Pick up last month’s issue of Shape magazine and you’ll see that Sharon Stone, now 56, looks just as good in a mesh pullover and bikini as she did in a short skirt and…significantly less underwear in 1992’s Basic Instinct. How has the mother of three and Agent X star manage such a feat? Well, a combination of strategies. According to the glossy, “She credits her physique to total-body stretches, strength straining, yoga and dance.” Stone even uses bath time to squeeze in a workout: “Sometimes I do a series of standing leg lifts and circles in the tub, using the water as resistance.”
Secondly, she’s given up alcohol entirely. (Hard to imagine—even Gwyneth Patrow admits to indulging in a glass of red and a cigarette on occasion.) Thirdly, we have a feeling this is some sort of karmic reward for all the trials the mom has overcome throughout the years. She’s survived not one but three miscarriages brought on by a lupus-related condition, along with a brain hemorrhage that left her bedridden for months (and nearly disfigured). In spite of it all, Stone has risen above these emotional challenges to raise three adoptive sons and devote her time to humanitarian organizations like Drop in the Bucket, which works to provide clean water to impoverished Ugandan citizens.
One thing Stone will never resort to in the name of looks is plastic surgery. “There was a point in my 40s when I went into the bathroom with a bottle of wine, locked the door, and said, ‘I’m not coming out until I can totally accept the way that I look right now.’” (This was before she renounced the stuff.) Nowadays, a more confident Stone attests: “I’m not trying to make myself look like a girl because I’m not a girl anymore. I’m very happy about being a grown woman. I think there’s a lot of sexuality, glamour, allure and mystery to being a woman that you just don’t have when you’re young…This idea that being youthful is the only thing that’s beautiful or attractive simply isn’t true. I don’t want to be an ‘ageless beauty.’ I want to be a woman who is the best I can be at my age.”
Luckily for Stone, who’s been blessed with low cholesterol and low blood pressure, a strict diet doesn’t mean giving up her beloved steaks. Grill one up to go with her more vegetarian-friendly favorite, a delicious puréed mushroom soup she whipped up during her appearance on Martha Stewart. (Meat-abstainers: Just swap out the chicken stock for veggie and you’re good to go.) Now, who’s in the mood for some “Stone soup”?
Martha and Sharon’s Mushroom Soup
3/4 cup dried Polish or porcini mushrooms (about 3/4 ounce)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium leeks (about 1 pound), white and pale-green parts only, finely chopped and rinsed well
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup medium sherry, such as amontillado
5 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
2 pounds assorted fresh mushrooms, such as cremini and white
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk