Christy Turlington Burns Shares The Deeper Meaning Behind Every Mother Counts—And Her Return To Tribeca

The supermodel takes a moment to chat about her maternity health organization's decade-plus of work—and what comes next

by Aaron Royce
Christy Turlington Burns, Christy Turlington Burns, Tribeca X, Tribeca Film Festival, Every Mother Counts

Christy Turlington Burns is back at Tribeca! The supermodel, founder and president of Every Mother Counts sat down with CNN’s Abby Abby Phillip at the Tribeca Film Festival as part of its Tribeca X speaker series, discussing the importance of safe childbirth and maternity health around the world. Afterwards, amidst a busy week, she took a moment to catch up with The Daily Front Row on her latest work leading her organization Every Mother Counts as it nears its 15-year anniversary.

Christy Turlington, Christy Turlington Burns, Tribeca X, Tribeca Film Festival, Every Mother Counts

Christy Turlington Burns (Getty Images)

It’s been nearly 15 years of Every Mother Counts. That’s such a big landmark—did you envision how successful the organization would be when you founded it in 2010?

No, in fact, I really didn’t. When I actually debuted my film, No Woman, No Cry back in 2010 at Tribeca, and then the organization was formed about two years after that, I thought initially that the film and our campaign would just help to raise more awareness around the global tragedy that is child mortality. To have gone into the path of starting a 501(c)(3), and then now we’ve given over $42 million of grants to community-based organizations over the years around the world. I’ve run 10 full marathons on behalf of Every Mother Counts. There’s so many things I could never have seen or expected that we would be able to do, or that the conversation would change as much as it has, but I feel very proud of having been part of that.

What drew you to speak at the this year’s Tribeca Film Festival? Why was this panel so meaningful for you and Every Mother Counts?

I live in Tribeca, I’ve been a part of the festival since it started. So, when I made my first film, it was the first place that I envisioned that it would be and I think we had about five screenings throughout that year. Each of them [had] a really, really packed audience, which is part of what gave me the inspiration, or the motivation, rather, to continue and to start an organization. I think the receptivity of audiences that first saw that film motivated me to travel around the world with it, to show it in various development conferences and forums. So, to be here now…we were going to actually show it at the 10-year anniversary in 2020. But of course, the pandemic happened, and so that wasn’t possible, but I don’t know—it might be worth bringing it back next year when it really is our 15th year. We have a lot of exciting things planned, and lots of work to do between now and then because the work that we do is all day, every day.

So far, you’ve attended Chanel’s Through Her Lens luncheon and hosted your panel this week. Do you have more Tribeca Film Festival plans this year, or anything you’re looking forward to?

My son graduates from high school in a couple of days, so this year that’s been a bit of a conflict in terms of timing. The luncheon on Friday is something that I’ve also attended for a long time. It’s a wonderful event that has just grown and grown with so many women filmmakers and storytellers. Just to be in a room like that…when you look around, you think rooms like this feel good, because that’s what’s required in order to tell the stories that we need to see, and to have the change that we need to change. Even in our world, it’s a very powerful experience.

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