Cindy Crawford Gets Candid About Aging and the Pitfalls of Modeling

At 51 years old, Cindy Crawford has seen it all.

The retired supermodel has been an icon in the fashion industry since she was just 16, and her daughter, Kaia Gerber, now 16 herself, just wrapped her first fashion season and was lucky enough to have her famous mom by her side through it all. Now, watching her daughter follow a path similar to her own, Crawford harbors no illusions about the oddities of the modeling industry and struggles of growing old in an industry that celebrates youth.

In a charmingly candid interview with The Cut, the timeless beauty revealed the unexpected benefits she got out of her life in front of the camera. "The thing about modeling is that there’s no pretense that it’s about anything else. Nobody really talks about a model’s personality," Crawford said. "It’s like, she’s either good for the job or she isn’t. Maybe they’ll talk about how she moves, but it’s definitely a job where everyone understands what it is. In some weird ways, it’s very black and white, and I like that."

"But it’s a big motivator," she continued. "That’s why I started working out when I was 20 years old because I needed to get fit. When I was 28, I started thinking about really taking care of my skin and knowing that I’m not going to have 20-year-old skin forever. In a weird way, it’s been great for me because working out, having a trainer, getting a facial once a month—those things never felt extravagant because they felt like part of my job. They just felt like me taking care of my instrument."

RELATED: Kaia Gerber Doesn’t Think She Looks Anything Like Mom Cindy Crawford

Even though she's been kind to her instrument, Crawford knows it's not the same. "You feel a little apologetic that you can’t deliver in the same way that you could when you were 20 or 25," she said of doing photo shoots in her 50s. "Everything changes: your skin, your hair, and your body. I take care of myself but I know that I’m a 51-year-old woman. There are times when that’s hard and I’m also sure it’s hard for my sisters who aren’t models. I want to do my job well, and I want to deliver but I also know that what I have to offer now is different from what I had to offer at 25."

These are woes her daughter Kaia won't face for another decade or two. "Kaia can wake up and even if she’s puffy from having sushi the night before, her face goes back to normal in 15 minutes," Crawford noted. "For me, I wouldn’t even eat that now because it would take the whole day for it to go down. When I look at my friends, I look at how beautiful they are and don’t pick them apart. I think to be kind to ourselves as women, we should try to look at ourselves through our friends’ eyes as opposed to the super hyper-critical eye that we usually turn on ourselves."

As for her beauty secrets? According to Crawford, there are none. "We all know: Get enough sleep, drink water, don’t smoke," she said. "We all know those things—the secret is doing it consistently."

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