Glorious Broad #13: Justin Vivian Bond

PHOTOS: CHRISTOPHER SCALZI / DISTILLED STUDIO  Hair: Paul Warren using René Furterer for Judy Casey Inc.

PHOTOS: CHRISTOPHER SCALZI / DISTILLED STUDIO

Hair: Paul Warren using René Furterer for Judy Casey Inc.

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GLORIOUS PROFESSION: Cabaret Diva, Singer, Song-writer, Artist, Activist

GLORIOUS PERSONA: Sexy Quirkball in the Mansion Next Door

GLORIOUS QUALITIES: Sharp as a Tack, Hilarious, Randy, Mouthy

GLORIOUS PHILOSOPHY:

Early on I realized — if I fill up a club and it makes money off the booze — they’re just happy to have me there. It’s my audience. I’m the producer.

I was thrilled — way beyond my ability to remain cool — to be invited to the fabulous Justin Vivian Bond's “House of Whimsy” in upstate New York. We spent the afternoon on a sun drenched, delightful, cozy porch — boozing, laughing, chatting away about life, art, politics — and sex, bien sur.

JVB became a New York legend as Kiki DuRane, one half of the infamous, Tony-nominated act, Kiki and Herb. I first saw this superstar 18 years ago at Westbeth Theatre, and felt mesmerized, strangely connected to Kiki (perhaps my inner rage?) After 20 years of success, JVB (known as Viv to friends) had the chutzpah to leave the duo and rock out solo as a cabaret performer. Now free from the constraints of WWKD (What Would Kiki Do?), Justin Vivian Bond on stage is magnetic, political, hilarious and poignant — called "the best cabaret artist of their* generation” by the New Yorker, by the by.

Grab a glass of rosé and settle in for this extended chat with the very Glorious Broad, Mx Justin Vivian Bond

WAS IT HARD FOR YOU TO MAKE THE DECISION TO LEAVE KIKI AND HERB AT ITS PEAK?
No, it was hard for me to continue with it.

WHY?
It was defining me. I have some distance from Kiki now and I still love that character. But Kiki came out of the AIDS crisis in a time when I lived in San Francisco. I was so fragile. She was a way for me to channel my rage …. it just wore me out. I either had to commit to doing it for the rest of my life, or put a complete cold stop to it. Which is what I did.

AND HERB?
He really didn’t want to do that. So. We didn’t speak for like five years.

Right after my 50th birthday, we started talking. And then, we did a reunion 3 years later.

HELLOOOO. I COULDN’T GET A TICKET!
Yeah, people loved it. The program director at Joes Pub said: “how much would it take for you to bring Kiki back.” It was shortly after I saw this house. I did my calculations. And she said “I think we can do it.”

(Laughs) And so this is the house that Kiki bought.

WAS THE CROSS OVER TOUGH? COMING OUT AS JUSTIN VIVIAN BOND ON STAGE AFTER THE BELOVED KIKI?
When we were at Fez as Kiki and Herb, I thought, ok, I’ll start performing at Joe’s Pub as Justin Bond and developing my own separate audience.

THE AUDIENCE DIDN’T DEMAND KIKI?
No. I didn’t just quit one and start the other. My fans were people that came to see Kiki and Herb because they wanted to see me being trashy.

BUT ULTIMATELY YOU WERE READY FOR A CHANGE?
Well, we took Kiki and Herb to Broadway. We headlined. We did Carnegie Hall twice. Sold out. We toured the world. So I know what it’s like to be in that place.

And you know what? It’s not really that much fun. It’s a lot of work.

TOO MUCH WORK?
I will just say that you have many people messing with you. They invest in you. And they want their money back.

SO WHAT ABOUT NOW?
Now, I just basically call all the shots.

WELL, I LOVE SEEING YOU POP UP ON COOL TV SHOWS AND EVEN COOLER MOVIES.
I love that too! And I don’t have an agent or a manager.

I’m like, yeah, I like that show. I’ll be on that show. This year alone I was on Difficult People, High Maintenance …

And the movie, Can You Ever Forgive Me ... about the woman who wrote the biography of Estée Lauder, Lee Israel. I am obsessed with Estée Lauder.

So, when I got that call, I was like, well, I just need you to know that I’m standing here talking to you from my living room, and I’m literally looking at the book Lee wrote. Because it’s on my altar.

PROVIDENCE!
So the answer is YES

I always liked fabulous old broads. And now I am one

SO MUCH HAS CHANGED IN TERMS OF GENDER AND HOW IT’S BEEN PERCEIVED SINCE YOU STARTED WORKING.
All these things I dreamed about when I was young just seemed so impossible. But I didn’t give up, whereas a lot of others did.

Now I see these people 20 or 30 years younger than me – and they have their entry.

I SEE YOU CALLING OUT AGEISM ON SOCIAL MEDIA, LIKE WHEN ONLY YOUNG PERFORMERS ARE CHOSEN FOR AN AWARD THAT IS CLEARLY RIGHT FOR YOU.
Yeah, it’s true. Not ok. I don’t have getting older wake up calls that a lot of other people do. I never have kids around me to go … you’re embarrassing. Stop! You’re old. Nobody’s ever said that.

NO AGE GAUGE. ME NEITHER.
We don’t have those references. And with young gay people, they want to call older trans women their Auntie or Mom or whatever. I’m like: I’m not your fucking mother, and I’m not your fucking Auntie. No, I don’t have children your age. I fuck children your age.
(We cackle)

SO WHO WERE YOUR MENTORS?
My true mentor is Kate Bornstein.

TRANS-ITION

I had been in San Francisco for less than a year, and got cast as a romantic lead in a gay musical — the sex object. I’d never been that. In college, it was all about needing to butch up. Very discouraging. Kate was at the show — and she came knocking on the dressing room door.

SHE SPOTTED THE TALENT ...
Well, she’d just written this play called Hidden A Gender. Kate wanted me to play the lead, a trans character. And I was like, (whispers) I don’t want to play this part. I was just feeling good about being a boy. I knew it was an act but I was enjoying that people were buying it.

A trusted friend told me: you’ve got to play this part. So I did. That was the beginning of this journey as a trans person. Coming to terms with all that …

WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WERE TRANS?
All through my teens, I prayed that I would wake up and be a woman — you know. And I didn’t want to be a trans person. I’d always been a freak, because I was outed as gay from the time I was 10 or 11. And I didn’t even know what gay was. You’re treated in that way… (whispers) I’m not gonna have to go through all that again …

WHAT DOES BEING TRANS MEAN TO YOU?
I learned so much Kate. She was a trans woman. And she was herself — a woman but more than that. We found a new way of looking at ourselves, which there weren’t really words for. We were part of that nexus.

HOW DID YOU START TO GIVE PEOPLE THE WORDS?
We toured that show to Women’s Studies groups and colleges. And we started doing talk backs. We discovered that the whole binary gender system was kind of a fraud. Because the words — being man or woman – was not enough. I feel that we definitely helped open that door.

AND NOW EVERYONE IS BECOMING AWARE — FROM TOILET SIGNAGE TO GOVERNMENT FORMS — THE WHOLE DAMN WORLD IS CHANGING.
It’s like the whole Mx thing. I started to use it. And these activists in Brighton, England checked with me to see if they could use Mx for another category. OF COURSE. Now Mx is in the dictionary!

Then I went to battle with The New York Times.

