Elle Macpherson Says Getting Sober Helped Her Get to 'Know Myself on a Deeper Level'

The Australian supermodel stopped drinking 20 years ago after realizing that alcohol prevented her from being "fully present" in her life

<p>Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty </p> Elle Macpherson

Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty

Elle Macpherson

Elle Macpherson is opening up about how her life has changed since she decided to quit drinking.

In a new interview with the Australian magazine Body + Soul, the supermodel, 59, reflected on recently marking 20 years of sobriety and shared that abstaining from alcohol has allowed her to understand herself better.

“I stopped drinking in 2003 because I felt I couldn’t be fully present in my life, and it was a wonderful springboard of getting to know myself on a deeper level,” she explained, noting it's a choice she's never regretted.

“Everybody has their own journey and I’m not interested in telling other people what to do but I know that this was a decision that I’ve never regretted,” she explained.

“Although it required discipline and persistence, the bottom line is you can’t be well and present in your life if you’re not present and well, and alcohol doesn’t really support that. It’s very difficult to get to know yourself if you’re numbing yourself," Macpherson continued.

<p>Swan Gallet/WWD via Getty </p> Elle Macpherson

Swan Gallet/WWD via Getty

Elle Macpherson

Macpherson also told the magazine that as she's gotten older, she has come to understand that beauty isn't simply about her physical appearance, but her overall health and wellbeing. "I used to equate beauty with youth and as I’ve matured and as my experience has evolved, I’ve understood that beauty is more closely aligned to wellness,” she explained.

“The second part of that concept is that wellness is physical, emotional, spiritual and mental wellbeing and that they’re all integrated. That was the biggest revelation — that you can’t compartmentalize them and they’re not separate," Macpherson continued. "If anything is out of kilter it affects the others, so the secret to a happy, healthy life is really keeping in balance with all those aspects. It took me a long time to get that."

As she reflected on turning 60 in 2024, Macpherson said her attitude is to not focus on aging.

“I think it’s more important to focus on the quality of the life that you’re living and how you’re living life to the fullest," she noted. "They always say it’s not the years in your life it’s the life in your years."

For inspiration, Macpherson said she follows women on social media who exemplify aging with grace and who are embracing life to the fullest. "I’m more interested in their lives than how they look per se,” she told the magazine. “I’m interested in women’s lives in general, the depths of their souls, the breadth of their experience, their heart connections — without sounding too fluffy about it. The quality of women’s lives is what interests me.”

<p>Daniele Venturelli/Getty for The Red Sea International Film Festival</p> Elle Macpherson

Daniele Venturelli/Getty for The Red Sea International Film Festival

Elle Macpherson

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Macpherson said she is also focusing on maintaining a sense of "childlike curiosity" as she grows older. “There is an art to taking life seriously but not solemnly,” she explained. “I want to retain that childlike curiosity and spontaneity in life while keeping its meaning.”

Related: '90s Supermodels: Where Are They Now?

She's also shifted her approach to fitness after a career of strutting international runways and posing for fashion glossies. "We all worked out, it was calories in and calories out, you went to the gym and sculpted your body and we all talked about Jane Fonda-type fitness,” she recalled of the "gym bunny" era.

These days, she said that she prefers to head outdoors and take a hike or go for a bike ride or a swim.

Related: Elle Macpherson, 58, Shares Timeless Bikini Pic: 'I Take Care of My Mind, Body and Spirit' 

In a 2022 Instagram post, Macpherson also shared that meditation is a key part of her everyday wellness routine. "I take care of my mind, body and spirit every day with breath practice and meditation," she wrote at the time.

"My daily practice includes meditating in the morning for around 25 minutes — either guided, or in silence. I try to live my life in a perpetual flow of meditative connection rather than just at specified times," Macpherson added.

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