Lauren Hutton, the original supermodel, on ageing gracefully at 76: 'Some women look scary and not real' (2022)

The supermodel/actor/adventurer who changed the fashion industry for ever talks to Bethan Holt about ageing without intervention, running into Harvey Weinstein, and why – still in demand in her 70s – her sights are now set on changing the world

Ask Lauren Hutton her secret to looking so radiant at 76, and she will give you all the good old-fashioned advice about getting plenty of sleep, drinking lots of water and the products she swears by (lately, StriVectin’s cult anti-ageing range). But within 30 seconds, she’s also remembering the time she has spent living with hunter-gatherer tribes; how she’s seen the very defined role of women in those communities, with traits that are common to many of us: ‘You need to try to take some time for yourself, be your own good mother… women are always the caretakers,’ she says, regaling me with tales like an old friend when I call her in LA.

It’s the perfect example of Lauren Hutton as the ultimate supermodel of substance. In 1973, she signed a contract with Revlon worth $250,000 a year for 20 days’ work, the largest figure in modelling history at the time, paving the way for women to make big money in the same way as male sports stars. Then, after she was dropped by the beauty brand at 41 (because ‘women over 40 don’t wear make-up’, according to a vice president at the company), she campaigned for wider use of older models, a fight that it’s fair to conclude she’s won, given that in the past decade she’s appeared on the catwalk for Valentino, Bottega Veneta and Tom Ford, as well as starring in campaigns for J Crew and Calvin Klein.

She’s also had an acting career and started her own make-up brand, creating products to enhance natural beauty rather than promote Kardashian-esque contouring. But while many of her contemporaries might have spent their downtime in exclusive hotels or sunning themselves on yachts, Lauren was always more likely to be found bumping down a road in rural Kenya in a VW Beetle, or sleeping under the stars.

She grew up in South Carolina and Florida, helping to care for her three younger half-sisters when their mother was sick, and didn’t learn to read until, aged 11, she was given a copy of The Secret Garden. It fast became her favourite book, not least because she, like its heroine, is called Mary (her middle name is Laurence, hence the name change to Lauren in the ’60s). As she grew up and decided she wanted to travel, she heard that modelling paid a dollar a minute and thought it would be the perfect career to fund her wanderlust, eventually moving to New York and signing with legendary agent Eileen Ford.

Her off-the-beaten-track adventures (she’d often tell her agent she was leaving for a fortnight’s holiday and then be gone for months) and curious spirit mean that she’s gained an enlightened perspective on life. In recent years, fashion has finally begun to embrace a more diverse approach to model casting, but Lauren could always see how beauty came in countless guises.

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‘It was thought we had one certain look which we were supposed to be,’ she says in her fabulous Southern drawl. ‘But the first thing you really see when you start travelling is that there are beautiful people of every size and shape and colour and age everywhere – in the Far East, the Middle East, South America. There are so many ways of being beautiful.’

With her signature tooth gap and relatively diminutive height (she’s 5ft 7in), Lauren wasn’t a typical supermodel herself when she was starting out, but her carefree manner and unconventional look fast made her a favourite of some of the biggest photographers of the time.

She struck up particularly close relationships with Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, captivating them with her unique outlook. She remembers the former once telling her, ‘Lauren, you have the life we’d all like to have.’ ‘I got this chill when he said that,’ she says wistfully. ‘It took a long time to sink in but I never forgot it.’

Her travels informed her work, too. ‘The first time I was in Paris was with Penn, shooting the Paris collections. They asked me to put on a real leopard coat,’ she remembers. ‘I was twisted up because you can’t refuse; I was only 24. I had made my first trip to Africa and knew leopards were disappearing at the speed of light. So I told Penn and he decided that we wouldn’t shoot it, then Diana Vreeland heard about it and soon made a policy at Vogue that they wouldn’t shoot leopard, then much later she told me she’d talked to friends in Washington, and some years later they made a law against it in America.’

It was a campaigning move that foreshadowed the model-activist likes of Natalia Vodianova and Arizona Muse today.

Lauren’s latest turn in the fashion spotlight was on the Valentino couture catwalk last July. In an apple-green dress and glitter-lined trench coat (a nod, perhaps, to the relaxed-luxe version she famously wore when she played senator’s wife Michelle Stratton in American Gigolo), she was the image of ageless, easy glamour. ‘When they asked me I thought, well sure, why shouldn’t I do the show? It was very thrilling and there were so many fantastically tall and fantastically slim models and a lot of Africans, which was really wonderful.’

