Welcome to Part Two of Q&A with Cindy Joseph.
Q. How did your transition from coloring to natural grey go?
A. I started going silver/white at the top of my hairline along my forehead at 33 and had a full white streak by the time I was 38. As I approached 43 it had grown in silver/white all around my face. That is when I started using a temporary color. I left the streak on top because it had become a distinctive part of my "look." What made me dye the sides was that I was feeling nervous, even afraid, about having too much silver. I didn't feel ready for it, since I thought it made me look older than I felt.
Then, six years later, I was talking to a group of people about how aging was so different than what I thought it would be. Aging turned out to be fun and exciting as I was becoming smarter, happier, healthier, wiser, and sexier. Once that became a subject I was very passionate about, it felt hypocritical to talk about how great aging is and then hide it with hair dye. So, that was that. I threw the bottles of dye away and let my silver grow out.
The very day I cut off the last bit of color, I was approached on the street by a casting agent and asked to model for a Dolce and Gabbana campaign. I certainly did not expect that to happen. It was such a positive validation for my decision, which was not an easy one, believe me. I was excited and nervous and curious about going au naturel! It ended up creating a whole new career for me as a model. I have enjoyed being a spokesperson and representative of the Boomer generation ever since, and knowing that I have inspired other women to embrace their age with enthusiasm is one of my great joys.
That transition eventually led me to create my line of makeup that launched six months ago, called BOOM! By Cindy Joseph. I want to apply this same mantra and understanding to women of all generations. I want to help people embrace themselves and the beauty they already have, rather than covering it up.
Q. What, if any, cosmetic, surgical/laser procedures have you had over the years?
A. I have never done anything other than wash and moisturize. I have freckles that I was not born with. They appeared on my skin over the years from sun exposure. I have fine lines and crow's feet and the elasticity is leaving my skin. I find it all a part of life. They are "my" wrinkles, unique only to me. I earned them by living a rich, emotional, and passionate life. I am proud of my wrinkles and my silver hair. I wish more women felt the same. When they do, that is how the negative viewpoints about aging will change in our society. When our own viewpoints of ourselves change, society's will change. Embracing our age and celebrating our lives is a revolutionary act.
I would rather spend the money on a therapist to help me handle negative feelings about aging than inject myself with chemicals or go under a knife. I understand that there are many women who feel differently and I respect their decision. I grew up in the same world with the same messages. I understand the pressure we live under. It's obnoxious and tiring, but it can certainly have us feeling like we should try to stay young-looking.
When will we all face life as it is? Who are we fooling? Ourselves? There is so, so much more to say about this. The history of women, what gives us our value, what changed since we got the vote and started taking jobs, health and self-image. The true meaning of the words young and old. Our viewpoints are ours and change as we so choose. We ARE free. We are not victim to society's whims. Society’s whims are created by us. It is our decision. Oh, I could go on for pages!
Q. What particular beauty products (other than your own) do you swear by?
A. Pleasure is the best beauty product there is. Rosalind Russell said, "Taking joy in life is a woman's best cosmetic." I could not agree more. I believe exercise, fresh air, sunshine, and fresh fruits and vegetables are all a part of looking beautiful, NOT younger! A smile is the quickest face-lift there is at any age! And it’s free! I feel close family, friends, and community are a part of our beauty as well. Beauty does not come in a jar.
Q. I think that as young women, we were accustomed to being objects of sexual attention among any group of men. It was a big part of who we were and many of us just took that for granted. Then sometime around the age of menopause, that role begins to fade. Men don't automatically check us out. We become invisible to a lot of people and it is a strange and empty feeling, especially since we may not feel so different inside. What do we as mature women do to fill that empty spot in who we are? I know it shouldn't be that important to us but it is a fact of life. We still need validation, I'm afraid. Also, if someone does compliment me, I am apt to think they may be making fun of me.
A. Boy, or rather Girl, I understand! LOL. We have all felt that sting from time to time. I say fill that emptiness with love! Love for yourself, love for life, your family and friends. Fill it with passion for what you love to do. There is a huge, rich world to play in, outside and inside. Think about it. Do you really want to be valued for your looks? Or do you want to be loved, adored, respected, and known for who you are? And when you DO get compliments on your looks, take them in. Drink them up. When a mature woman is complimented on her looks, it's certainly not for having smooth skin and a tight body. You are being recognized for having what it really takes to be attractive. You are living a life that reveals your beauty, grace, style, joy, humor, wit, or whatever your unique characteristics are. In those moments YOU are being appreciated.
Some of what was involved in our attractiveness when we were "young women" was just the hormones of our species. It is in our make-up. We are human, animals that are designed to propagate. The child-bearing years are part of what makes young women valuable on a biological level. That is a fact. It is always something to be considered and kept in perspective. I think it should be talked about more with young women so they understand what is happening from the get-go.
All women enjoy and want attention at every age. When we are young the easiest and quickest way to get attention for ourselves is in a sexual way. I believe you are correct in observing that we can become accustomed to this kind of attention. However, once a woman/girl gets noticed, she is not satisfied with just that superficial interest for long. We want to be noticed and valued for who we are, not what we are.
Once a woman is past child-bearing years and her body is showing signs of the life she has lived, what you have left over is a person: a whole, complete woman with all the wants, desires, dreams, intelligence, sensuality, ideas, vision, interests, talents, and unique qualities that we each have. You still have what is most valued. So little is gone and so much more remains: the richness of character that can only come with living life. The experiences that bring maturity, wisdom, and self-love can only become more as time goes by. The confidence that can come with age is very attractive to young and old.
I understand that being physically invisible can feel bad. I have dressed up for a party, taking extra time with my hair, clothes and make-up, feeling quite, well, attractive, hot, pretty, whatever. After walking a few blocks in the city, I see I have not been noticed by anyone. I have felt a sense of loss from time to time with that. However, I realize that kind of attention is so shallow. Those people don't know me or care about me. It was just the initial eye candy they were enjoying. Now, when I become attractive to someone, it is because they are getting to know ME. That is what really feels good. And if they don't, I just figure it's their loss. LOL!
Letting go of those experiences we had in our youth just makes room for new experiences. If we still got the kind of attention we got as young women, would we really want it? We know so much more now about what that was all about. We want the respect and attention from men and women who appreciate what it took for us to come to where we are in life. To really see us, meet US. We want them to notice and appreciate our spirit, our character, our accomplishments. Right?
Love to hear what my ramblings have inspired or provoked.
Thanks for asking.