Christie Brinkley’s 15-year-old daughter, Sailor, is following in her mother’s footsteps. In July, she became the face of teen-accessories retailer Claire’s and posed alongside her mom in a magazine spread.
But when you ask Brinkley about her daughter’s new career, she tears up. “[Sailor’s] very similar to me,” she says. “I was very reluctant to ever actually say I was a model. I’d say, ‘Yeah, I’m dabbling in that – but I’m an artist, or a photographer, or a writer.’ I had all these other things that I felt were more of my identity.” Sailor, too, has other interests besides modeling –which include photography and video-making. Similarly, when she reflects on her own career – and watching her daughter follow in her footsteps -- Brinkley can’t help but think about how her choices have affected her children. “I would say the most painful part – I even get choked up thinking about it – of being a model, has been reading some of the things my children have been subjected to because of my job choice."
With over three decades in the public eye, Brinkley has faced her share of unforgiving comments. "I tell [Sailor] that [she has] to understand not to take [the comments] personally, because every single person who has ever had any bit of success is going to scroll into the exact same page of haters,” she says. “For any type of success, there’s always somebody who feels less-than."
Now, Brinkley has found herself back in the spotlight – albeit in a strange way: she’s released a new line of wigs and hair accessories. It’s an unexpected venture for a woman with nearly 40 years in the fashion industry. "I never thought I’d be approaching my 60th birthday and still love this job as much and still have so opportunities," she says.
In a collaboration with a company called Hair2Wear, Brinkley has designed an array of wigs, extensions that are, as she describes them, “fun and easy to wear.” Founded on the basis of women going through difficult life challenges, Hair2Wear wants all women to feel “feminine and lovely.”
For years, Brinkley says she struggled with “post photo-shoot hair,” – read, messy and filled with too many products -- which lead her to launch a wig line. It wasn’t until her time on Broadway as Roxie Hart in Chicago: The Musical, that she started to play around with wigs as an alternative to messy hair. “When I was doing Chicago, I wore a Roxy wig,” she said. “The most stressful part of the whole show for me was trying to get my wig off and my pin curls out and then somehow make my hair presentable [after the show]. My hair is naturally stick straight – so I would have like a Brillow pad in the middle from the hair pins and these long Snoop Dogg strings around my face.” While it’s hard to imagine Brinkley without her long, blonde locks, the supermodel says she played around with a variety of styles in her Chicago days, from fiery-red to brunette.
Inspired by her own hair styles through the years – as well as today’s pop culture icons like Beyoncé and Rihanna who regularly sport new hairstyles – Brinkley says it was most important for her line “to have extensions that fit well with a woman’s life and are easy so you don’t need to be an expert hair dresser to make them look good” – reminiscing on evenings she’d spend post-photo shoot dinners worrying, yes, if people could tell she was wearing extensions. “It’s very important to me,” she continues, “to offer ways for women to minimize their time when trying to get out of the door while maximizing their style and impact.”
Brinkley, a mom of three, is just like any other mom -- stuck getting ready under time constraints and juggling a million things at once. “I do the morning drive to school, and it’s always hectic trying to get out the door. Between the dogs and the kids out – well now I’m down to one kid this year – I would just step into exercise clothes, brush my hair back, and go ‘ugh.’
Now, she describes her morning has as simply: “Whoaaaa!” “I add the ponytail and suddenly [my hair’s] perky again. When I come out of SoulCycle (yes, Brinkley frequents morning spin classes), for example, my whole body is soaking wet but my little ponytail is still back there swaying to the beat of the peddles. It’s a real time saver for me. My extensions and my sunglasses and I’m ready to face the day.” If only things were that easy for the rest of us. Or with Brinkley’s new wig line, maybe they can be?