The Tiegs/Sears business was never really a contradiction, either. Cheryl came from a family of farmers who lived in Olivia, Minn. (pop. 2,800), before moving to California when Cheryl was a child. Her father, Theodore, was a mortician; her mother, Phyllis, worked in a flower shop. "My friends were waitresses and gas station attendants, middle-class people," she says. "I sincerely believe in designing high-quality fashions at low prices. There's no reason to spend a lot of money to look good."
Easy for her to say. Tiegs would glow in curlers and a potato sack. Speaking of which, she often throws down a huge plate of French fries at Les Pleiades, a favorite "luncheonette" near Central Park. With her live-in boyfriend of five years, actor Tony Peck (son of Gregory), 32, and two wirehaired fox terriers named Olive and Martini, Tiegs bicoastals her life between New York and a house nestled in the Los Angeles hills.
"You're coping with this, ah, age thing pretty well," a reporter said to her the other day.
"I've never worried about it. Age has never been a deterrent," Tiegs said. "I've never been in better shape. Never been stronger. Never felt better. I eat soooo well. [Flick. Another fry bites the dust.] Things keep getting better and better. And I keep hanging in. The more years you put on, the more knowledge you obtain, the more fun it is."
Recently Tiegs was riding home with the matriarch of modeling, agent Eileen Ford, from one of those luncheons with influential women—Beverly Sills, Ivana Trump and Susan Sarandon were among the usual suspects who joined the power munching—where she could revel in her hard-won status as, in Tiegs's words, "a substantial part of the community."
"Join me at '21' tomorrow?" Ford asked Tiegs.
"Thanks anyway, Eileen," said Tiegs. Then, referring to an earlier conversation, she said, "But I do want to go to Russia next year."
" Russia's premature, my dear. Russia will always be there," said Ford.
In certain respects, kind of like Cheryl Tiegs herself. Implacable...gorgeous...ageless...and still hanging in.