The Sunny Road to Real Beauty
Secrets from a supermodel, entrepreneur and organic skin care line founder.
Former actress, television host and one of the highest paid supermodels in the history of fashion, Sunny Griffin has found a way to drastically slow the clock down and bring forth an answer to the question that has been plaguing women since time immemorial — how to preserve youth.
In 1966, Sunny was declared by the Ford Model Agency as the highest paid model in the world.
With her face gracing the likes of Red Book, Harper’s Bazaar, the Saturday Evening Post and Woman’s Day, it is no surprise that she represented almost every famous brand, including Clairol, Timex, Ralph Lauren, Virginia Slims, Clairol, Saks Fifth Avenue, Wrangler, Seagram’s, Maidenform and Tab. Beyond modelling, she has also appeared on television as a co-star to the legendary 1969 Dustin Hoffman film “John and Mary” by 20th Century Fox. She also co-hosted Good Morning America for three good and memorable years.
With her huge exposure to the world of fashion and beauty and her passionate interest in the outdoors and nature (She has climbed Mt Kilimanjaro and The Mont Blanc and dived the Great Barrier Reef!), Sunny has fused the lifelong dream of women to preserve their youth with carefully selected natural solutions that remain unparalleled to this day. In 1995, Astara Skin Care was born.
Urbanette Magazine: Many skincare lines have launched but rarely lasted as long as yours. What’s your formula for longevity?
Sunny Griffin: I think with me the formula has always been “never give up”. I wasn’t an overnight success as a model. It took me four years to make it to the top with a lot of discouragement along the way but I never gave up, and during the years of struggle I constantly did test shots to learn how to move my body to make the clothes look the best they could.
We can manifest what we desire in life and, looking back, I think that is what I did. By living my life as if I were already a top model, I became one. I like to say that if you want to look good in your 70s and 80s, start young. It’s like saving for retirement.
I decided I was going to be a top model (what they call Supermodel today) and lived my life as if I were by doing everything I could to be as healthy and fit as possible. I did not party or do drugs in the 60s because I knew I needed to look as good as possible all the time. I smoked only when paid to for the Virginia Slims commercials and never before or after. (I think I am lucky because smoking makes me quite sick.) I lived on fresh fruits and vegetables long before that became trendy. I went to an exercise class nearly every day after work, no matter how tired I was, because a model’s body has to be fit, and I ended up modeling bathing suits and doing exercise spreads for many magazines because of that.
Urbanette: What does Astara mean? How did you decide that this would be the name to carry your vision? Why a skincare line?
Sunny: “Astara” is a word from the ancient Sanskrit language and my understanding is that it means “Gateway to a higher consciousness”. To me that means we need to be conscious of what we do, the foods we eat, the products we use, the way we interact with each other and our planet. We can’t stumble through life eating junk food simply because it is available, smearing chemicals on our skin because the products are cheaper, and destroying our planet for money. I think we need to wake up and be conscious of the choices we make every day.
I started a skin care line because there was nothing on the market that worked on my extremely dry skin when I moved to Telluride, Colorado, at 9000 feet altitude. My skin was so dry I couldn’t sleep through the night and I tried everything on the market and nothing worked. I was studying about raw foods at the time and wondered if the same healing enzymes that are in raw food wouldn’t work in skin care products as well.
I met someone who was developing a line of products made from botanicals, without heating the ingredients above 105 degrees F, and tried them and was thrilled to find they worked perfectly and seemed to reverse the aging on my then 54 year old skin. (I turn 72 this year.) I said “I know how to sell things” and we started Astara Skin Care. I approached spas at first because, at that time, I felt that someone who really cared about her skin would go to an esthetician and I truly believe in the spa lifestyle.
Today that awareness has spread and people are now looking at the ingredients in what they are putting on their skin and at how they are made.
Urbanette: Tell us about your health regimen. Your bio says you are very fond of the outdoors and have climbed great peaks. How do you prepare for those?
Sunny: All my life I have been called a “Health Nut”. I guess that is because I had to be so aware of what I looked like because of my career path. I am a great believer in raw foods because the enzymes are alive and our bodies use enzymes to do everything from having a thought to moving a finger to healing us and keeping us young.
My diet consists of about 80% raw food unless I am in a real healing crisis (like when I broke my back and neck in an auto accident 2 years ago) and then I eat 100% raw so my body can use all its natural enzymes to heal my bones instead of using them up digesting cooked, dead food. I lecture on the wonder of raw food and love to prepare all sorts of delicious raw dishes from spaghetti and meatballs to raw apple pie and cheesecake.
My exercise routine started with gymnastics in my modeling days and I started taking ballet at 40. For years I walked uphill on a treadmill from 30 minutes to an hour a day and I used to run the 6 mile track around Central Park when I lived in New Your City. Today I love to hike in the mountains and walk where ever possible, do yoga and still take ballet class.
Urbanette: Finally, what is your secret to aging gracefully?
Sunny: Simple: eat raw food, exercise daily, sleep 8 hours a night, use excellent skin care products and surround yourself with good friends.
More information about Astara Skin Care is available on www.astaraskincare.com