This week we bring you the stories of three senior women who are breaking the rules with style. These women know it’s never too late, too scary or too much to perform for the crowd. Caregivers, home care aides and loved ones can all learn a little bit about style and pizzazz from this week’s seniors in the news.
San Diego super-senior Dorothy Coleman recently celebrated her 105th birthday at the Lake San Marcos Kiwanis Club in a room packed with friends. Dorothy, who plays the piano at the club’s weekly luncheons, regales the members with a mix of classical, swing and golden oldies – without sheet music! At 105, she is the oldest member of the club, one of the oldest residents of North County, and one of about 72,000 centenarians in the entire country. She shared her secrets for a long life at her birthday celebration: she swears by staying grateful, not sweating the small stuff, and keeping a smile on her face. In addition to her love of playing the piano, which she first learned as a young girl, Dorothy is no stranger to adventure. In the 1930’s, she drove cross-country in a Model A Ford, and more than 50 years later, she went on safari in Africa, she traveled to India, and she published her first work as a 91-year-old writer. She makes us all want to keep smiling!
When you’ve got it, you’ve got it, and Leona Beldini still has it! The former deputy mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey, the 82-year-old grandmother recently completed a stint in prison for bribery. And that’s not even the most sensational thing in her past: octogenarian Leona spent decades thrilling audiences as the burlesque dancer Hope Diamond. In her heyday, Leona was known as both ‘the gem of the exotics’ and ‘one of the premiere ecdysiasts’ in the New York area. After her career in the far less wholesome realm of politics landed her in prison, Leona has kept a low profile. But Hope Diamond is taking the stage again this week to perform in fundraiser for a Jersey City local dance company’s 40th anniversary celebration. And while Hope Diamond has left her disrobing days behind her, she plans to put on a heck of a show, nonetheless.
Sixty-three may be the new 45 in the real world, but in the world of fashion, 63 is ancient. So imagine Lyn Slater’s surprise during New York’s Fashion Week a couple of years ago, when the paparazzi noticed her, and started snapping her photo. Lyn, a professor at Fordham University, was dressed in a couture Yohji Yamamoto suit and carrying a Chanel bag, so naturally the fashion press assumed she was a big ‘style’ icon. She eventually cleared up the confusion, but this inspired her to start her own blog about fashion for ‘women of a certain age’, and naturally she called it ‘Accidental Icon’. The story spread, and Lyn signed a modeling contract with ELITE London’s Special Bookings division while continuing to blog about fashion, style and beauty. While age is not the focus of her work, and in fact a majority of her followers fall in the 25- to 35-year age range, she believes that ‘dressing one’s age’ is just another way to keep women in their place. And she’s having none of it. She insists that she and her fellow boomers have been challenging the status quo their whole lives, and aging should expect no quarter. You can find Lyn on her blog Accidental Icon, and on Instagram as @iconaccidental.