Christie Brinkley was the ultimate ’80s beach babe supermodel—that blond Aqua Net-infused hair, three-time Sports Illustrated cover-worthy body, and a smile that would put any current model’s duck face to shame. And today, at 61 and with a career spanning more than four decades (and after all those years in the sun), the California poster girl looks just as gorgeous as ever—no joke.
We can personally attest to Brinkley’s ageless radiance and her contagiously uplifting demeanor, as we got to spend some time with the mother of three, vegan, and activist to discuss her new skin care line, Christie Brinkley Authentic Skincare, which launches today on HSN. Here, we chat with the all-around-positive spirit about how she set out to have better skin than men, her views on aging, and why you should never read the comments section.
Why did you decide to get into skin care?
Well, you know there’s the expression that says, “If you can’t find what you want, create it.”
You are a huge proponent of exfoliation, and your daily exfoliator is one of the hero products in your line. Tell me about that. Was that something you couldn’t find?
In the beginning of my career I read an article about the reason that men always look five years younger than women is because they shave. It said that the daily exfoliation from shaving gives them that rapid cell turnover and keeps their skin glowing and looking so great. So I thought, well, I am just not going to let them have that advantage. So I went to the health food store—my mom was the original health nut—and got an exfoliator. Back then, 40 years ago, exfoliators were like taking gravel off the street and rubbing it on your face. But I went ahead and did that and started exfoliating, exfoliating, exfoliating. So I really wanted to have a great exfolaitor that can be used daily, because most of the ones in the stores are meant to be used every couple of days, but I want to have that feeling every day.
Other than exfoliation, what was the most important thing to you when creating the line?
Being vegan, and a lifelong vegetarian, I have read a lot about health and I was very interested in circadian rhythms. Our body is doing different things when we are sleeping at night than when we are running around in the day, and I wanted the skin care to work with that. I wanted to take full advantage of our sleep cycle, because they don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing. I also wanted it to have an environmental conscience and make sure everything was delivered in packaging that was friendly to the environment. Glass bottles are the best because they turn back into sand.
You said your mom was the “original health nut.” What did you learn from her?
My mom was always my biggest teacher, my inspiration, my role model. My mom was just the most amazing person. She was like a bon vivant in that she just lived each day to the fullest. As soon as I became a vegetarian, she became a vegetarian.
So you did it first? That is amazing.
Yeah, I did it first. I was actually inspired by a book she was reading that I picked up off the nightstand when I was about 13. It was a Norman Mailer book [Miami and the Siege of Chicago] and it had a very graphic scene of the slaughterhouses in Chicago. So I read that and I said, “I love animals. I don’t want to be a part of that system.”
When did you become a vegan?
After Fukushima . Earlier in my career I was a vegan for several years, and then it was so hard for me because I was all over the world. Sometimes I’d be places where they would bring food and I hadn’t eaten all day and it would be fish or shrimp, and if I didn’t eat it, I wouldn’t have anything. So I started thinking, “I seem to be in predominately seaside places. It seems natural to have a little bit of fish. It’s what the locals eat.” So I thought that’s what I should do. Now, though, since Fukushima and BP in the Gulf, I don’t eat fish apart from the occasional oyster.
That’s your splurge?
Life is too short to not have oysters and champagne sometimes.
What advice would you give to women who are starting to worry about wrinkles and getting older and all the pressure to look a certain way?
First of all, I wish that women wouldn’t feel the pressureto look a certain way. I wish that they would place the emphasis on feeling great. When you feel great you emanate a certain energy that translates as beautiful. I don’t care if you have the standard beauty or not, it’s that X-factor that comes through, and the basis of that is good health.
For the other stuff, there are so many things you can do for it. You can use my skin care system, you can go to a dermatologist and they can address your issues. You don’t have to worry about something that bothers you. What you need to worry about is your health and keeping your energy in your body healthy. That is your greatest possession.
How do you do that?
Starting with a healthy diet—nutrition is an amazing way to contribute to your own well-being, and, of course, exercise and attitude. Adopting a really positive attitude can work wonders to adding years to your life, a spring to your step, a sparkle to your eye, and all of that.
This is such good advice. I’m sure you are passing it all on to your three kids. Your youngest daughter, Sailor, is 16 and has gotten into modeling. Do you give her advice about that?
Yeah, I mean obviously the basics: show up on time, give it your all, enjoy it, and bring a good attitude to it, and be ready to work. I think those are the basics…also, I’ve always said to her if you’re ever mentioned in an article and you read it online, never scroll past the last word.
Yes, the comments.
Never go there.