This Is What 50+ Looks Like

Inspiring women who celebrate their age

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Sallie Krawcheck, 50

Owner of Ellevate Women's Network and Ellevate Asset Managment


On being thick-skinned
“I moved to New York in the ’80s. Wall Street was where my generation wanted to go, the holy grail of work. There were only a few of us, and the guys were testing us.They would leave Xerox copies of penises on my desk, but I just kept showing up to work. I had to be tough.”


On integrity
“I got fired in 2008 after I partially reimbursed clients for risky investments made during the downturn. I advocated returning some of their money, so I lost a lot of money—but I wanted to be able to look at myself in the mirror.”


On what women must do
“In 20 years of banking, no woman asked me for a raise, and the vast majority of guys did. Women have to ask.”


On getting her money’s worth
“I’ll splurge for a beautiful purse and carry it until it’s frayed and given out. It’s hard to say no to Chanel.”


On her great-skin staples
“I’ve loved Estée Lauder DayWear Advanced Multi-Protection Creme SPF 15 [$32;] since my twenties. When my daughter was little, she would put it on while I was away on business because the scent reminded her of me. I also swipe on Philosophy Miracle Worker Retinoid Pads and Solution [$75;] because I like the way they tingle on my skin.”


On truth telling
“My life is not so perfect. My kids have had health issues. I’ve been fired twice, and both times it was reported in the Wall Street Journal. But I overcame it, and I believe we should all share how we do that.”

Ari Michelson

Pamela Baxter, 66

President and CEO, LVMH Perfumes and Cosmetics North America


On becoming a city girl
I grew up on a ranch in South Dakota. When I was 12 years old, I ordered a pair of Italian shoes from a catalog for cash on delivery. When they arrived, my father looked at me like, “What’s this?” I said, “These are my shoes!” He signed for them and said, “You’d better go to college, because there’s not a boy in this town who can afford this.”


On taking big risks
I was working as a retail makeup artist in Los Angeles when I landed an interview in New York to be a national artist for Charles of the Ritz [then a very successful makeup line]. To pay for the plane ticket, I sold the car my mother had given me. She didn’t talk to me for a year, but I got the job.


On asking for what she wanted
Late in my career, I realized I wanted to be in fashion because that’s my true passion. So at a 2007 interview, I voiced that desire—which is how I became in charge of both fashion and beauty for Dior.


On her buzzworthy skin staple
I love honey-infused products, like Fresh Crème Ancienne Ultimate Nourishing Honey Mask [$130;] and Guerlain Abeille Royale Face Treatment Oil [$98;]. My skin absorbs them so quickly in the winter.


On borrowing from the boys
One of my favorite scents is Dior Homme [$84;], which is actually for men. I like fresh, citrusy perfumes, and the top note on that one is divine.


On steering the next generation
I mentor students at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Columbia. It’s rewarding to be a sounding board for someone else.

Photo by Ari Michelson

Lisa Carvalho, 60

VP of Public Relations for Maybelline, Essie and Garnier

On the rewards of the beauty biz

“I talk to women in stores across the country and hear how products change the way they feel about themselves. A red lipstick, black mascara and good pair of shoes really can change your whole outlook.”

On avoiding the knife
“My dermatologist, Dr. Neal Schultz, is on speed dial, with Botox, fillers and lasers. He’s keeping me from that other guy, the plastic surgeon. I also swear by Garnier BB Anti-Aging Cream [$13; drugstores]; it gives my skin that perfect, dewy glow.”

On her hair drama
“Three years ago, I decided to grow out my silver—a shock at first. Now I love it, and it’s made my makeup routine easier: just Maybelline Great Lash Mascara [$7; drugstores], eyeliner, a red lip, and I’m done.”

On helping other women
“I want to take my time, my education and my know-how and give back to younger women. Gloria Steinem is my hero.” 

Ari Michelson

Dianna Blake, 53


On coming to America
“I was born in Jamaica and moved to the United States at the age of 12. I was very shy and had a Jamaican accent, for which I got teased. Because of that, I empathize with the struggles of my immigrant students.”

On globe-trotting
“I love travel. I’ve been all over the Caribbean, plus China, Greece, Sweden, Switzerland, Paris and the South of France.”

