The British actress’s workout and skin care techniques closely resemble health, fitness, and beauty’s latest holistic persuasions.
Charlotte Rampling’s film 45 Years, in which the iconic British actress plays a woman reflecting on her life on the cusp of her 45th wedding anniversary, opens in the U.K. The movie’s release inspired us to reminisce about Rampling’s own remarkable past, by diving back nearly four decades into the Vogue archives. In a July 1976 feature story—shot by Helmut Newton at her St.-Tropez villa just a few years after her star-making turn in The Night Porter—a then-30-year-old Rampling is not only called “the sexiest woman of the seventies,” but she also reveals exactly how she maintains her beauty from the inside out. What results is a six-page profile on the strategies she regularly employs to, in her words, “keep my . . . mind clear and unobstructed,” amid work, motherhood, friendship, and love—techniques that, even 39 years later, feel extraordinarily modern when considering today’s latest health, fitness, and wellness trends. Here, a look back at the highlights.
Are you familiar with breathing exercises and meditation? Have you recently taken an interest in barre class? Then you are well on your way to a Rampling-esque frame. After enjoying a fresh-from-bed stretch “like a cat,” Rampling heads to the shower to “bend and move.” A trained ballerina, she then makes use of her knowledge of classical technique. “I do ballet movements every day. I started at age five.”
Jogging around her neighborhood, a habit she picked up from her Olympic Gold Medalist father, stimulates her mind and circulation. “It makes the cheeks rosy and gets lots of oxygen deep into the lungs.”
For Rampling, staying fit is all about continual movement. Lounging by the pool, sitting in a chair, or talking to friends, she says, are all occasions for exercise. “I love backbends,” adds the double-jointed former dancer, who considers flexibility a way of life.
Even at the end of a long day, Rampling says she is inspired to keep her heart rate up thanks to her then-three-year-old son, Barnaby, tapping into his beaming toddler energy to “pull myself and move in yoga positions.” According to the actress, the practice “is integrated into my daily never-to-stop habits—like brushing my teeth.” In between, she might lie on her back and simply breathe for ten minutes. “All of these things are of utmost importance for my beauty life. Without these hidden aids, I couldn’t even begin to start with the exterior things.”
When it comes to skin care, tanning is a cardinal sin. “I never take the sun directly for any length of time. . . . One reason English complexions are so famous is that we never see the sun!” For hydration, she drinks mineral water or splashes a bit on her face, and her creams and moisturizers are picked up at the pharmacy. “I go for the straight ingredients . . . Nivea, or collagen cream, or baby oil.” It’s a regimen that leaves little room for makeup—“I let my skin breathe between films”—save for the occasional swipe of bright red lipstick. Sound familiar?