“Be happy. Plant a garden. Be happy. Eat a garden.”
That’s only one message supermodel/actress/entrepreneur Christie Brinkley hopes to impart with her new book, “Timeless Beauty” (Grand Central Life & Style). In the book, due Nov. 10, Brinkley 61, delivers advice, tips and trends on everything from fashion and skin care to cooking and fitness.
“I did the ‘Happy Birthday’ [swimsuit] cover for People [magazine] when I turned 60 and it got a huge reaction, and a lot of people started asking me, ‘What’s your secret? What are you eating? How did you do that?’ So I said let me write this down and see what makes sense — if I can be helpful to anybody.”
A successful business woman, Brinkley helms a new vegan skin care line, as well as a hair extenstions line launched in 2013. She made her stage debut on Broadway in 2011 as Roxy Hart in “Chicago,” and is also a mother of three (Alexa Ray, 29, Sailor, 16, and Jack, 20). She says there’s no “normal” to her busy daily life, let alone her fitness regimen.
“In my life there is no routine,” said Brinkley, a pop culture icon who has graced the cover of Sports Illustrated on three consecutive issues and made her big screen debut opposite Chevy Chase in “National Lampoon’s Vacation” as “the girl in the Ferrari.”
“That’s what I love about my job. Every day is different,” Brinkley said. I try to get a little exercise in wherever I can. It may sound silly, but I’ll take advantage of the time I use drying my hair to do some lunges or squats.
“I like to mix it up when I do have time for a workout. If I get into one thing I get bored quickly and won’t do it. I keep a Total Gym [Brinkley is a longtime spokesperson for the workout machinery] in my house and really use it. It’s been around for 20 years and the only reason we’re still here is that it’s a really good product. You get a total body stretch. I also do yoga. Before you do anything else you have to stretch your muscles out to avoid injury. So I’ll do 7 minutes on the Total Gym. Then something high aerobic like speed walking or a run down the beach or around my property. Or take a class like Full Psycle or Peloton or Flywheel.”
For the rest of us who don’t have access to a run on the beach or perhaps the means for a class, Brinkley says you can do much of the same whatever the circumstances.
“Ride a bike. Take a brisk walk. If you child is learning to ride a bike, run alongside. I love running and you can do that anywhere you live. I take light weights with me, maybe two pounds, when I walk or run. I flap my arms like I’m doing a swim crawl as I’m walking. It may look really silly but it really makes a difference. … What I learned from doing ‘Chicago’ was that the second you add your arms to any aerobic activity you’re actually [working out like] a dancer. Dancers are very aware of every part of their body. If they move in their space, their entire body is moving in that space. So go and pretend you’re a dancer and move your arms while you’re walking.”
Brinkley, with her sun-kissed, All-American Girl looks, has been a vegetarian since her teen years (“I haven’t had a piece of red meat or chicken since I was 13 because I love animals, and the Karma was wonderful”) and firmly believes in “no DENY-eting” when it comes to food.
“When you diet and you deny yourself certain things you can’t wait to get off that diet and eat those things again,” Brinkley said. So don’t diet. Start GIFTING yourself when you eat by thinking, ‘how can I gift my body with something that will give me a rosey glow, give me energy, good health, prolong my health. … You really are what you eat.”
Brinkley, who employs a home chef, does not eat raw fish (“except for oysters”), but occasionally imbibes in a little protein such as salmon. She’s a firm believer in organic produce and a sitting down to “colorful” plate of food at mealtime.
“We’ll put together for dinner a plate that has [purple] cabbage, [yellow] yams or [orange] sweet potatoes, [green] kale or broccoli. Then there’s grain such as quinoa or beans. I understand the importance of a colorful plate, which can also be appealing to kids! … The cost of organics is coming down because more and more people are demanding foods that have no chemicals. If you’re not eating organic, you will pay for it down the road with doctors’ bills. All those chemicals [on vegetables and fruit] really do add up in your body. I just believe in eliminating as much as we can.”
More of Brinkley’s tips:
— “I don’t do Botox on my forehead because I don’t like it. I did not like the feeling of it. I did do it on my neck and really like it. It tightened my jaw line. … I do filler occasionally, but what I really like are the radio [frequency] waves because that doesn’t involve anything [going into your body]. My neck cream has lifters in it, by the way!
— I’ve said it for a million years, if you have hair color like mine, you can extend the color by using Sun In. Never use the squirter that comes with it. Take a tiny, tiny amount, like a cap-full and dip a cotton ball in it and touch the roots. Blow it dry and it blends beautifully.”
— “My go-to fashion piece? Blue jeans. Can’t live without them.”
— “I do believe in vitamin supplements. I use Biosil for my skin. I take vitamin B and C, which are water-soluble. And I take calcium and vitamin C with my orange juice.”
Brinkley said she hopes her book ultimately is a guide to help women get past the “perfection” craze.
“I really want to de-emphasize the need to be perfect,” Brinkley said. “I want women to understand that this renovation and spackling job we do in the morning is meant to get you out the door to do the stuff that really matters, like making the world a better place. You never look more beautiful than when you’re helping other people. And I truly believe that laughter and happiness are the number one thing to do for your health and beauty.”
NOTE: Christie Brinkley released her first book on health and beauty, “Christie Brinkley’s Outdoor Beauty and Fitness Book,” in 1983.