On the joy of a short style
“A few years ago, I opted for cropped, natural hair and love the freedom: wash and go. Often black women are consumed with going to the salon—then they can’t work out because it will ruin their style. I’ve decided to live without all that nonsense.”

On one perk of aging
“I remove myself from stress inducers. When you’re younger, you’re afraid to tell people how you feel. But I can be blunt now; I’m less worried about what others think.” 

Ari Michelson

Susan Fales-Hill, 50



On being part of TV history
“I began as a writing apprentice on The Cosby Show. It was exhilarating to depict African-American people never before seen on television.”


On letting go of people pleasing
“I lost my mother when I was 38 and miss her guidance. But recently I’ve realized it’s time to stop looking for an example. I’m the elder now; my approval-seeking days are over.”


On sexiness at fifty-something
“I hear women my age say they feel invisible, but I disagree. I believe that it’s important to put yourself out there. Look at Sophia Loren; she’s in her seventies and still embraces her sensuality.”


On how she keeps up her looks
“Thanks to Clairol Nice ’n Easy Perfect 10 color [$12; drugstores], I have no clue how many grays I’ve got.”


On her career mantra
“The best advice I’ve ever received: ‘If you’re too comfortable, it’s time to move on. Terrified of what’s next? You’re on the right track.’ ”

-As told to Nikki Ostasiewski

Melanie Acevedo

Julie Bell, 56

Global marketing VP for Benefit Cosmetics

On her winsome Windy City
“I grew up in Chicago and am proud of my down-to-earth, Midwestern roots. The founders of Benefit, Jean and Jane Ford, are originally from the Midwest, too, and I think that’s one reason we are so in sync.”

On her speedy skin care
“I just use Benefit Total Moisture Cream plus It’s Potent! Eye Cream [$42, $34;].”

On helping others
“I go back to Chicago often because I have a sister there who is disabled and I’m her guardian. I do fund raising for her community, Little City, and I started the Howard Bell Recreation Fund, named for my father, which organizes outings for disabled seniors. My parents taught me to help those who are less fortunate.”

On the upside of fifty-something
“The thirties were about going after what I wanted, the forties were about juggling, but the fifties have been about enjoying the life I’ve worked so hard for.” 

Ari Michelson

Ippolita Rostagno, 50

Jewelry Designer

On having artistic DNA

“I grew up in Italy with creative parents; my dad was a theater director and my mother a painter. I came to the U.S. to pursue dance, but as it became clear it would be hard to make a living that way, I began to design jewelry.”

On buying feel-good bling
“To me, jewelry is less about how it looks and more about how it feels. The right piece will make you behave more confidently.”

On keeping things simple
“If you exercise and eat well, you need less makeup. The only cosmetic I cannot live without is Lancôme Définicils mascara [$28;].” 

On letting her hair be
“I think I’m lucky to have curly hair; it frees you because there isn’t a whole lot you can do with it! I use DevaCurl No-Poo cleanser [$19;] and DevaCurl One Condition [$19;] and let it air-dry. In the morning, I shake my head out and go.”

Ari Michelson

Ranjana Khan, 58

Jewelry Designer

On holding out for love
“At 24, I was happy and successful working as a model. But in India, being single in your midtwenties meant you were an old maid, so my parents arranged a marriage. To avoid it, I moved to New York City. Two weeks later, I met and fell in love with my now husband [clothing designer Naeem Khan].”

On skin and hair maintenance
“I practice facial yoga for about six minutes a day to tighten the muscles in my face. And I massage my scalp with jasmine oil twice a month to help bring more blood to the hair follicles and promote healthier growth.”

On her beauty obsession
“I love Armani Rouge d’Armani Lipstick [$34;]. It looks and feels like velvet.”

On appreciating all ages
“In my twenties I found a good man, and in my thirties I had kids. I started my career at 42. When everything is falling into place, age doesn’t matter.” 

Ari Michelson

Claudia Poccia, 54

CEO of Gurwitch Products

On working her way up

“I took a job behind a cosmetic counter in college and became hooked on the beauty industry when I saw firsthand the confidence-boosting power of a makeover. Today I run a luxury cosmetics and skin-care business [best known for its Laura Mercier Cosmetics and RéVive brands]. Empowering someone to recognize her beauty—that just never gets old.”

