Katie Couric is showing off her natural beauty in a new makeup-free photo shoot for People magazine's annual Beautiful Issue — though her initial reaction to the invitation for the shoot was, "Are you out of your mind?"
"Doing a shoot without makeup makes you feel both liberated and vulnerable," she said, having changed her mind.
Couric said in a video for the issue that wearing no makeup can be "terrifying," though she also tries to avoid wearing "too much."
"I think you just have to have the right amount to kind of enhance yourself but not try to cover up who you are or the experiences and laugh lines that you have," said the former TODAY co-anchor.
Couric added that she has been wearing less makeup in general lately.
"Since I'm not on television every day, I don't have to do the full spackle treatment," said Couric, who has been producing a podcast and online daily newsletter during the coronavirus pandemic. "I have been putting on a little bit when I do Zoom interviews or Instagram Lives ... but in general I've been wearing a lot less makeup.
"It's so funny because now people are saying to me, 'We don't like you with all that makeup anymore!'" Couric continued. "I think people appreciate showing the real you, and it's been nice to hear people say, 'We like you just the way you are.'"
Couric told People she became "very cognizant of not focusing too much attention" on appearance when she was raising her daughters, Elinor, 29, and Caroline, 25. Instead, she focused on raising their confidence and complimenting them on their intelligence and other strengths.
"I always had to stop myself from saying to my daughters when they were little, 'Oh, you look so pretty.' If I caught myself saying that I'd add, 'And you're so smart,'" Couric said.
She added, "Sometimes I'm neurotic about the way I look. I try not to say, 'I feel fat or look fat in this.' It's such a bad example for your kids. I haven't been perfect and I don't think I've always been great about that, but I tried to balance that focus. Girls are so much more than their packaging."
While mascara and lipstick still make a "world of difference" in Couric's eyes, she also tries to focus on making sure that her whole body feels good.
"I try to drink a lot of water to keep my skin and my whole body hydrated. I try to have a healthy diet. ... I'm really working on trying to eat healthier," Couric said. "I think that really does have an impact on not only how you feel, but then how you feel has a real impact on how you look and how you act. Not to sound cliche but I think living a life where you're happy, engaged, have gratitude, feel connected to your friends and family and loved ones and to the world at large, I think that's the most important beauty secret of all."
Couric also said it's been refreshing to see the beauty industry become more inclusive, especially around women who are older.
"I think when we start seeing women as they age and appreciate the beauty that comes with that, I think that women will stop trying to look young all the time," Couric said. "... We need to start celebrating and appreciating women at every age. ... I think people feel less pressure to conform to a specific definition of beauty, and I think that is awesome. I think it's really changed my perception of beauty as well."
CORRECTION (July 6, 2021, 12:10 p.m.): An earlier version of this article misstated the age of Katie Couric's daughter Elinor. She is 29, not 30.