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The Messed-Up Reason Christie Brinkley Hated Being Seen in Swimwear for Years

"Why am I trying to please everybody?" Brinkley said on TODAY about how she used to think when she was younger. 

By Christopher Rudolph

It was "legends only" for the recent 60th anniversary issue of Sports Illustrated "Swimsuit Edition."

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The magazine celebrated the milestone by reuniting 27 past cover models for a glamorous photo shoot. One of the women to return to the cover was supermodel Christie Brinkley, and it turns out that Sports Illustrated actually played a part in why she didn't want to be seen in a bathing suit for years.

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On May 28, the fashion and beauty icon appeared on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna to debut TWRHLL, her new Hamptons-inspired clothing line. While Brinkley sat down with Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager to talk about her new collection, the conversation turned to age, and how she is actually loving being 70, which she turned on February 2.

"It really is an amazing time. You don't really care what other people think about you," said Brinkley. "You just have fun... I'm just really enjoying it."

When Bush brought up how she was surprised to hear that for years Brinkley didn't like to be seen in a bathing suit, the supermodel revealed that she had "a whole routine" for covering and uncovering when she would wear one.

Why Christie Brinkley didn't want to be seen in a swimsuit for years

Christie Brinkley attends an event for Sports Illustrated

"After doing Sports Illustrated, I did not want to be in a bathing suit in front of people because they [Sports Illustrated] perfect you. Real life is real life, and I felt like I had to live up to people's expectations," she told the TODAY co-Hosts. "That's something that goes by the wayside when you turn 70. It's like, why am I trying to please everybody? It's impossible. I had the whole thing, the towel around the hips and the legs; I was sensitive about that area. I would drop it at the last second. I would plan my exit that somebody would bring a towel over to me." 

"It's so silly," Brinkley added.

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Earlier this year, on February 20, Brinkley posted a selfie to her Instagram, celebrating entering a new decade. "Looking in the mirror on my 70th Birthday and what do I see, I’m finally happy with the person looking back back at me. I’m no longer critical and demanding now I’m grateful and understanding," she wrote in the caption. 

"We can't let the numbers define us," Brinkley told Kotb and Hager as they discussed embracing aging. Judging from her fashionable new clothing line, and returning to the cover of Sports Illustrated, Brinkley is taking her own advice, and not letting her age define her.