Believe it or not, a 63-year-old woman is filling some pages in the new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, set to come out Feb. 15.
Okay, yes, it’s Christie Brinkley – a woman who has long been considered gorgeous – but still, she’s literally a senior citizen, and she gets to be in SI again, 38 years after her first appearance.
I’ve got to take a moment and hand it to SI. They’ve been busy the past two years breaking some societal barriers, such as using plus-sized model (I know that term is becoming a bit trite and negative, but I can’t think of another term at the moment) Ashley Graham on the cover last year. Although Brinkley is a tried-and-true swimsuit model, her age is a big factor here.
She’ll appear with her daughters, Alexa – with ex-husband Billy Joel – and Sailor – with ex-husband Peter Cook. Here’s the photo:
When you look at Brinkley, you might think it’s no big deal that she’s posing in a bathing suit. I mean, she is Christie-freaking-Brinkley, after all. She has graced college boys’ dorm room walls and been the forbidden fruit to Clark Griswold. She’s Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl, for crying out loud. Even if she’s over 60, what insecurity could she possibly have about her body?
According to this article, Brinkley was immediately insecure about her age. In fact, she figured swimsuit modeling after 30 was pretty much out of the question. But, by golly, she jumped in there and did it. Why? I’ll let her tell you:
“In a country that’s very ageist, people love to put you in little boxes… Women feel very limited by their numbers. On a personal level, I thought, if I can pull this off, I think it will help redefine those numbers and remove some of the fear of aging.”
You hear that? Christie Brinkley, a woman whose looks tell us, by society’s standards, she doesn’t have a care in the world, feels the very real pressure of aging and supposed fading beauty. And she’s using her status to quell other women’s fears.
This isn’t the first time Brinkley has combated unrealistic standards. Although I can’t remember what show I saw it on, several years ago, Brinkley gave an interview in which she discussed how difficult it was, particularly early in her modeling career, to look the way agencies and publications wanted her to look. I specifically remember her saying she sometimes got rejected for being too “athletic-looking.” In other words, not a stick figure. She also talked about how she reacted when she asked the French models how they stayed so thin.
“It’s sex. I just have lots of sex all the time! Just sex every day.”
To which Brinkley replied, “Well… Guess it’s back to the gym for me!”
Even though Brinkley’s career has been based entirely on her outer beauty, I commend her for continuing to put herself out there, even when some people might say she shouldn’t, and I commend SI for letting her do it.