Vogue CS in English
Elle Macpherson reveals her journey from supermodel to businesswoman and the recipe for a healthy, glowing body
Cindy Kerberová21. 7. 2023
There are supermodels that the whole world knows only by their first name, but only one that everyone also knows by her nickname. Elle Macpherson, alias The Body. In an exclusive interview for Vogue CS, the Australian, who has also revolutionised wellness, talks about her journey to a healthy lifestyle, building a personal brand and her recipe for a long and happy life.
You have transitioned from being one of the most successful models to becoming a very successful businesswoman, with ventures in fashion, beauty, and wellness. What inspired you to pursue these business ventures, and what has been the key to your success in these industries?
I’ve always had the Aussie ‘give it a go’ attitude and followed my inner sense, which is as important to me as common sense. If something resonates with my heart, I’ll go for it. When I started modeling in 1982, I really did so to pay for university. However life had other plans and I was fortuitously given the opportunity to travel to America and explore modeling more seriously. Being an Aussie, I have a keen sense of adventure, so I had no hesitation to jump right in and willingly apply myself. What began as a job became a career and upon that I built a globally recognisable brand. From there, I decided to license my brand, name and image to other brands to build an alternative income stream. This allowed me to extend my skills into design and marketing. I began producing my own calendars, workout videos and television shows. Owning my own businesses was a natural step, one that has given me the most joy. WelleCo was created as a result of my own wellness journey as I discovered my purpose was greater than my own healing. Helping others became my mission –– I longed to share with others the wonderful tools I discovered through my own wellness journey with the help of an excellent nutritionist, Dr Laubscher.
What are the most important factors that have contributed to your success, both as a model and a businesswoman?
The willingness to take those first steps towards your heart's calling is a wonderful way to maximise life's opportunities. It is through that courage that the magic of the universe rises to meet you and often opens doors you could never have imagined. I believe it’s important to do what you love because it doesn’t feel like work and it allows your natural individual and unique passion to lead you on your path. Being diligent and disciplined yet not fixated on the outcome allows for the surprises that can manifest along the way when you have an open heart and open mind.
What role has authenticity played in building your brand, and how have you stayed true to your own vision and values while also meeting the needs and expectations of your customers?
Authenticity is crucial for success. In Australia we call it ‘true blue’ and it is foundational for WelleCo. Authenticity underscores everything we do. We know our community resonates with our brand values and our authenticity is just one of the reasons we retain our customers so happily.
You have always been known for your healthy lifestyle. What are some of your favorite wellness practices, and how do you incorporate them into your daily routine?
The most important realization for me has been that physical wellbeing is so strongly connected to mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. My personal wellness regimen incorporates a vital balance and attention to all parts. The simple ones are movement, sunshine, laughter, love, water, breath and meditation. And they’re free! I couple these essentials with clean plant based nutrition and some detox and immune protocols including an infrared sauna and cold plunge to fire up the mitochondria and improve circulation.
What role does exercise play in your approach to health and wellness, and what types of workouts do you enjoy the most?
I love to be outside in nature so anything that takes me there! Hiking, biking, skiing and swimming are my favourites. I also love to practise yoga - preferably outside in the early morning sunshine in my garden.
In the mid of 90s you launched your own fitness video The Body which I remember very well since I used to exercise “with you” (as well as with Cindy Crawford), it was pretty intense routine. What changed in your fitness schedule and style during times?
When I was younger, my understanding of wellness was fitness! So running, working out and watching calories was my norm. Today I tend to listen to my body and choose movement, opting to do things I love. This is much easier to sustain and gentler on the body. I’ve come to understand that wellness includes a balance of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being so looking at things holistically and beginning within has been a great revelation for me.
The most important thing is to begin.
How do you think these exercises compare to current trends in fitness and wellness?
Today, people are finding all sorts of fun ways to stay fit and be in community. Spin, dance, even acrobatic classes not to mention a plethora of yoga and Pilates styles. The fitness community has been very creative at evolving, particularly in recent years. All of a sudden, we see women exercising in their living rooms again.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting on their wellness journey, and how can they stay motivated to achieve their goals?
With any routine — fitness, mediation or diet — the most important thing is to begin! Take those first steps with what resonates most deeply. Maybe you want to try something new or eliminate an old behaviour; curiousity and exploration are so often the doorways to effective change. I have found the power of discovery to be a great personal motivator. Ultimately, I believe wellness begins within, so nourishing your body, heart and mind plays a vital role in achieving your goals.
