Activist, mother, yoga enthusiast, part-time supermodel and marathon runner – HELLO! beauty editor Nadine Baggott caught up with Christy Turlington Burns to discover what motivates her to keep on running.
Few words are as overused and over-hyped as "supermodel", but Christy Turlington Burns is one of an elite handful of women for whom the label could not be more fitting. Married to actor and director Ed Burns, with a 12-year-old daughter, Grace, and a nine-year-old son, Finn, Christy, 46, has been a model since her teens. She starred in campaigns for Calvin Klein's Eternity and Maybelline and has been described as "the greatest model of all time".
However, it is not her catwalk capabilities or cover-girl status that earned her a place on Time magazine's list of the 100 Most Influential People last year, but her tireless efforts to improve maternal and child health in developing countries through her non-profit organisation Every Mother Counts.
Raising money and awareness of the issue also prompted Christy to take up marathon running in her 40s, something that perfectly suits her healthy living ethos. She shares the secrets to her boundless energy and enthusiasm and reveals the things that help her stay fit and focused.
Christy Turlington revealed her secrets to a healthy body and mind
Your endless energy is pretty inspiring. Who or what motivates you the most?
"I can't recall a time when I wasn't motivated or enthusiastic for something I was passionate about. My kids are among my greatest teachers and teach me new things about myself and the world every day. I grew up doing a lot of sport and that taught me discipline and to work hard. I wasn't a very motivated student. I was sociable, but it took me a while to learn to love school. By the time I went back to university [Christy graduated from New York University aged 30] it was such an incredible gift to be able to choose what I wanted to learn."
Do you find that exercise helps you combat stress?
"If I'm feeling stressed, I'll go for a run or go to yoga. But also sleep is really important to me; sometimes if I'm taking on too much or travelling too much, the quality of my sleep is compromised, so getting back on track with that might be the best thing I can do. Waiting too long to eat isn't good for me either – that can definitely affect my mood."
Since you founded Every Mother Counts five years ago it has helped countless women. What made you decide to focus on maternal health?
"It was becoming a mother myself that made me aware of the issues that women can face in becoming a mother. When you look around, even in a Western country, you see who's working the hardest and, inevitably, it's the women – especially when they're mothers themselves. Just recognising that is a big part of what Every Mother Counts is trying to do."
What does motherhood mean to you?
"Becoming a mother is so different for everyone. One of the luxuries I've had in my life is that I didn't feel I was missing out on anything when I became a mother. I'd had my career, I'd got my education, I had lived on my own for a number of years – I truly felt like a grown woman. For me, becoming a mother was a very conscious choice. But even with my choosing and having a great partner, it's still the hardest job I do."
You've often said that your own mother is your inspiration…
"I talk about my mum a lot and I would definitely say she is my role model, but in a very practical way. She's interested in many things and has always challenged herself. She was always volunteering in our community. In the early days of the Aids crisis she worked on a helpline for victims of HIV; she learnt a new language; she went back to school in her 50s. All of that definitely made a mark on me."
The supermodel admits she turns to running and yoga when she's stressed
Health and fitness are obviously important to you. How do you try to pass that on to your children?
"I'm healthy, my husband's healthy and when it comes to food and exercise, moderation is the best way to live. As parents, just living that way sets a great example for our kids. I think I home-cooked everything for the first two years of my kids' lives. But as they grow older, go to school, go to other kids' houses, you don't have as much control. My son has a sweet tooth but we don't keep lots of sweets in the house; we try to make them a little bit reward based. Our daughter has the most incredible reserves of energy, whether it's riding her horse for five hours or whatever, she's just constantly on the go. Her I don't worry about – she eats when she's hungry and she knows what she need. That's the ideal."
How do you balance modelling with your charity work?
"Often, these days, the two are so interrelated that when I'm modelling it's usually supporting the work. For a long time I would fight the modelling as I wanted to do different things, but I haven't worked full time as a model since 1995. Now when I'm on a shoot, it's nice to see some of the people I've known for a long time, but the actual act of being photographed has never been the fun for me."
You ran the London Marathon this year. It must be a great feeling knowing you have raised money for your charity…
"The training is the best part. I ran as a child, but as a teenager I took up horse riding and that became my sport. My relationship with running has been funny over the years. Early on in my career it was such an easy way to exercise. Back then, there weren't gyms everywhere. Then it quickly became yoga, which was something I could do on my own in my hotel room. I rediscovered my love for running when I started training for my first marathon in 2011.
And now running is party of your everyday life…
"I have found wats to integrate it into my day, and because my main work is Every Mother Counts, that's how I justify taking the time to train. I used to be a smoker, so I'm very lucky that I have the ability to do this. I ran the Chicago Marathon last year and I feel so healthy, so fit. I would drop the kids at school and then just go."
Christy revealed her beauty must-haves - scroll down for the full list
Your other love is yoga. Do you have any advice for women your age who are inspired to take it up for the first time?
"I can't imagine my life without yoga. There are many styles, so I would encourage people to try a few different ones to find out what feels best. A good teacher can make all the difference, so ask around. I do at least one or two yoga practices a week. My muscles can get quite tight from all the running, so yoga is still my absolute favourite thing to do."
You have been married for 12 years and once said that the key to a happy marriage is separate bathrooms…
"Well, that was a joke, but I honestly think that giving our partners and loved ones space to be who they are is really important. I'm very much someone who likes solitude and space. I am one of the few people who is desperate for there not to be wi-fi everywhere in the world. There's something quite magical about being at home on your own."
What do you do when you are alone?
"I like to take a moment to just sit there, relax, cook dinner or read the paper – that is a joy. Also, taking a bath with lavender-scented Epsom salts after a long run is a real treat."
What do you consider are your best and worst qualities?
"That's a hard question to answer. I have a lot of energy and am passionate about so many things. That's probably why yoga and running feel so liberating to me."
Christy's Tried and Tested
1. Rahua Shampoo, £27, from cultbeauty.co.uk
2. Rahua Finishing Treatment, £38, from cultbeauty.co.uk ("I like this because it's organic and I use it after the Rahua Shampoo to sort out my split ends").
3. Maybelling New York Great Lash Mascara, £4.99, from Boots.
4. Sundari Nighttime Nourishing Oil, £115, from feelunique.com
5. Imedeen Time Perfection, £43.99 for 60 tablets, from Boots.
6. Maybelline Instant Anti-Age The Eraser Eye Concealer in Nude, £7.99, from Boots.
7. Rodin Oilo Lusso Luxury Face Oil, £105, from Liberty; visit liberty.co.uk. ("If something smells good then I will use it all over and this smells amazing.").
8. Dr Teal's Pure Epsom Salt Soaking Solution with Lavender, visit amazon.com for prices and stockists.