Lauren didn’t just walk, she also fell, doing so with characteristic charm. ‘My boots didn’t quite fit so I was wobbling and when I got just in front of the press place, where they have 100 photographers and TV cameras, I had to make a turn and boom, I went straight down on my bottom. A man jumped up from the audience and the wonderful model Kiki [Willems] was pulling up the other arm – I’m sitting on the floor laughing.’ Of course, the moment went viral on social media.

Not that Lauren would be aware. She eschews technology as much as possible and got her first TV set since 1961 only five years ago. Plenty of people have tried to talk her into joining Instagram (wouldn’t that be a joy to behold?), but the way phones suck away our time scares her: ‘I found out how to text and the next thing I knew, three hours would be gone. It was just very shocking.’

After the Valentino show, Lauren and her agent went for dinner at supermodel-favourite Parisian hangout Le Voltaire. ‘As I was walking back out of the restaurant, there was a big black SUV there, with the back door completely wide open, and guess who’s sitting in it looking out? Harvey Weinstein. Everybody thought he was in jail but he was not, of course. I think he was there because all the models were going there. He’s incorrigible,’ she says, bristling at the memory.

Lauren has spoken in the past about a brief encounter she once had with Weinstein in his infamous bathrobe: ‘He looked out [through a side door in the office] and then shut the door…’ she told People magazine. ‘I could take him. I’d whack him. Maybe he understood when he took a look.’

She’s still dismayed by the culture of sexual abuse that has dominated so many women’s lives. ‘It’s always stunning, stunning because there’s something made in men to believe that they’re desperately wanted and they’re not. They say, this is consensual and we are not pressuring anybody into anything.’

Curl Primer, £22, Bumble and Bumble;Make-up remover pads, £6.12, Andrea EyeQ;Intensive moisturising concentrate, £62.70, Strivectin;Jojoba Oil, £14.43, Desert Essence; Highlighting shampoo, £38, Shikai

She talks about the men she has encountered on her travels who would ‘wiggle their eyebrows at me’ when Bob Williamson, the partner, travel companion and manager she met when she was 21, wasn’t around. ‘That’s how brave men are made and how much they think you must go and sleep with them.’

Lauren thinks her relationship with Bob, who died in 1997, protected her from the worst of ‘what the girls in the ’60s got very mixed up with’. She has good things to say about him now (‘I can remember being saved five times [by him], and he read everything about the places we visited – not tourist books, history books. He was so smart, we didn’t waste a second’), but after his death, it was revealed that he had mismanaged her earnings, losing her a reported $30 million.

Perhaps this goes some way to explaining why her work ethic remains so strong. Her latest role is as an ambassador for StriVectin. ‘They’ve got to be very brave and very smart to have a 76-year-old be their very first advertising image,’ Lauren laughs. ‘I had never used retinol before, but the S.T.A.R night oil makes a huge difference. And then after that 
I use the moisturiser on the big lines, where I look like an African elephant.’

Graceful ageing has always been more Lauren’s thing than artificial assistance from tweakments and plastic surgery. She’s dabbled in Botox in the past but now revels in her wrinkles. ‘You’re always tempted to go down that route and they keep finding new things to do, like removing your fat or doing this or that, but you know, I would rather have a face like an African elephant’s bottom anyway. I see an awful lot of women and it looks scary because they’re so smooth and don’t look real.

‘We want to see what someone has done, that is the point of growing up and getting old, and if we are lucky, then we get to do that. Beauty is health. You should enhance yourself to make yourself look healthier without masking yourself up.’

Thanks to a near-death experience in 2000, Lauren had to face the possibility of not seeing old age. She was taking part in a ride with the Guggenheim Motorcycle Club and driving at 110mph when she was thrown 20ft in the air, breaking her arm and leg and puncturing a lung. She was in a coma for two and a half weeks. ‘First they didn’t think I’d live, then they didn’t think I’d walk,’ she tells me. ‘Fourteen friends came to see me; I didn’t realise I knew that many people. I think they were told they were saying goodbye to me.’

Within a year, though, she was back on a bike for a Tropicana commercial. ‘They offered me $350,000 so I had to get back on! It’s the gift that keeps giving, I’ve had seven more operations just for that – my neck, my back. I try not to whine.’

