Carol Alt lives by the motto "Do something every day mat scares you." Wriggling her 40-year-old body into a denim Lycra bikini for this year's swimsuit issue didn't fall into that category. "I take tremendous care of my body," says Alt, who feels she looks better now than she did 21 years ago, when she left Hofstra to try her luck on the catwalk. In her career as one of the world's highest-paid models, Alt has shown up on more than 700 magazine covers, including SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's.
A sun goddess no longer, she has ditched baby oil for botanical oils—the kind found in the Le Mirador all-natural skin-care line she has developed with the QVC shopping network. Alt is also considering offers to act in two TV series pilots. "I'm focused on making more sophisticated career choices," says Alt, who has appeared in over 60 films and television programs in the U.S. and abroad.
While in Toronto filming in June 1999, she met her boyfriend, 27-year-old Ottawa Senators center Alexei Yashin, at the NHL awards banquet. Recalls Alt, "I saw Alexei from across the room and thought, There's the most beautiful man I've ever seen." Alt spent most of the next six months in Zurich, where Yashin trained during a contract dispute with the Senators. Now dividing her time between Los Angeles and New York, Alt says that distance—not age difference—is her and Yashin's only hurdle. "We'll talk for hours on the telephone," says Alt. "I've learned more about hockey in the past two years than I did in 12 years with Ron." (Alt is in the process of divorcing former New York Rangers defenseman Ron Greschner, from whom she separated five years ago. "He wanted children, and I wasn't ready," she says.) While Alt hasn't ruled out the possibility of starting a family in the future, she and Yashin enjoy their mutual independence.
She will, however, remind him to eat his veggies. "Last year he asked me to help him get on my diet program," says Alt, who swears by lots of greens, raw-milk cheeses and sashimi. "Alexei used to be embarrassed to take his shirt off, and now he has the most amazing body. I told him that if he eats right, he can play hockey till he's 100." This model of longevity seems fit to give that prescription.