VIV VS. THE GRAY LADY

When they reviewed my book, “Tango: My Childhood, Backward and in High Heels” they talked about me being a trans throughout the article, but they called me a boy in the headline. Wha? If I’m a trans, why are you Mr. Bonding me? They didn’t get it.

WHAT YEARS WERE THESE?
2011. A lot’s changed since then.

They would continue to print stuff and get it all wrong, I’d put it up on Twitter or Instagram “The New York Times did it again!” and get immediate support. The internet’s changed everything.

Then, they did a great big profile on me in the style section. And this guy, Michael Schulman, he had to fight to change the rules of the style guide.

They now agreed to say, Justin Vivian Bond, who was born male, but who identifies as transgender and uses the pronoun …. blah blah blah. They couldn’t just use the pronoun. But that’s ok. It was a MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH.

And so the whole thing started, with Kate and I, the Style Guide in The New York Times — changing the language. We need these words. Or, therefore, the ideas don’t exist. Now the ideas do exist.

SO HERE’S A QUESTION. I MEAN, HERE YOU ARE — THIS AMAZING, GLORIOUS BROAD …
Thank you.

AS A KID, DID YOU SEE YOURSELF BECOMING WHO YOU ARE TODAY?
Totally.

TOTALLY?
Yeah, I was like, get out of my way.

And I still feel that way. I mean, that’s why I was excited about the idea of Glorious Broads — I was obsessed with those kinds of people. It was like — someday I’m going to be that.

ENTER KIKI

SO — WHAT IS KIKI’S ORIGIN STORY?
Well, I’m in my 20s, living in San Francisco, learning about politics, living in the midst of this genocide against gay men. And I’m realizing that I need to perform and be a voice for my community. The coolest, hippest, wildest people were the ones that died first — and I was not a cool, hip, radical person — but I admired them. And wanted to be one.

So one night, I realized I could create a character who could say all these things that I wanted to say as a 27 year old, but that I couldn’t really say it without sounding just like, well, how millennials sound now. I just felt like I found a way to say it that was charming. And people would listen. And I showed up as Kiki.

SO YOU PUT YOUR REAL SELF OUT THERE.
Yeah. I had to keep getting where I was going. But I could have been more challenging in retrospect — especially with my parents.

WHEN YOU DID COME OUT TO THEM?
After college. They were paying for it. So I’m not gonna fuckin’ tell them anything they don’t want to know until it was paid for!

ANY REPERCUSSIONS?
Well. My father didn’t speak to me.

AND WHEN DID THEY UNDERSTAND THAT YOU WERE TRANS?
I made it clear to them that I was trans in the early 90s. Like many straight people they tried to pretend it wasn’t so until I started on hormones when I was in my late 40s.

HOW’D THAT GO?
My father called me on Thanksgiving Day, years ago. I thought he was wishing me a happy Thanksgiving. No. He wanted me to know that he doesn’t want me to come home looking like a “fake woman.” OK. You don’t want me to come home.

Well, then he got cancer. When I got the news he was sick, I said to my sister: I’m sad that he’s got stage 4 cancer. And hope he recovers, but, I just don’t want him to die between April 21st and May 22nd, because that’s the Kiki and Herb reunion and its gonna be a lot of work — and I just don’t want him to die then. OK?

DID HE LISTEN?
May 6th, three days before my birthday and smack dab in the middle of the run.

STICKING IT TO YOU …
That son of a bitch …

DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A FEMINIST?
Of course I am a feminist. My hope for feminism was that it would break down the barriers of gender. But when it became the “women’s movement,” it left men out. It became marketed.

But I always have been and continue to be a feminist.

“FARRAH” — WATERCOLOR BY JUSTIN VIVIAN BOND

“FARRAH” — WATERCOLOR BY JUSTIN VIVIAN BOND

GLORIOUS ROOTS

WHAT INSPIRED YOUR STYLE AND SENSE OF SELF?
I always liked fabulous old ladies. I was obsessed with my dad’s best friend’s mother, Mrs. Offutt. She had a three-story mansion. She lived alone, was Swedish and wore bright red lipstick — all the time. Peroxide blonde hair, thin. Very chic. And living on a shoestring. The rich husband died and his family screwed her over. She had Pekingese and English sheep dogs, a shed and a cage behind her mansion — and the inside of the house was gorgeous, beautifully furnished from better days. Two grand pianos. She liked me. She’d say things like: I think you have to be smart to not get headaches. You probably don’t get a lot of headaches, do you? “No. I don’t.” She’d get on a skateboard and go down to the middle of town when she was in her fifties … nobody did that. I wanted to be like her. And now I am.

Sleeping with inappropriate people in my big house. The kooky lady with the pink door, bringing my men out.

I LOVE IT.
I love it.

DO YOU FEEL FREER AS YOU GET OLDER?
I don’t know if I feel freer – I think the really fun people are either — just aged into not being as much fun — or they OD’d. There’s just not as many free spirits around me anymore.

ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH AGING?
I’m trying to be pretty upbeat about the whole thing. I mean, it’s like, how much pressure do you put on yourself? How much pressure do you put on other people to believe in your delusion about yourself? (laughing)

I don’t feel like it’s over. But I do definitely feel condescended to quite often by younger people.

WELL, LET’S GO AGELESS. I’M FREEZE DRYIN’ AT 67. IT HAS A NICE RING … PEOPLE WILL ASSUME THINGS WITH NUMBERS, AND TREAT YOU DIFFERENTLY — UNLESS WE CHOOSE TO EDUCATE THEM I’m on this app where I get all my sex. And I’m on there as 38 and you know what? If they come to all the trouble to come to your house to have sex, they don’t give a fuck.

They’re like, you’re so beautiful. Can I come over? And I’m like … maybe ….

And it just says I’m not a biological female.

That’s the first line on my thingey.

MY FINAL QUESTION IS WHAT DOES GLORIOUS MEAN TO YOU — SINCE YOU ARE A GLORIOUS BROAD?
Fully realized — as her experience allows.

That’s a Glorious Broad — because you still have to be adventurous.

I heard somebody I would have considered to be glorious say: “I just don’t get it with the ‘they’ and ‘them.’ I don’t know. I just don’t like it.”

I didn’t say anything, but I wanted to say to her: so, when was it that you decided that you didn’t need to learn anything anymore?

I don’t ever want to get to that point.

* We’ve corrected this quote to use Viv’s preferred pronouns they/them/their — People, let’s get it together with the pronouns already!

Make your day by following Mx Justin Vivian Bond on instagram @mxviv. You’ll learns lots, laugh lots, and hear where they will be performing.

Glorious Broad #12: Elizabeth White

PHOTOS: Scott Pasfield

PHOTOS: Scott Pasfield

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GLORIOUS PROFESSION: Resilience Advocate, Author, Intellectual

GLORIOUS PERSONA: Stylish, Afro-Centric, Truth-Teller

GLORIOUS QUALITIES: Scrappy, Wise, Confident, Worldly

GLORIOUS PHILOSOPHY:

Your net worth really is your network

I love a gutsy Broad. A ballsy Broad. A brazen Broad.

And that in-your-face gumption is what drew me to Elizabeth White.

We met at The Atlantic’s New Old Age conference — and her speech knocked me flat. She talked about being jobless in her mid 50s— after havin' a HELLUVA career. But this time she was unable to “restart” — the way we ALL expect to “restart” — when your job “restructures” — aka, FIRES YOUR ASS. 

