis amplified is the number one thing that drives her crazy, the internet.

Cell phones, apps and a reliable device digitally telling time to her children, to the point her children can’t even read a traditional Roman numeral clock, at times Margolis wishes technology advances would slow down. Although her kids have come across Margolis’ name in history textbooks having neighbors like A-list comedian Kevin Hart and a close friend in Gwen Steffani, whose son wrote and composed a song to impress Margolis’ daughter, Margolis’ own kids don’t even realize how big she is. Internationally known as “The Queen of the Internet” she was a trailblazer playing a key role in how the internet is shaped today.

cindy margolis

“To make history, that was quite an honor,” says the woman who holds a Guinness Book of World Records title, one that’s been retired called the Most Downloaded Woman In History. “I was part of an era where we changed the world…I was close with Steve Jobs…he [was] a genius who basically changed the world…I could not be more blessed.”

There’s one pet peeve that bothers Margolis the most: The idea that someone can be a celebrity overnight and that after getting that 15-minutes of fame they are set for life. This is a mindset younger people today, like her children; believe with technology bringing answers to their fingertips as soon as they demand it, Margolis explained.

“I need them to know I worked my ass off,” Margolis said. “There’s no such thing as an overnight success.”

Margolis did more than just work, she was innovative.

“When the name Cindy Margolis is spoken, remember these three B’s…She is beauty, brilliance and one iconic brand,” Facebooks Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg once said of her.

To reach these heights she’d had to overcome adversity. Through struggles and failures is how one becomes to know who they are, Margolis says. Through trials in life is what prepared Margolis to position herself for her big break and it took work to sustain that success.

And if anyone knows how to sustain success digitally it’s the woman with an Online Webster Dictionary word “Margolian” which means “to self create opportunities through extraordinary feats on the internet.”

Cindy Margolis is also the President of theSeen, an online social entertainment employment network partnering with Google to help launch stars.

Cindy’s Childhood

Raised by a single mother right outside Los Angeles in San Fernando Valley, California Margolis learned to take on responsibility as early as age six. As the oldest of two, she also looked out for her younger brother.

“I was really the mom and dad of the house,” Margolis said.

Adoring public figures such as Marilyn Monroe whom she “had a whole room dedicated to her” Margolis had aspirations to join Hollywood. Living right next to Los Angeles she felt her family and the “stability” she built gave her a support system to make it. When her big break came, she was ready.

Breaking the Internet

Since she was already modeling she decided to intertwine that for a class project in a business 101 course as college student enrolled at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). Working to the last minute she realized she could use photos of herself modeling lingerie for her business project, which she came up with an idea to make sexy greeting cards with brief phrases as the project was simple.

“If you had a business what would it be?” Margolis said.

After standing up in front of class presenting and handing out her greeting it was the start to a business.

Shipping out the businesses cards after her mother quit her job, she, Margolis and her brother would stay at home and answer phone calls from customers calling about the greeting cards as the home phone number on the back of each card was presented as a business number.

When this became a hit, she was later getting hired to model for posters. Appearing in over 100 different posters she became the biggest selling poster super model, labeled “America’s #1 Pin-Up.”

Reaching such heights she appeared on “The Price is Right” and would frequently appear as a guest on other shows.

cindy margolis

Before making television appearances she would guarantee that show would reach its highest ratings. And she didn’t disappoint. She’d send an email blast to all fan emails she had on file from her website to let them know when she was making a television appearance. Just like that she’d spike those shows ratings.

“I was the first celebrity to have a website and do self-promotion,” Margolis said. “I helped agencies shape where they are today.”

When she appeared on Howard Stern’s show and named dropped her website it would crash.

Before the turn of the millennium Margolis was downloaded 70,000 times in a span of 24 hours, which landed her a spot in the 2000 Guinness Book of World Records.

Raising Awareness for Infertility

Margolis lit up Hollywood starring in her own television show the “Cindy Margolis Show,” making an appearance in the first installment of the “Austin Powers” hit movie trilogy and landing other gigs that put her on both the silver screen and on television sets in front of millions.

While she was becoming more and more of a household name, she was having problems off camera with infertility. While taking shots on daily basis, up to three times a day, hoping to overcome her infertility she later went public to address the issue. While working on a project a makeup artist told Margolis people were thinking she was taking drugs as her husband was giving her shots in the bathroom.

