Cindy Crawford Hits Her Stride

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Being Her Best Self

Crawford met Gerber, best known for high-end lounges like the Whiskey bars nationwide, at one of his New York watering holes. They struck up a friendship and decided to attend Crawford's agent's upcoming wedding together. "It was the first relationship where I was friends first and then [around the time her divorce from Gere became final] it turned romantic. I recommend that," she says. "The other stuff goes up and down but if you actually like the person it will hold you together." She says their marriage takes as much work as any other successful venture. "When something's wrong I'm all about talking things out. Rande's philosophy is, if everything's good, why talk about it, and if it's bad, why talk about it? He sometimes says, 'Relationships aren't supposed to be this hard.' And I'll say, 'Who says?' It's so easy to want things to be happy all the time, but happiness shouldn't be the goal. It's okay not to feel happy all the time."

What keeps them on track, she says, is their commitment to the relationship itself. That means having once-a-week date nights and making sex a priority, particularly now that carpools, soccer practice, and helping the kids with homework may foil spontaneity and chemistry. As Crawford puts it, "If you just wait for the moment to strike, you're going to have dry spells. But even if you don't start out in the mood, once you get it going everyone's on board."

At the height of her supermodel years Crawford could work out two hours a day, six days a week. "I put pressure on myself because I have that Midwestern work ethic, but it never felt unhealthy," she says. Now time with family and her hands-on business style (Crawford selects every face cream, bed sheet, and sofa for her various product lines) keep her on a three-day-a-week gym schedule. She works with a trainer for one-hour sessions, starting with stretches, then 30 minutes of cardio (usually on the treadmill), followed by a 30-minute strength and endurance circuit training (squats, steps, and lunges).

"I don't expect to look the way that I used to," says Crawford, who also goes on once-a-week hikes with her girlfriends, "because at best that would be deeply frustrating. I work out to feel good and get energized." Of course, it helps to be strong when paparazzi aim their zoom lenses her way. Unretouched candids of her splashing around in a bikini, stretch marks and all, surfaced in the tabloids a few years ago, but that hasn't stopped her from hitting the beach. "If I put on a few pounds it goes straight to my butt," says Crawford. "I risk a picture in the National Enquirer with the headline, 'Cindy Does Cellulite!' Well," she shrugs, "I do have cellulite."

To stay slim Crawford eats a mostly Mediterranean diet typically filled with whole grains, fruits and vegetables, some fish and meat. She also allows for guilty pleasures, like dark chocolate and pizza. "If the kids want to go for ice cream, I'll get ice cream, too. I don't want my daughter to think that being a beautiful woman is about depriving yourself. She sees me exercising. She sees me eating right. I want to be a good example for her."

Clearly, something's working. Even in the direct Malibu sunlight Crawford could easily pass for 35. Her daily regimen of sunscreen, moisturizer, and anti-aging night cream helps. And she's not above an occasional visit to the dermatologist for Botox injections. "When I was 30 I might have said, 'I'm just going to age in a way that honors time and is completely natural,' but I'm no longer so highbrow about it," she says. "I've tried Botox but it scares me. Plastic surgery is really scary, but as long as you don't use these things to change your face, I think it's okay."

The morning is wrapping up and Crawford has a long to-do list. She's approving packaging for her Sephora line, going over fall products for her JCPenney collection, and she has a beach date with the kids after school. And now Widget the drooling lapdog has come snuffling for her attention. Asked to sum up the key to her success, she says, "Luck has been the biggest factor. I've tried and failed a lot. But I've also been really clear about my brand. It is who I am. I'm a mom. I'm a wife. I'm 44 years old and from the Midwest. I have access to the worlds of fashion and beauty and I can translate that into what women can use in their everyday lives. I'm sexy but not intimidating. I'm not the kind of woman who's going to steal your husband."

She glances over at a Herb Ritts photograph, taken some time during the '90s, of herself arching her back on an exotic-looking beach. "I don't long to be anywhere other than where I am now," Crawford says. "I think that's what happens as you get older. Life is where you are. Whatever you're doing is enough. You don't need to do everything well all the time. Just be your best self. When you start living that way, it's a huge relief."

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, August 2010.


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