Sound familiar??? She suffered: shame, sadness, shock — and the unending grind of being BROKE AF. And then she said ENOUGH. She was sick of acting like everything is normal. Cause everything AIN’T normal. She was tired of faking it … she came clean. 

So she talked about it. She created groups about it … And she wrote about it. 

Her self-published book, 55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal, got covered by PBS, then she did a TEDTalk ... Her genius PR lady? That would be Elizabeth White. Her marketing guru — also Elizabeth White. And her updated second edition was published by Simon & Schuster in January 2019, thank you very much. 

Ebeth's commanding-yet-inviting presence projects “ask me anything.”

And so I did.

THIS QUOTE FROM YOUR BOOK SLAYED ME:
“You know me, I am in your friendship circle, hidden in plain sight. My clothes are still impeccable, bought in the good years when I was still making money. You wouldn’t know that my electricity was cut off, but if you paid attention, you’d see the sadness.”

I’VE BEEN THERE. YOU’VE BEEN THERE. SO MANY OVER 50’s HAVE BEEN THERE. TELL US ABOUT THE PAIN — THE SHAME …
I was in my mid 50s when the great recession happened. And from there, it all went downhill. The robust network — decimated. I am used to racism and sexism but now there was the new ism of age — and age discrimination changes your whole experience.

HOW DID YOU GET GOING ON YOUR “RESTART” …
I’ve had a life and career of restarts — I worked for the pillars of capitalism, then started my own Afrocentric lifestyle chain with stores in DC, Philadelphia, and NYC. But THIS was my biggest restart. When I got no traction, I got interested in starting a new career working with at-risk youth. So I did what I do: wrote letters/shook networks — NOTHING. I thought it would be a cool re-invention story …

OH! THOSE EASY-PEASY RE-INVENTION STORIES ARE TOTAL BS. REAL RE-INVENTION IS EFFING HARD WORK! SURE, IT CAN HAPPEN — BUT I’M SO TIRED OF THE BANKER TURNED PASTRY CHEF FAIRY TALE
And when I tried to pivot and couldn't, when this latest search failed, I was in deepest despair.

Around that time I wrote an article for NEXT Avenue about what I was going through. It was then that my path to resilience was paved. It went viral.

LEAD US DOWN THIS PATH...
1.     First you’re “Fine”
2.    Then a catastrophic “event” happens (GB: like you lose your fucking job)
3.    You begin to define life “before X happened” – “after X happened”
4.    Then you wander the wilderness
5. Then – the glimmer flickers — for me, the NEXT essay

If you don’t pay attention or you become cynical — you won’t see that flicker. It’s a train coming at you — not a light at the end of the tunnel.

But I looked up — I saw the flicker — the reaction to my article showed me that I have the background, experiences, and discoveries to share a book — an inexpensive book filled with light.

AND WHAT ARE THOSE DISCOVERIES? WHAT IS THAT LIGHT?
That there is liberation in letting go and coming clean. And remember: IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT. That doesn’t mean you made perfect decisions — I did a bunch of dumb things when I had money …

LETTING GO OF THE SHAME IS A BITCH …
Oh please — my Harvard MBA couldn’t make the case. And I found myself in this emotional place at 57? Double loser!

SO, WHAT’S NEXT?
Now I am interested in a bigger picture —and thinking ahead in this different financial climate. Frugal innovation, learning from developing countries, $2,000 cars, tiny houses and — always — resilient circles.

AFRICA PLAYS A BIG PART IN YOUR STORY AND HOW YOU PRESENT YOUR FABULOUS SELF TO THE WORLD …
I worked in different parts of Africa with the World Bank for 12 years. Then, I was Chief Operating Officer of an economic non-profit focused on Africa. After that I sold products from Africa for my decorative home store. So — always — Africa …

If you don’t pay attention or you become cynical — you won’t see that flicker. It’s a train coming at you — not a light at the end of the tunnel.

WHAT WAS A FAVORITE TIME IN YOUR LIFE?
When my family moved from Libya to Italy. I LOVED the values, the style. Late trains, who cares. But a bad risotto now that’s a disaster.  Love that about Italy. I was there from 7th to 10th grades — and I’d stop traffic. I felt so appreciated for my ethnic beauty …

ARE YOU A WOMAN’S WOMAN?
I’m going to quote Mary Pipher’s here— and say “women friends are mental health insurance.”

ANY DESIRE TO BE 20 AGAIN?
No. I think of that 20 year-old with tenderness. Vulnerable. Experimenting. I am none of those things now.

DO YOU FEEL FREER AS YOU GET OLDER?
I am standing on the cusp of possibility. And financially too. So, yes.

HAS HAPPINESS CHANGED FOR YOU?
I am not seeking happiness as much as contentment. I love my work —it’s clear. It’s certain. And I can contribute.

WHAT DOES BEING GLORIOUS MEAN TO YOU?
Glorious feels full. Present. Clear, with direction and self direction.

Now, that’s a ballsy broad who has plenty to say about resilience, living frugally and living — GLORIOUSLY.

For more truth-telling, follow Ebeth @55fakingnormal and email her at fakingnormal@yahoo.com. Unemployed and Faking Normal is available on Amazon. And it rocks.

Glorious Broad #11: Michele Saunders

PHOTOS BY ADAM DEEN

PHOTOS BY ADAM DEEN

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GLORIOUS PROFESSION: Realtor, Location Scout, Creative Catalyst

GLORIOUS PERSONA: Scenester, Bon Vivant, Direct

GLORIOUS QUALITIES: Independent, Provocative, Chic … in other words … French

GLORIOUS PHILOSOPHY:

Life is just a few passports ...

GB: Michele picked me up in her funky pickup truck in upstate New York, just off the Hudson, looking effortless and weirdly stylish in her red and black checked lumber jacket and lime locks  — surrounded by one million cassette tapes and two croissants for the road. We drove to her glorious home that has as many layers and stories as she does

There’s a certain kind of woman that brings out the tongue-tied Mary Richards in me. Michele, meanwhile, is Marianne Faithful. When you interview the coooooolest 75-year-old in the world — that’ll happen. An afternoon spent with the funny, no beatin’ around the bush Glorious Broad, Michele Sanders …

WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER, DID YOU IMAGINE YOU WOULD BE THE GLORIOUS BROAD THAT YOU ARE TODAY?
I thought I’d be a nun when I was 10 years old — and then I started to listen to rock and roll. Suddenly, I didn’t want to be a nun any more. Then, I thought I’d be a journalist, reporter, traveling. And I always loved dancing!

WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCE GROWING UP?
Music. Dancing. And Mount Holyoke College. I was on the French university’s ski team and had a terrible ski accident. So I applied for a scholarship to study in America and landed a Fullbright that sent me off to Mount Holyoke. I go back now and see boys in and out, girls kissing together. Back in my day — so completely different.

WHY SUCH A BIG INFLUENCE?
It was the 60s! I wanted to listen and see everything. My background is very bourgeois, very goody two shoes, very Catholic — though I am half Jewish ( I mean, look at me!) and I reacted to all this energy. I didn’t so much rebel — just came into my own.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CAREER. YOU JUMPED AROUND A LOT EARLY ON, NO?
Not really. I married a guy from Yale when I left college — lived in Amsterdam where I became an agent representing English and French photographers. Moved back to Paris and worked with Elite models representing photographers, stylists, then went to America and became an agent for Art Kane for 3 years, then doing production, casting through the 70s and early 80s. After that moved to Miami to become a prop stylist. Now I’m upstate and am in location sighting. I don’t do anything but open the door, close it and make sure the place doesn’t have trash laying around. (Laughs) … But same world.   

