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Supermodel Christie Brinkley Shares New Outlook After Skin Cancer Scare and Feeling Her Best at 70! (EXCLUSIVE)

Learn how dance, meditation and veganism keep her feeling her best

Legendary supermodel Christie Brinkley has been the embodiment of classic all-American beauty for decades, and has graced over 500 magazine covers. On top of that, she’s also an author, artist and activist. It would be easy to assume she has it all, but her recent skin cancer diagnosis proved that it’s not quite that simple.

Earlier this year, Brinkley underwent successful removal of her basal cell carcinoma, and she’s heading back to the dermatologist for another skin cancer removal in her eyebrow. Basal cell carcinoma is one of the most common skin cancers, and experiencing it has made the model determined to spread awareness about early detection and treatment.

MUST-READ: Christie Brinkley Reveals Skin Cancer Diagnosis + Doctors Share How to Best Protect Your Skin

Now 70, she still has a bright and sunny aura, and has been able to keep her signature smile even during trying times. Read on to see what Christie Brinkley, the covergirl of our latest issue, has to say about staying positive and healthy — no matter what the circumstances may be.

Christie Brinkley on the cover of 'FIRST for Women'
FIRST for Women

FIRST for Women: You’ve always had a gorgeous smile that’s almost contagious. Who or what makes you smile on a regular basis?

Christie Brinkley: Almost everything makes me smile. I really do find so much joy in almost everything. I think my smile comes first and foremost from just feeling the sense of gratitude I have. I am so grateful in so many layers.

My mom raised me to be positive and optimistic and to never feel sorry for myself for any reason, because you just have to pick yourself up and move forward. A smile is important to share with people too. I think it’s important to smile at people and bring some joy and kindness to the world.

People have such a lack of respect for each other today. The world has gotten so rough and tough and mean and divisive. It’s up to each and every one of us to share as much joy with others as we possibly can. The small gestures of saying “Good morning” or “Have a great day” are being lost. Sometimes it feels brave to smile at someone, because they may not smile back and just think you’re crazy, but it’s important to smile and bring some joy and kindness to the world.

MUST-READ: Marie Osmond Shares the Advice She’d Give Her Younger Self: “Give Yourself a Break, Make Peace With Your Body” (EXCLUSIVE)

Christie Brinkley, 2023
Christie Brinkley in 2023Sonia Moskowitz/Getty

FFW: What’s on your gratitude list?

Christie Brinkley: A roof over our head, food on our plates, vision, two arms and legs… the list goes on and on. I just feel this huge list of gratitude makes it so easy to smile.

I once wrote in my book that when you put your lips in a smiling position, even if you’re feeling sad, it releases endorphins into your body that are powerful, feel-good hormones. I’ve often said to never underestimate the power of a smile. It’s a gift we can give each other to make one another feel good.

Christie Brinkley, 1991
Christie Brinkley, 1991Vinnie Zuffante/Getty

FFW: With so much gratitude in your everyday life, do you think you have a guardian angel watching over you?

Christie Brinkley: I talk to my mom all the time and say, “Hi there, Mom.” Butterflies come and go and I have to say hello to them because they make me think of my mom. She was a big influence on me.

My mom would point out the mind-body connection and remind me not to say negative things because it’s really all connected. Positivity shows in your outward appearance when you’re not stressed out.

FFW: You starred on Broadway as Roxie Hart in Chicago. Do you still enjoy dancing?

Christie Brinkley: I love to dance and I do it for the joy of it, plus the exercise. I follow people on Instagram and stand up and try to copy their dances, and I love nothing more than putting on a song and singing it in my kitchen and starting to dance around.

It’s a spur of the moment happening. I love just putting on little dances, getting up and moving around, because dancing bodies, dancing images, everything about dance makes you live a longer life. My favorite dance tune is “Funny Honey” from Chicago.

I try to incorporate dance whenever I can. And doing Chicago was the only time when I heard somebody utter the words that I always secretly wanted to hear once in my life: “You’re too thin.”

MUST-READ: Ellie Krieger Talks the Power of Helping Others and How She Slashes Stress (EXCLUSIVE)

Christie Brinkley at the curtain call following her Broadway debut as Roxie Hart in Chicago, 2011
Christie Brinkley at the curtain call following her Broadway debut as Roxie Hart in Chicago (2011)Brian Ach/WireImage/Getty

FFW: Have your recent dermatology procedures for skin cancer changed up your approach to skincare?

Christie Brinkley: The basal cell carcinoma that I had was from my days of wild abandon when I was younger and felt invincible in the sun. When I was even younger, my mom would say, “Go bake that cold out of you.”

The model in 2019
Christie Brinkley in 2019Slaven Vlasic/Getty

I grew up a surfer girl on the Malibu beaches and never came out of the water. I was very happy to oblige when I was a model and they would hand me a bikini and say to go get a tan.

MUST-READ: Doctors Share 3 Easy Tips on How To Prevent Skin Cancer

Now, I’ll be doing a twice-yearly Fraxel, which is laser skin resurfacing, and take extra care with being in the sun, but I still love riding my bike and getting outside.

Christie Brinkley, 2023
Christie Brinkley in 2023Mireya Acierto/Getty

FFW: You’re a big fan of yoga and meditation. How do you feel these activities have helped you?

Christie Brinkley: I’ve been meditating since I was a teenager and I used to pull out my mantra on bumpy flights. I’m not an everyday meditator, but if I am feeling stressed or over-tired, I will definitely seek out a quiet spot and meditate a little bit with some deep breathing just to center myself again.

It really does help. I’m just getting back into yoga — I couldn’t do it for a while after my shoulder injury on Dancing With the Stars.

FFW: Are you still a vegetarian after decades of eating this way?

Christie Brinkley: I’m vegan now. I’ve been a vegan before when I was younger, and then got a little bit thwarted because I always felt it was natural if I was in the South of France to have the mussels.

For snacks, I’ll do Skinny Pop popcorn or make my own with nutritional yeast on it. I’ve also found that having some beets every day is good for you. So I’ll put some on avocado toast.

The model in 1993
Christie Brinkley in 1993Robin Platzer/IMAGES/Getty

FFW: You’ve said that the advice you’d give your younger self would be “You’re good enough.” Can you share a little more about that?

Christie Brinkley: What I was trying to say was when you’re young, you always feel like the “they” and “them” are judging you.

When you’re younger, you need to understand that this is an invisible rule, and very often the thing that you consider a flaw within yourself is actually what makes you the most unique. It’s what is appreciated about you. So just relax and enjoy yourself and know that whatever makes you most unique is the most original, amazing thing. And it’s enough.

To read Christie’s full interview, pick up this week’s issue of FIRST for Women at your local grocery store, Walmart or online here!

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