You donâ€™t have to watch All My Children to know Susan Lucci or her daytime TV alter ego Erica Kane. She is the undisputed queen of the soaps, known around the globe, who graciously took the time to dish with Beauty In The Bag about what keeps her looking just so youthful and glamorous.
Lucci first started playing soap opera icon Erica Kane in 1970. AfterÂ 41 years, more than 12 marriages (including a few to the same groom), a slew of torrid love affairs, more-than-one near death experience, an addiction to pain killers, a rape, and one of the first-ever TV abortionsÂ (and I could go onâ€¦), the 64-year-old star of both stage and screen hasnâ€™t aged a bit.
How is that even possible?
The reasons are not quite as far-fetched as some of the story lines her alter ego has played over the years on All My Children. Instead, Lucci credits healthy living, healthful food choices, pilates and using a skincare line she developed and more than that totally believes in.
Lucci–or La Lucci as sometimes show-biz side kick Regis Philbin calls herâ€”has proudly put her name and her reputation on a line of beauty products. Susan Lucciâ€™s Youthful EssenceÂ® is a personal microdermabrasion system that exfoliates and hydrates dry skin. This is what gives the daytime Emmy Award winner the same glow as her gilded Emmy statuette. (She was nominated for an Emmy Award 18 times before finally winning on her 19th nomination in 1999.)
â€œIt is my go-to skincare regimen,â€ she says. Lucci uses the microdermabrasion system once or twice a week often at the crack of dawn before she heads off to the All My Children set. â€œItâ€™s very easy to use, has an off and an on switch, and the batteries come with it,â€ she says. â€œYou apply the pressure. You are in charge and you can do it in privacy and on your own schedule.â€
Itâ€™s also very gentle, which means Lucci can go right in front of the cameras after a treatment â€“ even in front of the unforgiving high definition cameras that have become an industry standard.
This was no accident, â€œI have very sensitive skin and it took the better part of two years for me to approve the formula,â€ she says.
The system includes a moisturizer replete with a sun protection factor of 15. This cream hydrates the skin, and a marine extract calms it down after exfoliation. There is also a vitamin-enriched resurfacing cream that gets rid of dead skin cells, and a facial warming cleanser that helps prepare the skin for exfoliation. In addition, a skin-enhancing serum helps reduce the visible signs of aging. A 30-day supply of Susan Lucciâ€™s Youthful Essence system costs $29.95. (http://www.youthfulessence.com/)
There is more to staying and looking young than skincare alone. Lucci is also a fan of pilates, and has been for years.
To prepare for her a recent run on Dancing with the Stars, she kicked her normal routine up a notch with Malibu Pilates. â€œIt takes pilates off the floor, and you get a cardio workout too with fat flushing.â€ (http://www.malibupilates.com/)
Pilates also encouraged Lucci to eat a healthier, cleaner diet. â€œTo a large extent, you are what you eat and I used to be a cheeseburger and French fry girl, but two weeks after starting Pilates, I stopped craving French fries and cheeseburgers,â€ she says. â€œI would really rather have fruit and vegetables and grilled salmon.â€
All Her Children
All of these foods happen to be rich in skin-nourishing nutrients. For example, salmon is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that help the skin stay supple.
While Erica Kane is no nurturer (just ask any of her former husbands), Lucci takes care of her Helmut Huber, her husband since 1969, their two children and three grandchildren. â€œI always serve market-fresh vegetables and I used to make my own yogurt, which sounds very heroic, but I used a yogurt maker,â€ she says.
Huber was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation (AF) 10 years ago. AF increases the risk of stroke and heart disease. Healthy eating and regular exercise is part of his treatment and she plans to keep him around for the long haul.
As for her future, itâ€™s up in the air. Lucci and the other residents of the fictional town of Pine Valley, Penn. are slated to make their final curtain call on Sept. 23. To the dismay of legions of vocal soap fans (myself included), ABC has pulled the plug on All My Childrenâ€™s run (at least on television). There are talks–and hopes–that an internet production company will pick up where ABC left off.
With a new memoir Â called â€œAll My Life,â€ and lots of tabloid fodder about where we may see her next, one thing is for sure, we will â€“ maybe even as Erica Kane. â€œI love Erica, and I love playing her,â€ La Lucci asserts.