More than four decades after she and her fellow Charlie’s Angels became symbols of female empowerment—and 17 years after she beat stage-1 breast cancer with radiation and a lumpectomy—Jaclyn Smith continues to take charge of all aspects of her well-being. Her secret: when possible, focusing on one thing at a time.
“There’s balance to life and I think that’s hard to come by,” says the actress, who at 73 now juggles her fashion and beauty empire with the joys of playing with her two-year-old granddaughter, Bea. “There’s so much around you and so many things that are stimulating, but you’ve got to do them one at a time sometimes. It’s about balance and being good to yourself.”
Smith finds this balance in part by fueling her body with supplements—including calcium and psyllium husk and vitamins B complex, C, and D—and a diet informed in part by the eating habits of her husband of 21 years, pediatric heart surgeon Bradley Allen.
How has being married to a heart surgeon brought balance to your diet?
Brad opened up a whole new world in diet, because as fit and physical as he is—he’s in excellent shape—he has high cholesterol. And it ran in his families. So he was basically on a Mediterranean, low-fat diet. But he’s a believer in the fast CT scan to see any buildup in the heart, which I do. We’re very proactive with health. So we eat lots of fruits and vegetables. We do eat meat and chicken and fish, but in a balanced way. I’m not gonna give up hamburgers or pizza. I love them. I’m a Texas girl. Every now and then you have to splurge or you go cuckoo. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I’ve never touched a drug. And we do eat pretty healthy. I don’t want hormones. I don’t want antibiotics in the meat or chicken. I have a lot of berries in the morning. We might eat oatmeal or
cereal with three different berries. He has egg whites, but I have to have a regular egg if I do it. I do a green juice at lunch sometimes. I’m pretty aware of what goes into my body. I’m not a big coffee drinker except in the morning. I don’t do any diet drinks anymore. I don’t want aspartame.
How do you fit fitness into your day?
I like to work out in the morning. By the end of the day, it’s family, it’s dinner, it’s collecting your thoughts, reading. I’m better and stronger at the beginning of the day. And working out with my trainer, I think, makes me much better. Because you tend to say to yourself, “Okay, I’m gonna do five (reps) instead of 10.” And then, uh-oh, the phone’s ringing. But when my trainer is there, the phones are turned off and it’s devoted attention to her. It’s important to say, this is my turn and I’m gonna work out for an hour, and then we can start the calls again. And I do think that not only for your body but your brain, you need to work out at least three times a week as you get older.
What keeps you young at heart?
My family is my rhyme and reason of everything. Without them nothing means too much. I grew up with incredible parents and an incredible grandfather. So I think that sense of family is life’s true blessing. It makes you work harder. It makes you appreciate everything more. Balance also keeps me young at heart. My work is something that’s really mine. And I think it fulfills me and makes me a whole human being. Certainly doing the Spencer baby collection with my daughter, who designed it, with three generations coming together—I’m about all of that.
How does staying creative contribute to your well-being?
I think anytime you are creative, it’s rejuvenating. Sears-Kmart gave me the freedom to be creative with my clothing line, to have a strong point of view that was respected. So that takes all the burnout away. You feel good. You feel you’re contributing. You feel, oh, wow, this is making other people’s lives better, not just my own. So I think certainly my work is an integral part of feeling good about myself.