Christie Brinkley: ‘A 60-year-old today doesn’t look like a 60-year-old from the ’50s’

We were just talking about Paulina Poriskova and how she feels like she’s being dismissed and ignored now that she’s getting older. That must be a big adjustment for a supermodel used to getting stares and attention. (I can’t relate to that as I’ve cultivated a bitch vibe to keep men away since I was young.) Christie Brinkley, on the other hand, has pretty much made a cottage industry out of remaining approachable, sunny and positive. She’s 68, she’s had a lot of work done that she’s cagey about, but she loves talking about getting older and staying sexy. To each their own, and it is interesting to see the difference in how the 80s supermodels talk about it. Christie was just on The Masked Singer. I didn’t know that she could sing, but she did Chicago on Broadway when she was 57. Christie told Yahoo Entertainment/SiriusXM Volume about that and about how women are aging differently than they used to.

“The first thing that they said to me [when I started modeling in 1973, at age 19] was, ‘Get it while you can, because they’ll chew you up and spit you out by 30. You’ll be over-the-hill and done-for,’” Brinkley recalls. “I was like, ‘Whoa, OK!’ And they’re like, ‘No, seriously — it’s like an athlete. There’s a certain amount of years that you can do it, and then after that, you’re just no good.’ And I was, ‘Whoa, that’s harsh. I think we’ve got to change that.’”

“A 60-year-old today doesn’t look like a 60-year-old from the ‘50s,” Brinkley says. “[My generation is] saying, ‘Oh no, you’re not going tell me I’m not supposed to do that at my age, that I’m not supposed to have hair past my shoulders, or that I’m not supposed to have a hemline at a certain length, or I’m not supposed to switch gears and do a completely new job starting right now.’ This generation has thrown all of that out the window and said, ‘Don’t boss me around!’ … This is the generation that is literally reshaping the numbers. Instead of those numbers shaping us and dictating to us, we’re redefining those numbers.”

“I think a lot of people focus on aging as, like, counting wrinkles and counting numbers. And it’s not about that at all,” Brinkley muses. “It’s counting adventures and memories and smiles, really. So, I welcome every adventure, and I’m so happy and thrilled that the producers of The Masked Singer invited me to do this. I’m very grateful. And I think gratitude also plays a huge part in staying young at heart, because when you can find something to be grateful about — no matter where you are, no matter what the situation — it puts a smile on your face. And let’s face it: A smile is the best thing you can put on your face.”


A few weeks ago I saw a tweet I can’t find again that said women looked older in the past because their styling was so dated, basically. (This article with an old advertisement from the 60s is similar.) We’re aging better because we’re keeping up with the trends and also because we’re taking better care of our skin. Plus it’s plastic surgery and injectables in Christie’s case especially. This also reminds of the movie The Thomas Crown Affair, which came out in 1999, when Rene Russo was just 45. They made a big deal back then about the fact that she was a “sexy older woman.” She was 45 for God’s sake! Not only have women’s styles changed over the decades, societal perceptions of older women have too. Christie bugs in a lot of ways, but I appreciate her perspective.

Photos credit: Instar and via Instagram

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50 Responses to “Christie Brinkley: ‘A 60-year-old today doesn’t look like a 60-year-old from the ’50s’”

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  1. Jten says:

    Or indeed, any 60yo on this planet

    • SussexWatcher says:

      This. I’ve always found her to be extremely irritating, but yeah, I’m not really going to take advice on aging from someone who seems to be fighting aging (looking older) every step of the way.

      • kirk says:

        Blech. How many wrinkly older rich men does she hang with? Somebody who takes direction from cosmetic plastic surgery industry says “‘Don’t boss me around!’” One of the most refreshing things I’ve seen recently is Brooke Shields in a Christmas movie not looking like she’s chasing fountain of youth. As for people looking at pix of their 40-yr old forebears looking old, yeah, they didn’t have sunscreen; they succumbed to a broader range of illnesses w/o antimicrobials and didn’t benefit from modern skin care routines. People like her make it more difficult for other women who choose experiences other than going under plastic surgeon knife, filling their faces with Botox and polysaccharides. What exactly has she done that’s supposed to be inspiring? Blech. I’d listen to Angela Davis, Anita Hill, Fiona Hill, Hillary (or pick your own woman here) over her any day.

