A Resilient Beauty
By Bonnie Siegler • Photography by Kimberly Metz
Styling by ZoË Battles
Hair by Richard Marin
Makeup by Joanna Schlip for Physicians Formula
Nails by Heidi Nguyen
Abusy actor and mother of three, Denise Richards has weathered a lot over the years – a contentious divorce from Charlie Sheen, the loss of her beloved mother to kidney cancer in 2007 and the challenge of raising her daughters – Sam (11), Lola (10) and Eloise (4) — amidst media scrutiny. No stranger to stress, Richards navigates the role of super mom, while amping up her career with a new webisode run of Vanity, CW’s Significant Mother and a holiday TV movie Christmas Switch. However, even with all the chaos, Richards refuses to let her hectic life dampen her outlook.
“I wouldn’t even call my life stressful,” says the 43-year-old, dressed down in jeans, a tee and ballet flats. “It’s just a matter of juggling everyone’s schedule and making sure I’m on top of whatever is needed for school, my work commitments and everyday life.” Parents need to learn to juggle everyone’s activities. “If you can focus on the positive, and stay hopeful, you gain an inner strength; I believe things happen for a reason.”
Richards’ vibrant energy is evident from the minute you meet her. The strength in her handshake belies her lithe 5-foot-6 figure. “Yes, I’m a single mom and my kids are always my first priority, but I do my best to find ‘me time’ whether it’s socializing with friends, doing a Pilates class, going on a hike or just walking along the beach. I love walking barefoot in the sand and feeling my toes gripping into the sand. I am working on trying to find more time for myself because I think it’s important to have that. It makes any person a better parent, a better friend, a better co-worker. It’s a balance.”
Richards admits she’s a girly-girl who loves getting her hair and makeup done, but she’s also a strong woman who opts for simplicity in her lifestyle. “Sure, I love dressing up in gorgeous clothes, but that’s not the real me,” she states while sipping a Matcha green tea with almond milk. “I’m usually in jeans and flip flops. I think ultimately, I’m a strong, compassionate and sometimes stubborn woman. It empowers me to be secure with myself, to make decisions on my own and be a single mom – all on my own.” Richards thrives on seeing how grounded her daughters are and is so proud of the women they are growing up to be. The actor has been through a lot and she wants her daughters to be equally strong-willed. “I wouldn’t be able to get through any of the challenging times in my life unless I was strong,” she says.
Healthier than Ever
“I’ve always been very spiritual,” says Richards. “Whether it’s coming from the Midwest or just the way my parents raised me, I have a moral compass and inner spiritualty.” The California girl is also driven when it comes to eating a healthy diet.
Richards admits that she’s always been into healthy foods, but it’s been even more important since her mother was diagnosed with cancer. During this tough time, researching and reading became a daily routine for Richards who sought out the healthiest lifestyle for herself in the wake of her mom’s illness. Her goal is to ensure her own personal longevity so that she will be around for her children in years to come.
“Ever since I was young, I’ve always had a very clean lifestyle and good, healthy eating habits,” says Richards. She starts her day at 6:00 a.m., lets the dogs out and makes a Kona coffee. One of her favourite breakfasts is a small bowl of oatmeal mixed with a bit of coconut oil, topped with sugar and fresh fruit – pineapple, papaya and berries are her favourites. Later for lunchtime, Richards digs into a hearty homemade vegetable soup or a big salad.
Healthy snacking is an important component of good eating for the whole family. “I pretty much eat all day long. My kitchen looks like a farm stand with fresh cut veggies and fruits. Sami is a vegetarian, and my eating is about 70 per cent vegan. My big exceptions are that I love Haagen-Dazs ice cream and I love half-and-half in my morning coffee. I don’t think that will ever change.”
Along with regular exercise and healthy eating, Richards has a few other secrets in her beauty arsenal. “I’ve worn sunscreen since I can remember,” she says. “I do an SPF 40 and, if I’m at the beach all day, I’ll up it a bit.”
And then there’s water, water and more water. “I think water is very healing and it flushes out toxins from the body,” says Richards. “I like the feeling of very cold plain water. Once a day, I’ll have a glass with lemon squeezed into it because it’s a good body cleanser. I’ve never been a soda drinker, but I do drink fresh juices that I make at home.”
Do What Makes You Feel Good
To round out Richard’s healthy living plan, help her relax and boost her immunity, she’s recently embraced alternative and holistic remedies such as acupuncture. “When I first heard about acupuncture a few years ago, I thought what on earth could these little points do, but I actually do find it beneficial. If I start to feel rundown or have stress in my body, I’ll go for an acupuncture session.” You’ve got to control what you can in this world and if something makes you feel better – go for it. VM