Kim Alexis Has the Look

Thursday, May 01, 2008
By Abbey Khan

Former supermodel Kim Alexis proves she still has the right stuff as host of TV Land’s new original series She’s Got the Look, in which ten women over 35 compete for a modeling contract. In this exclusive interview, Kim dishes about her new show and shares her age-defying beauty secrets and why getting older is a beautiful thing.

Photo by Fadil Berisha

FUSN: You look absolutely incredible! Your skin is glowing and you’re in great shape–you have to share some of your beauty secrets with us.
KA: I guess a lot of it is preventative, eating correctly and working more sort of on the inside out, happy home life, that type of thing.

FUSN: As a lot of women get older, they make the mistake of wearing clothes that are sort of more youthful, what advice can you give them to dress more appropriately?
KA: I think it’s good to talk with your girlfriends while looking through magazines because you get more of a double permission that you don’t have to look good in everything. I was doing this the other day with one of my girlfriends. We looked through a magazine and it was like “oh that’s cute but I couldn’t wear that because of this or I love that color and that would look good on you but I couldn’t wear it.”

FUSN: With that said, skinny jeans are still in. What do you think? Yes or no?
KA: If you’re skinny, skinny jeans are good, if you’re not I think you should stay away from them.

FUSN: Younger models are looking to be on the runway but we don’t see that with older models, so what can the winner expect in addition to receiving the Wilhelmina contract and Self spread?
KA: I think some of the young girls only want to be on the runway because they see some of these tv shows and again you have certain bodies that are good for runways and certain ones that aren’t and runways are meant for the really really tall thin willowy people. As we get older, most of us don’t stay in that shape. I think for a woman that’s older it would be better to do more beauty or certain types of fashion– not the bikini running on the beach, there’s just those people, especially guys, who don’t want to see an older woman running on the beach in a bikini (laughing).
FUSN: Well if they look like you, I’m not sure about that.
KA: (graciously) Well, I don’t know.

FUSN: So if these women are most likely not going to hit the runway, then why did a judge tell one of the contestants who is 5’5″ that her height would be a challenge for her?
KA: It’s because in this business what you’re talking about is not a beauty contest. It’s about finding a model and models really have a standard of 5’7″ when I was working 30 years ago and now it’s more or less 5’8″ or 5’9″ as your minimum height and clothes look different on someone who’s short than someone who is taller.
FUSN: One woman who auditioned was 6’1″ and I believe they rejected her, so what is too short and what is too tall?
KA: I think 6’1″ would work and I’m not sure what came out but some of that rejection was from other things and we don’t want to give that away. But it’s really a complete package as you know with the models, it’s not just a look, or the whole body, or all that, it’s almost like the inner confidence, the self-drive, the way they present themselves, and all those things were covered in our show by putting them through different tasks.

FUSN: Ok, I guess then you’ve answered my next question – what is the look?
KA: A complete package and it’s a woman who is together, feels good about herself, confident, knows how to carry herself and walk into a room, knows how to present the clothes she’s wearing, knows how to enhance the aspects of her beauty, and maybe hide, conceal and minimize those parts that aren’t perfect.

FUSN: Obviously this show is looking for older models, but as we age we get fine lines and wrinkles, does the show at all encourage to hide these by getting injectables such as botox?
KA: No, no, no – the show did not encourage or talk about any hiding of wrinkles or anything. I think the show was more encouraging in celebrating a woman getting older. From my point of view, wrinkles are a reward for getting older and it’s okay to have a certain amount of wrinkles – it brings out some elegance, wisdom and self-confidence. We didn’t have anyone on the show who was like “ooh, look at your face, you have to go to the dermatologist.” None of that stuff at all.

FUSN: A lot of the contestants are in good shape, but they’re not skinny-skinny, what kind of body image are you looking for?
KA: That was another thing I found very interesting. Never once did we mention weight on the show – it wasn’t an issue where as for a younger model I think that’s much more important. Some of these girls were very very fit and I think what we’re trying to do is set an example for an older woman saying “look at these girls, these are regular normal women but look at what they can be or will become with a little bit of work or a little bit of thought behind the dressing or behind the workout or behind the skincare, all of those things.” If you take care of yourself, yes you can be older but you can look your best.

FUSN: How are models at this age different from younger models?
KA: I found that when we spoke to a woman we spoke to her with more respect. A young girl really needs a lot more guidance and from watching other shows and from my son’s girlfriends and other stuff you speak to younger girls differently and they listen differently. As a woman matures and becomes older she has her own family and responsibilities, so you wouldn’t speak to that woman the same way you would to a young girl. You’re trying to instruct or teach young girls and even admonish them for something they did wrong. With older women, it came from more of a respect and more of a reverence for already living these many years versus ripping her apart too much.

FUSN: If you could, what would you change about the modeling industry right now?
KA: That’s a good question. I think what would be nice and I can’t see it necessarily happening is to look at a model as a human being versus looking at her as a piece of meat.

FUSN: During the pilot episode, the narrator says “this is a second chance for some of these women,” do you think this is a second chance for you as well?
KA: Yes it is. I stepped aside for years to raise my children. I have 5 total, I have 3 sons and 2 stepdaughters. Our youngest son is 14 and he’s 6’1″ or something like that and it’s my time to look and say you know what I’ve been a great mother, I’m a great wife, I’ve been there for my family and it’s okay to step back into the business and maybe help some of these younger girls themselves.

FUSN: Some of these women are married and have children, let’s say one of them wins the contract, will she have to leave her life and move to New York City?
KA: I don’t think she has to move but being far away can make things more difficult. A lot of times, you need to go in and see a client and then the next week you may get the job, so it’s not going to be practical for some. There aren’t many women who would leave their family and say I’m moving to New York for a year just to do your own thing. So a woman who’s married and has children I would think is always going to put the children first but try and make both of them work.

FUSN: What advice would you give to women who want to try out for next season?
KA: My advice is to get into the best shape of your life and maybe read the magazines. I think as a woman and I know this myself when you’re a mother, you can get comfortable in your own tiny little area and life is safe. You don’t feel bad going to the store in a pair of sweats, and you don’t see high fashion or how other people perceive you and you’re stuck in your little world of carpools and PTA’s and nothing’s wrong with that but if you want to get into this business, you have to step outside that comfort zone and start learning some of the things women in bigger cosmopolitan cities already know, like how to dress, handle an interview, or present yourself to a client, that type of thing.

FUSN: Besides She’s Got the Look, what else can we expect to see you in the near future?
KA: I’m working on a couple of things, but right now I’m a guest host on The Balancing Act on Liftetime. It’s a product driven show for women from 7-7:30 in the morning from Monday through Friday. It really talks to different women about a lot of different aspects such as finance, health, how to manage your job, just a lot of different tools to help a woman become more balanced, well rounded, and informed.

She’s Got the Look premieres on TV Land on Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at 10pm EST/PST.

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