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 out ELLECanada.com/getinspired.) 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.