Fabulous at 40 - how does Naomi do it?
It's the veteran supermodel's birthday today and she looks stunning. Susan Daly susses out her secrets and sees how her contemporaries are doing.
Saturday May 22 2010
Turning 40 is a milestone by anyone's measure. Turning 40 when you're one of the world's most scrutinised models is monumental. Naomi Campbell, who reaches the big 4-0 today, is a rare exception in an industry ruled by youth and beauty.
So remarkable is her career longevity that Oprah Winfrey dedicated an hour-long special to Campbell earlier this month. It was pitched as the world's most powerful black woman getting to the core of the world's most beautiful black woman. The conversation ranged from why she's such an angry person -- a fear of abandonment apparently -- to her friendship with Nelson Mandela.
In reality, Winfrey's viewers probably couldn't care less about Campbell's core. The biggest question as Campbell gets into her fifth decade is purely superficial: How the hell does she still look so good?
There was a riveting segment in the Winfrey special in which Campbell makes a video diary of her new home town of Moscow where she lives with billionaire boyfriend Vladislav Doronin. In her whistlestop tour of the city, she points out a traditional spot for newlyweds to have their photographs taken and deigns to step into a few group shots.
The rigidly fixed smiles of the unfortunate brides say it all. Even at 40, Naomi Campbell is the last person any woman wants to be snapped standing beside on her big day.
Good genes clearly have a lot to answer for: Campbell has always had cheekbones you could hang a Philip Treacy hat on. Yet surely it takes more than a decent bone structure to hold back the ravages of a heady lifestyle.
She has admitted to having worked hard and played harder at the height of her 1990s fame. She was a regular fixture on the party scene as on the catwalk, stepping out with high-profile boyfriends like Robert de Niro, Mike Tyson and ex-fiance Adam Clayton of U2. When her friend, designer Gianni Versace, was shot dead in 1997 she slid into a pattern of drug use that came to a head when she collapsed at a photo shoot in 1999.
"I felt like I couldn't keep up with the grief, so I just started replacing it with drugs," she said. Two months ago, she admitted: "I thought I'd never actually make this birthday."
Little trace of this hard living is visible on Campbell's unlined face and lithe, toned limbs. She was recently papped on her boyfriend's yacht, wearing a tiny bikini and showing off a body most 20-year-olds would envy.
Eleven years ago she told Playboy magazine the secret to her banging bod: "I never diet. I smoke. I drink now and then. I never work out." If the smoking/drinking/no diet or exercise regime was a real winner, wouldn't we all be supermodels?
"Naomi Campbell is pretty unique," concedes 1st Options model agency boss Trish Fallon. "My sister Jules (and business partner) once met Naomi and her mum, and her mother is also absolutely stunning. But if you look at Naomi's body -- it's like an Olympic athlete's. She is definitely following a regime to keep herself in tip-top condition."
Campbell may have burned the candle at both ends from time to time but, says Fallon, she is a real contrast to her contemporary, 36-year-old Kate Moss. "Let's be honest, Kate Moss isn't looking great," says Fallon. "I love her but look at her skin, her teeth, her eyes -- her lifestyle has really started to catch up with her."
Campbell insists that she's never invited the helping hand of a plastic surgeon. Dr Katherine Mulrooney, dermatologist and cosmetic doctor, has a finely tuned antenna for telltale signs of medical intervention. "The most I could say that Naomi would have had might be the slightest amount of Botox," she says.
"Science has come on so much that everything from what you eat to what you put on your skin can have a huge impact over a couple of years. I'm sure she takes anti-oxidants in her food and applies them topically because she has an amazing glow and vitality to her skin."
The biggest factor in her youthful appearance, however, was with Naomi in the womb. "Her skin colour is Fitzpatrick Type 5 (a classification of skin's reaction to UV light). You and I, being pale-skinned and prone to burning, have type 1. The sun is the most ageing environmental factor to the skin and her skin has an inherent sun block. Black skin is also a lot more resilient to other environmental factors. It is slightly thicker than most and can take more wear and tear."
Or, to quote Winfrey and Campbell herself, "Black don't crack."
Those amazing cheekbones are also key, as they act as a type of scaffolding for the face. "Naomi has what we call the 'triangle of youth' where the broadest part of the face is around the eyes and the smallest point is at the chin," says Mulrooney. "If you are blessed with good cheekbones, they are literally like a vector from which the skin will hang, giving it a taut, voluminous look."