So what’s next for the indomitable Lauren Hutton? She’s spent a lot of time lately caring for her 96-year-old mother but is craving a diving trip to the South Seas. She’s also craving the chance to make a difference, somehow; like Greta Thunberg, whom she cites as an inspiration. ‘I’d sign up for another 100 years or so if I could. Most of all, I’d like to be proud of myself again. I’d like to find a way to be useful. I give money to the WWF and charities I care about. There’s got to be something I can do that’s monumental.’ Given her life so far, I have no doubt there is.

FAQs

Does Lauren Hutton have a child? ›

(Hutton never married or had children.)

How old is Lauren Hutton the model? ›

How tall is Lauren Hutton? ›

Does Lauren Hutton use strivectin? ›

LAUREN HUTTON ON STRIVECTIN

The thing I'm proudest of in all my work is forcing my way at age 47 back into modeling. And this, now is the second proudest, doing this campaign with StriVectin”.

Did Lauren Hutton get her teeth fixed? ›

by Richard Avedon, 1973 . Lauren Hutton was advised to correct the slight gap in her teeth and tried using morticians' wax to cover the gap, cutting a line in the middle of it; this was followed by the use of a cap, which she would often swallow, laugh out or misplace.

What does Lauren Hutton eat? ›

With Hutton's comedy-driven personality, we didn't know she could be strict until we read about her diet. According to Vogue, the actress follows a zero-mixing diet: “I try not to mix carbohydrates and proteins. I eat meat with vegetables or carbs with vegetables.

Where is Lauren Hutton now? ›

These days, she is not acting as much as she once did, but she is still modeling and walking in shows for top designers. She's also scuba diving, traveling, and sharing some of the wisdom she's gained in her 78 years. Read on to learn more about Hutton's life today.

How long were Spencer and Lauren together? ›

The 27-year-old model is believed to have met Leo in the Caribbean in 2014 and reportedly hooked up last month. Lauren and Spencer parted ways in September 2015 after just over a year together with the pretty blonde left heartbroken.

How do I look like a model face? ›

How to Look Like a Model - YouTube

Who is Lauren Hutton's mother? ›

How old is Loren Hutton? ›

What movies was Lauren Hutton in? ›

Lauren Hutton

Where did Lauren Hutton grow up? ›

Born Mary Laurence Hutton in Charleston, SC, she grew up with her mother and stepfather in Tampa, FL. Hutton was one of the first students to attend the University of Southern Florida, but she ended up graduating from Tulane University in 1964.

Is Lauren Hutton on Instagram? ›

Lauren Hutton 🎬 (@iamlaurenhutton) • Instagram photos and videos.

What celebrity has a gap in their teeth? ›

Dental imperfections aside, stars like Madonna, Woody Harrelson, and Jack Black just grin and bear it when it comes to a gap tooth.

Why do some people have space between their teeth? ›

Often, a gap forms between the teeth as a result of being born with a jaw that is too large for the teeth, or teeth that are too small for the jaw. “The most common reason for gaps is simply having a tooth size to jaw discrepancy,” White says.

Who has had the most Vogue covers? ›

The record of most Vogue covers currently belongs to model Lauren Hutton with 40 covers.

Who inherited Barbara Hutton's money? ›

Barbara's father provided a $1 million dowry. After spending millions of Barbara's inheritance on a home, polo ponies, clothes and men's jewelry, Alexis and Barbara divorced in March 1935.

How old is Deborah Hutton? ›

Does Lauren Hutton still model? ›

Lauren Hutton Is Still Modeling at 78 — and Doing It Her Own Way.

How old is Timothy Hutton? ›

Does Timothy Hutton have children? ›

Timothy Hutton

What happened to Lauren and Spencer? ›

Lauren recently revealed they missed out on the show's LA series after Spencer admitted to cheating on his girlfriend before filming. Stating that the incident has made them stronger, she said: "It would be sad if we ever did end because we're really beautiful together."

Why did Lauren go to Heidi's wedding? ›

Despite their rocky friendship, LC ended up making it to Heidi's wedding. And apparently the producers of the show just wanted to keep her there. "The power went out, the generator went out and I said, 'I need to leave! '" Lauren told US Weekly about the day of filming the wedding.

What happened between Spencer and Lauren made in Chelsea? ›

In a revelation that surprised nobody in last night's episode, Spencer admitted to girlfriend Lauren Hutton that he had cheated on her at a party. The 100th episode of the E4 show was particularly dramatic, given Lauren didn't take the news lying down.

