Elle Macpherson on aging and why she quit drinking 20 years ago


The Aussie supermodel will celebrate her 60th birthday next March

Elle Macpherson attends the Harper's Bazaar Women Of The Year Awards 2023 in Madrid, Spain.
Elle Macpherson at the Harper's Bazaar Women Of The Year Awards 2023.SHUTTERSTOCK

Elle Macpherson is opening up about life at (almost) 60 and how it has changed since she decided to stop drinking two decades ago.

Australia's original supermodel — anointed The Body by TIME magazine in 1989 — will soon celebrate her 60th birthday in March, but she recently marked another significant personal milestone: two decades of sobriety. In September, she shared a photo of a 20-year Alcoholics Anonymous chip on her Instagram account, accompanied by a Maya Angelou quote: "This is a wonderful day. I've never seen this one before."

In a new interview with Australian magazine Body + Soul, Macpherson shared that abstaining from alcohol has allowed her to better understand herself. "I stopped drinking in 2003 because I felt I couldn't be fully present in my life, and it was a wonderful springboard of getting to know myself on a deeper level," she explained, noting it's a choice she's never regretted.

"Everybody has their own journey and I'm not interested in telling other people what to do but I know that this was a decision that I've never regretted," she added.

It's largely thanks to her choice to quit drinking that she feels "incredible" about heading into her seventh decade: "You say I look incredible but I feel that way. I just love that sense of vitality and I'm grateful for my life, I'm grateful for my journey and I am loving turning 60."

Since leaving the catwalk behind, Macpherson founded WelleCo, a rapidly growing global supplement brand that emerged from her own experiences of feeling less than her best. At 50, sleep-deprived, unmotivated, sugar-addicted, surviving on coffee, and suffering from weight gain, bad skin, and low libido, she realized the need for change.

Macpherson — part of the clutch of 1990s supermodels branded The Magnificent Seven by the New York Times in 1996 — revealed that she's come to understand beauty not just as physical appearance, but as overall health and wellbeing.

"I used to equate beauty with youth and as I've matured and as my experience has evolved, I've understood that beauty is more closely aligned to wellness," she explained. "The second part of that concept is that wellness is physical, emotional, spiritual and mental wellbeing and that they're all integrated. That was the biggest revelation — that you can't compartmentalize them and they're not separate," Macpherson continued. "If anything is out of kilter it affects the others, so the secret to a happy, healthy life is really keeping in balance with all those aspects. It took me a long time to get that."

Heading into 2024, her goal is to "not focus on aging".

"I don't focus on ageing. They always say it's not the years in your life it's the life in your years. That's what I like to help people with, which is how they can live their life to their fullest," she said. "My mum is still beautiful and active and vibrant and it's true she didn't have as much information on how to look after herself as we do today. But I would say magazines like yours are giving women a voice."