YOU’RE GIVIN’ OUT INDEPENDENT AND SINGLE … BUT YOU WERE MARRIED?
I feel I was always single. But — oops — wasn’t for those 7 years in Amsterdam, and a brief marriage to a musician — a very sexy bad boy. Lasted one year — but it got me my citizenship!

WHY AMERICA FOR YOU?
The grass was greener for me here. The freedom!

WHEN WERE YOU AT YOUR HAPPIEST?
One of the best moments for me ever is when the DJ plays house music that resonates for me and I’m feeling good. That’s one of them. Or … when it’s really good spring snow — and I’m killin’ it on the slopes — total bliss ….

OK, CLUB KID. I WAS ONE TOO. STUDIO 54 MY FAVE. YOU?
54 too druggy for me. The best thing about my second husband was that he introduced me to Paradise Garage. I used to call it my church. Lots of famous people went there — Keith Herring, Madonna, Grace Jones, Basquiat, but it wasn’t about that. It was about the music. It was basically a gay, Puerto Rican, black club where I felt totally at home.

ANY DESIRE TO BE 20 AGAIN?
Sure! Absolutely.

FOR THE ENERGY? DANCING ‘TILL 5 AM?
No. I still do that. To have time to do everything I want to do. It’s horrible — when you’re 75 it’s like ohhhhh …

THE LIMITED TIME THING …
If I were 20 at least I’d know I’d have plenty of time! When I hear things like: oh in three years — or this is good until ______. I have an Amex card good until 2022 — ??? How many times am I going to renew my passport? Life is just a few passports …

When you’re older, the truth is, one thing you cannot do is — try to look “sexy” — that is so bad.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IN THE BIGGEST RISK YOU’VE TAKEN IN YOUR LIFE?
Having a child. At 45. Single.

DID YOU WANT TO HAVE A CHILD FOR A WHILE?
No. And I can tell you a single mom here in New York — it’s not easy. A walk-up — 5 flights in a stroller … 

Having a child is the most difficult thing. Ever. You are trying to do so many things and it doesn’t always work out. But it was incredible. I became a better person. I was selfish and it made me unselfish.

WAS HAVING YOUR CHILD ALSO A RESTART?
Oh yeah. In so many ways. That’s when I moved  — Miami was easier with the kid. And it kept me current. I am friends with my son’s friends now  – they are all kinds of artists fashion oriented … I am completely relating to them.

I FIND IT INTERESTING THAT YOU WERE IN MIAMI FOR SO LONG …
It was for the kid … That’s why.

THE CULTURE?
What culture?

DO YOU TELL YOUR AGE?
All the time now. I used to lie. I lied about it between the ages of 40 and 45 because I was always with guys who were half my age. It got a little weird. But when I had my son, I never lied again.

LOVE LIFE NOW?
I’m not interested in sex now. Makes things easier. It’s freed me up to do things I might not have dared when I was younger. I can talk with the hottest guy — I don’t have a problem with any of that because I’m not trying to attract anybody — specific — or at all.

WHEN DID THIS CHANGE HAPPEN?
After I had my child.

DO YOU THINK YOUR ESSENTIAL CORE HAS CHANGED AS YOU AGE?
I’m totally the same. Totally. I don’t see anything different. The body! That’s what’s changed. When I see things hanging, I don’t like it.

BUT YOU SEEM PERFECTLY AT EASE WITH AGEING PHYSICALLY …
What am I gonna do? Of course I am completely at ease. But it doesn’t mean I always like what I see. Especially when I wear something and I think it feels good, and I look in the mirror and it’s not happening. ‘Cause usually I know. That’s very annoying.

WELL, YOU’RE PULLING IT OFF 90% OF THE TIME. GIVE US SOME TIPS!
When you’re older, the truth is, one thing you cannot do is — try to look “sexy” — that is so bad. You’re better off being comfortable with a certain way of walking — so I am very careful with the way I step. That changes everything. I love rocking shoes that are really very different from what “older women” wear. If I buy a piece at Dobert Market or Opening Ceremony, it’s not to try to look younger, it’s because it makes me walk a certain way — feel a certain way.

DO YOU FEEL THERE IS A DIFFERENT ATTITUDE ON AGEING IN FRANCE VERSUS AMERICA?
Yes. Completely. In America, it’s everything or nothing.  Either who cares or grotesque and obsessed. There is a problem.

DO YOU HAVE A GLORIOUS TRIBE OF COMRADES?
I surround myself with interesting people ‘cause otherwise, well, I don’t need to be with anybody unless they are interesting. I’m completely happy by myself. A great influence in my life is my friend Patricia Field. I have been in and out of her world, which used to be mine at times, but I have my world of skiing and upstate.

DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A FEMINIST?
I am for people.

LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR VERY PARTICULAR STYLE — FASHION IS A BIG THING FOR YOU …
Well, wait. It’s an expression for me. Difference. I’ve done some things and I like to mix them up and don’t go for any specific trend. I just do what I feel like — according to the day.

AND THAT CLOSET, GIRL …
I collect a lot of stuff. I would not call myself a horder at all. I hate that word. Everything is super organized. It’s things that I love that make me happy.

WHAT’S THE KEY TO THAT JOY YOU’RE GIVIN’ OUT?

Smoking weed! A little hit in the morning.

And in the evening, a little bit of wine.

Michele is da bomb. Make yourself happy by following her on instagram @michelesaunders43

Glorious Broad #10: Lauren Ezersky

PHOTOS: CHRISTOPHER SCALZI / DISTILLED STUDIO

PHOTOS: CHRISTOPHER SCALZI / DISTILLED STUDIO

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GLORIOUS PROFESSION: TV Host, Writer, Model

GLORIOUS PERSONA:  Moxie for Miles, Fashionista Behind the Scenes-ter

GLORIOUS QUALITIES:  Yonkers Tone and 'Tude, Signature Style, Brutal Honesty

GLORIOUS PHILOSOPHY:

I never say no to anything

Lauren Ezersky has been on the New York scene for decades — as host of the cult fashion insider gab-fest  “Behind the Velvet Ropes” and writer of Paper Magazine's howlingly successful “Lunch with Lauren” column, she helped create the scene itself. You can't get more New York than that.

She's everywhere — watching my new fave Netflix brain freeze, Dating Around,  — who steals the show in episode 4? Lauren. Best line: “I’ve got class with a K, baby…” Amen, sistah!

The typical descriptions for Lauren? Eccentric, outlandish, hilarious — all true. Beyond the bon mots, her no bullshit take on getting on with life really drew us in. My lunch with the very Glorious Broad, Lauren Ezersky in NYC …

GB: Well, you nearly created reality TV.
I DID create reality TV. No doubt.

GB: Do “they” recognize you for that? You were so fucking good …
Probably not. You know, I used to interview the cab driver, the elevator guys, the street cleaners — all on the fly – and then get backstage and talk to designers. Nothing was staged.

GB: Favorite moments?
I did a great interview with Alexander McQueen in bed …

GB: Do you miss that in your life now?
Sure. But I’d want to do it right or I don’t want to do it. Now it’s all competitive kinds of shows — like who’s the next Michael Kors? It’s mean-spirited. That’s not what I wanna do.