What are some of the most important lessons you have learned in your career, and how have they influenced your personal and professional growth?
The most important thing is to follow your heart, that inner sense that urges you from your soul. There are no mistakes, simply take a step in a direction that feels true to you. Then apply your learnings to the next instance so no experience or effort goes to waste. This is how I’ve navigated my life professionally and personally and I’ve been in awe of the way things unfold. I trust my inner knowing and I trust that life is on my side.
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to start their own business, and what are some of the key steps they should take to ensure their success?
Begin! Initiating your heartfelt desires has magic in it. Apply commitment, persistence, purpose and presence in all you do, never wavering from the belief you can and will grow and evolve along the way. I love working with teams and learn a lot from other people so being curious and willing to ask questions is key. As is trust. Confidently trust your inner urges and they won’t lead you astray.
Many entrepreneurs face challenges and setbacks on their path to success. What are some of the biggest obstacles you have faced in your business career, and how did you overcome them? What advice would you give to someone who is facing the challenges?
The greatest challenge for me has been quieting a busy mind. So, I stop, relax and listen to all the signals I am being gifted by life. To allow my heart to be my compass to navigate my next move and only then to use my mind be the administrator to action my heart's choices. Finding and leaning into my natural, unique talents and embracing individuality has been key to my success both in business and in everyday life. Remembering there are no mistakes, as long as you learn from the past and apply the wisdoms to each new circumstance.
Your brand has evolved over time, and you have expanded into different areas and industries. How have you adapted your brand to meet the changing needs and demands of your audience, while still maintaining your core values and identity?
In my experience it is helpful to align personal core values with business core values. This way I can maintain an authentic message that comes from the heart. I don’t adapt those values to the market, rather I adapt my business to my values. Listening to the needs of our WelleCommunity is a constant inspiration for new product development and marketing. Naturally, everything we do must fit in line with our purpose, our integrity and our commitment to quality, which empowers our WelleCommunity to live a beautiful, vibrant well life.
This way, each individual can shine their unique beauty out into the world in the most natural ways. It becomes healing for us all. At the peak of the supermodel era, I found the more distant and inaccessible you were, often the more successful you became. With today’s increased visibility, thanks to social media, it is now possible to connect with your community in just a swipe. We have evolved past the elusive era of excess in the nineties and, today, the more accessible and relatable you are, the more chance your mission has to resonate with the world. Overproduced and overdirected content is now a thing of the past while authentic, natural and considered communication is most well received by my community today.
WelleCo is successful because it is based on my real-life personal experience and deep, long-term passion in the subject. A global purpose underpins WelleCo, with strong core values that reflect my own and implementing a meaning and benefit that is bigger than the brand or the collection.
What are your future plans for your business and personal life, and what goals do you hope to achieve in the coming years?
I intend to continue helping others find their inner beauty. I find great joy in that because I've spent so many years so deeply involved in the beauty industry and seen how it can lead people away from their natural self. I achieve this in part by sharing our beauty-through-wellness message and providing supportive solutions that help bring it about. It remains a big manifestation of my purpose. I’d love to see our WelleCo elixirs and philosophy become even more widely accessible by expanding our reach into new markets around the world. Also, I’m working on my book and look forward to sharing this with you soon. Beyond the professional, I love seeing my sons flourish, find what they love, and do it. Being a loving guide and support for them continues to be one of life’s gifts that keeps on giving.
Real beauty is not just skin deep. It comes from deep within.
You have been an advocate of natural health and wellness products. What are some of your favorite supplements and remedies, and why do you believe in their effectiveness?
Our hero product, The Super Elixir™ is the blend that changed my life. I still say I found it so powerful that it birthed an entire business in 2014 — WelleCo. Dr Simoné Laubscher, a brilliant doctor with a PhD in nutritional science, developed a potent, anti-inflammatory nutritional greens protocol for me. Within a month of starting those specially-blended super greens, I noticed a huge difference in my wellbeing — my sleep improved, I lost weight and gained the sense of vitality I had been looking for. And The Super Elixir was born. This potent plant-based greens powder comprises almost 50 ingredients, carefully curated and combined to amplify each other to benefit all 11 systems of the body while lowering inflammation and nourishing the body on a cellular level, right down to the mitochondria! At WelleCo, we followed this with a clean lean plant protein and sleep tea. It’s a powerful trio with life-changing effect.