  2. Tanguerita says:

    I can’t stand her and her “awww shucks”-attitude. She is painfully fake, and I am not talking about her plastic exterior.

  3. Becks1 says:

    I am always shocked when I look at my parents wedding pictures. my grandmothers both look very old in those pics, but when I actually do the math, both were in their 40s. But their hairstyles, their dresses, etc, all made them look a lot older than that. It feels like women used to go from being young to being old very quickly, and now we have a longer grace period, I guess, for lack of a better term.

    • LadyMTL says:

      I think that ‘grace period’ is mostly because attitudes have shifted. Back in the day a woman probably was considered old once she hit fifty, but thankfully that’s changed. Heck, I remember watching Golden Girls back when it first aired, and then realizing later on that these women were supposed to be in their fifties…I know some 70 year olds who look and dress younger than that lol.

      • BeanieBean says:

        Right! And remember, we have 50yo Gloria Swanson as the faded, aged movie star in Sunset Boulevard. 50!! Thinking has changed, just a bit, here & there.

    • FHMom says:

      Me, too. I have a photo of my mom and grandmother at the beach sometime in the early 60’s . My gram was 42 and she looked old. It boggles my mind. And oddly enough, I’ve always thought my gram looked great for her age in her 80’s and 90’s. She was one of those women who went to the hair dresser weekly and always had her nails done.

    • Debbie says:

      Hairstyles and clothes had a great deal to do with it, but I think that since people didn’t live as long as they do today, that also played a factor in 50 years being considered “old.”

  4. Peanutbuttr says:

    There was a meme last year comparing Tom Brady in his 40s to George Blanda, a hall of fame quarterback who played from 1949-1975, at roughly the same age. most of them were along the lines of one eats avocado ice cream while the other smoked a pack in between possessions.

    • Erin says:

      It’s funny I was just talking to my husband about this. I started watching Inspector Morse which stars John Thaw and I asked my husband, who is 42, how old he thought Morse was and he guessed in his 60s or early 70’s. Dude was 45 when he started making that show, I couldn’t believe it. So yeah, it makes you think what played a factor. Was it just genetics? The lifestyle? The smoking everyone did back then?

  5. SarahLee says:

    She just grates on my last nerve, for some reason. I also look at her and I don’t see youthfulness. I see someone who is attempting to have – at age 68 – the exact same look (hair, makeup) that she had at 28. That just seems exhausting and sad to me. Grow up – not old! She may have had better work done than Madonna, but they are the same. Christy just covers it better with her fake-ass perkiness.

    • Nick G says:

      This. I haven’t seen the Masked Singer, but she was on TV recently for something or the other, and it was scary to me to see her just talk and emote. Her mannerisms and speech were all old lady-ish, or at least from a different generation – and it was freakish seeing them on a young-looking body and young-appropriating face. Just freakish.

    • Nikki says:

      I agree with you. Her smile now looks more like the Joker’s than a woman’s. I love her quotes, but she has had so much artificial work done, and wears such glaringly youthful hairstyles, etc., she just seems incredibly fake and annoying. Interesting women have something besides just sex appeal that keeps them fascinating, like Helen Mirren’s confidence and style. But Christie keeps pretending we can still have the exact same appeal we had at 20.

  6. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Yeah it’s all in the styling and mentalities. My grandmother used to tell me things throughout my adult years that used to make me laugh inside. “You’ll have to cut your hair short soon, it’s just not proper for a woman your age.” “You’ll need to get a good-fitting girdle to wear in public.” I’d be sitting on the floor playing with the kids, and she’d say, “You really shouldn’t be on the floor like that, at some point you won’t be able to get up.”

    • liz says:

      Yup. I heard the same from my grandmother. Some of it is styling and some of it is “stage of life.”

      Gran was 22 when my mom was born; Mom was 25 when I was born. Gran was appalled when I didn’t have my first child until I was 35. At 22, I was working in my first post-college job and applying to law schools, I wouldn’t meet my husband for another 8 years. At 22, Gran was married and had her first child. I have a photo of my grandmother and I from when I was 6 or 8 months old and she was 47 or 48. At 47, I had a middle schooler – being a grandparent was the furthest thing from my mind.

  7. Lucía says:

    She really is obsessed with *not* aging, right?

