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Exclusive: Elle Macpherson on reclaiming 'The Body' nickname, nepo babies and being unruffled by ageism

The supermodel and former Britain’s Next Top Model host champions the notion that beauty is not skin deep

Exclusive: Elle Macpherson on reclaiming 'The Body' nickname, nepo babies and being unruffled by ageism
Tania Leslau
Tania LeslauLifestyle Writer
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Elle Macpherson has deciphered the meaning of true beauty. With a modelling career spanning celebrated runway shows, a record-breaking six Sports Illustrated covers and campaigns galore, she’s well-acquainted with the concept. Yet, the supermodel isn’t one for simply sitting pretty, instead championing a much more holistic approach to looking, and more importantly, feeling good. 

Paying homage to her undoubtably iconic career, Elle has teamed up with Karen Millen as part the brand’s ICONS series. The 59-year-old fervently champions the notion that beauty begins on the inside. Having a helping hand from the brand for an extra pinch of aesthetic pizzaz certainly didn’t hurt. 

Elle Macpherson in sunglasses© Mario Schmolka
Elle Macpherson has partnered with Karen Millen for the brand's ICONS Edit

“I don’t put energy into things that don’t resonate with me,” the supermodel tells HELLO! “I’m all about personal style and Karen Millen is a brand that gives women an opportunity to express themselves.”

Elle Macpherson on her career

Like Karen Millen, Elle made a name for herself in the eighties. Her unparalleled physique catapulted her into the limelight, enabling her to forge a career alongside names such as Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schiffer. Despite noting that her Amazonian figure and dark features set her apart from the crowd, the star found her runway-ready feet among the cult of supermodels. 

Elle Macpherson, Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell in the 1980s© Getty
Elle Macpherson, Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell in the 1980s

“The supermodel movement facilitated the uniqueness of women. We were all so diverse and our individuality was supported by the business. You didn’t have be a blonde-haired, blue-eyed American girl. That’s why we loved that group of girls as they were so different from each other and they leaned into their uniqueness.”

Elle Macpherson on the modelling industry 

A positive narrative about the modelling industry is increasingly difficult to unearth. From catalysing body image issues to heroising youth, the fashion sphere doesn’t have the best reputation.

elle macpherson in a white dress© Mario Schmolka
The Aussie-native notes that her Amazonian figure and dark features set her apart from the crowd

This didn’t phase Elle, who encourages all to grab an opportunity when it arises, including her 20-year-old son Cy, who has tested the waters of modelling. Cy is the younger brother of Flynn, both of whom Elle shares with French financier Arpad Busson.

MORE: Elle Macpherson shares incredibly rare photo of son Flynn as he graduates from university

Elle Macpherson on ‘nepo’ babies

His mother is quick to negate the ‘nepo-baby’ debate, noting: “I don’t think there is any right or wrong way of starting out.” She continued: “I think one of the most important things we can share with our children is to encourage them to try lots of different things so they can figure out what really works for them. When you do something you love, you never work another day in your life.”

Elle Macpherson on being ‘The Body’

And as for the that come with the job? “I never took it personally. I embraced my Amazonian athleticism. I wasn’t the ‘norm’ and there were times where I felt out of place. But I just used it. It’s easier to use it then lose it.”

Elle macherson in an open shirt© Mario Schmolka
Elle's son Cy has followed in his mother's footsteps and tested out modelling

“It’s impossible for us all to fit into one body type! The one thing that never goes out of fashion is health and wellbeing. Also being in your own uniqueness, that’s always fashionable.”

Her cool ethos applies to all phases of her life. Still modelling at almost 60, Elle is unruffled by ageism in her industry. “I’ve loved the flow of my own career and I feel much of my success is due to a willingness to adapt. To being a teenage model, to a successful entrepreneur in my thirties, a mother in my forties, starting WelleCo in my fifties and now shooting fashion campaigns at nearly sixty, it’s been a wonderful ride. I believe that beauty is more aligned with wellness than youth. That’s how you can be beautiful at all ages.”

elle macpherson in a yellow look© Mario Schmolka
Elle expresses how she is unruffled by ageism in her modelling industry

While some may argue that this is easy for a supermodel to say, it’s apparent that Elle’s success is due to much more than just her appearance. In 1989, she was dubbed ‘The Body’ by TIME Magazine, a media move that would be questioned in today’s culture. But the mother-of-two didn’t view her nickname as derogatory, in fact, quite the opposite. 

“I saw ‘The Body’ in a more multidimensional perspective. The body, the mind and the spirit are linked. You’re never just ‘The Body,’ We’re multifaceted beings.”

elle macpherson in high waisted trousers© Mario Schmolka
The supermodel believes wellness is the trick to achieving ultimate beauty

Leaning into oneself is Elle’s area of expertise. Thanks to her Aussie give-it-a-go attitude, the polymath model makes the most of what she has - an outlook she’s retained since teenagehood. 

Discussing both looks and personality, the latter of which is often a sidelined trait of models, she said: “I may not have been everybody’s cup of tea, but I learned not to take it personally. Rather than trying to hide the fact I had this athletic body, I would accentuate it. That became something I was synonymous with.”

MORE: The food group that helps Elle Macpherson stay fit and fabulous in her 50s

Whether she was your favourite supermodel, character on Friends, SNL presenter, go-to wellness guru or judge on Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model (which by the way, she’s petitioning to bring back) Elle Macpherson’s glistening career rings true to the fact that, in her own words, true beauty is soul deep.

Discover Elle’s Karen Millen Icons Edit via Photos: Mario Schmolka.

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