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Elle "The Body" Macpherson Talks Shop

Wonderwall, Monday, July 27, 2009, 5:39pm (PDT)

by Saryn Chorney

Before Gisele Bundchen, and later, Bar Raefeli, were nicknamed "The Body," Australia's Elle Macpherson was the go-to bikini/lingerie supermodel. Now, the 46-year-old beauty is designing lingerie, particularly for women with D-G cups. (G'day, playmates?!) In a recent interview with the U.K. publication the Guardian, Elle talks business, eating disorders, ageing and that infamous moniker.

Would you rather be known as "The Body" -- or the businesswoman?

"The Body is my brand; it's been a wonderful gift. I've used that moniker to my advantage, and I'm incredibly grateful for the people who still perpetuate it."

And by "people who still perpetuate it," we assume she means Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue collectors.

Who are the new supermodels?

Do you feel overly scrutinised because of it?

"Perhaps people scrutinise me externally. Fortunately, I don't know what people are thinking, and what you think about me is none of my business."

Well, Elle, your opinion is certainly your business, but we're pretty sure Sookie from "True Blood" would disagree.

You're considered very shrewd to have made the move into business when you did.

"Shrewd is not the adjective that I would choose for myself. But I'm curious -- and perhaps somewhat forward-thinking, somewhat entrepreneurial -- in that I can think outside the box. I think a lot of that has to do with being Australian. We have to be creative because while we have lots of natural resources, we don't have the resource of a huge population and being close to the rest of the world. So we tend to take risks."

And that, in sum, is also how "Crocodile Dundee" and the Outback Steakhouse became such huge hits in America.

Do you feel a responsibility to cater for all women?

"I don't feel responsible to cater for all women, but I do believe that as long as we have the expertise and the interest, it excites me to create lingerie for a different body type."

Wait a second. What exactly qualifies "The Body" to design for different bodies, aka nobodies and/or anybodies? We could see, say, Jessica Simpson understanding the body issues of Middle America, but Elle Macpherson is -- let's face it -- a physical anomaly.

Check them out: It's time to play Guess the Supermodel!

Is the fashion industry responsible for eating disorders?

"Eating disorders are really psychological -- and often hereditary -- and the same as any other addiction, I don't think that any one entity can be blamed for them ... in my era -- and I believe it is still true in this era -- the girls that were incredibly successful were healthy. It was really simple: you were beautiful and healthy. Look at Claudia Schiffer, look at Christie Turlington, look at Cindy Crawford: after 20 years in the industry, they haven't destroyed themselves. They've maintained the way they look and they are very beautiful women because they've looked after themselves. I think a lot of stereotypical phrases are batted about in the press that are irresponsible and uneducated."

Well played, Elle, well played.

Do you worry about ageing?

No, because one ages. Either you age or you die, so I'll take the ageing option, please ... We are a society that values youth, but I believe this is changing. We are honouring age and wisdom more. There are so many beautiful women in their 40s and 50s and we don't say, "There's an old hag." We say, "Aren't they beautiful?"

Or, more often we say, "There's a cougar." Or, "Are they using Botox?"

Are you a feminist?

"I'm somebody who truly honours femininity. And I believe in individuality, and uniqueness, and that's all I'm going to say on that ... ["Feminism"] is one of those coined phrases that has a lot of innuendo and not much meaning these days. There's a stereotypical perception that a feminist is somebody who believes in equal rights for men and women. Well, I believe men and women are different and they have different needs, therefore the concept of equal rights doesn't really sit with me in many ways."

Let's not forget, men and women are also different bodied, which, judging by Elle's earlier comments, means she'll likely develop a men's lingerie line next. Watch out, International Male!

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