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’80s Supermodel Kim Alexis Shares Her Healthy Habits and Tips for Confidence (EXCLUSIVE)

Learn how she's found peace in painting rocks, running and climbing!

Kim Alexis was one of the faces of the ’80s, appearing on the cover of over 500 magazines. With six Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue covers under her belt, Alexis was in high demand, and the blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty was one of the few supermodels who was ubiquitous in both commercial and high-fashion campaigns.

Women around the world channeled Kim Alexis‘ glamorous yet approachable look, and she’s still influencing us today, at age 63. The multitalented model has written 11 books (both fiction and nonfiction) and become a professionally trained speaker on women’s issues, as well as a passionate advocate on aging gracefully with smart fitness, health and lifestyle choices.

FIRST for Women sat down with Alexis for a candid interview about how she stays happy and healthy.

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Kim Alexis With Tiffany Perfume 1987
Kim Alexis poses with Tiffany perfume in 1987Yvonne Hemsey/Getty

FIRST for Women: Having been in the fashion industry for so long, how do you feel about beauty today?

Kim Alexis: Beauty in today’s world is altered. It’s pumped up, filled in and over-enhanced. Today’s beauty has gone beyond models — it’s about actresses and influencers. The term supermodel is no longer.

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FFW: What were you like as a kid?

Kim Alexis: I rejoiced in being outside; I was a swimmer from the age of 6 until I was 17 and went off to New York. I was very competitive and our school team was undefeated. I would swim up to five-and-a-half hours a day. I also was a runner.

I always have loved the outdoors, and still do. I like being out and being active.

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Kim Alexis, 1999
Kim Alexis in 1999SGranitz/WireImage/Getty

FFW: You live in Arizona, so you must have a lot of outdoor activities. What are some of your outdoor exercise routines now?

Kim Alexis: I’ve had to modify some. I’m 63 and had a knee problem. I was at a dog park with my dog and some other large dog came up behind me fast and clipped the back of my knee and tore my meniscus. I don’t want surgery, I don’t want a knee replacement, so the knee doctor said to stop running.

I used to run. I ran eight marathons. I was always running. If I went on a trip to Sweden or Thailand or Morocco when I was doing Sports Illustrated, I’d get up and go for a run.

I ran my last marathon at 46 and that was 26.2 miles. Running, after swimming, became my go-to exercise, because I could do it anywhere, anytime. I could just go out of the hotel and go for a run, but I’d tell someone where I was going just to be safe.

Now that I don’t run, I go to the gym or go biking. I might do a rower or elliptical or something to get my cardio in. I still lift some weights. I have a huge dog, so I walk him every day and make sure we go at least a mile. I just love being outside, whether it’s gardening or painting my rocks or anytime I can be out — or swimming in the pool, of course.

FFW: Painting rocks?

Kim Alexis: I didn’t know I’d love doing that and I never knew about rock painting until I moved here to Arizona. My husband and I wake up early on weekends and just say, “Do you want to go for a drive?” We have discovered different parts of Arizona.

We’d go out for a hike and I’d find pretty rocks and started bringing them home and I’d paint them. So I’ve been able to put different messages like, “Joy, peace, love, family,” and those were all around my front yard until we got a letter to remove them.

It was sad, because it was my expression of feeling different thoughts and being greeted by them. How nice is it to have a painting of a rock with a big smile or “Joy” or “Peace”? I relocated them. They are now in my backyard.

FFW: How do you start off your days?

Kim Alexis: I read and have a cup of coffee. I would love to say that I do my Bible verse first, but I don’t. I grab my social media and go through it, because I’m three hours behind East Coast time. I like to answer my own social media.

Once I do that, I’ll try and get Bible study in or take the dog out. His name is Stump. He was a rescue from the pound and was the only dog that didn’t have a tail. He’s six now and about 130 pounds.

Kim Alexis with dog, Stump
Kim Alexis with dog, Stump@the_kimalexis/Instagram

FFW: What do you like to have for breakfast?

