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Christie Brinkley on Authenticity, "Anti-Aging," and Her Iconic Career

Christie Brinkley is an icon. Full stop. She epitomizes what it meant to be a supermodel in the '70s, '80s, and '90s—scoring an unprecedented three consecutive Sports Illustrated covers starting in 1979 after being discovered by a photographer in Paris. Since then, Brinkley has appeared on over 500 magazine covers and spent 25 years as the face of Covergirl. California-born, Brinkley exudes sunshine in person. She smiles with every word, and her soft, laid-back voice brushes up against my skin like a warm breeze. "I'm a surfer girl," Brinkley says, "a beach bum." And while her sun-kissed skin testifies to that fact, I'd paste words like successful entrepreneur, pop-culture phenomenon, and supermodel right next to her mellow description.

We met in her suite at The Plaza, a location as seminal in New York City as Brinkley has been in the industry. Among the gold mirrors and glinty chandeliers, we sat at a long, dark wooden table and began our chat. We spent time discussing her new gig as a judge on Lifetime’s hit beauty competition series, American Beauty Star (which debuts its second season on January 2 at 10 p.m. ET), as well as her secrets to staying youthful—trust, she's a vision—and watching new models come up in the industry. She talked about her daughters; her five favorite beauty products; and her co-stars on the show, the inimitable Ashley Graham, celebrity makeup artist Sir John, beauty photographer Yu Tsai, and Hearst's Leah Wyar. Below, find our refreshing and real conversation.