When I heard that I was going to interview Christy Turlington Burns, I immediately YouTubed George Michael’s “Freedom 1990” video for inspiration, which is of course the quintessential supermodel-meets-pop culture study. But that was 20 years ago. She has done so much since then, and her resume reads like that of a modern-day renaissance woman: model, yoga guru, clothing designer, mother, philanthropist, writer, director.
Christy’s newest venture is acting as the face and spokeswoman for Avon’s new fragrance, Slip Into, which will be released in 2011. The name is meant to be evocative of the moment a woman slips on a pair of high heels, and the feeling of empowerment and sophistication that goes along with it (and presumably without the twisted ankles and calluses).
The fragrance is an oriental floral, with notes of violet, orchid, and ambers, among other things. The bottle is inspired by the curve of a woman’s calf.
This afternoon, a small group of writers got to speak to her via phone, and we talked fragrance, beauty rituals, career, and philanthropy.
It didn’t take much convincing for Christy to work on this campaign. She’s a fan of the Avon Foundation--their focus on women’s empowerment, and she is passionate about improving maternal health. She also noted that being part of a new fragrance launch is exciting, and that the notes that make up Slip Into, particularly the violet and amber, are among her favorites.
On wearing a fragrance everyday: “I sort of grew up with a more old-fashioned idea that it was for special occasions only, but I’ve come to really see that it can be an opportunity. When I do a fragrance, I do it for myself--what feels nice and what smells good to me as opposed to what might be appealing to someone else.” (Author’s note: She then cracked about being an “old married lady.” I refrained from pointing out the hotness of her husband.)
On wearing a signature scent vs. having a scent wardrobe: “I guess I’m more of a stick-with something [person], at least for a while. I don’t switch up fragrances that much; I don’t change my jewelry very often. I like to have a scent that represents me. I want something that feels familiar to me, and can recognize it as me and it doesn’t smell like everyone else.”
On her beauty rituals: “I wouldn’t say [I have] a beauty ritual, per se, but I try to take care of myself. Mine are very much lifestyle choices--yoga, sleeping well, having a very balanced lifestyle. I don’t really want to change myself or cover myself up in any way. The things that I use and the things that I do are to enhance how I feel, as opposed to alter it in any way.”
On how she wants her daughter to perceive beauty: “She’s 7 now and she walks around in my high heels and borrows my perfume, but we haven’t really reached the makeup thing yet. Hopefully for her she sees that I do a lot of different things. She said to me, ‘You’re not a fancy mom, you’re a regular mom.’ I take that as a compliment.”
Advice for young women starting a career: “I started my career so young, but I didn’t have a sense of what my career would be, and I didn’t expect that the career I had was going to be a career, per se. It took me a little while before I was then able to take the time to figure out, ‘Wait, what do I REALLY want to do?’ I would encourage you as early as possible to try a lot of things. I don’t believe you should be limited or stuck in any one thing. You can change. Try on different careers and interests and find the one that suits you most. And know you don’t have to pick one thing. I think you can get very stuck with the way people might pigeon hole you. I’ve pushed myself to do new things and I hope to do that the rest of my life.”
So whether you're slipping on Avon's new fragrance or trying on a new career, you could do worse than follow in Christy's occasionally high-heeled shod footsteps.