You have launched a line of plant-based wellness products. Can you tell us more about your inspiration for this venture and what sets your products apart from others in the market?
We take great care when it comes to sourcing our ingredients and how they are combined to optimize effectiveness. Our ingredients are team players, often working together to amplify the benefits of each individual ingredient. And I know through personal experience, the profound effects these elixirs have had on my own wellness. Today, the WelleCo collection comprises elixirs for hair, skin, mind, sleep, kids and body, all of which are potent and easily digestible. As Dr Laubscher says, "You are what you absorb!"
What are your thoughts on aging, and how do you stay confident and comfortable in your own skin as you get older?
Real beauty is not just skin deep. It comes from deep within. That charm and charisma that others find so alluring comes from being innately well. When you activate your beauty through wellness, your own uniqueness shines for all to see, enhancing your own personal orbit and consequently the entire world in magnificent ways.
What are some of the key lifestyle factors that contribute to longevity, and how can we incorporate them into our daily lives?
I am big on simple, present-moment pleasures. I believe nature holds all the answers. For me, the goal is not so much quantity as it is quality — presence more than longevity. I think self-love is the real answer. When I am prioritising my wellness and my relationship with myself, others and the world around me, I am being loving in the present. That naturally leads to more ‘life' in life — longevity. So love, laughter, sunshine, movement, breath and water are my longevity go-to’s. And they’re free!
What role does nutrition play in your approach to health and wellness, and what foods do you recommend for optimal health?
Every single body is different and responds differently to nutrition, so finding what works best for you through giving things a go is the only way forward. Careful food planning and a predominant plant-based diet works best for me. I choose organic, locally-grown produce from the farmers' market. Hydration is key and most people are dehydrated. I drink up to three liters of water a day, sometimes adding lime and Celtic sea salt (a 1/4 teaspoon) to create a natural electrolyte. Grounding (barefoot on the earth) is also a great way to rebalance the body and realign your energy with nature. Growing your own vegetables also ensures your produce is clean and seasonal.
What are some of the most common misconceptions about wellness and natural health products, and how do you address them?
Contrary to popular belief, wellness is an inside job. Willingness to take those steps to explore natural wellbeing can often be considered a difficult place to start. Wellness is a journey. Being willing to adapt and evolve your understanding is both helpful and rewarding. I see wellness as being equal parts physical, emotional, mental and spiritual and I have benefitted enormously from this outlook.
How do you balance your personal and professional life, and what strategies do you use to manage stress and maintain your overall well-being?
I try to make sure there’s little-to-no division between my personal and business life. Keeping them in alignment is what makes it effortless to flow between the two. It’s natural. Meditation is a wonderful way to find clarity. I sit quietly for 30 mins most days and follow either a guided meditation or my own inner stillness to centre myself. There are some great apps to help you get started. Allowing space for that inner voice to guide you takes all the pressure off ‘getting it right’. There’s no right way or wrong way to meditate, it’s just your way.
Choose something small to focus on and repeat it each day until it forms a habit.
What are your favorite ways to unwind and relax after a busy day?
Often, I’ll read or watch a documentary that intrigues me to broaden my awareness. Sharing a meal with friends also brings me great joy. As a wise man once said, "It’s not so much what you eat, but who you share your meal with."
How do you stay motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle, even when you are busy or facing challenges?
I’m motivated by the feeling of being well. It’s the fuel for my inspiration and sense of vitality. I maintain wellness by electing to nourish my body and treat it, and myself, kindly. Wellness is a daily commitment that reaps many rewards.
What are some of your favorite self-care practices, and what advice would you give to someone who is looking to prioritize their own health and wellness?
Most evenings, I’ll spend about 60 minutes in my Therasage infrared sauna with the temperature cranked up to 170 degrees. I’ll then jump in my cold plunge bath for about five minutes. I like to follow that with some breathwork and then my nightly cup of Sleep Welle Calming Tea which was formulated for my routine and helps the mind, emotions and body to rest, recover and rejuvenate. I’ve been doing this routine now for many years and it not only supports my immune system, I find it’s also incredible for detox, lymph support and relaxation.
I am always telling my team that consistency shapes success and I believe this is invaluable advice for anyone wanting to walk their wellness journey. Choose something small to focus on and repeat it each day until it forms a habit to which you can add a next step. It’s that simple.