On the cause that drives her
“My proudest career moment was creating the Laura Mercier Ovarian Cancer Fund []. I lost my younger sister to the disease when she was 39. Our work has channeled my grief and sadness into a positive purpose: raising significant money for research and awareness.”

On sole searching
“When I’m stressed, nothing beats a trip to the Bergdorf Goodman shoe department. Whether you’re coping with a bad day at work or battling a few extra pounds, a new pair of shoes can always cheer you up.” 

-As told to Nikki Ostasiewski

Efva Attling, 60

Jewelry designer


On her surprising career route

“At 17, I started silversmith school but dropped out to model, then join a band, X Models. We worked with Yoko Ono and ABBA and wrote a pop song that became a Swedish classic. It took me 27 years to get back to designing my own jewelry line [].”


On being a basic beauty

“As I age, I find I wear less makeup, but I can’t live without Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation [$62;] and Tom Ford Private Blend Lip Colors [$48;].”


On aging well

“You reach a certain age and are tempted to try this and that. But it costs a fortune. So instead I focus on balance. Don’t party too much. Drink enough water. Do you feel loved? Then you look good.”


On being a nontraditional parent

“When my two sons were kids, they wished for a more normal mom. Now they think I’m pretty cool.” 


-As told to Nikki Ostasiewski

Melanie Acevedo

Eisabeth Halfpapp, 54

Fitness Guru


On her claim to fitness fame “My husband, Fred, and I created Core Fusion, a series of barre-based workouts that combine Pilates, yoga and ballet. We teach it at Exhale Spas [locations are nationwide;].”


On her vices (we’re glad she has some) “I’m originally from West Germany and love beer—especially German Altbier. And I have dessert every day. My favorite is lemon pound cake.”


On what surprised her about aging “I used to be out the door in minutes. Now hair and makeup take longer than they once did.”


On her beauty staples “I can’t do without moisturizer. I rotate Exhale Wonderlust Serum [$65;] and Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum [$150; neiman​].”


On her midlife mantra “My fifties feel better than my twenties. My secrets are simple: I don’t skimp on sleep, and I don’t actively fight the aging process. I believe in working with what you’ve got.”


-As told to Nikki Ostasiewski 

Melanie Acevedo

Sonia Kashuk, 54

Celebrity Makeup Artist


“I love telling people my age. They are often surprised, and I use it to
my advantage. Your fifties don’t have to be dowdy; I think 54 is cool.”



“The key to a gorgeous complexion is applying foundation just where it’s needed-, -not all over. I wear my own Sonia Kashuk Perfecting Luminous Foundation [$10;].”


“Six years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Thanks to an early diagnosis, I was one of the lucky ones. I’ve since used my platform with Target to talk about the disease and raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation [].”


“A healthy diet, daily exercise and a mind to stay modern are crucial. And I get facials once a month.”


“I credit my work success to being a sponge, listening to and surrounding myself with ambitious people.”

-As told to Nikki Ostasiewski

Melanie Acevedo

Marie Josee Lafontaine, 50

On life as a makeup artist:

“In the beginning of my career, I lived out of a suitcase and worked in TV and movies. Now my clients are New York fashionand beauty companies—and I am able to stay in one place.”


On embracing her gray:

“Five years ago, I gave up coloring. Women constantly stop me and say, ‘I wish I had the nerve to do that.’ Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo [$8;] keeps it bright.”


On daily makeup maintenance:

“I always wear makeup. I skipped it occasionally when I was younger, but now I feel better if I have it on. My go-tos: Laura Mercier Kohl Eye Pencil [$20;], Clinique High Impact Mascara [$15;] and Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation [$72;].”


On her midlife mantra:

“It’s OK to be the oldest person in the room. My anti-aging secret is to stop fighting it. And keep working! I’ve been at it since I turned 18, and I have no plans to quit anytime soon. My job gives me both a sense of value and pride.”

Photograph: Rainer Hosch

Libby Edelman, 58



On strokes of luck
“Day one at Harper’s Bazaar, I assisted at a photo shoot and fell for fashion. When I started at Seventeen, I was assigned to report on the shoe market, where I met my husband, Sam. Together we created Sam & Libby shoes.”


On her skincare must-haves

“I’m loyal to Murad Sheer Lustre Day Moisture SPF 15 [$68] and Environmental Shield Essential-C Cleanser [$35; both at].”

