In today’s post, I had the pleasure of interviewing model and actress, Christine Olyer. Christine and I go way back. We met as actresses in a local dinner theater company in Denver. It’s funny because we only worked together on one production, but we connected and have stayed friends ever since. Our lives have taken us in very separate directions, and sometimes years have passed between us where we haven’t been in touch, but through it all, I’ve always considered her one of my dearest friends.
I was fortunate to have Christine as the creative editor on my first book, Set It Free, in the Heart & Soul series. Her suggestions were amazing and the way she coached me really pushed me as a writer, in the most wonderful way.
Christine has had a pretty awesome career as a model and actress. Her most recent experience is working as a mature model. She is now living in Rome, Italy. For the moment, her modeling career is on pause, but I don’t think she’s done yet. She’s beautiful inside and out and any designer would be lucky to have her.
I really wish I had a picture of us from our dinner theater days, but I don’t. So… I guess her gorgeous modeling pictures will have to suffice. Make yourself comfortable, pour an espresso and indulge in a Biscotti as you read, and enjoy!
You’ve worked as both an actress and a model. Which one came first for you and why?
My first professional gig was as a model. I was 16 years old in Salem, OR and I really wanted to model fashion. So in this little city not only did I act in High School and get awarded “most dramatic senior” but I found my first opportunities walking the runway!
Which do you prefer, acting or modeling?
I prefer modeling and I am embarrassed to tell you why! The reality of acting is memorization and I have a huge struggle memorizing my lines. I love improv because you don’t have to memorize the lines word for word and you can react in the moment. I did a Shakespeare play and it took me hours of work each day to memorize the lines, which definitely had to be word for word; however, it is the show I am most proud of and I had a blast performing the role of Helena!
We’ve known each other for over 20 years… wow! In that time, I’ve seen you rock a vibrant red hair color, a rich auburn brown, and now you’ve embraced your natural silver/platinum. Which color did you like best?
I like my natural hair color best and there are many reasons:
- It feels great accepting myself just as I am
- Women find me more approachable
- Men were so creepy to me when I was a redhead
- Silver is the trend and it always feels good to be “on trend”
- Dying my hair was ruining my hair texture
- I hated seeing my ‘roots’
- Silver is a standout even if it makes me look even more ‘mature’ than I am
- I get compliments from strangers almost every time I go out on my hair color
- My hairstylist here in Rome says that there is no way to duplicate my hair color
- My hubby finds it sexy (is that weird?)
When and why did you decide to stop coloring your hair and go Au natural? How did it make you feel?
I had a plan to stop coloring my hair when I turned 50 and when my birthday came, I wasn’t ready. So, after traveling to Germany and seeing a magnificent head of silver hair, I was convinced! I got home from Germany, and waited until my roots were about an inch grown out and I had my stylist cut my hair to a pixie length. Oddly enough, there was still some red on the tips, which garnered so many compliments. “I love your tips” was a frequent compliment from women and this was entirely new to me. I had almost never received compliments on my hair from women. Up until this point, most women wouldn’t approach me. And as I let my hair grow, it took about two more cuts to get all of the red out, the more women were verbally supportive of me and my hair! I developed many more friendships. I like to think that the more I accepted myself as God made me, the more comfortable women were with me. I think women are so tuned into confidence and integrity and they gravitate towards others who are in turn confident and acting with integrity. Sorry, that was a really long answer!
Blue/violet shampoos are what I always recommend to keep grays vibrant and to prevent yellowing/brassiness. Do you use a specialty shampoo? Which one?
So I have relied on your advice for my hair a few times in my life and you have never steered me wrong! I am a blonde, who grew into dirty dishwater blonde, then to ash brown-brunette (like so many of us), my hair has silver, white, ashy gray, ashy brown, (now you see why my hairdresser says you can’t duplicate it) – meaning that some strands of hair look ashy or yellowed – that’s normal and that is beautiful with creams, ecrus, and off-whites – don’t let anyone tell you that it’s unattractive! That said, products can and do dull hair and using a violet shampoo really makes a platinum/gray/silver/white hair color sing! I use what you have recommended to me Brooke, Monat Colour Enhance Perfectly Platinum Shampoo and Conditioner (I am sorry that this sounds like an advertisement!) I have used other brands with great results – here’s the difference for me with the Monat product – it is stronger – I don’t have to use it as frequently as the other brands I have used in the past. I use it once a month – I know, that sounds ridiculous – and it keeps my hair shiny and the color bright without any old lady purple.
It seems like once you went platinum/silver, your modeling career really got busy. Tell me what it’s like being a mature model?
The demand for my hair color was incredible – partly because in the commercial world, the segment being targeted is Baby Boomer or GenX – for Boomers, they want to see young, vibrant women and the hair color says ‘older’ and for GenX, the hair color says “Hey, I am your kid’s grandma.”
For modeling the mentality is entirely supported by the movement for inclusion. Let’s include women of all body types, all races, and all ages. In Denver, there is a designer who only wants older women modeling her clothes. She picked up on the trend early and hired me to walk for her in a couple of Denver Fashion Shows.
Do you think there is less pressure on a mature model, or more? (Body image. Overall image, etc.) Is it more fun, less stressful being a mature model?
