Christy Turlington on women who haven’t had plastic surgery ‘I love seeing a real face’

Christy Turlington is in my opinion one of the most beautiful women of the last century. But out of all the Supers, she also might be the least interesting. Naomi and Linda have crazy charisma and they’ve each had their messes, but Christy is kind of milquetoast. But I’ll give her credit for pivoting to humanitarian work with her organization Every Mother Counts. Every Mother Counts has programs in multiple countries that expand access to high quality maternity care, including in the US, where there is a shockingly high rate of maternal mortality especially among Black and Indigenous mothers. So Christy and EMC are doing good work. Christy is also the “Fundamental Changemaker in Residence” for a super fancy, expensive skincare brand called Noble Panacea. I’m sorry but that title is so silly. Just call her a brand ambassador.

Anyway, Christy was interviewed for Marie Claire and she talked about her skincare routine (predictably, a lot of $326 face creams from Noble Panacea, but she also likes regular Chapstick and Burts Bees) and how she admires women who don’t “augment” themselves as they age. She called out the late Jane Birkin as one of her inspirations for how she wants to age. Oh, and she only wears mascara for special events. Imagine being that pretty, I’m envious.

She’s a big fan of no-makeup makeup: I only wear a very tiny amount of makeup. Right now, I have on a little bit of the RMS concealer. I love the whole line—it all feels very light and clean. I’ll use a little bit of that under my eyes and then I’ll use some kind of a cheek tint, even if I have a little bit of color in my face. I always like some blush on my face. I love Westman Atelier and I also love Jones Road for a light wash. I’ll fill in my eyebrows a bit—I use a very basic Maybelline eyebrow pencil. I have so many because I used to work for them for years. I have a scar on my eyebrow so I always fill that in. I curl my lashes, but I don’t really wear mascara unless I’m going somewhere special. And that’s it!

Her thoughts on aging: Women who have stayed away from augmentation of themselves—those are the women I really admire. I love seeing a real face. A face of someone who’s lived life. I would say my beauty icons are people like Jane Birkin. They have the kind of faces I like to see and we don’t get to see as many of those in the world anymore. Jane aged in her way. She was as beautiful at the end of her life as she was early on. I will be one of those faces. I am one of those faces.

She’s a fan of regular Chapstick: I’m always grabbing lip balm. I love Burt’s Bees, but I also love good, old fashioned Chapstick. It lasts the longest. When I run, I want to wear something that’s going to last the duration of my long run. Sometimes those fancier products, or the ones that have fragrance in them, just don’t last as long. It’s good, old fashioned Chapstick that does the job.

[From Marie Claire]

Her comments about aging are interesting–note what she’s saying…and not saying. She mentions “augmentation” and implies that she hasn’t done anything “augmenting” which would mean fillers. But even if she doesn’t get anything injected into her skin, it wouldn’t surprise me if Christy gets non-invasive or minimally invasive treatments like lasers, radiofrequency, or chemical peels. She does look her age–she has some settled wrinkles–but her skin looks really smooth and even-toned and I find it hard to believe even a $300 skin cream can do that. Christy is also operating on the lowest possible difficulty setting when it comes to aging. She already has one of the most beautiful faces in the whole world. It’s possible for her to opt out of invasive beauty treatments and still look better than most people because she has outstanding bone structure. Her comments come across as maybe a little judgmental towards those of us who are not so blessed and who respond to aging differently, but I don’t think she meant them that way. I think in the circles in which she moves (aka other rich ladies), it’s probably unusual not to be getting Botox and Juvederm.

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Photos credit: John Nacion/ Images, Vegan/Backgrid, Getty

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42 Responses to “Christy Turlington on women who haven’t had plastic surgery ‘I love seeing a real face’”

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  1. orangeowl says:

    I’ve also always found her stunning, too, and think she looks amazing. I don’t mind what she said because I do think people have gone way overboard with procedures they don’t need. A little more acceptance of real aging would be nice.

  2. Justpassingby says:

    Her husband is the most interesting part about her. He’s so talented and dreamy! She may be advocating against plastic surgery, but she looks drastically different than she did early in her career. Her nose especially has been characteristically slimmed down.

    • Brassy Rebel says:

      She’s only 54! We’ll see how she feels about all this in 10 years and if her face changes.

