Brooke Shields Shares Her 4 Wellness Must-Haves and Reflections on the “Extraordinary” Privilege of Aging

Brooke Shields' Pretty Baby documentary has spurred the icon to talk about healthy living and what really matters these days.

Brooke Shields was just 11 months old when she landed her first modeling job, but Shields says she “just started to really live” only after she’d turned 40. We got that—and we wanted to hear more.

Shields, now 57, is making headlines for the release of her Hulu documentary, Pretty Baby, which premiered April 3, 2023. Recently the actor, producer, entrepreneur and activist sat down with The Healthy @Reader’s Digest to discuss several of her recent projects.

Brooke Shields attends the "Impractical Jokers: The Movie" New York Screening at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on February 18, 2020 in New York City.Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Most of Shields’ current initiatives share the same goal: To fight ageism and sexism in popular culture and promote the advancement of women. “We’re a large demo. We have lived lives,” Shields said. “By the time I was in my fifties, I just took things differently. I felt different about myself—I didn’t beat myself up so much. There was so much I felt excited about in the future.”

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She wasn’t alone. Shields credits pal Courteney Cox, who directed a 2022 Clos du Bois wines campaign Shields starred in, for how Cox “really focused on this age bracket, doing things with vitality and activities and being outside and things that make us happy.” Shields said the concept around their joint initiative is “the celebration of life and friendships and how far we’ve come … That’s where we are as people—as women for sure.”

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Brooke Shields attends the 2021 Hampton Classic Grand Prix on September 05, 2021 in Bridgehampton, New York.Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images

But it doesn’t sound like she’ll be slowing down anytime soon. Now that her daughters are independent (Rowan, 19, is a college freshman; and Grier, 17, appeared with Shields in a 2022 Mother’s Day campaign for Victoria’s Secret), Shields said she feels inspired to pay her blessings forward, and to keep learning. “Community is actually good for your health. I want to keep giving out towards wherever I can.”

Shields said she’s been inspired by spending time outdoors and what nature has taught her “about cycles, and the importance of water, and time spent tending.”

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Her own wellness practices include making sure she exercises every day—”I make sure I move in some capacity . . . to get my adrenaline and my heart going,” she said—along with staying hydrated (“It’s a fight, I forget all the time”) and focusing on sleep. And finally? Healthy eating—Shields said if her body doesn’t get enough greens, she craves a good salad.

It’s not just about looking good—it’s about feeling good. The day after she spoke with us, Shields teamed with her trainer Ngo Okafor to host a live virtual fitness class to raise funds for Ukrainians in need of housing. “When you look at everything happening in the world that’s so tragic,” she said, “you sort of think: Oh really? Am I gonna really focus on those five pounds? It’s like, come on. Instead of picking the thing that I’m just obsessing over, I’m sort of saying, You’ve come this far. You’ve really done a lot. You’re so thankful, you know?”

And these days, she insisted, perspective is everything. “It’s such an easy thing to overlook and forget—but your body is extraordinary in how it wants to heal, and how much it can do that’s miraculous. Instead, we do what I did, which is just pounded the heck out of it for decades onstage” (referencing her years on Broadway in Grease, Chicago, Cabaret, and others). “The injuries that I’ve had, it’s amazing to see what your body is capable of. There’s health, and wellbeing. Look at the whole … what it means to really live in your body and in your life to your best. And what makes you happy, not in comparison to somebody else.”

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Kristine Gasbarre
Krissy is the senior editor leading content for TheHealthy.com and “The Healthy” section of Reader’s Digest magazine. For two decades she has worked in digital media, books, and magazines and is a #1 New York Times and internationally bestselling ghostwriter. Her work has been featured in Reader’s Digest, People, the New York Times, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), Sirius/XM Oprah Radio, and more. With degrees in psychology and cultural media studies, she assisted with a clinical research project at the Cleveland Clinic and is a certified group fitness instructor, the owner of two irresistible rescued dogs, and the partner of a physician leader in healthcare quality who is also a stage IV lymphoma survivor.