By Sharon Cotliar
Updated May 09, 2005 12:00 PM

Stewart talked with People correspondent Sharon Cotliar from her home in Bedford, N.Y., where she is serving five months house detention.

You look fabulous—what are you doing?

“Keeping busy is the best thing for me. I have so much to do since I’ve returned home. I’m living in a new place, so it’s sort of invigorating. I have a regular routine set up.”

What’s your workout routine?

“Three days a week with a trainer. She comes at 6:30 a.m. Then two days a week with a yoga instructor. She comes twice a week for an hour-and-a-half session. Then the trainer is an hour session. And lots and lots of walking. I do as much walking as I possibly can. I love to walk. It’s hilly here, so it’s a lot of good aerobic exercise.”

How has your routine changed over the years?

“It’s just longer. I think I’m spending a little bit more concentrated effort on the exercise. When I was living in Westport, it was harder because I had a longer trip to New York. Now that my time is so constricted, at least for the next five months, I have to fit in more in a shorter period of time. I’m giving myself enough time for exercise.”

I don’t think people realize you still have a packed schedule.

“I don’t think they do realize. I’m working at home a full workweek, as well as out of the house a full workweek. So I have at least two full workweeks going on at the same time here.”

Can I ask how much weight you’ve lost?

“I don’t weigh myself. I have not gotten on the scale yet. No, all I do is try clothes on. Now that I can actually, wear a size 10, it’s very nice. I was wearing a size-12 jacket. I can still wear a 46 [12] jacket, but I can also wear a 42 [8]. It’s very fun.”

Is there anything in your closet you couldn’t wear before that you can now?

“My favorite jeans, my favorite old Gucci jeans, which I’ve had for seven years, I still wear. I’ve always worn them. But they’re loose, so that’s a good sign.”

Were you trying to lose weight, by the way?

“I wasn’t fat. Okay. I wasn’t fat. I was stressed out for three years. And stress is the worst enemy to anybody. An intense stressful period can make anybody look less good than they usually do.”

Are there any foods that are strict no-nos for you?

“No butter. No cream. I’m eating well. Eating healthfully. It’s pretty much the same way I’ve always eaten.”

You’ve never advocated a particular diet?

“No, I’m not on a diet. I love bread from Balthazar [a New York bakery].”

Your skin is amazing. What’s your secret?

“I drink a lot of Water. But not too much. I really protect myself from the sun. You have to keep your skin hydrated. I eat as many vegetables as I can. I don’t really drink. I think alcoholic beverages are deadly [to the skin].”

How about caffeine?

“I have one cappuccino a day with one tiny shot. That’s all I drink. I just like the taste. But that’s all I drink of caffeine. Right now [8 a.m.] I’m drinking herb tea with lemon. I drink a lot of lemon water.”

Is there one thing that has to be in your fruit bowl or fridge?

“Whatever is good. I try to teach everyone around me, if the fruit doesn’t have a good smell, then don’t buy it. If a peach is hard and doesn’t have scent, leave it.”

So you don’t restrict yourself to blueberries and avocados?

“Oh, no. I eat a tremendous variety of things.”

How has your regimen changed over the years?

“Intense exercise is more important now than it was. Up until I was 40, I didn’t have to exercise at all.”

Did you have to watch what you ate?

“No, nothing [laughing]. But I’ve always taken good care of my skin. I’ve always gone to Mario Badescu for my facials, and that will never stop. I’ve always used the best hypoallergenic products I can find. I really like hydrating things on my skin.

Is there any particular product that you consider an essential?

“Good masks are really important for good skin. I use five different masks—not all at the same time. But I just slather them on. I get up early and I let the dogs out. Then I slather a mask on. I lie down for another 15 minutes. Then I rinse it off in the shower. I think that helps a lot.”

Is that a daily routine?

“Maybe every other day. I really like masks. They’re not the tightening, drying kind of masks. I try to use things that are hydrating and reestablish some elasticity in your skin.”

That’s heartening, that it’s not all just good genes or good bone structure.

“That kind of simple routine doesn’t take anytime, because you’re just lying down. It’s no big deal. I read or I talk on the telephone. I also use very good moisturizers and very good sunblock.”

What SPF?

“As high as I can find. I have some that says 60, but I think it’s all about 30.”

When you’re gardening, do you wear a hat?

“I cannot be in the bright sun. I just can’t. It’s too hot now. The sun feels really hot on me all the time.”

Do you think that’s changed over time?