      • Betsy says:

        Yes, but in modeling, 54 is the dinosaur dead zone. Like you can be Iris Apfel (who I know was not a model initially) or Maye Musk old but in between hot teenager and that there’s nothing. So I think she’s got about the right focus on it and the changes to her face aren’t the changes of one’s thirties or forties. Mid fifties is pretty solidly middle aged.

      • Schill says:

        She was the only SM I ever pd attention to because of her yoga book- so spa & calming w simple diet tips like, “eat real food vs processed”. Now the wellness industry is a bit problematic & catch all, but she helped launch the better part of that trend.

    • Kebbie says:

      Yeah, I was curious and I googled some photos of her from the 80s and I would not have recognized her. Typically when someone has such a distinctive face and they haven’t had work done, they’re easy to spot, even young (like Reese Witherspoon) but I’d have no idea it was her.

  3. JustBitchy says:

    Agree with your, she is stunning with amazing bone structure. She is going to age well no matter what. She may stay away from invasive work (laser, ultrasound etc). I also wonder if these folks consider any endoscopic work to be non invasive? I am thinking endo brow lift. Or what if the avail themselves of blepharoplasty on doctor’s recommendation to see better – with a wink and a nod (that’s how it used to be covered by insurance). Those are two grey areas that can take years off without leaving you looking like Joan R.

    Most models have had a lot of sun at least in their youth. Without any interventions they could look like Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg – who DGAF about wearing her experience and age on her face.

    • Barrett says:

      she has an Audrey Hepburn quality to her. Audrey looked great w age b/c of that incredible bone structure and symmetry. Good Health on top of genetic lottery too. She is stunning. Her mom has been photographed w her – aged beautifully. Olive skin. but I do an art class w retirees makes me feel better ab aging, I do love a real face, smile, crinkles around eyes from expression. I get it .

      But these celebs/rich do have access to the best skin care…. must help

      • Kate says:

        I spend time with my 90 year old grandma weekly and I agree the more you are around people who are older, or people who have different body shapes, the more normal it seems and the more you can appreciate what makes them beautiful.

      • Peanut Butter says:

        ITA with the Audrey Hepburn comparison, Barrett. Great bones and years of good self-care (and the financial means to support that) are a wonderful combo. Christy did herself a tremendous service in quitting smoking and committing to a dedicated yoga practice when she was young. To me, she’s the most interesting of the late 1980s – 90s supermodels.

    • Moxylady says:

      I think in those circles Botox, lasers, peels, ultrasound, radio frequency etc etc etc don’t count as augmentation. They are “maintenance”. They are a “refreshing”.

      I assume by augmentation she means fat removal, over use of fillers, and hardcore plastic surgery. Something that CHANGES you from how you looked in your younger days. I think anything that allows your face to stay looking “the same” is considered augmentation.

      I doubt she even thinks of like a lid lift or jowl etc as “augmentation” since a lid lift can be recommended medically and jowls is just returning the face to what it was previously.

      Source? Friends with some incredibly wealthy women and this is just the reality in those circles. Cosmetic dermatology has come a long long way in terms of incredible results for non invasive procedures. It’s amazing.

  4. Ginny says:

    This brought to mind the moment in the Barbie movie that really made me choke up: Stereotypical Barbie is sitting on the bench next to a wrinkly, grey-haired old woman. Barbie has never seen an old person, it seems, and she really studies that woman’s face, looks deep into her eyes, and tells her with such sincerity and awe that she is so beautiful. GAHHH that got me!!

  5. Pinkosaurus says:

    I agree! I’ve been watching old Murder She Wrote episodes in the background when doing housework and the faces of the actors over 30 are so much more interesting and attractive to me than the frozen “ageless “ puffy overfilled look. A few wrinkles are good!

    • ElleE says:

      @Pinkosaurus I watched the 2012 movie Battleship and had the same thoughts as you.
      Just watching the men and women with human faces made me realize how uncommon it is to see these days, and how accustomed we become to seeing these unhuman faces in entertainment.
      No judgment, though.

    • Betsy says:

      I’m going to say it. People looked better back then before cosmetic procedures became ubiquitous. I *like* people looking like themselves and I *like* people looking more or less their age.

  6. Haus of Cats says:

    She’s obviously gorgeous, but I’ve always found her so bland. I was never drawn into her photographs like the other supers of her time. But I admire her for going back to school and getting an education.
    When I was a kid, I thought the lines on faces of older people were so beautiful. I hope one day society will recognize the beauty of aging.