  8. MsIam says:

    As a woman in that age group, I have mixed feelings. Its great if you look like Christie but some of these women make it feel like you have almost an obligation to do so. Truth is, your hair can get thin and gravity is a real thing. I always appreciated Jane Fonda admitting how having a lot of money to get work done plays a role too. I don’t know, I’ve seen Christie on TV selling her skin care line and her hair extensions and she gives off this desperate to look “young and hot” vibe. Same with Suzanne Somers. I think I just want to look nice, confident and well put together, like Angela Bassett or LaTanya Richardson or Helen Mirren.

    • Jaded says:

      I’ve met Suzanne Somers and seen her up close and personal. She’s scary. She’s had so much work done that her face can’t move, her skin has this weird hairy, leathery texture, her hair looks like straw, it’s bad. I’m Christie’s age, haven’t done a thing to my skin other than use good products and stay out of the sun. I don’t dye my hair and like my grey streaks. I’m proud of how I look and would be less proud if I had to rely on endless cosmetic surgeries, injectibles, botox, etc. etc. Yes sixty-somethings can appear younger than they are, but some of us don’t don’t want to get caught in the trap of doing everything possible to retain our youth through false measures.

  9. Laurie says:

    A while back Howard Stern interviewed her. She came across as a total dimwit. She was dating John Mellencamp at the time and her coyness and little girl voice just made me gag. Zero depth or self awareness.

    • FHMom says:

      IIRC, Barbara Walters called her frothy. It was a huge insult. I guess she was correct, though.

    • Nyro says:

      Yes, she’s almost 70 still doing the baby voice thing. It’s bad enough that Paris Hilton still does it at 40. Even Kim Kardashian talks like a grown up now. 68 year old Christie Brinkley still talks like a baby and it’s creepy because you know she’s doing it not just to be “sexy” like Paris and Kim, but likely because she’s bothered by the way her voice sounds as an older woman. I find her to just be so sad.

  10. Barrett says:

    She looked good w her tweaks like 15 years ago, now she looks bad, alien.

    I wish she had not taken it so far, she probably has good genes and would still look good w minor tweaks rather than “overdone work”.

    I think one can choose to do what one feels comfortable with and that a nice balance exists along the Paulina (minimal) to Christy (extreme).

  11. Bobbie says:

    I know it’s hard to realize one’s sexual currency is waning. Mine is totally gone and I’m 50. She looks great, but eventually aging happens. It sucks when you no longer get attention. But it happens to everyone eventually.

  12. salmonpuff says:

    I just turned 50 last month, and I have definitely struggled a bit with some of the realities of aging without cosmetic interventions. But I’m also outraged that I’m supposed to walk around after decades of achievements and thoughts and growth and still believe my worth is connected to how sexually attractive I can be to men. (I’m in the Celebitchy school of vibe cultivation.)

    On the surface, the message Christie and other older women are spreading about remaining youthful into their 60s and beyond seems empowering. But there’s still such an edge of FOR THE MEN to everything they say that is gross.

    • Bobbie says:

      I get what you’re saying, but the attention was nice, even if I didn’t intend to do much with most of it. I never know how much initial male attraction has to do with a woman’s appearance until I got old. I’d like to think my attraction to them is more nuanced. Maybe I’m kidding myself.

      • salmonpuff says:

        I get that, Bobbie, I do. It has been a hard transition for me at times. I don’t really have any advice. I just don’t think it’s right that vibrant, accomplished, interesting women are dismissed wholesale — by men and by other women — because their butts are sagging a bit or their middles are thicker than is desirable. That’s dismissive, and I refuse to dismiss or diminish myself that way. But I’m definitely a work in progress!

      • Bobbie says:

        ITA. But it has been a hard transition for me, too. I used to complain about all the creepers (and very few actually appealing dudes) who approached me. Now I’d pay money for the creepers! 🙂

    • Deb says:

      Salmonpuff, you’ve really hit on an issue for women in this age group. I’m 65 but I remember that step from 49 to 50 so clearly. All of a sudden I found myself thinking oh no, I’m no longer in my 40s. What will I do now that I’m entering my 50s because society has deemed that women have a “shelf life”. I have to admit I struggled with it for a while. And then one day I woke up and realized I just no longer gave a flying f*ck what men thought about anything. I saw my male peers aging and developing wrinkles and gaining weight and starting to droop a little bit. It didn’t seem to bother them, so really why should it bother me. I’m telling you, it set me free. I know it’s a cliche that women start to realize these things and value themselves more the older they get. I scoffed at that a few years ago and then it happened to me. I might not be explaining this very well, I just saw so much of my 50 yr old self in your comment that I wanted to say…hang in there.

