Her bubbly personality and passion for the arts are what Dawn Lindberg were known for.
As the country mourns her passing from a Covid-related illness, we look back at a happier time – when Dawn, vibrant and vivacious as ever, spoke to us about being fit and fabulous in her 50s and keeping the passion alive with her beloved husband, Des.
This story was first published in the 4 December 2003 edition of YOU.
Fit, fabulous and well into her 50s – that’s how Dawn Lindberg describes herself. Yes, she's overflowing with self-confidence and it shows.
And after a day in this vital woman's company you realise why she's so positive about herself and her life – she feels so good because she looks so good.
When she bared her breasts last month for YOU's special Breast Cancer Month article thousands of readers were amazed by her figure – the figure of a fab 40-year-old.
How does this talented singer, actress and producer manage to look so stunning?
YOU decided to find out and went to see her at her mansion on Houghton Ridge, Johannesburg.
For Dawn a working day begins at 6am with a cup of rooibos, fresh fruit, yoghurt and a handful of supplements including vitamin C, calcium, omega-3 and -6 oils, spirulina for energy and vitamin B against stress.
"If I catch a cold once a year it’s a lot," she says. "I ascribe this to the vitamins I take. I've never had flu."
"My perfect day always starts with exercise:' she says. "It's like oxygen to me. Being physically fit gives me heaps of self-confidence and energy: I feel good about myself and that's the basis of the true joy of life:'
She spends an hour and a quarter at gym every day. "I usually start with aerobic exercises and run a few kilometres on the treadmill."
A gym instructor has worked out a fitness programme for her that she follows strictly. She does different weight exercises each day.
"This increases muscle power as well as bone density. I finish with abdominal crunches and stretching exercises to keep my joints supple. I also drink lots of water while training."
"On weekends I don't go to gym – I exercise in bed with my husband Des," she says with a naughty laugh.
After a gym session she relaxes in the shower, then treats her body to plenty of skincare cream.
"Gym helps me get rid of stress. I'm a passionate person and sometimes get too carried away by my work.”
Back home she enjoys a second cup of rooibos, fruit and a slice of toast with banana. She doesn't snack on sweet things between meals and always has apples, naartjies, sunflower seeds and water on her desk in her office at home. She believes small portions of food at a time maintain her metabolism.
She and Des always have lunch together. “We enjoy fresh salad made with vegetables from our garden cheese and homemade soup. I usually put last night's leftovers in the processor and rustle up an exciting soup.”
A glass of fruit juice accompanies lunch and then it's back to work. At 3.30pm she lies down with her two Burmese cats and even if she doesn’t sleep, she relaxes completely.
If she's performing at night, she leaves home at 6.30pm to allow herself time for warm-up and stretching exercises. When they return home, Des makes supper and they have it together at about 10.30pm. "But if we're not working at night, I like to be in bed early with a good book,” she says.
Dawn loves pampering herself with various beauty products. In the daytime she uses a moisturising cream from Environ and at night Estee Lauders’ Advanced Night Repair. She's meticulous about cleansing and before bedtime she uses a Neutrogena hand cream. And she never goes into the sun without applying an SPF 15 sunscreen.
She loves having her legs waxed and has a French manicure every three weeks."I hate cracked heels – and you'll never catch me with them. I also have a pedicure once a month."
She has her hair cut by Sherry, "the best stylist in the country", and her highlights and colour done by Michelle, a specialist. "I'm nowhere near ready to be grey: she laughs.
Every three months she treats herself to a salon facial, and her special treat is to have a deep massage.
"But If there's one thing I'm really regular' about it’s my mammograms and Pap smears, I have them done every year."
Des and Dawn have been popular members of the theatre and music industry for 38 years and regard it as a great privilege to have been able to work together for so long, 'We've shared everything – all the pain and triumphs of the entertainment industry,” She says of their career,
"Des is my soulmate and my best friend. We argue a lot but get over it quickly. I never sulk with him.”
But the fact Des doesn't share her passion for fitness and health bothers her a bit. "He loves watching cricket and rugby on TV while enjoying a glass of red wine.
"But he's really proud of my figure and that motivates me more. He tells me every day how sexy I am and that's one of the reasons our marriage works so well. We still share terrific intimacy. Fortunately, he's promised to go to gym with me from next year, so we'll see!"
Spiritual wellbeing as important to Dawn as physical fitness. Which is why she and Des often head for the Bushveld where they find peace in nature among the wild animals and breath-taking sunsets.
At least twice a year they go to the seaside, where she loves taking long walks on the beach alone to centre her soul. "I hate crowded beaches and go on holiday to escape and be close to nature.
"Its important people realise I don't look after myself so religiously just because I'm vain" she says. "I just want to live forever and don't want to do so in an unhealthy body. I love being a woman, and also being strong and having so much energy. It helps me to feel in control."
Incidentally, those who thought she had a scar on her body after seeing her photograph in YOU last month needn't worry. It was just a reflection.
Other people's approval and affirmation are important to her and keeps her going. But the most important thing to Dawn is that she should be loved for who she is inside and not her status, appearance or fame.
"To me beauty and sensuality are an attitude. My body is my machine and is incredibly important to me and I cherish and respect It.
"All women can look good, even if they're older. All it takes is plenty of willpower and a good attitude to life.
“I live my life with passion and compassion. My father wrote a poem when he was dying of cancer and the last line is my credo: We are nothing but for the pleasure we give to others and the love we receive in our brief lives'."