Christie Brinkley's Biggest Beauty Confessions

Photo Credits: Ruven Afanador

Christie Brinkley is waiting for me in the lobby of a sun-drenched fifth avenue hotel. It’s a bone-chillingly cold winter day—one where the city has transformed into a sea of puffy coats marching toward a faraway spring—and she’s wearing an unseasonably short skirt, showing off her tanned and toned legs.

“It’s tan stockings! I almost never admit that, but what an easy trick!” she admits, laughing. “And you don’t get chilly!”

A few nights earlier, Brinkley celebrated her 65th birthday; a week after our cold-day conversation, she’ll walk the New York Fashion Week runway with her youngest daughter, Sailor. The two semi-big milestones might strike a nerve in most, but for the ever-breezy supermodel, it’s “no big deal.”

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“Sailor is more nervous than I am! I keep saying, ‘You know how to walk, right?’ That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to go take a little stroll, a little walk. It’s going to be fun.”

The fun isn’t too hard to find when Brinkley is around; neither are the no-holds-barred beauty confessions. Besides being a spokesperson for Ultherapy—she schedules it once a year to “get her skin to behave like it used to”—she is also a big believer in a vegetarian diet, exercise and “tons of exfoliation,” and an even bigger believer in sharing what she’s learned along the way.

NEWBEAUTY: HOW WERE YOU INTRODUCED TO ULTHERAPY?
Christie Brinkley: When I was writing my book, I kept hearing about Ultherapy. I was interested, but I chickened out from trying it at that point because people keep talking about the pain factor. One way or another, it came up again and I had heard that they had done all kinds of things to address the pain thing. I had the opportunity to give it a go and I really liked the results. That’s how it came about.

NB: DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR ANYONE WHO MIGHT BE THINKING ABOUT GETTING A TREATMENT?
CB: First, go to the website. You can read learn all about it there, and you can also find a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon to go to so you know you’re in good hands. They even have a ‘selfie simulator’ so you can see the effects. 

The thing I like about it most is that it’s so natural—it’s literally telling your body to behave the way it did when you were younger. When you’re younger, your body is naturally creating the collagen and elastin and giving you that youthful glow, and then it starts to slow down. Ultherapy says, ‘Not so fast. You get back in there and start doing your thing.’ I love the idea that once I do it, I’m like, ‘You’re going to age in reverse for the next six months.’ Instead of losing collagen and elastin, my body is actually making more. I thought that was cool. Very futuristic!

NB: WHAT ELSE DO YOU RECOMMEND?
CB: Sunscreen is the most important thing you can do, but it’s really important to Google before you buy your sunscreen. You have to make sure that it’s one that’s safe for the coral reefs; our coral reefs are under attack from the warming seas and all of that, and the chemicals. It really can make a huge difference—even if you live inland and you’re swimming in a lake or stream, or washing your face to get the sunblock off, it all leads to the sea. If we all decide to do that, we can really reduce the harmful effect of those chemicals on the coral reef. That’s vitally important to all of our survival. I feel strongly that we should protect our oceans.

NB: YOU’VE ALSO BEEN OUTSPOKEN ABOUT BEING A VEGETARIAN…
CB: Yes! When I was 13, I became a vegetarian. I never ate another piece of meat again. I did it because I love animals, but I really do believe that I’ve reaped the rewards ever since. All of the antibiotics that they shoot that meat with, all the things that they used to mature them quicker and get them to the marketplace quicker, the growth hormones, are not good. When you eat that meat, some of that stuff is still in there. What is it doing to you, and what is it doing to our environment? For our well-being, we really need to think about it. You can start by cutting back a day, one day a week or a couple days a week, but the more we do that together, the better off we’ll all be. You’ll see the difference in your body, of course, but also in your face and skin. I believe that’s a huge thing.

NB: THAT MIGHT BE EASIER SAID THAN DONE FOR MOST PEOPLE...
CB: Well, I’m also a lifelong exfoliator. I think daily exfoliation makes everything else you apply so much better. When I wake up in the morning, it’s the first thing I do. I don’t use water, I just use a scrub straight. It sets your skin free! I go right down my neck and I also do my décolleté because I have a lot of sun damage to deal with.

NB: WHAT ELSE ARE YOU DOING TO STAY IN SHAPE?
CB: I really do use my Total Gym. I have to say it is the greatest piece of equipment. I just did QVC the other day and was bouncing around on my Total Gym. Twenty-something years later, I truly love it! It keeps me ready for everything else. I do a lot of bike-riding, I like going to spin classes. Whenever I’m at my home in the Caribbean, I never use anything but my bike. Also in the Hamptons, I go riding on the beach on my bike. I have a fat-tire bike. It’s great because it’s easier on the hips for people my age! I love it.

NB: IT ALSO SEEMS LIKE YOU REALLY LOVE INSTAGRAM.
CB: Yes! I don’t plan my posts or anything, I just go with what I’m feeling. I actually have to try to hold back from posting more! But I do think it’s a great tool for models today; they are able to really guide their careers through Instagram. They can project who they are through their feeds—they can share their interests and passions, and even their lifestyles. You can have businesses and guide your career in a big way. It’s a very powerful tool.

NB: YOU ALSO LIKE SHARING A LOT OF FAMILY MOMENTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA. WHAT KIND OF ADVICE ARE YOU GIVING TO YOUR DAUGHTERS ABOUT AGING?
CB: My message for most things in life is always the same with all my kids: No matter what you’re doing that day, if it’s something really boring, find something that you love about it and focus on that—instead of complaining about what you don’t like. Find the upside and be appreciative. Find a way to appreciate every circumstance, good and bad. Learn something from it, grow from it and be grateful. Gratitude is the key to a happy life. Truly, it is. It’s so simple.