She is the very definition of beauty. But former supermodel Christy Turlington traded the runway life for new challenges, both entrepreneurial and philanthropic.
Did you ever have doubts about your looks?
I began my modeling career long before I was concerned with my looks. I was just 14. As a result, and in a strange way, the industry protected me from these concerns during otherwise awkward years because my looks were suddenly embraced by people who were in the business of beauty. I simply trusted them, even though I found their interest a little hard to believe.
What is the most common misconception that people have about a model's life?
That it's glamorous. Expensive clothing, makeup and hair are only glamorous when adorned for your personal life, not at work. For many models there is a fine line between the two, but for me the delineation has always been clear. Having taken steps out of that world for several years now, I can enjoy dressing up on occasion and feel somewhat glamorous at the right event.
I don't think anything could make me return to the runway, though I'm still flattered by requests from industry friends and colleagues. Fashion shows were always the least interesting part of my job. As I got older, I longed for a sense of home and stability.
How did you make the transition from model to entrepreneur, with your skincare line, Sundãri, and yoga clothing, Nuala?
I went back to school in 1994 and focused my studies on comparative religion and Eastern philosophy. As my last year was coming to a close, I needed to consider options for the future. Years of modeling can have an effect on your skin, and I had been searching for natural skincare products that could replace the essential oils that constantly applying and removing makeup can remove. Yoga had also become a regular part of my life, and I was having a hard time finding clothing that catered to the practice and to a busy lifestyle, so a clothing line made sense.
You've become a spokesperson for a smoke-free lifestyle. How did that come about?
I personally had been addicted to tobacco from a formative age, as so many young woman and men are, and had struggled for many years to overcome that addiction. After three years of finally living a smoke-free lifestyle, my father was diagnosed with advanced-stage lung cancer. He then died shortly thereafter. Coming out of this experience, I knew that I could speak out about this issue in a variety of ways, and I have since volunteered my time to antismoking awareness both privately and publicly.
Did yoga help you quit?
I think yoga certainly played a part in my early attempts to quit. When I finally did at age 26, yoga and its emphasis on breathing certainly helped to reoxygenate my blood stream and cleanse my lungs and other internal organs, which had become scarred from years of abuse.
What is beauty?
Inner health is reflected outwardly. True beauty is the result of this kind of harmony.