Raquel Welch on the secret to staying fit in 1984 | Life and style

Raquel Welch, now 81, was in ‘cracking form for a lady who has survived 44 years, 27 films, three marriages and two children’ in a photoshoot for the Observer Magazine in 1984. She was plugging the publication of her workout book, Raquel: The Raquel Welch Total Beauty and Fitness Program, ‘like those other mature American glamour pusses Jane Fonda, Victoria Principal and Linda Evans’.

The book revealed Welch’s ‘most cherished beauty secrets, physical and mental’ and drew from the Hatha yoga that she discovered seven years previously. ‘The fact is,’ Welch confided, ‘that the mind and the body are interrelated.’

Thousands of women, apparently, had asked about her diet. ‘When they hear that I have given up salt, sugar, oil and processed food,’ she said, ‘they are aghast.’ She described her step-by-step programme as ‘when East meets Welch’, and a third of the book is either Welch exercising (in skimpy clothing) or not exercising (in skimpy clothing).

To promote the book, ‘jocks’ from the US Olympic male swimming team ‘offered their whole-hearted support’, surrounding her wearing – and not wearing – budgie-smugglers while Welch sported a spaghetti-strap zebra-print bodysuit.

Given that the swimmers appear to be swimming not in water but oil and also that they seem to be attempting a sort of proto-twerk in her face, Welch’s salt and oil intake may have temporarily increased to dangerously unhealthy levels during the photoshoot.

Welch said it was while completing a stint as the replacement for Lauren Bacall in the Broadway play Woman of the Year that the book idea occurred, rather than a suggestion by a publisher after Jane Fonda’s Workout shifted millions of books and videos.

‘I love Jane, but that book was sort of, well, tacky,’ said Welch, unlovingly.

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