Christie Brinkley turns 66: 10 ways the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit icon stays feeling youthful

Christie Brinkley turns the big 6-6 on Feb. 2 — and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit icon has plenty of secrets on feeling forever young.

The celebrated model has had a career spanning over 40 years after becoming an overnight sensation in the ‘70s posing for the coveted magazine. And over the years, Brinkley has discovered her version of the fountain of youth — one that anyone can easily take on for themselves.

Here are some of Brinkley’s beloved tips and tricks:

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STAYING ACTIVE

“I’ve always loved sports and doing things outdoors,” Brinkley told Fox News in 2019. “Whether it’s running around the tennis court, standup paddleboarding, skiing, kayaking, cycling, mountain trails — I just love being active and doing things. It’s just so important to keep moving every day, especially at my age now. My enemy is sitting. It’s a big mistake for people to think they need to sit it out. That’s the worst thing you can do. You gotta get yourself to a physical therapist, figure out what’s causing those aches and pains, strengthen your muscles and keep going.”

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MINDING THE SUN

“Seriously, I would have taken better care of my skin from the sun,” Brinkley reflected on the one beauty lesson she would have given to her younger self. “Because boy, I grew up on the beach in Malibu. I was always as tan as could be. And then I got a job where they would hand me a bikini and say, ‘Go get a tan!’  I would be all too happy to do it. I would be on the beaches all over the world, on the strongest sun.”

“I would have been much more careful about the sun,” she continued. “My mom was always worried about the very end of our nose. Like, she would put that dab of zinc oxide on our nose and go, 'You’re safe, go on and play!' Like only the nose that sticks out is the thing that’s gonna get burned! Back then, the rest of it was healthy for us. Like, go get a healthy tan. If we didn’t feel well, my mom would say, ‘Go sit in the sun. It will bake it out of you.’ But we didn’t know!”

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EATING CLEAN

“I’m a lifelong vegetarian and I’m always seeking out my fruits and vegetables,” she said. “I always make sure my fruits, vegetables and grains are all organic. We live in a world that’s so full of chemicals. … We need to clean up our bodies and our environment. One of the best ways is to insist on everything being organic because mankind just cannot take these chemicals anymore. … Diseases are running rampant and this is something we all need to insist on. The prices will go down as more and more people demand organic.”

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DITCH THE SUGAR

While stocking up on fresh fruits and veggies is essential, Brinkly told Byrdie that it’s just as important to avoid certain foods. “I would say avoid sugar as much as possible,” she said. “It causes inflammation and refuses circulation and can cause all kinds of problems, right up to being linked with cancer. I think avoiding artificial sugar, avoiding white bread, and going for deep, rich, plant-based foods is best. And of, course, grains. I love grain bowls with beans and veggies!”

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SERIOUSLY, EMBRACE YOUR AGE

“I think that the number really doesn’t represent the modern woman today,” Brinkley explained to Fox News after turning 65. “In the olden days, the numbers came with so many rules and so much weight on a woman. There were so many restrictions associated with certain numbers. Like after 30 you can’t wear your skirt above your knee. After 40 you shouldn’t wear your hair below your shoulders.

“Nowadays, women are totally reshaping the numbers and giving those numbers a new image. To me, to be turning 65, it really could be any number. The only thing is that once you pass 50, every birthday is an opportunity to take stock and say, ‘What else do I want to do?’ And then go for it!"

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TAKE ON NEW CHALLENGES

“[Keeping young] is to be able to be out there active, doing things, learning new things,” Brinkley told U.K.’s Mirror in May 2019. “Being curious about the world, taking on challenges, and constantly growing and learning, that’s the fountain of youth… Those things are the things that keep invigorated.”

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CRANK UP THE MUSIC

If there’s one thing Brinkley loves to do when she’s not striking a pose it’s to hit play.

“I crank up the music and I dance around the house,” she told Fox News in 2015. “You don’t have to get an expensive gym membership. The important thing is to keep moving, and to make it fun, and have variety — it’s the spice of life.”

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WEARING EXTENSIONS

Brinkley isn’t shy to admit that she gets some much-needed help to make her hair appear flawless.

“I know some people think that they would never wear extensions because they think they’re so fake,” she previously told Byrdie. “But I’ve been modeling for over 40 years, and I would say the last 20 years or so, extensions have just been a part of a model’s life. If you have thick, full, gorgeous hair, they’ll want it thicker and more gorgeous. Or extensions will take short hair to long, or just make the hairstyle go with the outfit.

“It’s just natural to me. I would love to share this convenience with women out there and let them start thinking about it as not necessarily this vague attachment that makes you feel like you’re fooling anybody.  When someone tells me my hair looks great, I say, “Thank you. I’m wearing one of my extensions today.”

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FIND YOUR LIGHT

According to Brinkley, one of the most common mistakes women tend to make with their beauty routines is not applying their makeup using natural lighting. “The best tip I learned from my years of modeling is to go check your makeup in natural light,” she told Elle magazine in May 2016. “Because doing it in the bathroom, in that light, can be completely different than getting out in the daylight. And also, to check the side of your face, because a lot of people look at themselves from the front when they're doing their makeup and completely forget about what's going on the side. So you can see a line under here or a stripe on the neck.”

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BE NO-NONSENSE WITH SKINCARE

According to Brinkley her skincare routine just involves three rules: cleanse, exfoliate and moisturize. And don’t just apply this on your face — the neck and décolletage also need plenty of love. “I exfoliate my body from top to bottom; that’s my thing,” Brinkley told Harpers’ Bazaar in March 2014. The star added she likes an Epsom salt bath at least once a month to relax her muscles and loves a deep tissue massage.