On how she stays in shape

“I know some people get up at 6 AM for yoga, but not me. I just run with my Jack Russell terrier.”

On her favorite footwear

“I live in Kendra flats with bows on the toes, from my line Libby Edelman [$69;].”

On loving her age

“I still feel young. It’s hard to believe I’m on the verge of 60—I certainly don’t feel it.”

Photographed by Melanie Acevedo

Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, 54

Executive VP of OPI Nail Lacquer


On OPI’s surprising origin

“I never planned a career in beauty. In the 1980s, my brother-in-law owned a dental-supply company and found that dental prosthetic materials made superior acrylic nails. Together we marketed his product to professional nail salons.”


“OPI was acquired late last year [for a rumored $1 billion] by Coty Inc. This is a huge opportunity, but since OPI was my baby, I feel the way I do about my daughter going off to college next year. It’s bittersweet.”


On the joys of “free to be”
“I grew up in Communist Hungary, where individuality was not embraced. That’s why I cherish my creative job.”


On her low-maintenance looks
“I have short hair because it’s easy. Beyond that, I’m not the plastic surgery type. My one indulgence is a manicure. This spring I’ll be wearing OPI Guy Meets Gal-veston, a bright coral [$9; for stores].”

Tamara Tunie, 50



On how she lives young

"I still enjoy doing the things I’ve always done, like going to a monthly dance party at a club downtown." 


On the benefits of midlife

"I appreciate being able to give back to charities I care about such as the American Diabetes Association- my older sister passed away from diabetes and Figure Skating in Harlem, which teaches young girls about confidence, focus and goal-setting."


On her enviable glow

"I just sweep on bronzer like "Neutrogena Healthy Skin Blends in Sunkissed ($13; drugstores). I’m all about the drugstore beauty products. They’re affordable and get the job done."


On what she wears

"As a dancer in my twenties, I was thinner than I am now. Today, I dress to accentuate my more womanly figure. I adore the designer B. Michael’s curve-flattering gowns but there is nothing better than jeans with a crisp white shirt."

Photo by: Perry Hagopian

Pamella Roland, 50

Fashion Designer

On getting into fashion:

"Growing up in Michigan, I dreamt of designing clothes. But that wasn’t realistic, so I studied business in college, got married and had three children. Then, at 40, I began to design. People thought I was in-sane."


On her streamlined style:

"I detest fussy clothing. I love clean lines, black, and masculine pieces with a touch of femininity. My staple is the white blouse."


On beauty sleep:

"I’m not ashamed to say I need rest. When I am sleep-deprived, I rely on ReVive Moisturizing Renewal Cream [$165; reviveskin] and Laura Mercier Primer [$30;] to look decent."


On her secret passion:

"I love to sing. Last year, my friends got sick of me singing into spoons, so they bought me a karaoke ma-chine. My husband topped them by hiring Harry Connick Jr. to perform at my fiftieth birthday party. I sang backup and had the time of my life."


On her dream day:

"I’d sleep in, relax with my kids, avoid e-mails and phone calls-and sit in the sun with a bloody mary."

Photo by: Perry Hagopian

Sheri Poe, 56

Corporate fashion executive


On being the boss

 "I’m no longer so controlling at work. I hire the right people, then let them do their job. You don’t build a successful company by yourself."


On skin care:

"Before I could reach the bathroom sink, my grandmother taught me how to wash my face. She also told me to stay out of the sun, take off my makeup before bed and use moisturizer daily. I did all that, and then at 30, I got really serious. I began exfoliating every day and using Ayur-Medic Enrichment Cream with peptides ($65; 800-357-5280) at night."


On being single:

"I’ve been divorced twice, and I am loving some time alone. I’m more at peace; before, I was often restless."


On carving out "me" time:

"I’ve put myself first – finally. I stopped skipping yoga and began eating well, rather than grabbing junk food on hte go. As a result, I’ve never been in better shape."

Photo by: Alexandre Weinberger

Linda Fischer, 54

On family:

"For me, this is a decade of being ‘in service.’ I have a 12-year-old daughter, and my elderly father lives next door. His health and happiness are a daily concern. We’re on a hill in Napa, where we can see the silver waters of San Francisco Bay. Taking care of the land-and having family responsibilities-give my life meaning."


On keeping fit:

"I love to take heart-pounding power walks under the stars, up and down our hill with my dog. All the stress of the day melts away. I could be singing ‘O Holy Night’ in my underwear and nobody would know!"


