YOU may not have heard the name China (pronounced Cheena) Machado, but the 83-year-old has a modelling pedigree that today’s young faces could only dream of – although she does feel some sympathy for them.

“When I modeled, we had to know the clothes. We had to know how to move,” she explained. “These poor girls just come in and they’re thrown in the closet and walk out. When I was in Givenchy, the clothes were made on the models, and we were really proud of the clothes we wore, so we showed them in a different way.”

Aside from being a muse for Givenchy, Machado’s most famous work was with Richard Avedon, who photographed her many times – and she was the first non-Caucasian model to be featured in a leading fashion magazine, in February 1959.
Speaking as she fronts yet another campaign, for American label Cole Haan, the model has been reflecting on her incredible, enduring career (“I retired. But people keep calling”), and has revealed that fashion still keeps her busy.
“Every two weeks or so, it’s ‘Oh, I gotta go to New York to be photographed.’ So that breaks up my day,” she told New York Magazine. “And then weekends we have lots of friends over, and we’re always cooking.”
Fortunately, she’s happy to share her health and beauty secrets, learned over almost seven decades in the industry.
“You can’t worry about ageing because that’s the worst thing. If you start, then you just keep finding more things you don’t like, and then you’re finished. There are a lot of things I could have done to my face, but it would never stop.”
One habit we can definitely adopt is her recommendation of a nice afternoon nap.
“I make myself lie down every afternoon; otherwise I’ll be too exhausted by the night-time,” she admitted. “If I can’t nap I’ll watch a little bit of TV and just relax for two or three hours… You know, I’m a dinosaur.” 2013