Kim Alexis: Normally I eat breakfast between 9 and 10. I love having a fruit smoothie. I put greens in there and just discovered beets. I don’t like them by themselves, but I just throw them in the smoothie and put the tops of the beets in, because they come with their own greens, so that goes in the smoothie also.

Beets have become my go-to super food, because they have health benefits and nutrients. So, I add some minerals, protein powder, different fruit and the beets. Sometimes the fruits will be blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, sometimes mango, depending on what I’ve got. I just use water for the liquid.

FFW: Do you ever indulge in less healthy foods?

Kim Alexis: For me, it’s more about where it comes from and the quality. If it’s processed or filled with toxins of some sort, I won’t eat it, and it’s more important to me if the food is clean than what type of food it is. I love a good steak or burger or pizza. Good food is important.

FFW: What is the best advice you’ve been given over the years?

Kim Alexis: Probably — and it applies to a lot of things in a lot of situations — it’s to hold true. So, if somebody can be mean or nasty, I just try and walk away. I’m not good with confrontations, so it’s important for me to have my own peace, and think maybe that person is having a bad day and it’s not going to affect me.

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FFW: Was there pressure being an aspirational symbol of beauty and style for so many young women?

Kim Alexis: I try not to think that way and I just do my own thing. I did feel I was a maverick in some way, which means in whatever way I choose to go and whatever brings me peace and joy, I find others follow along after that.

The model in 1987
Kim Alexis in 1987Kypros/Getty

I’m not worried too much about trying to please people with certain things, although I did please when it came to modeling. Every job of modeling was to give the client what they wanted, but as far as my style or who I am or what I do, I really just follow my own gut and do my own thing.

For example, I had super long hair in December and I cut off 19 inches and gave it away to charity. I had some people say I was more beautiful with my long hair and ask why I cut it, while others said, “Oh my gosh, you look so fresh and young.”

Everybody has an opinion, and if you start worrying about everyone’s opinion and internalizing all those words, you’re going to make yourself crazy. So, I just try and take it with a grain of salt and do my own thing.

FFW: How do you deal with rejection?

Kim Alexis: I’m just a practical person and I like to be around people who tell me the truth.

There’s a lot of rejection in the modeling business. There’s a ton of criticism and you just have to realize that some people have their opinions that don’t affect you. Some people might have a justified opinion, so I quickly weigh something like, “Hmm, is that something I need to focus on or change in myself?” And sometimes I’ll say yes and work on it and other times I’ll say nope and move on. Rejection was a big part of life.

Kim in 2002
Kim Alexis in 2002Harry Langdon/Getty

FFW: Do you have any must-have beauty buys?

Kim Alexis: I have a great grocery store, so I’ll get nail polishes and mascara from there, but it’s hard to find a clean product at some of these grocery or drugstores. I’ve gotten more and more online, but it can become very overwhelming with the product research. I like ILIA mascara.

I did a whole book on clean skincare called Skin Within, and I discovered there are many toxins in makeup that we don’t need, and they’re even in expensive makeup. For me, lipstick is important to be careful about, because we’re ingesting it for years and years.

FFW: What kind of charity work do you do?

Kim Alexis: Over the summers, I go to various golf tournaments for my friends’ charities. I do 12 to 15 of those a year. I was in a fashion show for children’s health recently. I’m a big believer in helping out. I do videos sometimes for the Southwest Wildlife Conservancy here that houses animals who have been rescued.  

FFW: What’s the most recent risk you’ve taken?

Kim Alexis: I’m in my 60s now, so I don’t think I take as many risks as I did before. I’m not a thrill-seeker or adrenaline junkie like some, but I did go on an ultra-trail hike where you’re on trails and rock climbing.

We ended up at this beautiful area overlooking these rocks and canyon and there were a ton of people, mainly guys. So, you climb down this little trail and you’re on a rock that’s maybe 10 feet wide and you don’t know what’s holding it up. It’s a ledge. So, I was standing out there and took a picture. My husband is afraid of heights, but I loved it!

Kim Alexis hiking
Kim Alexis hikingKim Alexis
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