Being asked to pose for photos while wearing a body-baring swimsuit is something that would send many women running in the other direction.

Throw in the fact that the photos were going to be featured in a famous fashion magazine without any retouching, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a willing participant.

That is, unless you asked Susan Lucci, 71, who is well-known for her body confidence and age-defying physique.

When images of the soap star vacationing in Barbados wearing an itsy-bitsy bikini (and looking spectacular) surfaced earlier this year, the internet went wild trying to figure out what Lucci’s anti-aging secrets were.

Thankfully, the All My Children actress is finally sharing some of those coveted anti-aging secrets in a new editorial piece for Harper’s BAZAARAnd if the completely unretouched images of Lucci frolicking on the beach in two different sultry, one-piece swimwear styles are any indication of just how well her anti-aging secrets work, then we are dying to know more!

Strong is Beautiful and Age is a State of Mind

Lucci looks truly stunning in the new Harper’s BAZAAR spread featuring her wearing a ruched one-piece swimsuit with a plunging neckline and a sexy, black swimsuit featuring side cut-outs, leaving all of us wondering, what’s her secret for looking so amazing at 71?

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While Lucci attributes much of her toned physique to a longtime love affair with Pilates combined with a disciplined diet, she also strongly believes that age is really about your state of mind and developing strength, saying, “What I’ve learned is that if you train hard, you can offset some of what you’ve got going against you. People look at me and say ‘Wow, she doesn’t seem old, but she is old.’ Meanwhile, the reality is if you’re strong, you’re beautiful, no matter what age you are.”

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But let’s not kid ourselves, looking that good (at any age) takes hard work – and Lucci certainly seems to put in that work according to the diet and exercise routine she shares with the magazine.

Lucci attributes her fit figure to the fact that she has remained dedicated to her daily (that means seven days per week!) Pilates practice using her Pilates Pro Chair for over 20 years, even developing her own Pilates workout DVD, Susan Lucci’s Favorite Moves.

In addition to her rigorous workout regimen, Lucci maintains a fairly strict diet, for the most part avoiding fatty foods, desserts, snacks, breads, and pasta. She also refrains from drinking alcohol outside of the occasional glass of champagne on special occasions.

 

When it comes to Lucci’s glowing skin, she swears by a combination of never going to sleep with makeup on and adhering to a skincare routine that includes regular Botox injections.

It’s no secret that Botox has gotten a bad name for frequently freezing the faces of many celebrities, but Lucci believes that the trick is in finding the right dermatologist who favors a more natural application. She speaks very highly of her personal doctor, Ellen Gendler, saying, “She doesn’t completely freeze your face. You still have expression, so it doesn’t look fake.”

The fact that Lucci claims to “…feel as good now as I ever did in my 20s and 30s, maybe even better physically,” should be enough to convince you that she’s truly found the secret to looking and feeling your best with a combination of healthy eating, regular exercise, and a positive mental attitude.

But, if you need more convincing, be sure to check out those unretouched images in Harper’s BAZAAR  where Lucci proves that with a little hard work, it is entirely possible to look and feel amazing at any age.

What do you think of Susan Lucci’s swimsuit photos? How do you keep yourself looking and feeling as good as possible? Share your thoughts and join the conversation below!

Photos: TIME Inc.

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