ELLE (Canada) - - Editors Note -

The day after we shot our cover sub­ject— the iconic Cindy Craw­ford—I was vis­it­ing my friend Dana in Van­cou­ver. “So, how does she re­ally look?” asked Dana, voic­ing the ques­tion that most women over the age of 40 ask me when they hear that I’ve seen Cindy up close. “Grace­fully stun­ning,” I replied, adding that she’s the con­sum­mate pro­fes­sional: fo­cused, con­sid­er­ate and, well, sen­sa­tional. At this point, Dana’s hus­band, Char­lie, piped up: “Oh, I re­mem­ber Cindy’s cal­en­dars. Per­fec­tion.” Then, to my sur­prise, Dana’s 16-year-old son, Liam, asked, “Are you talk­ing about the woman in the shorts who did the Pepsi ad?” That ad was re­leased in 1991, al­most 10 years be­fore he was born, yet he is fa­mil­iar with what’s con­sid­ered one of the best Su­per Bowl com­mer­cials of all time. Even Craw­ford con­cedes that the ad “ce­mented [her] im­age as the sexy all-Amer­i­can girl next door.” In Be­com­ing, a book Craw­ford re­leased this fall to cel­e­brate her 50th birth­day in Feb­ru­ary, she writes: “It was the per­fect com­bi­na­tion of the right con­cept, the right mu­sic and the right pair of cut­offs.” Oh, and the right genes. Since Craw­ford’s early mod­el­ling days, her beauty and her brains have set her apart. In her book—which has hun­dreds of im­ages as well as thought­ful es­says— she opens up about her life, her suc­cesses and her vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties, es­pe­cially when it comes to ag­ing. “Some­times I for­get that the im­ages I am used to see­ing of my­self aren’t real, that they are all part of the il­lu­sion of be­ing Cindy Craw­ford,” she writes. “And then I will catch a glimpse of the real, un-re­touched Cindy or see an un­flat­ter­ing pap­arazzi shot, and it’s a shocker.” Even on the day of our shoot, Craw­ford re­calls how she was snapped en­ter­ing a Star­bucks for a cof­fee. She was wear­ing jeans and a T-shirt, and her hair was slicked back into a wet bun. “I guess peo­ple like to see stars with­out makeup,” she told me. “I’m old school; I don’t be­lieve that ev­ery mo­ment in life is a photo shoot, and I don’t want to live my life that way. This kind of at­ten­tion can play with your head a lit­tle bit. In a way it gets eas­ier as you get older be­cause you have per­spec­tive, but in a way it’s harder be­cause you’re like ‘Oh, my God! I like that re­touch­ing!’” In “Su­per­woman,” on page 106, Craw­ford talks about the sup­pos­edly un­touched Marie Claire photo that went vi­ral ear­lier this year. It was a dif­fi­cult time, but not for the rea­sons you might sus­pect. Even though that ex­pe­ri­ence blind­sided her, she didn’t put any re­stric­tions on the im­ages we took. Her open­ness—and con­fi­dence—is in­spir­ing. It’s just one of the rea­sons why she is the per­fect cover sub­ject for our in­spi­ra­tion-themed is­sue. (See “Reach for Your Dreams Now” on page 121 and check out­spired.) Craw­ford’s own #in­spo motto is sim­ple: “Live in the mo­ment, con­tinue to evolve and feel enor­mous grat­i­tude for all that you have.” It’s a motto that any­one—even if you’re not a su­per­model—can live by.

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