How this 63-year-old model stays gorgeous

Cindy Joseph beauty
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How this 63-year-old model stays gorgeous

You were scouted in your late 40s. How did that come about? 
"I was approached by a casting agent, asking if I would model. She was looking for a woman to be the older person of a heterosexual couple of different ethnicities. I thought I was being punked! Steven Meisel shot me two days later for the worldwide campaign for Dolce & Gabbana." 


What's your advice for aging a society that often focuses on youth above all? 
"It's all the same conversation. Remember, you are in the driver's seat of your life. It is what youmake it, and what you think of it. You make the judgment calls — no one else does. If you are living according to what others think, you will never be truly confident or happy. And, if you live only for success, you will burn yourself out. If you go for success, pleasure is 50-50. If you go for pleasure, success is guaranteed. I believe we were built for pleasure. That is our nature, as women. 

And, women love attention. You can make a 95-year-old woman blush. We have been sold this idea that our currency is in youthful beauty, and that leads us to believe that our value will go down as we age. That is all just made-up, make-believe. Notice that there is a new kind of beauty in every age, from the newborn, to the toddler, to the adolescent, the pubescent, to young adult — all through your 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond. Look for that beauty in all women, and find it in yourself. It's there. Aging is just another word for living."
How does your modeling career impact your style? 
"I get a broader exposure to a variety of designs in clothing, shoes, and jewelry that I might not otherwise. It actually has given me confidence in what I am naturally attracted to, which is classic simple designs in clothing, shoes, and accessories." 

What are your at-home beauty rituals? 
"Early to bed, early to rise, yoga, dancing, jumping rope, and walking. A mostly vegan diet with lots of veggies and fruit. Boomsilk and only safe products on my skin, like Boomsticks!"
How do you take care of your skin? 
"I wash my face with Usana's Sensé Gentle Facial Cleanser. If I feel my pores need deeper cleaning, I use their rice-bran polisher cleansing mask. Then, I apply Boomsilk, and that's it."

What are your favorite beauty products? 
"I love my Boom products along with my Chanel eyebrow pencil in Blonde to fill in any gaps. And, when I feel like a little more oomph, I use black Bare Escentuals Buxom Lash mascara and will sometimes add brown Rimmel Exaggerate waterproof eye definer. The Shu Uemura eyelash curler is a must." 

You talk about being "pro-age." What's behind this philosophy? 
"We all grow up in an anti-age society. Aging is considered a negative experience. As I — and most of my generation, the Baby Boomers — am finding is that life and you get better as time goes by. You become more self-aware, more experienced, skilled, educated, discerning, and more aware. Life continues to be an adventure, and you continue to be a passionate, feeling, emotional creature. It is time to switch our anti-ageism to pro-age."

What, or who, is beautiful to you? 
"Joy, kindness, compassion, gratitude. Nature, innocence, wisdom."

When you were in the R29 office, a few women said they hoped to age as gracefully as you have. So, what's your secret? 
"Everyone wants to know that life gets better and not worse. We would like to know we get better as time goes by. And, we can. I have come to the full realization that all of life is fun, adventurous, challenging — not just the first 30 years. I have thrown out the old paradigm of life looking like a mountain, with an imaginary peak they call the 'prime of life.' There is no such thing. Every second of your life is the prime of your life. Right now. And now. If you take care of your body and live for pleasure rather than success, (which lowers the stress in your body and mind) and learn to trust the universe, you will carry yourself with ease and joy. 

I do not accept my age — I celebrate it! I wear my wrinkles, silver hair, and age spots as medals of honor. Life and beauty is all what you make it. That is what attractiveness and aging gracefully is all about. Enjoy it!"


Your teenage self tossed out her beauty products, but now you have a cosmetics line. How has your opinion of beauty products changed over the decades? 
"I believe if we wear beauty products for fun, rather than fear, we are on the right track. I see all women as the right size, shape, color, texture, and age. Makeup is just for fun!" 

If you could talk with your younger self, what would you tell her? 
"That she is perfect just as she is. Being attractive is about how you feel and your attitude, not how you look. I would show her how the magazines retouch the models, so she would understand what she sees is fantasy and nothing more. There is much more to say, but that's the gist of it." 

Tell us about your gorgeous gray hair. What made you decide to go — and stay — gray? 
"I started to silver — I use that word because silver is valued in our society — when I was in my early 30s. I had a pretty distinctive streak by 38. At 43, I was silver all around my face. I was not comfortable with it and covered it against the wishes of my then-boyfriend, 16 years my junior, and my kids. After six years, I realized I was covering what I was celebrating: my age! So, I threw out the bottle of dye and went silver. The day I chopped off the last bit of dye, I was approached to model!"
What's the best beauty advice you've ever received? 
"Taking joy in living is a woman's best cosmetic. If you want something more practical, a Thai dermatologist said, 'do not wash your face unless you must, and only at night before bedtime.' Been doing it ever since!" 

If a woman wants to be happy, healthy, and beautiful, what's your best advice? 
"Live your life according to you and what gives you pleasure. That way you will trust your intuition, follow your dreams, and take care of your body and spirit."

Youth is wonderful while it lasts, but the older we get, the more we get a not-so-sneaking suspicion that life just gets better as it goes on. Then we met Cindy Joseph, a 63-year-old model whose joie de vivre is nothing short of inspiring - and our theory was proven correct. This is one woman who has that whole inner-outer beauty thing down.

A former makeup artist who worked in New York and Paris, Joseph is a beauty-industry veteran in her own right. Then, after being scouted for a Dolce & Gabbana campaign at age 49, an unexpected career in modeling took off. Since then, she's posed for the likes of Anthropologie, J.Crew, Shopbop, Elizabeth Arden, Aveda, and magazines galore. But, there's more to Joseph than her timeless looks. Fed up with the idea that gray hair and wrinkles are flaws to be hidden, she founded Boom!, a line of natural cosmetics with a "pro-age" (versus anti-aging) bent. Refreshing, much?

How to look gorgeous at EVERY age

And, while we're all about embracing beauty at every age, we did have to ask Joseph how she stays so stunning. (Admit it - you want to know, too.) Read on for Joseph's thoughts on looking good, feeling great, and finding purpose in life. We just hope to be half as cool in our 60s...and beyond.

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Credit: Photographed by Atisha Paulson, Courtesy of Refinery 29
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