Jane Seymour is turning 69 on Saturday, and there’s only one way she would want to celebrate the big day.
The former “Dr. Quinn” star, along with her Open Hearts Foundation, will host its 2020 Gala at the SLS Beverly Hills. The foundation, established in 2010, is celebrating its 10th anniversary with “a mission to help empower people to transform adversity into opportunity, serving others through philanthropy and volunteerism.”
In its first nine years, the foundation has granted nearly $1 million to 36 charities that benefit children, veterans, the homeless and those aiming to help people suffering from debilitating diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Lupus.
The former Bond girl said it has become her mission to use her fame to help others in need, which is why her birthday this year is extra special.
Seymour spoke to Fox News about aging gracefully, how she stays fit and healthy all year long, why she’s determined to give back and the one piece of advice she would give to her younger self.
Fox News: What’s your secret to looking so youthful?
Jane Seymour: I know nobody believes it, but it's true… I'm eating sensibly, but not on some crazy diet. I work out, but I don't do anything insane, because I've had injuries over the years and I know what my body can and can't do. That's basically it.
I recently just dropped 14 pounds. I kind of got used to being bigger. Not that I was really huge or anything, but… in my family there is type 2 diabetes. And my blood work was bordering on pre-diabetic. I told my doctor, “You must be kidding. I'm smaller than anyone I know!” And he said, “Well, it's not your fault, but if you lose at least six pounds, you will reverse it.” So, that was the first moment. And then one of my best friends… he completely reversed his through a different way of eating.
I’m not doing anything terribly clever. I'm just doing intermittent fasting, but nothing huge. And I happen to like healthy food. We grow all our own food organically in the back garden. A lot of it in pots, which is, again, things that anyone can do. Even if you don't have a garden, you can grow things in containers and... Eat everything in moderation. And because I'm not thinking about myself all the time -- I'm thinking about other things and I've got the kids or the grandchildren and I'm working -- that gives me the energy that I need.
Fox News: It's very surprising that you were bordering on pre-diabetic.
Seymour: Well it's an epidemic globally. And I did watch my grandmother die from type 2 diabetes. I watched the gangrene go up to her leg, which caused her leg to be amputated. It’s a very serious condition. It's not something to be taken lightly. And the truth is that you can reverse it pretty easily and get off all the meds, and live a much better life.
To see my friends who had been battling it suddenly have a spring in their step, and off all the meds, and looking great as well as a by-product? I thought, "I want some of that." So actually it's quite fun because now I fit in everything I had from when I was 16 or 17. And sadly I had hung on to some of those clothes. So yes, I got back into everything I had in a closet. A skinnier time closet, and I've been having fun recycling.
Fox News: What's your fitness routine like these days?
Seymour: It's very sporadic. I try to get my heartbeat up with fast walking at least three times a week. I also work out with a trainer and I'll do about 20 minutes on a stationary bicycle, the spin bicycle, but not spinning like crazy. I do my own form of it, usually with weights, as well. So I try to do the upper body at the same time as the lower body. And then I do Pilates and Gyrotonics, which I swear by.
So, things that are really good for my particular body, like the bridge and plank, I can do anywhere in any hotel room or anywhere at any time. I don't need to go to the gym to do the things that are actually really good for my body. And having been a dancer, you have an understanding of form. So when you workout, I think you are very careful about having good form. Whereas some people just throw themselves in the gym. If you don't have proper form, you can injure yourself.
Fox News: What about your beauty and skincare routine?
Seymour: I have always believed in exfoliation. I have not done all these lasers, micro dermabrasions or anything like that. But I do exfoliate every day. I use the Clarisonic and believe it or not, Crepe Erase. I find it works brilliantly for my face and body. People keep coming up to me and touching my arms. It works and it's really not expensive. So why would I do anything else? I like to bathe myself with the stuff. I don't like to experiment with different products. If something truly works for you, why change it? Moisturization is also key for smooth skin, no matter the season.
Also, the most important thing you can do is take all of your makeup completely off before going to bed at night. Your eyelashes should be really clean. If you have some stubborn makeup that won't come off, an eye doctor gave me a trick of doing a very watered-down version of baby shampoo. Just use that with the Q-tip around your eyelashes. In terms of doing my makeup and hair, I've been doing that for years. I obviously get the pros from time to time. But I've learned so much from the pros that I actually enjoy doing my own. Because I'm a painter, I love playing with colors. You should always know your own face. That will help you determine what truly brings out the best in you, what complements your features best.
