Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Harper's Bazaar Art -

She’s been adept at hid­ing it, but Christy Turlington suf­fers from a ter­ri­ble af­flic­tion: a “gimpy” eye. She’s sol­diered on de­spite this im­ped­i­ment—achiev­ing 30 years of su­per­model-dom, plus a sec­ond, even more su­per life as a global ma­ter­nal health ad­vo­cate. “Some­one once said I have a sym­met­ri­cal face,” she says. “I do not have a sym­met­ri­cal face. Al­most no­body does. But, yeah, I have a gimpy eye. One eye that’s round and one that’s more slanty,” she laughs. “I’m sure it’s a sign of in­tel­li­gence.” She adds, “In a photo ses­sion, peo­ple try to bal­ance my eyes with light.” But not Cle­mente. In her por­trait, “one eye was as it is in life, which I love. I can see a lot of things that are me.” That said, “he added a few inches to my neck!” Turlington first sat for the artist 20 years ago. “It was a wa­ter­colour; I have it in my bed­room. It was more of an im­pres­sion—we knew each other, but time makes such a dif­fer­ence.” She sighs. “Now we’re at the place where ev­ery­thing is 20 years ago. We were laugh­ing about that, and then we said, ‘Okay, ev­ery 20 years we’ll do a sit­ting.’ So, we made a date.”

On view­ing the com­pleted por­trait, Turlington says, “It has the feel­ing of Pon­tormo or Modigliani or Gi­a­cometti. All por­trait artists that I love. You know, I like Lu­cian Freud, but I don’t know if I would, say, run to that sit­ting.”

At 47, Turlington is in fine fet­tle. She works full-time on her non­profit, Ev­ery Mother Counts; is rais­ing two chil­dren, Grace, 12, and Finn, 10, with hus­band Ed­ward Burns; and still makes time for the oc­ca­sional high-pro­file modelling gig (be­sides reg­u­lar mag­a­zine cov­ers, she has con­tracts with Maybelline and Calvin Klein, among others).

Of the changes in the in­dus­try—the birth of the so­cial su­per­model, for ex­am­ple—she ob­serves, “In the ’80s or ’90s, the su­per­model thing was kind of sim­i­lar; it brought more sales, more at­ten­tion. Then, that be­comes ex­ploited, and ev­ery­body hates those peo­ple. When an era ends, there’s noth­ing worse than hav­ing been tied to that era.”

That’s why, of course, Turlington did other things: com­plet­ing a bach­e­lor’s de­gree with hon­ours, study­ing public health at Columbia, and at­tend­ing var­i­ous well­ness ini­tia­tives be­fore the 2010 launch of Ev­ery Mother Counts. “The more you have go­ing on out­side of the modelling world, the bet­ter off you are,” she says. “You can’t be re­liant on the flavour or the tastemak­ers, you know?”

Turlington has man­aged to tran­scend fash­ion while re­main­ing very much in fash­ion. “I’m not one to think that much ahead of my­self, apart from the fact that I love 50. It looks pretty; it’s aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing,” she says, laugh­ing. “All the good things in my life hap­pened post-30. But I guess you’re al­ways in a state of be­com­ing. I love the pic­tures Al­fred Stieglitz took of Ge­or­gia O’Ke­effe. He pho­tographed her over and over through the years, so he had this por­trait of her that wasn’t just a mo­ment; it was all the parts of her over time. I kind of see it like that.”

Asked to name her age­ing in­spi­ra­tions, Turlington says, “There are so many. Joan Did­ion. Come on! I love her. Vanessa Red­grave. Glo­ria Steinem! Char­lotte Ram­pling! Iman, I mean, come on.” She’s a par­tic­u­lar fan of Did­ion’s style. “She never changed, and she looks per­fectly mod­ern.” (Like Did­ion, Turlington plans to em­brace the turtle­neck. “Cé­line, old Hel­mut Lang, skinny Calvins,” when the time comes.)

Un­til that fate­ful day, Turlington re­mains a model of health and bal­ance (thank­fully, she also pos­sesses a deep love of red wine). She is cur­rently fin­ish­ing a month-long cleanse. “I don’t re­ally crave things,” she ex­plains. She has also started train­ing for the Bos­ton Marathon, in April. “My fifth marathon since I turned 42!” she chirps. Along with her reg­u­lar yoga, Turlington will of­ten run for up to two hours at a time. “Just to chill, do my long run, and breathe.”

I read her a quote from Gwyneth Pal­trow, who said that turn­ing 40 was like get­ting a “soft­ware up­grade.” “Oh, you girls in your early 40s,” she cack­les. “You should see what it does to your hard drive.”

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