      • salmonpuff says:

        Thank you, Deb. It is as weird and awkward a transition as the one into puberty was! I appreciate your insight.

  13. Izzy says:

    I mean, if she wants to get work done, you do you, but don’t then walk around acting like she looks like an average sixty-something. She has no idea what she would really look like at 68.

  14. BeanieBean says:

    ‘I can’t relate to that as I’ve cultivated a bitch vibe to keep men away since I was young.’ That’s it, that’s me, totally intentional! 😉

    • AnnaKist says:

      Oh, that got me, too! I’ve never known how to describe it but that’s exactly what I’ve done!

      Ms Brinkley was fortunate enough to start off with the golden genes; she was very beautiful to start off with. Then she hit the jackpot again by having the means to pay for any and all cosmetic and surgical treatments to keep her looking like a young woman. Good for her, but most women never get to be in her position. We eventually accept our loss of uouth and try to keep ourselves looking good and healthy. We also cultivate our character and personality because they are the things that will carry us through. The other thing is that while she and others like her can look really good in still photos, it’s very different when we see them or hear them in real life, speaking and moving. That’s when the freakish and creepiness come in.

  15. Nyro says:

    Tamron Hall interviewed Christie and Paula on her show a while back and I found Christie to be quite sad and pathetic. She is preoccupied with her looks in a way that’s just sad and straight up unhealthy. She basically admitted to studying her face like a hawk and for any little change she sees, she immediately runs to the doctor. Paula seemed sad too but at least she knows it’s natural to age and accepts that she is aging. And I’m sorry but Christie looks ridiculous imo. She looks “youngish” but her face looks absolutely nothing like her original face. She’s got this constant surprised look and a joker smile. Idk, there’s something weird and sad about a nearly 70 year old woman with a frozen face prancing around in frilly mini dresses trying to look identical to her 22 year old daghter. She’s starting to give “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” and it’s creepy.

  16. Myjobistoprincess says:

    When i’m gonna be 60, I hope to do exactly what I want, which is basically what i’ve been doing since forever. And I’ll look the way I’ll look. What I am agaisnt is the pressure of looking younger than my age. I’m not going to give myself that pressure. I’m not coloring my grey because others dont wanna see white hair on me. I’ll color my hair if that day I feel like it, just like I might wear a short skirt that day, if I feel like it. It’s not supposed to be an existential question. I also think it’s very very passé, tacky to be answering 29 or 39 when people ask you for your age. I think it’s even tacky to be nervous to reveal our age. It’s something that shows how an obvious lack confidence and confidence, with age, whoever we are, is the bonus that make us absolutely look and feel WOW.

  17. Turtledove says:

    It’s hard to comment on this story without feeling like a hypocrite.

    On the one hand, all people should do whatever they want. And I agree with the statement that women who were pretty young by our current standards often LOOKED much older in previous decades. And yeah, it was often as simple as their styling.

    If Christie wants to put in the effort she does to look a lot younger than she is, that is her perogative. But to act like we could/should all do that is insincere. She started with winning the genetic lottery, she was in a profession where her looks were her JOB, so she spent her life exercising, eating right, and doing all sorts of maintainence. And she has all the $ in the world to indulge on every treatment there is.

    I don’t have that IN me. Period. And it just seems insane to me to give it that kind of attention. I am not a former Cover Girl model, I’m not on camera etc.

    All that said, there are aspects to aging that I truly don’t appreciate, like whatever it is that is going on with my NECK. But I am not pulling money out of savings to get plastic surgery for it.

