Brooke Shields on Beauty, Marriage, And Self-Esteem


Andrew EcclesFrom Health magazineModel, movie star, TV actress, Broadway performer, and children's book author Brooke Shields continues her conversation with Health about aging, raising children, and growing up Bohemian.

Q: You may be 43, but you look 23, so clearly youre doing something right. Whats the rest of your skin care routine?
A: I use a foaming cleanser. But Ive been wearing so much makeup lately, Ive started to break out—yeah, Ive now decided to go through adolescence, because I didnt go through it when I was supposed to! [laughs] The important thing is that my face is clean, but I have three things: I have to really cleanse my skin, use an astringent because of the breakouts, and then a really deep moisturizer.

I dont care how greasy I look. Its funny though, all these years, Ive just found that theres no miracle product. I love all of it. My husband perpetually makes fun of me about my creams and my jars and potions and lotions, but its simpler than anyone makes it: clean, tone, keep yourself moisturized. The rest is internal: Protect yourself from the sun and drink water.

Q: Is there any marriage advice that you think is just plain wrong?
A: That love is enough. Its not practical. Without love, I dont think its possible, but its not the only thing. Love without communication means nothing. Love with completely different views on how you want to raise children? Doesnt work.

Love can produce the children, but it has nothing to do with the raising of the children. I grew up thinking, Oh, thats it. All I have to do is fall in love. [sighs]. You may think love will change everything, but it really is different with children. Children dont necessarily bring you together, they challenge you.

Q: Have you and Chris formed any habits to keep your bond strong?
A: We really have to have date night. The other morning, we had an hour. And instead of getting involved as we do with our emails and the calendar, I was like, “Please, lets just go have coffee out on the porch.” He got the paper, and we went and sat out, and he had his glasses. I said, “Look at us, Grandpa!” It maybe lasted 45 minutes before life came back at us.

Q: With what sounds like a busy life, are you able to multi-task your workouts the same way youre able to multi-task other things?
A: I used to. But the truth of the matter is, it really started to degrade the quality of the workout and the purpose of it to me. Because one of the things I feel after Ive worked out most is that my mind needed the break. Its the same thing with breastfeeding.

I used to do a million different things when I was breastfeeding, and finally my husband was like, “What are you doing? Dont you think youre missing out?” I thought I was being productive, and it wasnt until I stopped doing all that, and…Im gonna start to cry. But, watching her little cheeks go in and out, thats the most amazing thing Ive ever seen in my life. And I took a deep breath, and my milk came in more. I have to remind myself all the time, things are just too busy. You need the balance.

Next Page: So you didn't have a lot of confidence growing up? [ pagebreak ]Q: So you didnt have a good sense of self-esteem when you were younger?
A: I had it, but it was a bit warped. I [used to think], ‘Im going to be neat, organized and do really well in school. That was my thing. Confidence was just brain brain brain—thats where all my sense of confidence came from. Nothing else. That was going to be my ticket. I dont know how I knew.

Q: Youve had a challenging childhood. How does that inform how you raise your daughters?
A: Well, I definitely see how unique my upbringing was, and how glad that theyre not being subjected to it. But Im also so used to drama. I was always with a single mom and we never had schedules or anything. We were just Bohemian, us against the world, which was kind of great, but it certainly didnt breed security. Ive gotten hyper-sensitive to schedules and bath time, and eating at the dinner table. We dont just “Bohemian” go out at nine oclock and go get Chinese Food.

Q: Youre often seen wearing sleeveless dresses and toned arms, similar to Michelle Obama.
A: Do you know, Ive been getting that! I just think that theres so much to be proud of to see a physically fit woman. I think its so sexy. Ive never not had them, and so, in order to not feel masculine or big, I had to throw it around in my head and celebrate it. Ive never been petite, Ive never been skinny. You have to flip it around and make it work for you.

Q: Do you ever need to lose a quick 5 pounds? And if so, whats your go-to way?
A: I would cut out my beer, begrudgingly. And I would probably spin regularly, just up it. And I would probably stop eating at 6 oclock and just eat little meals all throughout the day. Ive never been good on fasts or anything, because then Ill obsess over what I cant have and Ill want 10 pounds of it.

Q: Is there anything youve had to cut out of your busy life that you miss?
A: I feel like its as balanced as its going to be. I think once you have children, you just dont have the same kind of freedom to pick up and go. But then, I sort of think, how often did I really do it? How spontaneous was I really? Part of what I think I miss is this fantasy of my wild days [laughs], but they never existed!

Q: Youre always trying something new, from Broadway to books to movies. Do you have to push yourself to try new things? Are you ever afraid youre going to fail?
A: I just hate thinking Im going to miss out. Now that I have these things under my belt, I think, ‘Wow, what else is possible? Id hate to look back and think, ‘I could have written that book. Or, wow, I could have been a singer/dancer. I dont like how I feel with regret.

Q: Youve already done so much in life, but whats left on your bucket list?
A: I want to go to India. I want to go back to Africa. Im not the daredevil that I used to be—I used to really want to do all that bungee jumping, and now I just kind of want to live instead [laughs]. It just seems more appealing to me. I also want to write a memoir in the next 10 years. Ooh, also I want to learn to play an instrument; I definitely want to learn to play the piano.

Q: When do you feel at the peak of happiness?
A: I have to have just finished a Broadway musical, and Im on a beach with my kids and my husband and the dog. I remember experiencing that minus the children after Cabaret, and the sense of relief and exhaustion I felt. Like, for me to be really relaxed, I have to be exhausted and feel like I so deserve it.