GB: And at the same time as “Velvet Ropes,” you were writing the “Lunch with Lauren” column for Paper magazine — interviewing every top dog fashion designer. One of my favorites was with Donna Karan, where you said: 'So, Donna. Tell me. Do you, like, pig out at night?'  
(Laughing) Love interviewing …

GB: So “Behind the Velvet Ropes” ends in early 2000’s — around the same time Paper shutters your column — did this promp a whole “who am I now” phase? Was it hard?
Not really. I was burned out. I was doing all of the show — me and my skeletal crew did ALL. And I wrote the column for 8 years. I worked my ass off. So I really needed time off. I had a place in the Hamptons at the time — and I chilled. Now, I have a place in Hudson. Same thing. Chilling. But I never say no to anything — if it sounds interesting.

GB: And now, girl — you are an influencer!
I don’t even know what that means …

GB: Well, here’s an example. I saw all over Instagram that Lady Gaga showed up at some event sporting EXACTLY your look 20 some years ago. Wha!!! Were you pissed?
Someone sent that to me. I just thought it was really funny. But I did have that coat, that hair, that makeup … What do they say? Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery …

GB: You were ahead of the pack with your silver locks and black coal eyes among other things —an influencer before there were “influencers …”
The kids don’t know Liz Taylor much less me. But they do know Kim Kardashian, Kanye West and that whole crew. Half the people who are “influencers” don’t really have that much style. I look at the blogs and think — I would not do what this person says. They look terrible. And they don’t know fashion …

GB: With your signature look and Yonkers accent — you’ve always been your unapologetic self in the snobby fashion world. So — how’d you get IN? How’d you get the moxie?
I guess I didn’t give a shit. That helped. I went to an interview with a hot shot woman television host who shall remain nameless. And I told her “I love this kind of work, I wanna do your show, I think I’d be great at this.” You know what she said to me? “I am sorry to tell you, but you have a New York accent, you wear too much makeup. I think you should just try something else.”

GB: BIIIIIIIIIIIITCH
And let me tell you, that made me even more determined.
More than ever, I just kind of barged through. I got to really know EVERYBODY.

Half the people who are “influencers” don’t really have that much style. They look terrible. And they don’t know fashion!

GB: Your dark, exotic look has been “on brand” since before Karl sported his white ponytail — yet the blonde WASP type was the bomb then …
Oh it was. Cherry Tiegs, Christie Brinkley — that was the look. Little noses. You can thank Eileen Ford for that. And people who looked different got shit back in the day. I would approach certain people who were unique — like Lynn Yaeger, Vogue’s hottest writer — and tell her how fabulous she looked. She was shocked to hear that. Fashion is the one world that doesn’t accept really stylish people — which doesn’t make any sense. It’s the freaks, like me and my friends, that really make the trends. Someone can’t get a job at Vogue or Harpers Bazaar if they dress too outrageously — huh?  

 GB: Your parents: Did they “get” you?
Not really. I was the only child. That may have helped. I hated school. I kind of educated myself. They let me be …

GB: So what are you up to now? Where’s your passion going?
I model sometimes. But I am either too young for certain things – or not old enough. I’m not Carmen or Maye Musk — yet.  I do occasional TV. And travel’s what I want to do more of …

GB: I’ve been wanting to move to Paris for forever … been on my “bucket list”
Then just do it, ya know? Not just talk about it. I love New York. I’m never leaving …

GB: Are you a woman’s woman?
Yeah. And I’m not jealous. I love to hang out with beautiful women. I compliment, tell them ‘you’re so fabulous’ …

GB: Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Yeah. I lived my life as a man. I kind of did what I wanted. When I wanted. I just can’t put up with a lot of the man bullshit. Seriously. I just can’t. You have to make them like primary in your life. No. I don’t want to do that again.

GB: So what do you want from men now?
I’d like companionship. Someone to travel with — to love and be with. But I can’t say I will get married again or live in someone’s smaller space — unless they have a lot of money and a really BIG space.

All the age appropriate men though — which could be from 60 to 70 — they complain everything hurts them. Don't tell me 'cause I got my own issues. We're young and we're fabulous.

GB: Age appropriate’s okay, but I don’t want to hear desperate pleas either …
Yeah … I mean, everybody’s lonely, you just don’t want to hear about it…

GB: Do you miss being young?
Well, I can’t cause I’m not. If I could be 20 knowing what I know now — that would have been great. But it is what it is. Every day you learn something, get better — and then — poof — you die.

 GB: Do you tell your age?
Yeah. I’m 64.
Why deny it? Ridiculous.

GB: As you age, do you feel you are getting more happy?
No. I think aging kind of sucks — but the alternative’s not pretty. I think a lot of creative people are not as happy as they age — look at Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Life isn’t easy — no matter how much money or success. I’m relatively happy. But every day is mostly like mundane … you wake up, you have your coffee … it’s not that exciting. It would be great if it was — but — c’est la vie …

GB: What does being a Glorious Broad mean to you?
You know, I’m just me. And if somebody else thinks I’m fantastic — great. I don’t think I am so fantastic. I do think I’m unique  — everybody is unique. I’m not the girl next door. And that’s cool with me …

P.S. A little something extra — Lauren in her “Behind the Velvet Ropes” days ...

Can we just get this woman her own damn show please with a huge budget? I could have stayed awake through the Oscars if she was on the red carpet. ‘Till then we'll keep up with Lauren's being the “groovy gal about town” — that’s the sig on her IG account @laurenezersky — and it really says it all.

Glorious Broad #9: Debra Rapoport

PHOTOS: CHRISTOPHER SCALZI / DISTILLED STUDIO

PHOTOS: CHRISTOPHER SCALZI / DISTILLED STUDIO

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GLORIOUS PROFESSION: Healer, Teacher and always — Artist

GLORIOUS PERSONA: Extravagantly Stylish, Re-inventor, Eco-Aware, FREEEE

GLORIOUS QUALITIES: Passionate, Engaged, Generous, Connector, Celebratory

GLORIOUS PHILOSOPHY:

You gotta play. You gotta make a mess.

Strolling down the street with Debra recently, we were approached (ahem, SHE was approached) by fan after bedazzled fan: “I love your style,” “where can I find that vest,” “your look makes me sooo happy,” and my favorite — “thank you inspiring us for what our future CAN be.”

It’s just part of Debra’s everyday to be both a magnet and energy source. I thought I knew my Debra 101 — muse for Ari Cohen's Advanced Style, collector of recycled materials for her art, Instagram celeb …  But I knew bupkis (Debra word I have adopted) about the multitude of reinventions and hard won savvitude this resilient broad has in her. Fasten your seat belts for an amazing Glorious Broad, Debra Rapoport …

HOW AND WHEN DID THIS FABULOUS “STYLE” THING COME TO YOU?
Since I was 3 years old. When we moved to NJ my sister and I were wearing black tights and ballet slippers. My mother used to take us to Greenwich village on Friday nights to “hang out…”

SO YOUR MOTHER WAS COOL …
Very cool … we were strict vegetarians before — well, anybody. We’d never went to doctors — we’d visit “quack” doctors in the middle of the night. She was a real maverick.

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
Manhattan. Then Florida. After 6 months, my mother declared “I cannot live here.” Then off to the suburbs in our Italian boho shoes, black tights, surrounded by bobby socks and saddle shoes. We became the “curiosity.” So I know the feeling of being an oddity from way back. (Laughs)

WOULD YOU SAY YOUR MOTHER WAS YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCE?
Yes. My mother. My grandmother. A grandma can do no wrong.