  18. dawnchild says:

    Just past my mid-50s, and I’ve actually been paying a lot of attention to the kind of older person I want to become. It’s not very much to do with looking or dressing young, but the kind of person I want to be. I look at older people I know and the sort of things I like or don’t. I think if you don’t pay attention to fixing weakness, bad habits or attitudes when you are younger, they’re pretty much guaranteed to get worse as you age. For instance, a parent who criticized people constantly while I was growing up is almost pathologically critical of others now…like unable to break that habit of decades, and made miserable and ineffective by it. I want to be flexible, grateful, open, unafraid, self-reliant, curious, accepting, mentally agile, physically capable, and spiritually evolving. I’m always mentally reviewing the older folks I know with the question, ‘is that what I want to be when I’m old?’ Everyone has some good aspects, but taken as a whole, the people I find myself most hoping to resemble in old age are some monks/nuns I follow for teachings. They’re peaceful, funny, relaxed, learn new things without stress (eg, technology during lockdown), DO NOT COMPLAIN, and sure of their inner compass.
    And, here’s the interesting superficial sidenote: they all look far younger than their years, with good skin, bright eyes, glowing smiles and have sharp minds and are very present. And people want to be around them. Sexual attraction is a laborious and limited way of attracting people.
    Sorry for the long post 🙂

    • Marley says:

      dawnchild, thank you for your post. It really got me thinking about how I want to be as I age as opposed to how I want to look. May I ask who are the monks and nuns you follow?

      • dawnchild says:

        I attend some Zoom classes and watch YouTube videos posted by the Vedanta Society…there are centers in NY, Boston, DC, So Cal, and more. And since the pandemic began, they started putting their classes/lectures online more, and one can go through them to see what ‘flavor’ of thought is most useful at the moment…intellectual, practical, devotional, and so forth. The centers have event calendars and signups, and they’ll let you know if any courses are starting up which delve a bit more. Mooji does some nice videos too. And other Buddhist centers like Plum Village post lovely talks, filled with gentle humor and wisdom. Good luck on the journey! It’s a privilege to age with wisdom and joy 🙂

    • lionel says:

      @dawnchild: Wow. This is such an insightful post. As someone who hit a milestone birthday last week, and not feeling super-great about it, I needed to hear this today. Fantastic advice, thank you.

    • SourcesclosetoKate says:

      You made me think of Eckhart Tolle. He’s so bad ass. I want to be just like him.

  19. Trish says:

    She looks like a beautiful older woman and the only way I can tell she’s older is her skinny neck which I have one too, so I feel her on that, there’s nothing you can do, but I want to point out just cos it’s bothered me for a while, that’s not her hair. In fact almost all celebrities, the women are not sporting their natural hair. Hair thins out as you age and it’s impossible to have thick locks over 40 without extension’s, wigs.
    Have you ever seen Jlo’s real hair? Not that silky wig she wears all the time.

    There’s nothing wrong with wigs, just pointing that out for any women who feel bad about their hair and look at these famous people all the time as pillars of beauty. They are all fake to some extent.

  20. Beaner says:

    I would venture to guess that just the incorporation alone of sunscreen in our skin care routine has helped make a hell of a difference in mitigation of wrinkles and skin damage from the sun….

    Of course, generations now and mine are more focused on self care and preservation that my mom and grandmother’s generation.

    Plus all the industrial strength anti aging skin care creams, treatments, and Injectable play a huge role too….

  21. Special Guest says:

    And a 60-year old in the 1950s didn’t look like a 60-year old in the 1880s…

  22. LWT says:

    What she wants to do with her body is her business. But I take issue with all these people selling the concept that “you don’t have to age.”

    Well… why not look at the benefits of aging? I, personally, look forward to the day that I don’t have to deal with sexual harassment or uncomfortable looks from strangers. I look forward to not being expected to wear heels for a night out, or to show to skin. There’s liberation to be found in aging, if we could stop trying to sell beautification products all the time.

  23. Nan says:

    See Helen Mirren for how to age gracefully and stay sexy. It’s not about trying to stop the clock but embracing where you are and being proud of it.

    • Eggbert says:

      Yes! I’m pretty darn tired of these older women saying they love that they’re getting older but then doing everything humanly possible to their face to look younger!

      I thought Rene Russo looked uh-mazing in Thomas Crown Affair. Her face moved and her wrinkles showed and she was hawt!

  24. Sophie says:

    From the nose down she looks like The Joker.

  25. Fig says:

    I loved her on Parks and Rec but I used to watch informercials for her skincare and before Jlo was hustling her olive oil Christie’s skincare was the ultimate scam!