Despite being a genetic lottery winner, Campbell has moved to distance herself from her old comments in Playboy about not having to work for her body. "Now I've stopped the parties, stopped trying to burn the candle at both ends," she said.
The Oprah audience was treated to the sight of Naomi working out in her gym. (Surprisingly, it didn't involve vigorous mobile-throwing upper-arm moves.) She uses Pilates-based strength exercises known as gyrotonics. "As we all get older, everything changes and moves, and there are natural ways to exercise," she said. "I think it's important, and I think it's something that can help keep things in place."
Neither is she pigging out on fast food after her daily workouts. She no longer eats gluten and gave up eating meat a year-and-a-half ago. Boyfriend Doronin has also had an influence. "If there is bread on the table, he's like: 'Don't eat bread,'" she told Oprah.
Living in the wacky world of high-fashion, however, has left Campbell with some bogus notions about what's good for her. She also told Oprah that she goes on the infamous Master Cleanse diet three times a year. This is the crash dieting method favoured by the likes of Beyonce and Gwyneth Paltrow. The mainstay of the diet is a concoction made from maple syrup, water, lemon juice and cayenne pepper. "It was not what you would characterise as pretty or easy," Paltrow has said, "It did work, however."
Well, yes, it would do. As the dieter consumes less than 600 calories a day, they are essentially starving themselves. Some celebs use the Master Cleanse for up to 10 days at a time -- Campbell said she once did it for 18 days in a row.
She doesn't have to be so hard on herself. Mulrooney adds: "I'm sure Naomi does all she can to keep age at bay but, really, she was just born lucky."
Schiffer will be 40 next year but is still fit enough to pose nude -- and heavily pregnant -- for the cover of the current German Vogue.
Perhaps it's the slight overbite that helps her retain the slightly childlike air but Schiffer looks like she is still hovering around her early 30s.
Her client list, however, has moved from haute couture to more commercially friendly high street stores like Mango and Accessorise in recent years.
VERONICA MOORE (right)
This Irish model was a favourite muse of Vivienne Westwood in the 1990s and was a huge star in the high-fashion world of Japan for years. Even though she is now 38, her youthful look had her fronting the cutting-edge graduate show from the Limerick College of Art and Design last year.
Kate Moss has four years to go before she reaches the big 4-0 but she has already suffered her share of unflattering paparazzi shots. Her rock-chic lifestyle of sex, drugs and late nights has not been without its toll.
"She's also an inveterate smoker," says Dr Katherine Mulrooney, "and it really is the worst thing you can do to your skin after sun damage." Moss was the third-highest paid model in the world last year, raking in €7m -- a chunk of this came from her designer range in TopShop.
The former Miss Denmark passed the 40 mark in December 2008 with the high cheekbones inherited from her Peruvian mother still very much intact.
Christensen spent her 30s mostly behind the camera. Now though she is the face -- and, more importantly, bottom -- of a Reebok campaign in which she appears entirely perfect and entirely naked, save for a pair of trainers.
Canadian beauty Linda uttered the immortal words: "We don't wake up for less than $10,000 a day." At 45, she's proving somewhat immortal herself.
Three years ago she was still a cover girl for Vogue and two years ago was the face for Prada. At the moment she is a L'Oreal ambassador -- although specifically for their anti-age range.
Turlington's face is so perfectly symmetrical that the New York City Metropolitan Museum of Art made a mould of it to represent the ideal of beauty. At 41, she remains pretty much flawless; the result, it seems, of a dedication to yoga and hatred of smoking(see her website smokingisugly.com).
Crawford is the eldest of the original supermodels, but if it's any consolation to her, she is May cover girl for Fashion magazine under the headline: Still Sizzling at 44.
Harper's Bazaar announced in March, 'The Sexiest Super is Back', quoting designer Christopher Kane: "I have fond memories of my sisters working out in our living room to her fitness videos. We still have the first one, and her body hasn't changed! Is she a machine?"
FIRST PUBLISHED HERE: http://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/independent-woman/celebrity-news-gossip/fabulous-at-40-how-does-naomi-do-it-2190387.html
...AND HERE: http://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/independent-woman/celebrity-news-gossip/still-in-vogue-supermodels-then-and-now-2190532.html