So, it’s interesting being an older model – yes, there’s still pressure to fit into the clothes and that gets more challenging when your body’s metabolism is changing. Here are a couple of anecdotes:
I hadn’t walked the runway in about 30 years, when I was hired by Nordstrom to do a Beauty event. As I was walking into the fitting, I followed two gorgeous women who were easily 3 inches taller than me and definitely fit! I felt myself flushing, embarrassed that I was shorter, old, fat…but when I got in the fitting everyone was incredibly supportive!! No one was saying, oh my god would you drop 5 lbs by tomorrow, no one was asking me to have plastic surgery. No. It was so great being included and accepted for me, just being me.
After that I was booked for the Denver fashion event with the designer who used several other women in the mature model cohort. It was so fun! That show is still on YouTube, you can watch it here.
What’s your every day skincare routine and what products do you use?
I have sensitive skin that has changed over the course of my life, like every woman! I had adult acne at one point and now the pendulum has swung over to dry skin. I have used the Clinique skincare system my entire life with some small adjustments:
- 4 nights a week I use gel cleanser, the other nights I use micellar water
- Toner morning & night
- Eye serum morning & night
- Repairwear Laserfocus serum at night (they are discontinuing this so I am just about ready to purchase some new products 😊)
- Dramatically different moisturizer — morning & night
- Moisturizer with SPF mornings – always
- When I can afford it I buy (and use) the Guerlain Double R Renew & Repair serum
- For fun I splurge on Guerlain lipstick – incredibly moisturizing!!!
- No eye-shadows with metallic glitter – makes my eyelids swell up
- Change my mascara often – sensitive eyes need fresh mascara
- Nars eyeliner goes on more smoothly than Clinique – soooo…
- Bobbi Brown eyebrow pencil is the right color for gray 😊
- Just about everything else is Clinique.
You’ve been living a fun, international life. Your husband’s career has taken you to Germany and now Italy. What fashion and beauty differences have you noticed in both countries? How do both countries differ from each other when it comes to the local image?
This is a great question! The beauty culture is vastly different between these two countries. Germans are practical and walk on cobblestones most of the time, so you see Birkenstock. But German women love being feminine so you see plenty of French cosmetic lines available in their pharmacies called Apoteke. You will also see them loving floral prints, but not wearing a ton of jewelry, and wearing big scarves. But while I was living there the uniform in winter was:
- Slim jeans or pants
- Thick sweater
- Wellensteyn jacket with fur-trimmed hood
- Boots or sneakers
- Big scarf
In Rome, the women are dressed with more jewelry and on trend. No wandering around in sneakers if you can find a pair of boots. Cropped pants, culottes, and split skirts are the trend that everyone is wearing. And did I mention boots? Combat, Chelsea, over-the-knee (with a mini-skirt), medium heels, high heels, mid-calf, bottom-of-the knee,– these women know their boot styles and wear them with hosiery! I don’t see bare legs here in in Rome, even if I do see some very short dresses and skirts. Most women wear their hair down, it’s colored, and they have at least one Italian brand visible, Gucci, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, or Luisa Spagnoli. I don’t see many hats, even when it is cold, but to make up for it they layer, layer, layer! I have seen a sweater under a blazer under a puffy jacket under a ¾ wool coat more than once!
Do you find you have to change your skincare routine based on where you live?
Yes, definitely. The hardness of the water and the humidity of the air, as well as the pollution of the urban environments are different and require different skincare treatments. Here in Rome, the water is very hard, so I am using micellar water more and more to cleanse at night. I am also using more SPF in my lip care routine because I am walking around in the sun more!
What about makeup? Do you like to glam it up, or are you a minimalist when it comes to makeup? What are your favorite brands?
I have a love/hate affair with makeup – I love how I look in it, but I don’t always want to spend much time applying it – so I have a couple of routines that work for me:
- Fastest: Guerlain or Clinique eye primer, Clinique cover up, Clinique mascara, Guerlain or Nars or Chanel red lipstick (very French and each red has its own temperament)
- Confidence booster: Guerlain eye primer, Clinique cover up, eye shadow (Dior, Clinique, Bobbi Brown), Nars eyeliner, Urban Decay setting spray, Clinique mascara, my perfect neutral lipstick (Guerlain, Chanel, Clinique depending on what my lips need or my wardrobe choice)
- Time to shine: all of the confidence booster with Clinique age defense BB cream SPF 30, cream stick blush, Becca liquid highlighter.
I love to ask this question… You’re going to a remote location/desert island, etc. What 3 products can you not live without? (Sunscreen is provided here, so no need to include that one.)
Coffee, Vicks, Allergy medicine, floss
Oh, you meant beauty products…cover up, lip gloss with SPF, mascara
What’s in your beauty bag?
I have a gold train case that holds exactly what I need for traveling:
Beauty tools, including eyeglass repair kit
Lip liner, lip gloss, lip stick
Korean pomegranate face mask (Best one is from Sally Beauty Supply of all places 😊)
Dior gift with purchase eye-shadow
Travel size Clinique skin care
Scissors, black electrical tape, samples of perfume, double-sided tape, safety pins, sewing kit
What advice can you give someone in the industry, who’s in that in-between stage of modeling/mature modeling?
There is always work. Work slows down, you might have to find some other applications for your skills, but there is always work to be done.
Any modeling or acting work on the horizon, or is that on hold for awhile?
By moving to Rome I have missed out on about 5 or 6 modeling jobs in Denver and it is killing me! On the other hand, I have found a great position here in Rome that uses my other knowledge, skills, and abilities, so that will be fulfilling on a different level.
I think you’re gorgeous and I love seeing how your career has evolved. Where’s your Cover Girl campaign??
This was such a fun experience! Thank you for the interview, Christine!
Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you would like to be considered for a future interview on my blog, please respond to this post!
You’ve Been Beautified!