  7. LeaTheFrench says:

    She’s perfection. Look at her in that mesh dress: she’s just stunning. Good that she’s advocating aging naturally.

  8. Dee says:

    I find her fascinating! She does humanitarian work, went to 3rd world nations to do it and got a degree from Columbia, I think in public stayed married all these years!

  9. ThatsNotOkay says:

    I agree with her. Real faces all the way. The other faces look like masks to me, and it goes against my nature trust people in masks. It’s like a deception—like someone is hiding something. I think age on a face makes people so much more interesting and beautiful. Just my opinion.

    • Grey says:

      I am with you too! I ESPECIALLY feel this way about teeth. I love seeing real teeth and not veneers, it adds so much character to one’s face and I miss seeing that. We have been watching some old movies lately and it’s startling seeing actors and actresses with regular teeth.

  10. TIFFANY says:

    I’ve always liked Christy and I never thought she was boring, she was just a woman who did her job and went about her day.

    Once she stopped modeling as much, she got married, had children, got her master’s in public health, and focused on her charity.

    In a time where everyone famous person is in a heap of trouble due to their narcissistic traits, I’m not gonna drag a woman who is just minding her business.

    • Moxylady says:

      I think that’s the huge difference here. Christy thought of modeling as a job. Not an identity. Also just cuz she’s not messy doesn’t mean she’s not interesting.

      Honestly the work that she is involved in seems so desperately needed and the sheer amount of experiences she must have and depth of knowledge is so tantalizingly fascinating. I would love to be able to talk to someone like her for hours about her experiences, about what is a small thing that if implemented seems to have the biggest impact on mother and infant survival and long term health.

      Why anyone would think she’s boring when she has an incredible passion for such an important issue is mind blowing.

      Just cuz she’s never tackled someone on the catwalk or gotten into feuds on social media or plastered her kids everywhere or released a controversial book about getting back in shape after a baby or gone after younger models on social media.

      The woman had a FULL LIFE. that’s we don’t get to see. That’s very very interesting.

    • lucy2 says:

      Exactly. It seems like she is living the life she wants, and her identity was not limited to “supermodel”. Good for her.
      I always thought she had such a beautiful face.

    • Traveller says:

      Well said! Fully agree.

    • a mascarada says:

      Agree. Christy’s always been a top of the top level model for her beauty and her professionalism.
      Doing what she wants after modeling, choosing causes to defend.
      And she had the gall to marry a nice, talented and hot guy! Frankly, I’ve always been a fan of Edward Burns, and when I learnt he’s with Christy I was quite happy for him/them.
      What’s wrong to live their lives on their therms? Since we talk about it so much here lately 😛

    • Nibbi says:

      I agree with these other posters & think it sucks to drag her as ‘boring’ simply because she’s not a toxic drama-ridden narcissistic mess. She studied philosophy at Columbia, for god’s sake – what other supermodel does that?!?! (Majored in philo myself – it is in no way a ‘soft’ option.) She chose an education, a stable marriage, charitable work, has stayed her same beautiful self for decades – and that’s ‘boring’? More like ‘one of a kind,’ in that world.

  11. Sienna says:

    Please do not believe her. Only a facelift allows you to look like this as a skin type II white woman in her 50s, especially one who smoked like a chimney and drank like a fish in her 20’s.

    She also has the tell tale sign of a facelift.

    Your face, your body, your choice …but please don’t lie to us like this

    • Christy says:

      Disagree with that generalization. I smoked a lot and drank like a fish in my 20. I am 52 and while I’m no Christy Turlington, my skin looks this good. I know 60+ year old women that have amazing skin and only get Botox.

      • Granger says:

        Yeah, I’m with you @Christy. I’m 52, ex-smoker, still a drinker (but only a couple a week, if that!), and my skin looks pretty much like hers. I still think genetics plays the biggest part in how we look as we age. (My mom is 82 and looks 15 years younger.) Drinking lots of water and staying out of the sun helps. Nobody can convince me for one minute that expensive face creams do a damn thing.

    • Jaded says:

      @Sienna — I’m 70 and was a bit of a party girl when I was younger – booze, weed – but my skin still looks great due to a healthy diet, sunscreen, exercise and good skin care products. She has no “tell-tale signs of a facelift”, and how do you know she was a heavy smoker/drinker??? Were you her friend??? She is def not lying.

