When people ask me for beauty tips, I don't mention anti-aging creams, fillers or a perfect shade of lipstick. I tell them to "stand up tall and smile." That advice may come as a surprise to those who know that I have spent over 35 years of my life in front of a camera as a model and spokesperson for Revlon, Max Factor, Estée Lauder and L'Oréal. But throughout the years, I learned that maintaining inner health and happiness is what truly makes a woman beautiful, not her beauty regimen.
We all know that stress can age a person significantly, which is why I have always maintained a strong focus on my inner self. Twenty-eight years ago, I visited Chennai, India and learned to meditate. I avoid negative thoughts, meditate every day and practice yoga three times a week. At night, I create what I call a "gratitude list" where I write down things that I am grateful for—no matter how small they are. Being in the field with my nonprofit WomenOne in countries like Darfur, Congo and Angola help put everything into perspective; I have been able to meet many, many women in third world countries who don't have access to clean drinking water, medical attention, a good education, or opportunities to earn a living. It reminds me of how fortunate I am.
Which is why recently, I partnered with Bayer HealthCare's Citracal to help launch Beauty is Bone Deep, a national campaign that highlights inner strength (physical and emotional) as the foundation of beauty throughout life, and especially as a woman ages. The campaign urges women to focus on the importance of bone health and consider adding a calcium supplement to their daily age-defying health and beauty routine. In a recent survey of women over the age of 40, 75 percent of women said they believe they are frequently getting the recommended amount of calcium with their current diet. The truth is nine out of 10 women over 50 years of age are not getting enough calcium from food alone. It takes many women too long to realize that our bones are our base line; if you want to be beautiful; you have to build a healthy foundation.
A few years ago I had a bone density scan—only to find that I had some thinning bones in both my wrist and hip. After speaking with my doctor about the importance of bone health, I took action immediately by increasing my calcium intake and adding weight-bearing workouts to my daily routine. At 65, I am happy to say I'm osteoporosis-free and feel better than ever.
When I was told that I was over the hill in my 30's, it really made me think: "What is beauty, then? If you consider me finished, then what is beauty all about?" Women need to reevaluate what is beautiful and how much it has to do with health, wellbeing, and balance. And if we start from the inside, with a foundation of healthy bones and positive thoughts, we will all be "standing up and smiling!"
Editor's Note: Dayle Haddon is a paid spokesperson on behalf of Bayer HealthCare's Citracal.