I grew up in Charleston and Miami and Tampa. My idea of beauty was a giant orange and yellow grasshopper with pastel wings that I saw when I was a little girl. I chased my cousin Artie around with it!
When I moved to New York and became a model, I didn’t know anything about the industry. I got a job modeling for Christian Dior for $50 a week. Once I started working, I made myself an athlete. I uncrossed my eyes. (Dick Avedon used to look up at me from behind his camera and ask, “Are they straight yet?”) I jumped around. I worked hard. But by 1972, there weren’t many of us models left. All the big girls like Veruschka, Twiggy, and Jean Shrimpton had basically split. I wish I got to see them model at 40, 50, 60, and 70. And then in 1973, I read about Catfish Hunter; he was a baseball player who refused to play without a contract. He said he was in a youth-oriented business—and at that time, the modeling world wasn’t any different. I was about to become 30, and I knew I was about to expire, and wanted to protect myself with a contract that would guarantee I kept working for years to come. So I got a contract with Revlon. At the time, it was the biggest one in modeling history. It was around then that I decided to get into acting, but in my mid-40s I decided to go back into modeling because I was making one bad movie after another. I couldn’t stand watching them. So then I started shooting with Steven Meisel, and I told him, “I’m not going to try and look younger,” and he said, “I love that. That’s why I am working with you.”
When it comes to cosmetic procedures, there’s a real thin line you tread. There are people who I find hard to look at today. Their faces don’t look like the people I once knew.
I don’t spend a lot of time on skin care. I’m usually in a rush to get to bed and make love or read. (Right now, I’m reading Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay.) The only beauty ritual I have is washing my face with soap and water. It’s horrifying. Then I’ll put on the StriVectin STAR Light Retinol Night Oil. It does really good things for your skin. I also have an aloe plant. I cut the leaves open, and I put it all over my face and décolletage.
I put beaver oil in my hair too. It’s from a beautiful bean. I use one from Briogeo. I just put it on my fingertips and rub it all over my scalp, and it makes my hair a little less dry and nasty.
Back in 2002, I created my own makeup line, Good Stuff. It doesn’t exist anymore. I couldn’t keep up with the business. But I kept all of the compacts, and I always travel with my products. If I lose them, I’m dead.
I’m happy to still be modeling, and I’m still an athlete. But it’s embarrassing to pose in front of a camera. You feel strange. You become self-conscious. Modeling is like playing the violin: You have to practice every day. Now when I look at the camera, I’ve learned to picture my lover’s face, my godkids’ faces, my friends’—whoever I need in there.
Hate: Tamara McNaughton for Oribe; Makeup: Romy Soleimani for Bobbi Brown; Manicure: Lolly Koon for Dior Beauty; Designer set: Kadu Lennox.
This article originally appeared in the May 2022 issue of Harper’s BAZAAR, available on newsstands May 3.
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