Dame Joan Collins oozes glamour, but what’s her secret to looking good?
We’ve met dozens of stars, singers and TV personalities, but not one of them has been as refined as actress and author Dame Joan Collins. From top to toe, Joan is the epitome of elegance, with her hair, make-up and outfits always pristine.
She won’t mind us talking about her looks – it’s something that she’s proud of. We want to know everything about how she achieves such a consistent level of physical beauty, but are worried that by doing so we may be accidentally objectifying her.
It’s not something we need to worry about. When we speak with her, the first thing we ask is whether she ever wants to just kick back in her tracksuit and relax – a perfect opportunity, we feel, for her to tell us off for focusing too much on how she looks. Ever the lady, she does no such thing.
“Not at all. I’ve always done my best to keep up my appearance. To be a glamorous woman is to be desirable, seductive and elegant. No one is born glamorous but I feel anyone can become glamorous.”
And making other women feel as refined as she does is a big part of what Joan works towards now. She has a beauty range, designed to give women the same confidence that she has. It’s called Timeless Beauty, an apt name for skin care, cosmetics and fragrances designed by the Dame, we thought. She tells us about it.
“I have been very fortunate to learn many beauty secrets from so many great make-up artists and celebrities through the years so I wanted to share my knowledge with other women, as I know how confident and great make-up makes me feel. Creating the Timeless Beauty range has enabled me to give others that same confidence when wearing make-up which is what inspired me in the beginning.
“Creating a line has been on my radar for years, however it is a very complicated process to put together from start to finish. You need a huge team with so many skills to do it right. My team is extensive and I couldn’t have done it without them – I have designers, chemists and experts whom specialise in the make-up industry. I know a lot about beauty but nobody knows everything about everything.”
We wonder whether Joan’s own beauty team – responsible for her own make-up – is as extensive. It turns out that she doesn’t have a force of experts applying her face every morning!
“It depends on the event which I am attending. I like my skincare regime to be quick, efficient and uncomplicated, but when I am doing my make-up it completely depends on what I am doing. For instance, if I’m going for a workout I just throw on my foundation and lipstick which takes one minute or less. However, if I’m going to a shoot or to an event it can take me up to an hour.”
We can barely even make it to the gym, let alone with a full face of make-up. That get-up-and-go, puts us to shame and makes us feel embarrassed.
“Age is just a number,” Joan says. “It’s totally irrelevant unless, of course, you happen to be a bottle of wine. However, if pushed for an answer as to when I felt most beautiful, I would say that I felt most confident in my appearance in my 40s. It’s easy to be stunning in your 20s and 30s, but it takes a commitment to preserving your beauty in your 40s and beyond.”
Dame Joan really is one of the last bastions of the quintessential Hollywood glamour. But there are a couple of stars that she feels have a real WOW factor.
“Cate Blanchett is absolutely beautiful and is one of the few people of today who I feel is truly glamorous. I also think Victoria Beckham has a particular style which I really like and it suits her.”
Being breathtakingly beautiful is, Joan tells us, not always all it’s cracked up to be. Last year, 38-year-old Liv Tyler claimed that there were limited roles in Hollywood for women a ‘bit older than she is’. We wonder whether Joan has ever felt that? “No, not at all. But I do think that being attractive can have a hindrance on your life. As an actress, one is always taken more seriously if one is not too attractive. Elizabeth Taylor and Vivien Leigh are examples of this. Their beauty stopped them from being acknowledged as good actresses until later in their lives.”
The secret to her own lasting beauty is not just based on good products, she reveals. “My top tip would be to always look after your skin and keep your face out of the sun. I am religious about my skincare regime, always making sure I keep my face out of the sun and protecting it with a good foundation such as my Timeless Beauty First Base and an SPF face cream, of course. A happy disposition, wherever possible, is a great help too.”
Sadly, things haven’t been entirely happy for Joan in the last year. We turn away from her own beauty and instead enquire about another, her late sister Jackie, who died of breast cancer in September aged 77. But Joan doesn’t wish to talk about it, instead pointing us in the direction of her official statement on her loss. We don’t blame her – the pair had grown closer than ever in their last few years together.
In the statement, she writes: “Anyone who knew Jackie well will tell you how courageous and selfless she was. This, of course, was one of the reasons for her great success in both her personal and professional life and why she was loved and admired by so many. I therefore choose to remember her as the strong, independent, loyal, caring, maternal, fun-loving, witty, joyful woman she was.
“I don’t think I will ever recover from the sadness of losing my beautiful baby sister. Someone once said ‘the reality is that you don’t ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one, you learn to live with it’. I think Jackie would have liked us to do more than that. As she requested, I will not mourn her death, but rather celebrate her life. She will live on in the wonderful memories I have of her from our childhood and particularly from the last fifteen years, during which we were closer than ever. I feel her spirit, I hear her wonderful laugh and I see her all the time in the hundreds of photos of her that are sprinkled around my home. She wasn’t just a star – to me she was an entire galaxy.”
By Kirsty Bosley