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Christie Brinkley Spills Her Secrets on Aging Gracefully

We picked the supermodels brain on how she's managed to balance health, career and family — and look great doing it.
Image: Christie Brinkley
Christie BrinkleyPurina Pro Plan

When it comes to supermodels, Christie Brinkley has had one of the most successful careers.

The 63-year-old holds the record for the longest-running cosmetics contract of any model (she partnered with Cover Girl for 25 years). Since then she's added actress, author and businesswoman to her resume, launching her own anti-aging skincare line and even gracing the Broadway stage. The mother of three also somehow manages to find time for extensive charity work — receiving awards for her work with the environment, education and supporting the troops.

And if you think she couldn't possibly be any more likable, she's now advocating for the health of aging cats and dogs, joining forces with Purina Pro Plan as the spokesperson for their new formula for senior pets. ("I'm old, that's why they chose me," she joked.)

When BETTER caught up with Brinkley at a rooftop happy hour in honor of healthy aging (in people and in pets), she rocked a white mini dress, the perfect beachy waves and sky-high heels — which she immediately traded for a pair of sandals after the event. (Celebrities really are just like us.)

One thing's for sure: We can only hope to age so gracefully. So we picked her brain on achieving career success, staying fit and lessons she's learned from being a mother (both to her human and fur babies).

Image: Christie Brinkley
Brinkley shares her health and beauty secrets in her book, Timeless Beauty.Sean Zanni /

Tell us about a bad thing or tough moment that you made you better.

Unfortunately I have way too many to choose from. I would say, in general, it’s hard to know when you’re going through a tough time that it’s going to make you stronger. But it really does. I had a 20-year long contract with Cover Girl, the longest contract in modeling history, and when that ended I thought maybe that was the first sign my career was slowing down. But I decided to take the bull by the horns and make things happen. So I did things that excited me, like Chicago the Musical, and eventually [Cover Girl] caught back up with me and I did another five years or so with them. I think that it ended up being a good thing because it acknowledged the fact that older woman don’t just disappear. They are a real, relevant part of the marketplace that want to be represented. They want to be able to relate to the models in the magazine pages. And I think it was the beginning of recognizing our generation and creating products specifically for us. When that ended, I said alright, well now I finished my second contract and it’s time for me to do something on my own, specifically for women my age. I ended up creating my own company and now I have my Christie Brinkley Authentic Skin Care.

You felt like you really “made it” when…

Oh my gosh … there are so many options. Could it be the first time I was on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show? I don’t know, let’s come back to that one.

What’s on your nightstand right now?

I have a stack of half-read books; it’s so big it tips over. I have a basket from the Caribbean stuffed with bottles of water so that I keep hydrated. My TV clicker. My plug for my cellphone (I know you shouldn’t keep it on the nightstand…).

The one guilty pleasure you can’t stop, won’t stop:

I know I’ve said it before, but I’m going to have to say juicy, warm, fresh mozzarella.

Bloom where you’re planted. Find something to love about wherever you are, whatever you’re doing.

Favorite workout jam of the moment:

Jack or Sailor’s [her son and daughter] mix on their iPhones. They have the best. Sailor has a lot of Drake and rap.

Your favorite way to stay fit:

I really do use my TotalGym in my home. Then I like to mix it up, variety is the spice of life. For me when it comes to exercise I have to mix it up or I just get into a rut. My favorite thing of all is when Sailor is home and she’s dancing and I go in and try to imitate her moves because I can’t dance and I end up laughing so hard, so that works my stomach. I was in the best shape of my life when I was in Chicago because of the dancing. It’s the best. But I also love skiing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, biking ... I think spin classes are really great. Not to mention, my personal trainers are Maple and Chester, my dogs, who come to me several times during the day and are like, “Let’s go for a run; let’s go for a walk; let’s go to the beach!”

What I’m looking forward to most this month:

I am really looking forward to a few days off. I have been on the go for a while and I now have a few free days before I head off to Los Angeles. I am looking forward to that too, it’s my hometown. But during my time off in New York I will be with my family for the weekend, everyone is coming into town.

If you could pass on one lesson or piece of advice to your children, what would it be?

The main thing is when you’re young, you’re always worried about things. You worry about what other people think, or you worry about silly things like “Do I look okay?” I would want them to know that the “they” and the “them” isn’t as important as the "you,” and celebrating your own unique individuality that makes you, you. That makes you special. Celebrate that, don’t get caught up in what "they" think, just relax and enjoy it and live your life to the fullest.

I want [my kids] to know that the 'they' and the 'them' isn’t as important as the 'you.'

What goal(s) are you currently working on?

I would really like to become fluent in Italian. I think it’s a beautiful language and I love Italy and I would love to be completely at ease. I also want to take some hip hop lessons; I want to get some moves. I can’t wait for Sailor to come home to copy her, so I’m going to take some lessons on my own just for fun.

One Small Thing that makes me healthier/better/more sane:

My attitude of gratitude. I think that everything stems from that. I always say to my kids, “Bloom where you’re planted.” Find something to love about wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, focus on what is good about it, not what’s bad about it. Be grateful every day for everything. And count your blessings. Mine always start with the same three: Alexa, Jack, Sailor. By the time I get to Sailor I think: I’m so lucky! I have no right to complain. Done. In a good mood again. An attitude of gratitude gets you through.