Author Jackie Collins always leaves me sighing.
It's not the racy passages from her delicious books, but the fact that Ms. Collins has been empowering and inspiring women for decades.
Even a simple question about beauty and style changes my outlook for the day.
Me: Jackie, you and your sister Joan have the creamy English skin, the long gorgeous dark hair. What is the secret?
Jackie: "You want my best beauty secret? I think the secret of looking good is to wake up in the morning and know that life is an adventure. Revel in the fact that this is another day you have and do something you're passionate today!
Just when you think you got her figured out, she re-writes the script.
JACKIE COLLINS' NEW LUCKY SANTANGELO BOOK
"I've always written that women can do anything," says Collins on a quiet weekday morning at her home in Beverly Hills. "Male writers just never get it right."
"At the end of a book written by a man, the woman is always going, 'Oh, I hope he's going to marry me,'" Collins says. "In my books, if a woman is successful and works really hard, she can have it all – man or no man."
"Have a baby. Have a lover," Collins says. "Be careful. Take precautions. But I caution you one thing: Only marry if you fall in love."
Everyone is falling in love with Jackie's new steamy, page turning book, her 28th, out in early September, called "Goddess of Vengeance."
Her headstrong favorite character Lucky Santangelo is back in a novel about power, passion, family, and revenge set in Las Vegas.
"Lucky is back with a vengeance," says Collins. "People love the character so much because she's a kick a— woman."
JACKIE COLLINS, GREAT STYLE
In real life, Jackie would make a good character in one of her books. She's gorgeous, headstrong...and funny.
Dig a little deeper and ask Jackie for her style secrets and she just laughs in that amazing English way that makes it sound like a Masterpiece Theater moment.
"I am one of those low maintenance people who is lucky. I have very good looking parents," she insists.
Don't expect her to talk about her beauty team. They simply don't exist.
"I'm about to go on my New York book tour and I'm doing my own hair, my own makeup and I'm my own stylist."
"I've never had a facial," says the woman with the creamy perfect skin, a trait she shares with her movie star sister Joan Collins.
"If I did all of these beauty things, I'd never have time to write!" she quips.
Jackie divulges that she does like products. "I do love to go out with my girlfriends to the stores on a Saturday and buy creams. I'm a big believer in fabulous face creams. I love La Prairie. I love a cream where you can feel that it's not vanishing into your face. I want to see the cream."
Jackie says fame complicates her beauty goals. "You should see me in the morning when I first wake up," she says. "The problem is you go out in this town and you have to be careful. There are so many paparazzi just waiting to snap you looking awful.
"If I don't want to deal with it, I wear a baseball cap and dark glasses, which is something any of us can do on a rushed day," Jackie says.
She says that weekly beauty appointments don't fit her busy lifestyle.
"I have friends who go to a manicurist twice a week. I do my own nails, which takes me literally five minutes twice a week. If I had to waste time sitting in a nail salon, I'd go crazy," she insists.
"That is wonderful for Hollywood wives," she says. "Not me."
JACKIE COLLINS BODY AND HAIR SECRETS
Don't hold your breath for a complicated fitness routine. "I like to play ping pong and I swim," Jackie says. "I do take a lot of vitamins, but not as many as Suzanne Somers."
"I take about ten a day, if I remember!" she says.
As for her trademark locks, Jackie says, "I love to use falls to make it longer. I have a hairdresser who comes to my house once a month and we do a touch up. Once again, I won't spend my time sitting at a beauty salon."
JACKIE COLLINS ON RELATIONSHIPS
Jackie is hilarious when you ask her about the state of male-female relationships at midlife.
"Truth is so much stranger than fiction," she muses. "The whole thing with the French guy and the maid. Please!"
What about men facing midlifer crises walls?
"The whole thing with men leaving their wives for younger woman is about men trying to look macho to their friends," Collins says. "They want to have the younger girl because they think it looks good, when the truth is they would be so much happier with the 40, 50 and 60 year old wife."
"When you see a head of a company dating a much younger woman, it's like saying to the board of directors, 'Look who I can get.' They don't realize that people are really thinking, 'You only got that girl because of your Ferrari and your bank account!'"
"I applaud that women in their 50s and 60s are dating younger men because they can," she says. "It's strange that women are criticized for this. Poor Demi Moore. Always criticized for being married to Ashton Kutcher."
What is her advice to women who are alone at midlife?
"When it comes to men, if you like them spend time with them. If there is no one you like then don't," she advises. "There are too many other things to do in this world than fret over the lack of a man.
"There are still great men out there," she adds.
"Of course, I used to tell my daughters a lot of men are pigs, but there are a different degree of piggery," she says with a laugh.
Jackie is single after dealing with two major relationships that ended in the worst ways possible.
"I was married for 20 years and he died of cancer. Then I was engaged to a wonderful man named Frank. He was a hero in one of my books. Tall, dark and handsome. We lived together for six years and one day he didn't feel good.
"Three months later, he was dead," she says with a sigh. "This man never had a sick day. It's another reminder to cherish every single day."
"One day, I do want to write an autobiography," she says. "I've nursed two men through terminal illnesses and want to help other people who are going through it."
She remains close friends with her sister Joan. "Joan is great. She lives half the year in France and half here. We're really close and I adore her husband," she says.
Jackie is also busy on book 29. "It's about a billionaire Russian mogul who takes a group of people on a yacht and then all their secrets come out," she previews.
There might be some racy moments.
"Oh, I can guarantee there will be racy moments," Jackie promises.
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