Cindy Crawford: Classic…With A Twist

Supermodel Cindy Crawford, an early wellness warrior, celebrates 20 years as owner of the highly successful skin and hair care line Meaningful Beauty. This summer, she adds spice to an iconic career with Casamigas, her own jalapeño-flavored addition to the $1 billion Casamigos tequila empire her husband, Rande Gerber, started with George Clooney and Mike Meldman. Here, the devoted mother of two young adults talks with Purist founder Cristina Cuomo about the beauty biz, life lessons and 20 rounds of tequila testing. Cheers!
Cindy Crawford put her own spin on tequila with just the right amount of heat, made from 100 percent blue Weber agave. Photography by Jason Lee Parry

CRISTINA G. CUOMO: You were the wellness biohacker before anyone was doing things like dry brushing, infrared sauna and neck toning. What has proven to be most effective? What are you still doing that you love?

CINDY CRAWFORD: The most effective thing is to be consistent over time. I was first introduced to dry brushing when I was 19, so it has been part of my life since then. It’s like brushing my teeth now, It’s the first thing I do when I wake up—well, it’s the second thing. Now I’m obsessed with tongue scraping. I do like infrared saunas. I’ve added in cold plunge, because my husband is obsessed with that. I usually go into the water after him, so it’s a little warmer, and I don’t feel the need to stay in until I turn purple. I don’t like getting in it, and I think that’s the point. It’s like doing something that’s hard. It’s like exercise—you can’t exercise once, and be done with it. You have to exercise whether you like it or not, consistently throughout your life. That’s why it’s so important to find something you love, or at least don’t hate doing. And mix it up, like hiking with a friend. For the last 10 years, I’ve done Pilates. I love how elongating it is. Maybe some women would not like me characterizing it this way, but it creates a very feminine body type. which I like. I’ve never gotten injured, knock on wood, doing Pilates.

CGC: What have you found to be effective in the antiaging arena?

CC: I love using gua sha on my face in the morning just to remind things to go back where they’re supposed to go, and to take any puffiness away. 

CGC: What’s been on your radar lately that you’ve found beneficial to feeling good? 

CC: Working with a coach, a woman named Victoria Song who has a book called Bending Reality. Over the quarantine, I had time to really commit to doing coaching for a year. Sometimes we’re too busy moving a million miles a minute to just look at life and figure out what we’re doing, what we like and don’t like, what we can change. She used a lot of different modalities; we covered a lot in a year. What else? Feeling good. I love walking after dinner. It’s great for your digestion. 

CGC: It’s a good meditation.

CC: Yeah, or I listen to a podcast.

“It’s clean, it’s gluten-free,” says Crawford. “Tequila became the clean cocktail.” Photography: Stuart Shining

CGC: We’re really excited about your new tequila, Casamigas. Take me down the road of your six-year journey to create this jalapeño-inspired blue agave tequila.

CC: I like spicy. I would always order a spicy margarita or a skinny, spicy margarita or I would just muddle up jalapeño. I wanted to cut sugar, because that’s when you feel it the next day, when you have sugar. So, Rande and I, and this is before COVID, were sitting outside at sunset. We talk about work sometimes, but more like ideating and dreaming. We said, It would be fun to do, as a promotional, maybe a summer thing, a spicy one for me. Rande designed the bottle. He doesn’t like spicy as much as I do. We both did the tasting, but definitely he wanted me to be happy because I’m the one who drinks it. So, that was all going on, and then the pandemic happened, and it wasn’t the right time to launch it. And now here we are.

CGC: How fun was the tasting? How many did you have to do before you knew you nailed it?

CC: We had at least 20 rounds. We obviously were using Casamigos Blanco as the base, so it was about just getting the right level of heat, and making sure that the aftertaste was good. One of the things I love about Casamigas is that your breath smells good when you’re drinking it. Some people who like spicy are still going to want to add real jalapeños. For me, just drinking Casamigas on the rocks or with ranch water, like a little club soda added in, is my favorite.

CGC: Is that your favorite cocktail recipe?

CC: It depends. We tend to go seasonal with what we’re drinking; it changes. This spring, we have been drinking the Casamigos Ranch Water, my go-to right now. One summer, we were doing reposado with grapefruit club soda. Or one year we were doing blanco with an orange slice. You get in your little moods of what tastes good.

CGC: Of course, I’m always thinking about the wellness benefits. I noticed tequila is a notable choice for most women. Why do you think so?

CC: It’s clean. It’s gluten-free. I think if you drink it on the rocks or just with club soda, there’s not a lot of calories. Victoria Beckham once said that she drinks blanco, and I was like well, I want to do what Victoria is doing. I do think you’re right—tequila did become the clean cocktail.

CGC: What are your favorite things to do during the summer with your kids? How do you manage everything going on in their lives, and their blossoming careers?

CC: We have a lake house where we’d go every summer, and it was heaven. Now they’re not free to go the whole summer, because they have lives. So, hopefully they’ll still come for a little bit, but I really don’t want to put pressure on them to have to hang out with me. We try to create fun things so that they’ll want to come, but sometimes they don’t, because they’re busy, which is also good. Me taking care of myself and not putting pressure on them for my happiness feels like the best gift I can give my kids right now. Of course I’m here if they call, or need anything, but I’m not sitting around waiting for them. That frees them up to just do their lives. Of course, any chance I get to hang out with them, I do.