She decided to open up about the issue on “Entertainment Tonight” and was the first celebrity to bring awareness to this issue in Hollywood and sparked a movement after an uncut episode where she opened up about her experience.

“I never thought my sperm would be talked on ‘Entertainment Tonight,’” Margolis said.

She further helped raise awareness for infertility becoming the celebrity spokesperson for “National Infertility Association” Resolve.

Margolis was able to have three children, her eldest son using in-vitro fertility treatments and twin daughters who came from a surrogate mother. In 2008, she published a bestselling book “Having A Baby…When the Old Fashioned Way Isn’t Working” to further share her experience. She also mentioned this aspect of her life on her reality dating show “Seducing Cindy.”

Posing for Playboy with a purpose

“It made men wake up,” Margolis said of being featured in Playboy, as it referenced that 65 percent of the time infertility is a male problem.Throughout her rise to fame Margolis prides herself for never

Cindy Margolis on the cover of Playboy in 2006

stripping down as she was clothed for every photoshoot. But after years of rejecting Hugh Hefner’s request to pose for Playboy she decided in 2006 to do it, but it was only to go toward a cause close to her heart, infertility.

 

Margolis stayed true to her word as she didn’t make a penny off appearing in Playboy donating all proceeds to fertility organizations. In the end she said it helped 30 woman and three families named their daughters after her.

Losing her brother

While Margolis may appear to be living a fantasy she deals with adversity as like everyone else. The hardest hit in her life occurred three years ago when she lost her younger brother Cory.

“I loved him more than anything. He was there for every triumph,” Margolis said.

The tragedy is a life lesson Margolis and her three children are learning from as it changed all their lives as the two siblings were very close.

“I never dealt with something like that…it changes your life [especially] an unexpected sudden death,” Margolis said.

Cory is survived by his wife and two kids.

 Cindy’s innovative but old fashioned

The single mother that raises her three millennial children has noticed a generation gap. As the kids refer to anything pre 2000 as the “olden times” they don’t get the cult classic movies Margolis shows them such as “Austin Powers” or “Clueless.” Margolis also notices extreme frustration from them when it comes to having issues connecting to “Wi-Fi” or when she’d take their phone away as they place so much value on a mobile device.

It may seem a little ironic that the person who took the internet to such heights and the only woman Vanity Fair listed in “The 100 Most Influential People Who Developed And Shaped The Internet,” to think that internet advances should slow down. However, it’s only so millennials like her children understand traditional values such as communication, patience or even something simple like an old fashioned handshake.

In fact, just last month she had her 25-year anniversary with her manager Neil Cirucci. A commitment the two made with a simple handshake with no contracts or paperwork ever involved.cindy margolis

“Let’a face it, 25 years in a business relationship in Hollywood is unreal: 25 years without a written contract is unheard of. We’re not just business partners, we’re best friends,” Cirucci said. “Cindy is about as down to earth as she can be. While her beauty is obvious, her self-deprecating sense of humor is always at the forefront. She doesn’t take herself too seriously at all.”

While Margolis’ children may drive her “stir crazy” at times, she loves them and they’re all she talks about.

She’s “the best,” Cirucci said. “She loves her 3 kids dearly Nicholas, Sabrina and Sierra…and they, in turn, adore her.”

Using the internet to her advantage when it comes to her children she reminds them what’s helped them live where they are now.

“This is the house the internet built,” Margolis tells her children. “I don’t want them to ever forget there’s a whole world out there and you’re lucky.”

This article was originally published in MCXV.

Read about how Cindy Margolis scared Justin Beiber to death.

Author’s Note

It was an absolute pleasure to interview Cindy Margolis. We had a great conversation and although we may be a few generations a part we have similar ‘tudes when it comes to millennials and technology: understanding it is a good thing but at times the younger generation can get carried away with it especially with technology advances moving so fast. I was also flattered that a person of her stature congratulated me on recently being named the Student Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists. She complimented me on using my talents in writing: ‘you’re changing the world. I honor you’ she told me. There’s only one Cindy Margolis and knowing that if it wasn’t for what she established and her brand taking the internet to such heights, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. For that, I honor Cindy right back and wish her nothing but the best moving forward.

Gino Terrell

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