“Yeah, it has. I used to be a total tan-aholic. I had that golden kind of skin when I was in my 20s and 30s. I never worried about it. But then I think the ozone layer changed and things got a little bit hotter. Not a hot temperature, but the sun seems stronger.”

You obviously take good care of yourself. Were there any lessons you learned from your mom either about eating or beauty?

“I think she taught me to use baby oil to remove my makeup, which I still do. It’s the best. It’s soothing to my skin.”

Any special tricks you’ve learned from your daughter Alexis?

“She’s been my encourager for yoga. Yoga is great. Flexibility is terribly important. She also ferrets out extraordinary health providers. She found a great chiropractor who I go to, Wanda Lopez. She’s amazing, and she helps with the flexibility. Alexis also gifted me with her masseur, who is fantastic—Elliot Potts. I don’t have as much time for him right now as I would like. I’ve had one massage since I came home. It’s therapeutic.”

Was there at least one indulgence you couldn’t wait for when you got home?

“No, I didn’t miss anything, and that’s the truth. Except my friends, my family and my pets.”

There wasn’t a product?

“Not really. No. Actually we had a commissary, and there were products available that were adequate. I used them. Luckily I had enough money to buy them. A lot of people down there don’t have the money to get the products. But I was able to use them. So actually my skin got nicer.”

How is that possible?

“Because I didn’t have any bad things. No coffee. No tea. No alcohol. Take away those things, and your skin gets better.”

Was there anything you could find in the commissary that was good? A shampoo? Could you find everything you needed?

“They had Avon products. Avon has some very good shampoos. They also had Neutrogena products, which were great.”

Was there anything you were good about improvising? I’ve heard you made vitamins.

“They sold vitamins. They try. It’s not a terribly impressive program of offerings, but they try to give you the basics like B’s and C. They had vitamin E. They had calcium. You could get the very basic stuff.”

You talked about not missing a lot. Was there something you were surprised you could live without?

“No, I’m not much of a creature of habit. I like variety a lot. I just treated this as a chance to try other things. You had to look at it that way. If you didn’t, you would get in trouble.”

You do have a great attitude. How much did it help?

“It helped tremendously. I had a lot of time to exercise there, so I got into a more enthusiastic exercise regimen. One thing you can do at a place like Alderson is walk. It’s 100 acres. So we walked a lot. There was also a small gym. So I got on the treadmill 40 minutes a day. I lifted weights. And I taught the yoga class, which I was really happy to do.”

Was that your idea? How did that evolve?

“Yeah, because nobody else was teaching. I’ve been taking yoga with a woman in Maine called Roseanna Rich, who is an Iyengar yoga instructor. After five years, you learn the routine.”

Talking about yoga, since you don’t have a lot of time, what do you do to relax?

“I love headstands. I love lying on blocks, the yoga blocks, to open up your lungs and your chest. I really, really got to rely on that as a stress reducer.”

I heard from Eva [Scrivo, her makeup artist] that you taught the women how to blow-dry their hair, too. Is that true?

“Yes, because I know the flick of the wrist from Frédéric [Fekkai]. Frédéric and Eva are really good with blow-dryers. But there’s a beauty school [at Alderson]. I only went there to have my hair washed once, I think. But a lot of people learn beauty techniques. It’s one thing that they don’t tell you you can’t do, so that’s kind of good.”

You looked great when you walked out that first day.

“Well, I was very happy, as you can imagine.”

Had you taken care of your hair and makeup?

“Oh, yeah. Yeah. In every house down there, there’s a little room with a big mirror and blow-dryers and irons and all kinds of stuff. But I just used the blow-dryer. You blow-dry your hair because it’s freezing cold all the time, so you have to dry your hair before you go out. I did not spend a lot of time doing that, by the way. Having had makeup almost every day because of television, it was such a relief not to have that.”

You’ve always had blonde hair?

“My hair is pretty much the same color it’s always been. Everyone was quite shocked when I went away for five months and didn’t need highlights. I’ve only had highlights to brighten it for television.”

How would you describe your look?

“Sort of the tousled, outdoor, healthy, natural, easy look.”

You look so great—do you feel different?

“I’m happy that the jeans are loose and the sweaters hang. That’s what I like. The jackets aren’t as tight. That’s all you care about. Five pounds can ruin your looks.”

You don’t look like you’re 63. Do you think about age?

“I don’t at all. I never think about age. I have no idea how old anybody is. It doesn’t matter to me. It matters how they are. It matters what they do. It matters how active they are and if they have energy.”