We’d go to Grandma’s for a sleep over and immediately gravitate to the sewing machine — take the button drawer out, dump it on the floor, and start playing. My grandfather would say “Oy — they are making a mess” and she would say “Be quiet — they’re being creative” and that runs through me. You gotta play. You gotta make a mess.”

SO WHAT STARTED FORMING THE DEBRA I SEE BEFORE ME?
I was shy, insecure as a kid and through art school. But little by little my confidence increased — enough to apply to grad school. And that’s where I realized what education was. Not intimidation. But bringing in the light. Positive criticism. So Berkeley. Berkeley changed my life.

HOW LONG WERE YOU THERE?
11 years. Got my M.A. from University of California, Berkeley and taught for 8 at U.C. Davis. Textile and costume history as an art form.

WHY’D YOU LEAVE?
After 8 years, I just couldn’t stand academia. I threw in the towel. And I was tenured at 35. Everybody thought I’d lost my mind. One of the youngest ever in a creative field, or some bullshit like that …

SO THE IVORY TOWER DROVE YOU CRAZY?
The headaches I would get. I’d throw-up on the side of the road on my commute. And then I realized: there is something wrong with this picture! Teaching I loved. But academia… I’m still friends with all the faculty though …

OF COURSE YOU ARE STILL FRIENDS. I’VE BEEN TO YOUR PARTIES …
Yep.

SO WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO WALK AWAY FROM TEACHING?
It was 1979. I left my husband. I left him the car. He gave me a camera and we had a $35 divorce. I said goodbye.

OUCH!
Well, yeah. We met in an alternative community. It was called Synanon, a drug rehab place. And in '69, they opened to squares like me. I had been visiting a friend who was living there, finishing up grad school, wondering where am I gonna make these kinds of friends again? I don’t do parties. I don’t do drugs. I don’t drink. I don’t screw. And this community was totally chemical and violence free. And I thought, yeah, this is healthy. So, I got involved. And I met my husband.

I’m famous enough. Who cares. That and $2 will get you on the subway.

COMMUNITY AGAIN — THEN WHAT?
Well, the writing was on the wall. We lived there for two years, but it was getting too fascistic. Humiliating me over bullshit. So, we moved back to Berkley. Stayed married for five more years. And then it was time for me to move back to New York … solo …

SO COMING BACK TO NEW YORK WAS A COMPLETE RESTART FOR YOU IN EVERY WAY, RIGHT?
Oh yeah … I wasn’t sure what to do next. That was a tough time for me.

But then, my sister and I started a catering business — healthy catering. I had a lot of connections at the crafts museum and a gallery I’d shown with — ‘cause I was always making my art and jewelry through all of this. The gallery would have parties and hire us —and we’d dress up and you know — the textiles! The healthy food! It was perfect. Our claim to fame was this incredible seaweed knot I would make and deep fry  — shiny, gorgeous green. And people would say what is this? I said, just keep eating them. I'll tell you later — if I tell you, you won’t like it …

We did that for a bunch of years until my brother-in-law couldn't stand the smell of fried grease in the house! So. My sister dropped out.

CAN YOU SAY HUSTLE?
And then, I went into the flower business with a friend. We had big accounts, major parties in the D&D building. After 16 years, I said to my partner: You know what. I can’t deal with this design shit anymore. I’m going into healing. I just want to work with my hands, go anywhere in the world. And heal. I don’t want to deal with dying flowers any more …

OMG. I NEED A TIMELINE FOR YOU AND YOUR TRANSFORMATIONS. WHAT YEAR IS THIS?
1999. I studied reflexology, polarity, and several other oddball things. It includes cranial sacral, neuro linguistics, and all kinds of fascinating stuff, liquid light, spiritual center.

SO HOW LONG DID YOU DO THAT?
I’m still doing it!

AND YOU STILL TEACH?
Yeah! I continue with workshops and teaching. And somewhere in there I became a community chef, with CSAs, Community Supported Agriculture. I’d cook at the housing project at the old St. George Hotel on 28th Street. Food would be delivered from the farm. I wouldn’t know until that morning what was comin’ in. And whatever would show up — I’d put together. Guys from the building would come over and say, hmmmm, what are you cooking? Smells good. And I’d say, it’s spinach, blah blah blah — but no meat. Try it anyway. We’d get a lot of WOWs. It was a great way to wake people up.

But through it all, I was always teaching in bits and pieces and always making art. Always making embellishments for the body. Large over-scale things like hats, headgear, wearable art.

I’M SEEING THE THEMES, CONNECTING THE DOTS … ART, COMMUNITY, FUTURISTS, ENVIRONMENT … GIVING BACK …
Yep

SO AFTER ALL OF THESE LIVES, WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN TO YOU AT THIS POINT?
Contentment, happiness, friendship, health. I got enough money. Making a money in speaking engagements and my hats. I’m famous enough. Who cares. That and $2 will get you on the subway.

AND I LOVED YOUR TED TALK WITH ARI ON AGEISM …
We did that a few years ago, had a ball. Ari does a version of me, giving that talk — with my New York accent — about when I was a teen, makin’ out with the dog while my beautiful sister was out on dates.

HOW DID THIS ARI/ADVANCED STYLE CHAPTER COME ABOUT?
I went to the New Museum, October 22, 2009. I just had on a sweater, a necklace, and a pair of — oh I don’t know — knickers and pink hair. This guy comes running over to me “Hi. My name’s Ari. I photograph women over 60 – can I take your picture?” and I said “How do YOU know I’m over 60?” He takes a few pictures — we start talking — I give him my business card. Five days pass, never hear from him. So I called him. He came over. We spent the whole day together, photograph the whole apartment, dressing, undressing, artwork — and the rest is history.

YOU AND ARI “CLICKED”
We had a lot in common. I’m Jewish. He’s Jewish. I’m a vegetarian. He’s a vegetarian. He did these drawings of dolls, I made art. You know, a lot of the other women don’t make things. They love to shop and dress…

AND YOU DON’T SHOP …
No.

I LOVED THE ADVANCED STYLE FILM … AND THOSE EARLY VIDEOS …
Ari met Lina, who is Lithuania and I’m half Lithuanian. I said: Ok, I’m going to adopt you — you’re my Lithuanian daughter. And we started doing these videos. And that led to the film. Most of the women are Jewish. It almost looks like a New York Jewish film, right? (Laughs)

Debra in an early video — love the way the dress turned backwards looks COOL — and the black leather dress FUCKING HOT …

HOW DID YOU START BEING AN ENVIRONMENTALIST? YOU WERE AHEAD OF YOUR TIME …
Yes. Like my mother. In ’67-’68 – I was doing my master’s dissertation in Berkeley, and I worked only with recycled materials. I didn’t care about ephemera. I’d make things out of toasted bread. And if it crumbled, I didn’t care.

IT’S VERY BUDDHIST …
Yeah! Wabi-sabi. Incompletion. Imperfection. Impermanence.

