AGE: 32
HOMETOWN: Calgary, Alberta
LIVES IN: Gold Coast

Saira Mohan Cooper started her long career as a model when she won a contest run by the Elite agency in Los Angeles. Only 13 years old but already nearly five feet ten, she booked a 30-page editorial in Elle magazine for her first job. The Punjabi-French-Irish beauty soon moved to New York City, where she modeled internationally and graduated from a high school for working children. By the time she was 21 and met her husband, Christopher Cooper, in New York, the native Canadian had already lived in Paris and London; she and Christopher dated for six months before marrying and moving to Chicago. Today, Cooper is raising two boys, ages seven and one, while still modeling commercially—recently for clients such as Nordstrom, Kohler, Target, and Sears. “Chicago is becoming a fashion hub,” she says. “But it is an advertising hub.” Cooper and her husband are obsessed with Alinea, the four-star restaurant in Lincoln Park, and have eaten there at least a dozen times. But food snobs they’re not: The other restaurant that gets at least as much love is Barnaby’s of Northbrook. “It’s the best pizza around,” she insists. “You have to ask for one-and-a-half cups of cheese and have Paul make it. Paul is the only guy who will get it right.”



Photograph: Maria Ponce