Kathy Ireland, who turns 49 today (March 20), is still as undeniably gorgeous as when she appeared on her first Sports Illustrated cover nearly 30 years ago. Countless magazines, inspirational books, and best-selling workout DVDs later, the stunning swimsuit icon and fitness guru continues to turn heads.
As CEO and Chief Designer of kathy ireland Worldwide, the model-prenuer recently landed the cover of Forbes Magazine touted as the new domestic diva (move over Martha Stewart!), worth an estimated 350 million buckaroos—crowning her the world’s wealthiest model of 2012.
There’s no question the supermodel turned supermogul knows her stuff when it comes to selling fitness and fashion—as well as everything from home furnishings and jewelry to ceiling fans, carpeting, and office furniture.
We spoke with the beautiful and successful businesswoman to get the scoop on her workout advice, diet secrets, life, career, and much more.
SHAPE: What advice do you have for women over the age of 40 who want to look as amazing as you, despite having such busy lives?
KATHY IRELAND: I see women every day in their 40's, 50's, 60's, and beyond who look amazing! My mom and my mother-in-law are two women who come to mind. I know it's a cliché, but it's true. After 40 you have the face that reflects your character. What I see in the morning is a face that needs to be washed! One small piece of advice: Get familiar with the famous food pyramid. It features an emphasis on grains, vegetables, fruits, milk products, and animal protein and beans.
SHAPE: How much do you currently work out?
KATHY IRELAND: It changes week to week, but I get some physical exercise every day. My true workouts are generally about three times a week. I need to do more, especially after 40! The metabolism slows; it's always a battle of time management.
SHAPE: What type of workouts do you like to do?
KATHY IRELAND: Stretching intensively is an amazing solution for weight loss, calming the body and mind, body toning, and strengthening. On occasion, I use weights for toning. I use these for at least 30 minutes a day when possible. This keeps me strong for surfing. Pushups and sit-ups really help too.
SHAPE: What are some of your favorite hobbies and activities that keep you in shape?
KATHY IRELAND: We live near the ocean in Santa Barbara, California. Any physical activity with our children is a great joy and believe me, they keep me in shape. I love to bike, hike, swim, and surf, especially walking on the beach in the sand, just before I catch a big wave. These are all California activities.
SHAPE: Are you on any special diet? Give us a preview of what type of foods you eat every day!
KATHY IRELAND: Low-fat dairy and all kinds of fruit, vegetables, lean protein, plenty of water, calcium, vitamins like vitamin-D, and yes, occasionally red meat. I enjoy healthy carbs too! I have a sweet tooth.
SHAPE: How does it make you feel that you are such an incredible fitness inspiration to so many?
KATHY IRELAND: I don't feel I am "incredibly fit." It's an ongoing process. My goal is just to be as healthy as possible and keep up with our children. I want to go surfing on my 120th birthday. At one point in my life, I gained more than 25 pounds without being aware of it. I'm more aware today. A pound a year over 20 years is dangerous. I know from personal experience.
SHAPE: What's been the most rewarding part of your career?
KATHY IRELAND: The most rewarding part of my career is that I am able to serve others. There are so many people in need everywhere. My eyes are open to health, hunger, HIV/AIDS, cancer, and education. Women and children are too often neglected. At kathy ireland Worldwide we work daily to make a difference in the nonprofits we
About Kristen Aldridge
Kristen lends her pop culture expertise to ! as host of "omg! NOW." Receiving millions of hits per day, the hugely popular daily entertainment news program is one of the most-watched on the web. As a seasoned entertainment journalist, pop culture expert, and lover of all things creative, she is founder of positivelycelebrity.com and recently launched her own celeb-inspired and . Connect with Kristen to talk all via Twitter and Facebook, or visit her official website.