SO TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CURRENT LOVE LIFE. WERE YOU EXPECTING THIS?
Absolutely not. I was happy, single, busy. A friend tried to introduce us. She told me he was the only one she knew (other than me) who was reading labels on food boxes since the ‘60s. I said,  no way. What would I want with an old man. When I met him the second time, time stood still. He tried to hold my hand through a concert and I thought “hey, I’m 62, I’m not gonna get pregnant. So, what the fuck?” He walked me home and slowly but surely, we realized we had thrifting in common, we like healthy food, cooking, music, we are both on a spiritual path but we didn’t want to follow a guru. So, here we are …

This is the third time. It is the charm. And it’s probably going to be the last. But … you never know …

WAS THERE A TIME WHEN YOU WERE MOST “CONTENT?”
No. I don’t think that way. It’s all in the friends, my partnership. Being able to live in New York. Being able to play. Everything is an act of play right now. I mean, I do lose my temper when I’m the only one cleanin' up the bathroom. But, you know, I’m only fuckin’ human…

WHEN DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN MENTORING?
From being a teacher. And not having kids. I never wanted kids. I knew what it took to be a good parent. I like young people. Starting with Ari. Starting with Lina. And it’s easy. You hang out. And send them home. You learn from them and they learn from us.

I LOVE COMING TO YOUR PARTIES AND SEEING THE MIX OF AGES …
It’s not so rare in Europe, but here, in New York, it’s rare.

YOU DRAW THAT ENERGY TO YOU …
I have a willingness to make a family! Isolation is our enemy.

THERE’S A LOT OF ISOLATION THESE DAYS.
Yes. And there doesn't hafta be. I always say, New Yorkers are the friendliest people. When you're at the library or a coffee shop —  look up. Say hi. Ask how's your coffee? How's your writing? You start a conversation … people talk!

ANY DESIRE TO BE 20 AGAIN?
Shit no. 25 maybe ‘cause that was a turning point in my life. But no. it was horrible. Horrible.

DO YOU TELL YOUR AGE?
I don’t care about my age. I’ll be 74 soon. I have no gauge. No pacing. No 50-year-old kid. No 5-year-old grandkid. So I just am who I am. 

WHAT’S THE BIGGEST RISK YOU TOOK?
I feel I have played it so safe. Close to the chest. Everbody’s off to India. Not me. I don’t even want to go around the corner. I guess I’m into emotional risks. Like moving into my boyfriend’s apartment two years ago!

WHAT DID YOU DO WITH ALL THAT STUFF?
Got rid of 98% of my possessions. I’m FREEEE! But I'm still out there collecting, recycling for my hats, headgear and wearable art! That’s why I call myself “Debra Debris…”

You can find this amazing Glorious Broad on insta @debrarapoport — and she’s all over Youtube.


Glorious Broad #8: Charlotte Simpson

Moroccan adventures — and don’t call her a Cougar — photo Janet Schubert

Moroccan adventures — and don’t call her a Cougar — photo Janet Schubert

The Blue Lagoon - photo Elizabeth Simpson

The Blue Lagoon - photo Elizabeth Simpson

Says it all — photo Leann Lawrence

Says it all — photo Leann Lawrence

GLORIOUS PROFESSION: Globe Trotter, Counselor, InstaMom

GLORIOUS PERSONA: The Mama You Wish You Had with the Passport Stamps of Your Dreams

GLORIOUS QUALITIES: Wisdom Sharer, All-Knowing Midwest Positivity, Cute AND Gorgeous

GLORIOUS PHILOSOPHY:

If it’s to be — it’s up to me

Charlotte Simpson, @TravelingBlackWidow, is clearly Glorious, but not in the BADASS way I usually fall for. And not in the way of some other widows who kick some serious ass after their partners die, sprung free from a relationship that held them down. Not Charlotte. She loved her man. He gave her space. His loss was devastating. But she took her grief and blossomed anyway.

Charlotte talks a lot about love, romance, (and dishes out gooooood advice — we ALL gobble it up — from 20s to, well, me) and love for TRAVEL. She appeals to all ages — the young’uns tell her how “dope” her Insta is (true). And of course we LOVE her guts for traveling solo — constantly — around the globe. She is absolutely who she is … down to her “doggone” Midwestern wholesomeness and passion for magenta that she somehow makes COOL! Meet Charlotte, a Glorious Broad with her own kinda Gloriousness.

DO YOU TELL YOUR AGE?
No.
I feel 38.
Forever.

WHO WAS YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCE?
My grandmother. We had no idea of HER age until she died — and we saw the damn birth certificate … (giggles)

HOW’D YOU GET INTO INSTAGRAM?
My daughter. She thought I’d have something to say. Something to show. And she was right.

I LOVE WHEN YOU CROW ABOUT YOUR DAUGHTER
She is something. But I was a “Jewish Mom” — I set high standards for her.

WHAT’S WITH YOU AND TRAVEL?
I’ve wanted to wander since I was a kid eyeing the travel magazines at the fancy house my grandmother was a maid for for. She provided me dreams. That was the first time I thought: I want that life!

WE LOVE TO SEE YOU NAVIGATE THE WORLD SOLO. HOW’D YOU BECOME SO INDEPENDENT AFTER 31 YEARS OF A PARTNERSHIP?
I’ve always had a streak of independence. I was the only black girl in a Catholic white school. AND I wasn’t a Catholic. I learned to navigate — young.

BUT HOW ABOUT TRAVELING ALONE? WAS IT TOUGH TO ADJUST?
Travel was a bond for my husband and I. So yes — at first. I reached out to friends. But I am fussy! I learned I’m better off alone.

YOU'VE DONE A WHOLE LOT OF TRAVEL, WOMAN …
My secret is mindless travel. Someone plans it. I take off.

BUT EXCUSE ME, YOU ALWAYS LOOK FUCKING GORGEOUS!!
Once I step out of my house, my lipstick is ON!

ANYWHERE YOU HAVEN’T BEEN?
Plenty. My list keeps growing.


I’ve wanted to wander since I was a kid eyeing the travel magazines at the fancy house my grandmother worked for

I LOVE YOUR ROMANCE TIPS
I’ve been lucky in love. So I share what I know …

DO YOU DATE NOW?
No. Why should I get to have two marvelous men?
I’d give a second chance away to one of my (MANY!) friends who could use a break. The stories I hear!!!

DO YOU GET A LOT OF DMs FROM LOVE-WEARY GIRLS?
Lots. I love to give the girls advice. I usually say RAISE YOUR STANDARDS. I was a guidance counselor, a tutor, a child advocate. I am strong with the girls about romance! They don’t always come back as a result. (giggles more)

WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO RESTART?
Everything was thrown at me when my husband got sick. I had to see things differently — learn all over again. And after he died, my mantra became: “If it’s to be — it’s up to me."

HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU MET?
23.

AND AFTER HIS DEATH…
I coped. I grew. But it was not easy.

HAS YOUR HAPPINESS CHANGED AS YOU GET OLDER?
I’ve outlived people I’ve loved. I’ve been chosen to live — and I live with gusto.

SO YOU LIVE OUT THOSE HAPPINESS MANTRAS YOU POST…
Daily.

Trip the light fantastic by following the adventures and wisdom of Charlotte @travelingblackwidow.

Glorious Broad #7: Dina Paisner

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Photos by Leah Runyan

Photos by Leah Runyan

GLORIOUS PROFESSION: Actress, Dancer, Poet

GLORIOUS PERSONA: The Muse of the West Village

GLORIOUS QUALITIES: Bohemian, Blunt, Wiseass

GLORIOUS PHILOSOPHY:

Where there’s life, there’s hope. Now that’s a cliché I like.

GB: I thought she would last forever. But, of course, no one does.
Dina Paisner — actress, model — was one of the first Glorious Broads I interviewed. She “approved” of the GB project saying “Sign me on. I like to stay involved.”

