Malgosia Bela: "I started modeling at the age of 21."
I started modeling at the age of 21: I came late. I was studying classical music in Poland, where I come from, and in the United States, and modeling was the last thing I could have imagined doing. But I'm glad I started late, because it was the time when you either make it or you don't. You already look the way you're going to look, it's not like a 14-year-old girl who's going to turn into a different person. And I was chosen to work with Jil Sander, who used to hire a lot of new faces.... Now I'm 36 years old, and I think I've kept my actuality because my look is classic, but not too pretty. I can do a campaign for H&M or Alexander Wang, and I can do weird things with Steven Klein or more commercial work. I think success in the modeling world depends on looks, luck, hard work, professionalism and, let's face it, the ability to handle the business side of things.

Now I'm back in Paris-where I lived for three years with my nine-year-old son-but I just got back from the wedding [in Italy]! The wedding was held on a small island off the coast of Positano that belonged to the dancer Rudolf Nureyev. It was a dream fairy tale, very intimate, only 80 people. And, in fact, Azzedine Alaïa adapted my vintage Alaïa wedding dress. I bought it online through 1stdibs, from Rare Vintage in New York. It came in a tiny box because the fabric was very thin and needed to be fitted. Azzedine did it three days before the wedding. He was very kind.

As for the hairstyle and makeup on the wedding day, I didn't want much. My hair was a bit hippie, a bit messy and natural. I didn't put much makeup on my eyes because I knew I was going to cry and I didn't want anything on my lips because we were going to kiss like crazy. My skin was still beautiful and tanned from the summer, so we just used a little gray on my face to match my deep-set eyes. I put black eyeliner on the upper waterline-it doesn't look good on my lower eyelid-and I didn't use mascara. I like to fake my eyebrows with Chanel Sculpting Eyebrow Pencil in Blond.

In daily wear, if I ever wear makeup, I just use something brown for my eyes, like Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in Wheat, which is a grayish beige. I also have a Chanel Le Crayon Yeux in Brun. In general, I don't wear mascara because if I wear makeup, it usually means I'll be out late and I hate to take mascara off when I come back. I'm just lazy. [It's horrible, but it's true. I also like a little makeup on my cheeks. When I started modeling, it was the time of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, and I still use it. Otherwise I don't feel like myself. The only thing I never wear is lipstick, because when you wear it you have to pay too much attention to how you eat and drink.

I try to always brush my teeth and wash my face every night before I go to sleep. I'm pretty disciplined about that. The only toothpaste I use is Arm & Hammer Extreme Whitening Toothpaste-it has the best scent. And for makeup removal I use La Roche-Posay Respectissime or Bioderma Créaline. I like makeup removers that are non-greasy. So far I've been very lucky with my skin, but I'm getting to the age where I need to start paying more attention to moisturizing. My skin can get dry, so I use Eucerin DermoDensifyer day cream and La Mer eye concentrate. The eye cream has the scent of cucumber, it's refreshing. I really like the Cerat Aux Fleurs by Joelle Ciocco. It is a yellow, milky oil, almost a moisturizer, which I use as a toner.

I think skin is a result of one's lifestyle. For me, who eats well, doesn't drink too much and doesn't smoke, this is already a big plus. When you don't take care of yourself from the inside, you have to compensate with products. I'm not too strict, though: I drink a little bit.... I think people should enjoy life. Stress is one of the worst enemies of beauty. When you are relaxed, it shows. Right now I'm very happy and zen, so I don't feel the need to wear much. Also, I don't attend 20 fashion shows in a week, because that kills you.

When I got pregnant, I also started to treat my hair better. I cut it very short and stopped coloring it. Now I haven't dyed it for 10 years. I think this is the key. Now I don't have to do much with it, because I like to have clean, baby hair. I wash it every day out of habit. I know it's not good for my hair, but it wakes me up. I shower for five minutes and use Klorane's Chamomile Shampoo, which is great for keeping it blond. I also use David Mallett's L'Hydratation Shampoo and Conditioner and sometimes Kiehl's Amino Acid Shampoo, because I like the smell of coconut. But I don't really do anything to "style" them. I love life, I don't want to spend two hours getting ready in the bathroom every day. There are so many other things I would rather do. If I want some volume, I spray a little Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray. But it's not good for my hair because it dries it out. When I have split ends, I put a little Moroccan Oil on the bottom, which weighs my hair down, but it smells good. I also love the scent of Frédéric Malle Bigarade Concentree-it's my perfume.

I wish I could say that I work out a lot, but I don't. I believe in an active life. This summer I swam every day, I walk a lot, and in the winter I ski. There was a time in my life when I used to work out and go to the gym, but not anymore. I like to have energy though, I'm not a couch potato. Skiing and swimming are great exercise, if you can fit them in. But then again, talk to me in two months when I'm not in shape. [Laughs]

The older I get, the more I feel like myself. It's like I don't have to pretend anymore. I have a child and a family, and every year I feel more comfortable with my face, my body and my character. I think that shows on the face. Even people who are very beautiful, but jealous and mean, always have a grimace on their face, or say something bad, and the charm disappears. Now that I am happy in life and in love -- I have never been so happy -- there is a kind of serenity that people appreciate. There must be a change in bone structure or something. [But] happiness really does make everyone more beautiful."
May 30, 2024