Cheryl Tiegs: Super Role Model

In 1968, an article in Glamour magazine listed 19 supermodels and her name was among those right at the top. Along with the exotically monikered Veruschka, Wilhelmina and Twiggy, was Cheryl Tiegs, who heralded a new era of athletic healthiness as the fashionable ideal. To wit, Tiegs graced the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition three times, and to this day, continues to advocate a healthy esthetic and lifestyle.

Now, Tiegs is the spokesperson for Cambria, the Minnesota-based makers of non.porous, natural quartz stone surfaces, which are as safe for food preparation as stainless steel used in chef ‘s kitchens. Here, she talks healthy lifestyle and making a difference.

Sara Waxman: To what do you attest your longevity in the business?

Cheryl Tiegs: When I started modeling, I said to myself, I’m going to go as far as I can, to reach a level that would satisfy me and then I would quit, and that’s what I did. In 1978, I was on the cover of Time magazine: “The all American model.” My life changed. I thought: I can’t go any higher. So I went into designing a line of clothes for Sears. And since then, I will only do special modeling assignments, like working with you and maybe Sports Illustrated once in a while. I loved modeling—I still love it— but it was time to move on to projects that excited me. At this stage in my life, I don’t really have to work anymore but I keep coming up with ideas that make me happy, so I continue to work. That may be why I have such longevity. Because there’s so much out there that still excites me.

SW: You did a campaign for Virginia Slims cigarettes and the catch line was “you’ve come a long way, baby.” So, have we come a long way, in terms of our health and lifestyle? Because, you know, Virginia Slims are not something that we seek out anymore.

CT: I did those ads at a time when we did not know how dangerous smoking was. It was much sought after, if you were one of the Virginia Slims girls, you were a top mod.el. But, yes, we have come a long way in learning about health and fitness. We’ve made big strides. There was an innocence, a lack of knowledge about health back then. I think now we’re very focused on healthy issues and on the environment.

SW: So, what do you consider a healthy lifestyle?

CT: I love to talk about a healthy lifestyle—even if I can inspire just one person. I exercise 5 or 6 times a week, nothing grueling that I can’t handle or dread doing. But just something everyday, going on a hike, going to the gym, I do yoga, stretch, balance, coordination. I’m aware of exercise and how it makes me feel. I eat very well. If I want to lose a few pounds, I will go on almost all protein for 2-10 days, but I don’t recommend it for longer than that—I don’t even know if I recommend it at all, it’s just what works for me. A lot of water. A snack would be a non-fat yogurt or non-fat ricotta cheese. Then protein and vegetables and I can veer from it a little bit. And I have a glass of wine at night, too. I just think it’s good for the spirit and good for the soul. One glass of wine with dinner makes me happy.

SW: Is there something in your beauty regime you can’t do without?

CT: I generally don’t wear a lot of make up. More than anything, Vaseline. It’s the best thing to prevent dry, chapped lips. I like to darken my eyebrows and a little bit of shadow on my eyelids—little being the operative word. Maybe a little makeup on the face. I’m into peach a lot these days, instead of rose or pink.

SW: You appeared in Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice. What was the charity you were working for?

CT: The Farrah Fawcett Foundation. She was a dear friend of mine. So, I tried to carry on her wishes, this Farrah Fawcett Foundation. When she was having problems with cancer she would go to Europe quite often and they would cure her. It didn’t last but they would give her chemo directly on the spot without her whole body being blasted with it. So, they have alternative methods in Europe so [the foundation was] trying to possibly in.corporate that in America. Farrah had such a good heart and soul; I still feel that she’s with me.

SW: Now you’re the spokesperson for Minnesota-based Cambria, how did that come about? Did you know the owners, the Davis family?

CT: Well, I’m a Minnesota girl. I was raised on a farm, and that left an indelible impression. Running around, getting eggs from the chicken, milking cows, we had cornfields and wheat fields. We had no running water; we did the pump in the kitchen and water from the well. I loved it. We had no electricity; we went to sleep when the sun went down. My relatives still have farms there. And I got to know Marty Davis, the CEO of Cambria. It’s a very “green” company and that’s very important. So, I’ve gone around America and Canada, talking about that, not just that, but it’s also like family to me. Cambria is a great company and a great product.

SW: Do you have the counter-tops and other products in your home?

CT: I have it everywhere! Cambria is all over my kitchen, it’s in my bathroom, I have a guesthouse and it’s the floor, the shower, it’s everywhere that I can put it. I’d put it outside if I could but Marty said it wouldn’t really work outside.

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