How a woman should pose for a picture? ›

8 Tips and Tricks for Natural Female Poses
  • Never Pose a Woman Square to the Camera.
  • Shoot from Slightly Above. ...
  • Go for a Strong Jaw Line. ...
  • A Mouth Slightly Open. ...
  • Careful with the Hands. ...
  • Create a Gap Between the Arms and Body. ...
  • Create Curves. ...
  • Use your Model's “Favored Side”

How do models relax their face? ›

Modeling 101: Facial Expressions to Look Good in Every Photo - YouTube

What made Lauren Hutton famous? ›

Lauren Hutton was the first person to earn a million dollars for her beauty. In 1974, she made history for her million-dollar-a-year Revlon contract. But when she turned 41, the brand unceremoniously dropped her. Still, Hutton continued working as a model for the next 35 years.

Does Timothy Hutton play piano? ›

I started playing drums when I was young, and then piano later. I was in different jazz bands and that's what kind of led me to acting because I was playing live on the side of the stage while these different productions were going on.

How old is Lauren from MIC? ›

The 27-year-old model is believed to have met Leo in the Caribbean in 2014 and reportedly hooked up last month.

Who is Lauren Hutton made in Chelsea? ›

Lauren Frazer Hutton

Lauren was one of Spencer's many girlfriends and was actually with him for more than a year, which is more than most of his exes can say. Since leaving Made In Chelsea, Lauren set up a brand with Natalie Joel and reportedly dated Leonardo DiCaprio.

How old is Richard Gere? ›

Where was movie gator filmed? ›

Filmed in and around Savannah and Tybee Island, Georgia. The historical waterfront is clearly visible in a scene where Gator is crossing a bridge into town. The first sequel Burt Reynolds ever appeared in. It is a sequel to White Lightning (1973).

How old is Demi Moore? ›

Does Timothy Hutton have children? ›

Timothy Hutton

Who inherited Barbara Hutton's money? ›

Barbara's father provided a $1 million dowry. After spending millions of Barbara's inheritance on a home, polo ponies, clothes and men's jewelry, Alexis and Barbara divorced in March 1935.

How old is Timothy Hutton? ›

What happened to Lauren Hutton? ›

These days, she is not acting as much as she once did, but she is still modeling and walking in shows for top designers. She's also scuba diving, traveling, and sharing some of the wisdom she's gained in her 78 years. Read on to learn more about Hutton's life today.

What happened to Jed Hutton and Freddie? ›

Jim Hutton and Freddie Mercury enjoyed seven love-filled years together before the latter died of AIDS-related complications on November 24, 1991. Vintage EverydayFreddie Mercury and Jim Hutton remained a couple until the singer's untimely death in 1991.

Why is Timothy Hutton not in the new leverage? ›

Timothy Hutton was axed from Leverage: Redemption due to a rape allegation, and it was the right call. In 2020, Timothy Hutton was accused of raping 14-year-old child actress Sera Johnston in 1983. After Johnston's accusation was made public, Hutton's then-current project Almost Family was canceled after one season.

Did Timothy Hutton date Angelina Jolie? ›

Angelina and Timothy appeared together in 1997's Playing God and were rumored to have been dating while filming. The relationship was never confirmed, possibly because it would have meant that it overlapped with Angie's marriage to Jonny Lee Miller.

How much did Barbara Hutton inherit? ›

Hutton was the chubby Woolworth heiress who inherited a fortune at the age of five after her mother committed suicide. Her inheritance was reported to be $70 million.

Who did Frank Woolworth marry? ›

What happened to the Woolworth fortune? ›

Woolworth's Heiress Outspent a Near-Billion-Dollar Fortune, Died Poor. Barbara Hutton managed to blow an inflation adjusted fortune of $900 million before she died. Frank W. Woolworth founded the Woolworth chain of retail stores in 1879.

Has Jim Hutton died? ›

Is Tim Hutton married? ›

Timothy Hutton

How long were Spencer and Lauren together? ›

The 27-year-old model is believed to have met Leo in the Caribbean in 2014 and reportedly hooked up last month. Lauren and Spencer parted ways in September 2015 after just over a year together with the pretty blonde left heartbroken.

How do I look like a model face? ›

How to Look Like a Model - YouTube

What happened to Lauren from MIC? ›

Lauren Frazer Hutton

Lauren was one of Spencer's many girlfriends and was actually with him for more than a year, which is more than most of his exes can say. Since leaving Made In Chelsea, Lauren set up a brand with Natalie Joel and reportedly dated Leonardo DiCaprio.

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