      • Caitlin says:

        Did you use sunscreen when you were younger (kid, young adult)? I grew up in the 70s and 80s and sunscreen was .pretty much nonexistent. Remember people using baby oil to hasten the burning, tanning process. I didn’t come to my senses until well into my 30’s

      • sparrow says:

        She was a notorious smoker and has said so, starting at something like 13. She was up to two packs a day as a young woman. I believe she took part in a study that showed she was at the early stages of emphysema or similar. She has discussed it many times. The reality hit and she changed her lifestyle pronto. However, I agree that some people can get away with a lifestyle at odds with their skin. I smoked when I was younger. My skin is very good. It sounds arrogant, but it is. I was told by a consultant dermatologist that it’s 80 per cent sunscreen. 20 per cent genetics and lifestyle. I was slapping on makeup from teenager up, and it has saved my skin, I truly believe. My ethnicity could help. I am white but with an eastern european mix that gives me an olive/dark colouring to my hair and skin. If you were to see me in winter, I would look incredibly pale; in summer I look olive. I believe it’s a green based olive.

        I do remember that Christy did a L’Oreal advert a few years back that caused some I want to say controversy but perhaps just raised voices. They released the untouched photos and she is covered in wrinkles, esp round the eyes. This is no drama. Who cares. But the advert was trying to show the effect of L’Oreal on wrinkles and implied she had perfect skin.

  12. Moxylady says:

    I wouldn’t say face life but I absolutely would not disagree with your diagnosis.

    Aging as a famous or rich person is so flipping different. The sheer amount of non invasive cosmetic procedures- not to mention the very real and very massive benefits from having a dermatologist on speed dial, access to the best active ingredients in skincare via skincare and a skin care routine that involves more than likely a weekly visit to the clinic for a facial which also involves radio waves and ultra sound etc.

    These people buy from brands we don’t even know exist. When I see ads comments on skincare at target that are like – I used to buy this super expensive cream that was 4xs the price and this works just as well – I used to be like omg wow. And now I’m like … honey. What’s expensive in the real world doesn’t even sort of come close to a very wealthy persons idea of cheap. An impulsive $10,000 cosmetic treatment doesn’t even make the conversation about monthly spending. The clout alone to have her coming to your office?!? Omg.

    The best the rest of us can do is follow dr Shereene idris on IG or YouTube or whatever your app is and listen and learn. Plus which explains the ingredients of almost every single skincare item available to us real people.
    Maybe have one or two things done a year to help collagen regenerate or to help your skin lose the hyper pigmentation caused by the sun in the teens and 20’s primarily.

  13. BW says:

    Gotta say, I love the no mascara look. It’s so fresh looking compared to EYES.

    • sparrow says:

      I would LOVE not to do the whole eyes thing and go without mascara, but my eyes are so small they need to be brought out, so on goes the chantecaille

  14. sparrow says:

    I really like her. She was my favourite, along with Yasmeen Ghauri. Despite smoking heavily as a teenager and becoming a two pack a day woman, I think she turned it around and looks radiant. I don’t believe she’s had surgery. Cindy has done god knows what to her face; it’s almost as if from some angles it’s still her, others not at all. Naomi has gone too far – watching her recent Vogue top looks book was eye opening. And Kate needed as much help as she could get and got it, but her skin is so damaged that there’s only so far any intervention can take her.

  15. Thinking says:

    She looks pretty natural to me. But maybe the Kardashians (and their ilk) have altered their faces so much, I wouldn’t notice if Turlington has done something to her face.

    As a model, she strikes me as the same level of interesting as all the other models in her profession. I’ve never seen a model with the personality of Reese Witherspoon or Jennifer Lawrence. It’s not really a requirement for them to develop a public personality. Overall, she’s always struck me as “nice” though.

  16. J says:

    Stunning woman and refreshing outlook in such a fake industry

  17. DaisyMay says:

    Well, brava, Christy. That’s a very nice sentiment indeed and the older I get I do love and appreciate the signs of aging in my face and others. A bit of sunscreen, moisturizer and light makeup is all anyone needs at any age. It feels good. I’m a survivor and a bit wiser, after all this time on previous planet Earth. What a trip.