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Cornelia Guest Shares Why Her 60th Birthday Was 'Just Another Day': 'I Celebrate Life Every Day' (Exclusive)

The style icon, actress and animal advocate is busier than ever, and she wouldn't have it any other way: "I think life is exciting."

<p>Kevin Tachman/amfAR/Getty</p> Cornelia Guest attends amfAR

Kevin Tachman/amfAR/Getty

Cornelia Guest attends amfAR's TWO x TWO For AIDS Art Gala on October 21, 2023 in Dallas, Texas.

Cornelia Guest has always been ahead of her time.

At just one year old, the daughter of Winston and C.Z. Guest graced the pages of Vogue — and she’s been influential ever since.

Named Debutante of the Decade in the 1980s at 22 years old, Guest has spent the past several decades acting, designing and advocating for animals. Not to mention, she’s also a muse for fashion designers such as Dennis Basso.

At 60, she still does all three with the same vim and vigor. They are her source of joy.

“I wake up and I'm so excited about what I am doing, and about the world,” Guest tells PEOPLE exclusively.

These days, Guest is counting down to the release of Oh Canada, a movie she stars in written by legendary filmmaker Paul Schrader. “A big focus of mine is my acting. That's something that I am very passionate about and I love, so when someone says, ‘You're hired,’ I get such great joy,” Guest says.

When Guest isn’t on a set, “I'm saving creatures,” she shares. Her work starts at home (she just rescued a puppy from Save Rocky The Great Dane Rescue. “We're both so lucky to have each other,” she says.) and spans coast to coast.

Guest, who founded Artemis Farm Rescue for miniature horses and donkeys, says acts both large and small make a world of difference.

“I help the local shelters by bringing food in small bags so they can give it to people who are having a hard time feeding their dogs so they don't have to give them up to a shelter. Instead of going out for dinner,  if you can buy two bags of dog food and give it to the shelter, it helps,” she explains.

“I’ve also been working with the American Wild Horse Campaign. We have these horrible roundups of horses on federal lands. If the public saw what was really going on, they'd be outraged. So I do a lot of work with that because that is something I strongly believe in, that horses are a gift to us and they should not be treated in this way.”

<p>Stewart Shining</p> Cornelia Guest

Stewart Shining

Cornelia Guest

Guest’s animal advocacy extends to other facets of her life. In 2011 she launched a namesake clothing and accessories brand made with eco- and animal-friendly materials.

Today, she’s partnered with Adrienne Landau on a collection. “She's always been a huge inspiration to me,” Guest says. “The faux fur that she's done, I've never seen such beautiful faux fur jackets in my life. And so I'm doing a classic collection with her and I'm very excited about it.”

Naturally, it’s inspired by the style icon’s own life. “I draw inspiration from how I want to live and how I want to wear clothes. Sometimes you don't have time to go home and change before dinner. All you can do is put on a heel. We as women, we're all different shapes and sizes, but we all want to look good.”

In her down time, you’ll find her in her garden. “I love seeing things grow,” Guest says.

The notion of slowing down never crosses her mind.

“No. That's so not my personality. I wouldn't know what to do with myself. I'm not a sedentary person. I'm always going, I'm always learning, I'm always experiencing. I have a curiosity that sometimes drives me crazy. I want to know why things are happening. It's exciting for me. I think life is exciting.”

Ahead Guest shares how she’s living her best life now.

Related: Cornelia Guest Cringes Looking Back at Her '80s Fashion: 'What Was I Thinking?'

Your Age is Your Energy

"So many of my friends talk about age. And I'm in a business where that's all they do.

But I never do.

People want to put a label on it. I don't think there's any value in it. For me, I'm ageless. I think I got that from my mother because she was ageless. She was much older when she had me, and we were really country people. So I think that maybe that had a lot to do with it because she was always riding, playing tennis, with her animals, in her garden. On Christmas day, we were on the tennis court.

When I see people talk about age all the time, I'm like, "Oh my God." If you want to live your life that way, more power to you. It's just not for me. That's not how I choose to live my life. I think your age is your energy."

<p>Stewart Shining</p> Cornelia Guest

Stewart Shining

Cornelia Guest

You Need a Little Sparkle in Life

“The most important thing is to know what looks good on you. I know that sounds like such a cliché. It takes a long time. I mean, I made some mistakes! Sometimes I look at pictures and I'm like, ‘What happened that day? I should have made a left when I went right.’

But now I know I don't look good in low-rise jeans. And, some people look great with dresses cut on the bias. It's not my favorite thing.

It’s important to know what you feel comfortable in, and go from there. For me, it’s things that I can move around in, that I can walk a dog in. I love shorts, a skirt and a little t-shirt with a sweater over my shoulders or a little twin set. 

Related: Inside Style Icon Cornelia Guest's Prep for Dennis Basso's New York Fashion Week Show (Exclusive)

I always get dressed and then go to the accessories. I would say that I'm more classic with those. I do love a good heel. I'm a big Manolo Blahnik girl. And Schutz makes beautiful shoes. For jewelry, I love pearls, cuffs and pretty rings. But I'm a big earring person.

I say be creative. I always want a twist in something. For me: it's got to have a little sparkle. You need sparkle in life. No sparkle, no fun."

I Have to Move

"I get up every morning and I work out. I done Pilates with Michael Podwell over FaceTime for years. It's what starts my day. So I don't miss it because it keeps me strong, it gets me moving, and I have to move. And, I have three Great Danes. So I'm always walking them."

<p>Stewart Shining</p> Cornelia Guest

Stewart Shining

Cornelia Guest

Less is More

“I have a very dear friend of mine, Cayli Cavaco [Reck], who has a store Knockout Beauty. She really got me into skincare. Before, I was like, ‘I wash my face and throw a little something on it and I’m out the door.’ Still, I am not going to sit for 25 minutes and rub cream into my face. I'd go crazy. But, she has me wearing a tinted moisturizer with a little SPF in it. She helps me a lot. And I'll ask friends of mine, ‘What do you do?’ Because we're all different. But for me, the less is more.

I'm not big into injectables. I think you should do whatever you want to do. But I don't like how they look on me.

I'll do a light peel for my sun damage and use different creams to get rid of sun spots, but it’s hard. I used to love to sit in the sun. I don't anymore. And I wear hats now. My mother was a big hat person, and she'd always say, ‘Put a hat on. Put a hat on.’ And really, finally, it sunk in.”

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Celebrate Life Every Day

“My 60th birthday was just another day. Because if not, then to me, [it feels like] ‘Oh, well, what is this day?’ And I have a bucket list for my life, not just because I've had a milestone birthday. It’s what I want to accomplish today, next year, whenever. I think: celebrate life every day. That's how I live.”

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