Fox News: You continue to keep very busy in Hollywood. What’s motivating you lately?
Seymour: I'm motivated by my family. I'm motivated by creating art. I love to paint and sculpt. I love to create jewelry. I just created a new line of jewelry for Australia and New Zealand, based on my watercolors. I've always got something going. I design furniture. And of course, there's the Open Hearts Foundation.
I'm very excited because my kids are always creating around me. My son's writing music and producing himself and others now. My daughter Katie's just done a great short film that's winning all kinds of awards. And my granddaughter's starring in it. She did an amazing job. My other son is shooting a pilot here at the house. I'm just surrounded by creativity. That alone excites me.
Fox News: What's one key piece of advice you would give to your younger self and why?
Seymour: Don't worry so much about what other people think. Be authentic and express yourself in as many different ways as you can. Don't feel that you have to just be one thing when you can actually do a lot of different things. I was a ballet dancer but became injured. That propelled me into acting, which has been a wonderful experience.
I learned to ride a horse sidesaddle when I first started. I can drive a stick shift, ancient vehicles from the 1940s. People go, "how do you do that?" I was poor and I had one. I can knit, crochet, tap.
That’s what I used to do to make enough money to pay for ballet shoes. I started my own company when I was 15 embroidering blouses that were see-through when we all burnt our bras and decided to wear see-through blouses with our nipples showing. I wasn't quite ready to show my nipples at 15. So I embroidered 2 British birds on the offending areas. I ended up doing a clothing line, a very limited one when I was 15. And I was, of course, the sole designer, creator, delivery person. I was trying to pass some school exams at the same time. But that money is what paid for my ballet shoes, which enabled me to dance on point... So, I would say go for it. Whatever it is, go for it. Follow your passion... You can do many jobs. You can wear many hats.
Fox News: What advice would you give to other women on aging gracefully?
Seymour: Try to be as healthy as you can because health is beauty. And try to be healthy emotionally, because I think that's really important too. I think my mother had the trick. She was 92 when she passed and she was radiantly beautiful having survived a kidney removed when she was seven, concentration camp for three and a half years.
To my knowledge, she never exercised once in her life. She definitely ate all the wrong things. But she spent her life with an open heart helping other people. She always said, "Darling, however bad something seems to be for you, you don't have to look far to find someone much worse off." And she said quite often, "You can help just with a phone call or a cup of tea." You just don't know what it is that you can do to impact someone else and when you do, it fills your heart.
That's what I'm doing with Open Hearts. Really what I'm doing is enabling people to do something for themselves, to find the love in their own hearts by helping other people. And realizing that whether it's volunteering or passing your wisdom having gone through something very difficult, you can make a huge difference and that it will fill your heart. It will make you happy. And everybody wants to be happy. Everybody wants people to be happy. That is the purpose of life — to enjoy as much as you possibly can.
Fox News: Is it true you’re celebrating your birthday with the Open Hearts Foundation?
Seymour: Yes… We want to show what we're planning for the future at our gala, which is very exciting. I just thought it was a perfect opportunity to celebrate my birthday with something that matters to me enormously, which is really continuing in my mother's inspiration for recognizing people who have been through a challenge in life.
I believe it's important to open your heart and reach out to help someone else. It gives you purpose. And when you have a purpose, it brings love into your life... So, we're going to talk about all these amazing stories from those making a difference and paying it forward. We've got a little film tribute to the different organizations, and what's happened since they were Open Heart recipients.
Fox News: How important has it been for you to give back over the years?
Seymour: It's been the most important thing for me. I mean it's been the way my family has rolled since the beginning. My father was a doctor, my mother survived World War II in a Japanese internment camp for three and a half years. So, the environment I grew up in was, whatever we have, we share. When someone needs help, we help them, and we give of ourselves, of our time, of our expertise. And we share.
Now we have another generation with my daughter Katie, and her little ones, who are Willa and Luna, who are 4 and almost 7 -- who actually goes out every month with their mother and deliver feminine needs and things that people need. Women who are living on the streets, the homeless.
So, it's a generational thing. I'm just so proud that we get to celebrate four generations of doing this. And show people, who think that the world has gone crazy or there's nothing we can do or why me or any of the above phrase, which puts people into some paralysis of not doing something when they know they could. We're basically opening the door to how wonderful it is to be able to give back. Whether it's financially or emotionally or physically with your time. I can't think of a better way to celebrate my birthday, to be honest.