On life in balance:

"I’m a graphic designer, writer, marketing consultant and model. It’s an ideal blend of indoor and outdoor, city and country. I commuted to an office for more than 20 years, and this is a good way to live in midlife."


On fashion: "If you have a shape at this age, show it-it’s very aging not to reveal that you have a body. If you want to fall into the abyss of middle age, go ahead and be comfortable!"

Photo by: Shay Peretz

Pat Tracey, 52

On confidence after 50:

"I don’t doubt myself anymore. If I have a gut feeling, I go with it-and generally, I’m not disappointed."


On rewarding herself:

"When I can’t splurge on a vacation, I splurge on the theater. Or I’ll unplug my phone and read a novel set in an exotic place, like India. When I can’t get there in body, I’ll get there in mind."


On low-maintenance beauty:

"At 40, I stopped relaxing my hair. I was tired of worrying about hair dryers and humidity-even going to the gym revolved around when I’d had my hair done. I decided my hair had to fit in with my life, not the other way around."


On her diet:

"I don’t eat fried food, but I do have ice cream. Chocolate ice cream. I need only one flavor, not the other 58."

Photo by: Michael Waring

Dianne DeWitt, 55

On treating herself:

"Fragrance is my weakness-fresh green and gardenia scents, especially Michael Kors, Annick Goutal Gardenia Passion and Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio."


On glamming up:

"I saved the designer clothes from my modeling days in the 1980s, and now my 13-year-old daughter puts a fresh twist on them. Some of the shoulders are a hoot, but the workmanship and fabrics are gorgeous."


On finding her voice:

"I love show tunes and singing out loud. Now I’m channeling that into doing voiceovers."


On sweet spots:

"My heart belongs in Houston, where I was born, but I’m exploring Montana. My dream is to fish the Yellowstone River. Fishing is my favorite escape."

Photo by: Michael Waring

Alva Chinn, 57

On age:

"I just discovered I’m a sexy woman. When I was younger, I didn’t have the curves I have now. I never thought of my body as anything other than a clothes hanger. Now I’m amazed at this body-and enjoying it."


On dating:

"Men look at me more now than they did in my forties. There’s so much freedom in knowing who you are. Any man you attract now is attracted to all of you."


On skincare:

"Every week I soak in a bath of essential oils and heavy whipping cream. It’s very fatty and rich, and leaves my skin so moist, it never looks dry."


On what’s next:

"I model, act, and teach yoga and Pilates. Whatever my spirit is moved by, I follow. Five years from now, I hope I’ll be doing more and doing it all better."

Photo by: Michael Waring

Yasmina Rossi, 51



On being 51:

"I feel more at peace than I did 10 years ago. I’ve realized that everything around me is a source of teaching. This is aging, and I enjoy it."


On gray hair:

"My hair started turning gray when I was 12 and was salt-and-pepper by the time I hit 20. I never colored it, because I knew it was my best asset."


On creativity:

"When I work with my hands, I feel in touch with my soul. I started making jewelry two years ago. My designs are very ethnic, with turquoise, coral and shells reminiscent of my childhood on Corsica."


On eating well:

"I’m drawn to colorful foods like tomatoes, pink grapefruits and spinach. I like putting beauty and life into my body-I feel it shows on the outside."


On photography:

"I love being behind the camera. I did my first self-portrait in the Texas desert. When I’m in huge surroundings, I feel huge inside."

Ari Michelson

Angela Paul, 52

On being 50-plus:

"I was a model at 16 and worked for 10 years, and so it’s great that I’m at it again after being a winner in MORE’s 2005 Model Search. This time I can be myself and project vitality and health instead of unnatural images. At 52, I love the woman I’ve become."


On independence:

"I’m married to an entertainer, and that suits my personality. I get to travel the world with him, and we also spend time apart, which is very healthy and necessary for keeping a marriage fresh. I wouldn’t do well with a nine-to-five guy."


On peace of mind:

"I stay sane through meditation-45 minutes each morning and night. I discovered it 26 years ago when I lived in Japan. It’s the foundation of my well-being and the best anti-aging secret I know. I’m convinced it can make you look 15 years younger."


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Photo by: Shay Peretz

First Published Wed, 2009-08-05 14:53

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