Paulina: America's Next Ex-Top Model

Paulina Porizkova
(Image credit: Gary Gershoff)

When Paulina Porizkova moans, "No one flirts with me anymore," photographer Alexei Hay smiles, knowing everyone in his studio has flirted with her all day, and the beauty icon is just being her ballsy old self. "Paulina's better than ever; if anything, you can appreciate her bone structure more now." says Hay, an industry veteran.

The famous bones and big hair, Porizkova's stock in trade for 27 years, are both still present. But, at 41, the first Eastern European supermodel and last "face" to be handpicked by the late Estée Lauder (in 1988) is no longer in the limelight, choosing instead the "normal" life of a rock-star wife (she's Mrs. Ric Ocasek, of The Cars), mother of two, and author.

Maybe spending the past five years writing her first novel, A Model Summer, about the good, bad, and ugly bits in her profession, was the catalyst for her frankness about aging. "I'm not terrified of it, but I'm not exactly pleased," she says. "At 16, I'd fly 36 hours to Tokyo for a job and look fine; today, if I sleep more than eight hours, my eyes are puffed out to here." She frets a bit about wrinkles and weight gain, all while helping herself to mashed potatoes and dismissing all exercise—beyond walking the dogs—as "boring." She's only a self-described control freak about SPF, and she's loyal to Patricia Wexler M.D. Daily Moisturizer and StriVectin. "Makeup re minds me of work, so I wear very little. I just try to use it effectively." Neutral shadow, hydrating foundation, moist lipcolor, nude lip liner— and a youthful glow is (nearly) restored.

Ah, youth. "I hope I'll always see beauty as a gift," Porizkova says. "It was given to me as a little girl, then snatched away as a teen when I was tall and flat-chested with glasses. Now, I feel it's being taken away again, bit by bit. And that's why I'm writing. I'm working on my other gifts now."