She is easily one of the world's most successful supermodels, having spent several decades as the poster girl for the all-American aesthetic ideal. In her new book Timeless Beauty: Over 100 Tips, Secrets and Shortcuts to Looking and Feeling Great, Christie Brinkley dishes on how to look great in a mini-skirt after 60 (the part that doesn't have to do with winning the genetic lottery). Here, the original uptown girl shares some of the secrets to her success, including why the Studio 54 party scene was a bit of a snooze.
Never say never (to a bathing suit)
I never dreamed that people would be talking about my legs when I was 60. When I was younger, I always said I can't wait until I'm older and the focus won't be on my looks any more. And now I've fallen into this thing where I'm the poster girl for a new age group. When People magazine asked me to do a happy birthday cover for when I turned 60 last year, I was thrilled and flattered, and then I got there and they handed me a bathing suit! I got a reaction [for that photo shoot] that I never would have expected.
The scene's not for everyone
I'm a very curious person, so I was interested in seeing what the party scene was all about. I went to Studio 54 and all of the other big events, but it wasn't really for me. I was never interested in standing around, which is what they do at these sorts of things. I like to do things. I would rather spend time painting or write in my journal. I guess I just had different interests. And I was married a lot, so I was going home to my husband – to one or the other of them. Seriously, though, my first nine years in the business I was happily married and when the job was over I would head home. I always knew that I wanted to have a family and I wanted my body to be a healthy environment for a baby, so that kept me away from that other stuff.
Beauty will get them to look, but you have to get them to listen
One of the things that I'm very passionate about is closing nuclear power plants. It has been a cause that I've been dedicated to for a long time and no matter how hard we would work, it was hard to get the kind of attention we wanted. I would have a press conference and all anybody wanted to talk about was what kind of shoes I was wearing. On the one hand, I know that my looks and my modelling career have been very helpful in terms of getting me in the door, but it can be frustrating. That said, it's easier to go out and do good in the world on a good hair day.
Diets are a one-dimensional beauty plan
I've seen some of the most gorgeous women in the world. They can be sitting there in impeccable clothing and makeup, but it's a kind of one-dimensional beauty. Others really jump off the page and a lot of that has to do with the energy that they are projecting. That's such a huge thing, that's the X-factor, and that's something that is in your control. When you feel good, you look good and by the time you turn 60, you know that there are no miracle fixes out there. I know – I've tried so many of them. I've done fasts, macrobiotic, solid vegan, the fish-only diet, the grapefruit diet. The problem is always that the second that you get back to real life, all of the work goes out the window. I've spent my life where I was either dieting or living my real life. With dieting, you are denying yourself – I call it deny-eting, and I don't believe in it. I believe in being a bon vivant and then you have to want to give your body the right things, too.