With her 65th birthday days away, Christie Brinkley isn’t afraid to admit that a little maintenance, coupled with killer confidence, can go a long way when it comes to aging. While many celebrities refuse to address the changes they make to maintain their appearance, this supermodel is an open book — quite literally. Not only did she get refreshingly real about non-invasive procedures in her New York Times bestseller, Timeless Beauty, but she recently teamed up with Merz for a new “Milestones of Me” Ultherapy campaign, in which she was quick to weigh in on the stigma associated with improving your appearance through cosmetic treatments.
“We’re modern women, we’re not living in the the dark ages. There are scientists that are working every day to try to help women look their best, and they’re coming up with all kinds of different opportunities,” she says. “In my mom’s time, we were still doing the ‘Does she or doesn’t she?’ about hair color. That seems so absurd to us — and that’s kind of the same feeling associated with going to a dermatologist today.”
Brinkley even admits that when she calls to book an appointment with her dermatologist, the receptionist will often offer a discreet entrance, to which she politely declines. “They’ll say, ‘Okay we can meet you at the back door,’ and I’m like, ‘I can walk through the front door just fine.’”
Brinkley has never been one for secrets, admitting that over the years, she’s done Xeomin for fine lines and wrinkles, fillers for facial volume, and Ultherapy, saying the latter has been the biggest game-changer. “It tricks your body into making collagen and elastin like it used to when you were younger,” she explains. “I find that three months after doing the Ultherapy, I suddenly find that my skin looks refreshed, and I don’t really need to use that much foundation — the results are gradual.”
The non-invasive procedure can lift skin on the neck, brow, and under the chin and works to improve lines and wrinkles on the décolletage, adds Doris Day, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and Director at Day Dermatology and Aesthetics. “What you’re doing to your skin in your 20s shows up at 40 and 50, and I get a lot of patients that come in and say the same thing, ‘One day my face just fell apart,’” Dr. Day says. “They want their skin to behave as it did when they were younger.”
Now, at (almost) 65, Brinkley is cool, confident, and ready to shatter the stereotypes our society so often inflicts on women — although she didn’t always have such an empowering perspective on the topic. “It’s really important for our generation to liberate women coming up to be free of ageism,” she says, as she references an old interview she did for Entertainment Tonight in which she told the publication, “If anybody doesn’t believe that this career of modeling is going to come to a grinding halt they’re fooling themselves.”
If you’re consistently told something often, you not only start to believe it, but you begin to spread the toxic message, too — and that’s where Brinkley hopes to insight change. “I was told over and over again, ‘By the time you’re 30, this industry will have spit you out, and they will have no need for you,’ and I not only believed it but I was accepting of it,” she says. “Looking back, this shocks me. There’s no way my daughters would allow anybody to tell them they have an expiration date.”
Brinkley was (spoiler alert!) fortunate to work well after she turned 30, but it wasn’t always easy — even for an iconic supermodel. “My business did start to push me out the front door at one point, and I just came in through the back door and kept creating opportunities for myself,” she says. Not only did Brinkley experience the harsh reality of ageism within the industry first hand, but the message had a lot of influence on her confidence throughout her career. “I remember posing in a bathing suit for a magazine cover and sucking in. It was for my 30th birthday, and I remember thinking, ‘This is the last time I’ll ever pose in a bikini,’ and then there I was, at 64 in Sport’s Illustrated in a bikini,” she exclaims.
And something tells us that’s not the last we’ll see of her. “We’re not going to let a number dictate us,” Brinkley says of her generation.