CGC: What have been some of the more challenging aspects of parenting?

CC: Every age of childhood has its challenges. It starts with no sleep and co-parenting. Now the biggest challenge for me is not giving my kids advice unless they ask for it. 

CGC: You’ve created an impressive business empire over the last 20 years, and it continues to grow.

CC: Meaningful Beauty is really cool, because when I was 35 I had been with a cosmetic brand for 17 years, and my contract was up for renewal. I felt it was the time for me to do my own thing, and that wasn’t cosmetics, but skin care. As a model, doing my own makeup wasn’t my job; taking care of myself and taking care of my skin was. I loved the idea of sharing Dr. Jean-Louis Sebagh and what I had learned about skin care with, as I always say, my sisters, my mother and my friends. It’s really about providing solutions for busy women, which is all women. And understanding that when women feel good about their skin, they have more confidence, and go about their day better. I love sharing that message, and also products that are easy to use and give great results. It’s exciting. I had no idea I’d still be doing it at 58.

CGC: Then you launched a hair care line, so you pretty much have everything covered now.

CC: That’s the beauty business. We all know we’re going to get crow’s-feet, and you know your hair is going to turn gray at some point, but what you don’t realize is that your hair texture changes, or that you’ll start having thinner hair, or more brittle hair, and that was shocking to me. The same way we provide solutions for women in skin care, we do that with hair care. People are loving our products. So, I’m the guinea pig.

CGC: What advice would you give your younger self?

CC: Even when you make mistakes they add up to becoming who you are today. However, I think the advice I give my daughter would probably be, in a way, to my younger self. I really want her to not care—of course we all care what other people think, or most people care a little bit. I think that’s part of living in a society. Listening to your gut is a big one. And because I came from a very small town, and not very sophisticated environment, when I got to New York and Paris and all those places, and I was around all these fabulous fashion people, sometimes I would say no to invitations because I thought, I don’t know how to act, or I don’t know what kind of fork to use, or I don’t know what to wear. I think what you realize after being in that world for so long is that most of the people in the fashion industry come from places like that. You learn that no one knows how to travel until they’ve traveled. No one knows how to eat at a fancy restaurant until they’ve been to one. Everyone has a little bit of that impostor syndrome, and just to let that go and be able to say I don’t know, or ask what that word means, can someone tell me, can someone guide me. People find it endearing when you say actually, I’ve never been there. 

CGC: What’s a memory you look back on fondly in your modeling career?

CC: Doing the documentary with Christy [Turlington] and Linda [Evangelista] and Naomi [Campbell] (The Super Models, 2023) gave me a lot of opportunity to look back and reflect. It came at the perfect moment in my life where enough time had passed and I really could appreciate all that we did and lived through, the fun we had and those super-iconic moments. I think actually being with the other women was definitely a highlight. And the process of looking back at doing that Versace show, or doing the George Michael video—those were such epic moments. Even at the time you kind of felt, wow, this is special.

The power couple finds inspiration for business while watching sunsets and relaxing in their Jacuzzi. Photography courtesy of Casamigos

CGC: What are some of your favorite life lessons about body image, self-confidence and health?

CC: It’s hard, because when I was in high school I only was competing with the other girls in school, and not every girl on the planet. I don’t know if the lessons that we learned are applicable today. Everyone is insecure at times. We all have those moments where there are days where you’re like wow, I’ve got it going on. I have good hair today. My jeans fit. And then you could put the same jeans on the next day, and think you look terrible. That’s just being human. Sharing that vulnerability with people, everyone wins. There are definitely days on set where I have to just fake it. I’m not feeling great or whatever and I’m just like OK, I’ve got to make myself believe it. I think that’s normal. We all do that at times.

CGC: What is something that you don’t leave home without?

CC: Well, sadly, my phone is an answer, but I have my audiobook and a podcast.

CGC: What audiobook are you listening to right now?

CC: I just listened to Martyr!, which is one that my daughter had on her book club. I think that was the last audiobook I finished. Or The Other Einstein. They’re both great. Also, sunglasses. Even with no makeup and bad hair, I’ll throw sunglasses on. I don’t really carry that much around—usually a book, and that’s kind of it.

CGC: You keep it simple.

CC: Yeah, I do. I think that’s another thing that comes with age. Fortunately, there are gifts of aging. There are definitely things that aren’t the greatest, but I think just knowing yourself and knowing what you need to feel comfortable is one of those gifts.

CGC: We share a couple of wellness practitioners in common. I wanted to mention facialist Thuyen Nguyen. 

CC: Love him. He has some magic hands.

CGC: He really does. Great chatting with you. Congratulations on these incredible business ventures.

CC: Thank you. It really just started out as a fun thing, and it still is fun. Because Rande doesn’t ever use an agency, he and I brainstorm together. He’s very creative, so even shooting the commercial for this, we talked about it in the Jacuzzi and came up with the idea. We called a friend who is a director, who had done the posters for Rande and George in the original Casamigos campaign. He took our idea and ran with it. Business is still business, but I would say that this started out as fun, and I definitely want to keep it that way.