Minutes into our phone call with Molly Sims, we felt as though we were chatting with a longtime girlfriend — the Southern one who knows all the best beauty secrets, loves her mama and isn’t afraid to overshare for the sake of a story.
That loquacious nature not only makes her impossibly endearing, but it also served Sims well in her early modeling years, when information wasn’t disseminated instantly via the internet.
She was 19, a girl from small-town Kentucky who’d left prestigious Vanderbilt University to pursue her career. But the dawning of the digital age hadn’t yet happened, so to pick up the best tips and tricks in the world, Sims had to lean in to the best resource available to her at the time: girl talk with fellow model friends.
These days, Sims’ days admittedly look quite a bit different. Her circle now consists mainly of three — her kids Brooks, 6, Scarlett, 3, and Grey, 1. So while Sims long ago internalized the importance of self-care she first embraced as a teenage model, she’s acutely aware of how difficult it can be to carve out time for yourself when you’re a busy working mom. “It’s like this freaking vortex!” Sims said of the chaos of parenthood. “It’s all-consuming.”
But we shouldn’t wait until our kids are grown to start taking care of ourselves, she stresses. Sims is realistic that sometimes self-care as a mom means not trying to make it look like what you think it should.
“This morning, I tried to take a shower because my husband had dropped the kids off at school,” she shared. “I’m getting in the shower, and my 15-month-old is trying to take off his clothes to get in the shower with me. I know I’m only going to be in there for two minutes, but he had to be in there, of course. So I had my housekeeper help me, and I’m like, ‘Well, here I am, taking a shower with my housekeeper and my baby, how fun!”
This comical (and classic) story spills out of Sims without a moment's pause. She is refreshingly relaxed throughout our conversation — unbothered by pretenses and not afraid to admit her philosophy of self-love was a long time in the making.
“Listen, is it hard to age? It is. It’s hard. I think the biggest thing is I look back and wish I would have felt as good as I looked. I was recently with someone who’s modeling a little bit, and you just see the struggle of never feeling like you look great because you’re always being criticized or looked at,” she shared.
For Sims, self-care has been crucial. “I do think getting up and exercising or getting up and eating healthy and being conscious — that’s really helped me in my evolution of feeling good about myself,” she said.
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So, at this stage in her life, if she were to give someone advice on coming to a place of self-love, she’d start by telling them to pull out a current picture and focus on the positive. “When you look at that same picture five years from now, you’re gonna be like, ‘Damn, girl! I looked awesome!’” Sims said with a laugh before adding, “Because you don’t [think that] at the time. It’s a matter of really living in the moment and being OK.”
When it comes to talking to her own children about beauty, Sims says she practices positivity, which she credits to her Southern mama. At the crux of her philosophy about fostering a healthy self-image is being a good role model and at the same time also letting her kids figure out what makes them feel good.
When Sims’ young son asked to go with her and her daughter, Scarlett, to the nail salon, Sims didn’t bat an eyelash. Instead, she asked him what color he wanted. “He said, ‘I want navy blue on my feet and light blue on my hands.’ And [Scarlett] was like, ‘I want pink on my feet and purple on my hands.’ But I never missed a beat. It was never, ‘You’re not getting that, Brooks.’ He never felt like, oh, only girls should get that," Sims said. "I try to lead by example.’”
For Sims, that means learning to embrace aging — including the features she picked apart in youth.
“You know, I have a mole,” she started, laughing. “I know that sounds weird, but I’ve had a very strong beauty mark my whole life. My mom used to be like, ‘Girl, you should make that a little darker,' and I would say, ‘Mom, I’m not Cindy Crawford.’”
Years later, Sims’ dermatologist suggested they biopsy that signature mole. Having hated it growing up, Sims was at first all too happy to see it go. That feeling turned out to be fleeting, though. “They took it off and I have never missed that mole more. I was so happy because they said it might not grow back and it grew back. Now I’m so happy with the frickin’ mole! It’s so much a part of me that I’m glad I still have it,” she said.
In fact, you could say that Sims is a bit of a loyalist when she finds something she loves. Save a few notable exceptions (namely, when she has been pregnant or breastfeeding), one beauty hack in particular has been a constant in her life.
“Literally, they’ve been my boyfriend for about 25 years,” Sims gushed to us about Viviscal, the hair care system the model/actor first learned about from a fellow model and has since partnered with. “This girl was like, ‘There’s this great tablet you can take… get it. All the girls are raving about it! It totally makes your hair thick; it makes it grow; it keeps it shiny — it’s, like, the miracle worker,’” Sims said.
It’s not surprising, though, that Sims has amassed a growing collection of beauty products she swears by. Sea Spray by French Girl, Philip B dry shampoo, Triple Sec from Drybar, a wet brush, Olaplex, Malibu C crystals — Sims rattles off some of her favorite hair products, noting, “If I’m having a good hair day, I’m having a good day. It seems weird, but it actually affects my mood.”
Still, there’s no denying that Sims has experienced a change of pace from those early mornings sitting cross-legged on the floor with fellow models, sharing beauty secrets and overanalyzing their looks. Life is still hectic but in different ways. Being a mother has shaped Sims’ approach to her career and everything else.
Now, Sims says she simply tries to live with intention and, thanks to her husband, action.
“My husband recently gave me some advice,” she shared. “I was stressing about something, and I was like, ‘I just don’t know. I’m always used to saying no.’ And he told me, ‘Say yes more than you say no. It will get you farther.’ I like that."