The fashion industry venerates the supermodels of yore but often excludes them anyway (aged models were only cast 11 times during the Fall 2016 season). Nevermind the fact that, unless you’re a celebrity like Caitlyn Jenner or even an industry insider like Gilliean McLeod, beginning your modeling career as a quinquagenarian requires a near miracle.
However, regardless of her youth-obsessed profession, model Christy Turlington Burns is neither fazed by the prospect of aging nor tempted by plastic surgery. “Maybe I would think differently if I thought it looked good and it didn’t hurt and it didn’t send bad messages to young people,” the 47-year-old supermodel and Every Mother Counts founder said in a recent interview with Town & Country. “But I’ve never seen someone who I’ve been like, ‘Oh, that’s a good idea.’ It looks freaky to me.” (We’d also like to add “if I wasn’t a genetic miracle” to Turlington’s list of “ifs.”)
All jokes aside, with so many models inwardly and outwardly suffering due to poor self-image and industry pressures, it’s important to hear one of the most respected players in the game championing the idea that “being who you are, being your best self, has nothing to do with what you look like.” (She’s pretty much the perfect candidate for the All Woman Project’s next video.)
That said, we don’t completely agree with Turlington’s later assertion that “I don’t think people get eating disorders by looking at magazines. I think there’s a much deeper set of issues around a lack of power and control, or something happening in the family.” True, there is no one cause of disordered eating. However, research has shown that exposure to fashion magazines has a negative effect on women’s self-image. The cost of the industry’s obsession with thinness should not be belittled.
In closing, Turlington affirmed that aging is a fact of life and not something to worry over. “It’s good that people close to me see that I’m relaxed and okay about aging, not neurotic or worried about it. To my kids, I’ll be the mom who barely shaves her legs, who doesn’t color her hair.” Her words remind us of those of another cultural icon, Taylor Swift, who once told Vogue that something she hopes not to be doing in 10 years is stressing about aging (“I’ll be 36 [and] I really hope I won’t be stressed about the idea of turning 40. I hope that aging is not something that really freaks me out.”). It’s good to see women in the public eye, whose careers are predicated on being svelte and gorgeous, reinforcing the idea that they too pause and think about aging and conclude that they have better things to think about.