She didn’t tell me her age — "you'll make assumptions." I now know she left us at 98. But her VERVE — when she wasn’t ushering at the theatre, she was acting, when she wasn’t acting, she was dancing. I remember her telling me about yet another “free” dance event (Dina loved free — or any kind of  deal) in a space I hadn’t heard of. Her response? “What’s wrong with you. Are you NEW here?” as she scoffed at my “youth.” A staple in the West Village with her wild-ass mane of white hair and — shall we say — unique sense of style, we all loved her fierceness — and kindness.

I was waiting for “the perfect moment” to post this interview when I asked her for tea in my apartment — and am sorry I did not put it up sooner. Well, the perfect moment is now.

A TRIBUTE TO DINA PAISNER, 1919 - 2017

GB: We met a while ago and it’s been tough chasing you down! Shall I remind you what Glorious Broads project is?
Don’t bother. Just ask me the questions. Let me take off my shoes and cuddle up on your couch.

How do you spend your time? You’re still — everywhere ...
My favorite thing in the whole world is an improvisational dance/theatre class I take. I can be dead tired but when I get out of there, I’m ready to conquer the world. And I see everything — dance, theatre, opera —  if its below 14th street.

I love to hear a person's passion.
That’s a good name. A better name than what you have: A Person’s Passion. Write that down. I like those P’s.

You seem remarkably independent. Were you always like this?
Independent is a loaded word. I ask for help. I go out in the morning with an empty tote. And by the time I get home I have a full cart. I wait in front of my door for a nice strong young man to pass by and ask him if he’d help me take my stuff up. I make wonderful friends that way. When you get to my age, people expect you to be eccentric, and boy do I take advantage of that. I never wait on line. So, dye your hair white if you want to save yourself a lot of time.

And you’re a still a working actress!
Oh Yeah! I’ve played the cleaning lady on “Sex and the City“ to Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth. The more complicated the role, the more thrilling. I don’t like predictable things or predictable art and I think that’s where the independence comes from.

I’m not a “Lady Who Lunches.” Ask me to the theatre so we can enjoy something together. I’m not sitting down with small talk. And I don’t hang out.

How do you stay so happy?
I avoid negative people. Like the plague.

Any desire to be 20 again?
No. It would be torture. That question’s asked all the time and people always say: well, if I knew then what I know now … that’s bullshit. You didn’t know then what you know now.

Do you tell your age?
You know why I don’t tell? Cause I’m still working … I once lost a big job because I didn’t know it was illegal to ask me. So, no.

Are you the same as when you were younger, has your core changed?
I’m not the same person. I learn every day and sometimes they are hard lessons. But then it’s such a joy when you learn something new! Putting on a seat belt is a big job for me. When I do, it’s high tech. It’s a riot.

Do you feel freer as you get older?
A lot freer. To be free, be aware of what is going on in the moment. And forget about thinking. Don’t be so smart. Be dumb.

Do you have a message for younger women?
Yes. Daydream. I don’t mean “visualize” — a cliché word. Daydream. Waste a lot of time. Percolate. Let things stir. Sleep enough. Play with your cat. Talk to a stranger. Drink tea. Eat well. Don’t worry about your weight. Be creative. Anything you do that connects with your essence is creative. Don’t stop yourself. Just let go.

RIP Dina Paisner. The village will not be the same without you. And neither will Glorious Broads ...

 

Glorious Broad #6: Patrice Wynne

Photos by Sarah Kjelleren

Photos by Sarah Kjelleren

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GLORIOUS PROFESSION: Entrepreneur. Owner/Creator at Abrazos. Writer

GLORIOUS PERSONA: A Free, Gutsy, Jubilant Glorious Broad

GLORIOUS QUALITIES: Wise, Sensuous, Joyful, Exuberant


GLORIOUS FACT: At 60, Patrice created a list called “104 Qualities I Want in a Partner.” Friends told her "The chances of finding a man with these qualities are the same as finding a unicorn."  Two months later, she met that “Unicorn.” Six weeks later, he proposed. Like Lola, whatever Patrice wants, Patrice gets…

GLORIOUS PHILOSOPHY: “I have an internal message system now: I’m running out of decades,  I’m running out of decades. It’s pushing me to create more, dare more.” 

GB: I got to know Patrice — theoretically — over cafecito with her man, Ernesto, in Mexico. He rhapsodized about the woman: He respects her, loves her, protects her, delights in her but understands that she needs her freedom — and he lets her fly. They shared a grown up sexy love. I needed to get to know this lady as I met her briefly at a café in San Miguel. She was like a bolt of lightning aimed at me — her force, style and energy were palpable. I followed up with a visit to her boutique. Now, I am not a shopper, yet I walked out with armfuls of aprons, shirts and, well, stuff I didn’t know I “needed.” The woman has talent. We stayed in touch and became friends during her visits to New York. She loves New York as she loves so many things — with exuberance, curiosity and an urge to MAKE STUFF HAPPEN. A dinner date with the Glorious Broad Patrice Wynne featured plenty of guffawing at an outdoor café in the West Village …

A BON VIVANT — MEXICAN STYLE...

WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER, DID YOU IMAGINE YOU WOULD BE THE GLORIOUS BROAD YOU ARE TODAY?
All I wanted as a girl was to be OUT of Pennsylvania. I thought I would live in New York, instead, I live in Mexico. I have good instincts — always have — about self-preservation, having goals and following my heart. Which is WHY I live in Mexico.

YOU'VE ALWAYS BEEN MOVING, MOVING, MOVING — AND CREATING ...
I moved to California when I was 19 — and to Mexico when I was 50. I’ve lived in three geographies: East coast, west coast, south of the border. So, the movement takes place mostly inside me to go where I can create. And the inspiration to create in Mexico is alive everywhere. The very essence of this culture is entrepreneurial. 

HOW HAS “HAPPINESS” CHANGED FOR YOU DURING THE YEARS?
You know, I think it has been the same for me. I think of myself as naturally joyous. I love spending time alone, even though I am hugely social. When I was growing up, my happiest moments of childhood were being alone in my bedroom — drawing, making my own journals, clipping fashion photographs, reading biographies of women. I like to be in my own creative space — then, making it real in the world!  That brings me great joy. 

HULLOOOO! You created a mega successful bookstore in Berkeley, California, then you moved to Mexico at age 50 and created Abrazos, a boutique that’s all about exuberant fashion celebrating women — Frieda Kahlo being a fave. It may be embarrassingly trendy but … you visualized it girlfriend!
Well, yeah, I guess I did...I did. I did. I did.

I am surprised about how my legs look — but they’ll look worse in 10 years — so I better enjoy them today.

SO, WHY MEXICO?
Moving to Mexico was the biggest risk I have ever taken. Saying goodbye to the community that I had loved in California. But I had to after I closed my bookstore in Berkeley. I could not infuse my life with a new dream until I restructured the setting I was in. When I came to San Miguel it was all about reinvention, it was about experiencing a different culture and having a totally different experience. 

WAS IT AN EPIPHANY?
It was. When I arrived in San Miguel I thought, I want this and I will do whatever it takes to live this big new dream: sell the house, get rid of accumulated stuff, put what I treasure into a van and cross the border, inner and outer, never to return again. 

TALK ABOUT A RESTART BUTTON! DO YOU FEEL A FREEDOM AS YOU GET OLDER?
Having that balance between giving to others, giving to ourselves, telling ourselves the truth, telling others the truth, managing time more wisely — not giving it away. When you do that — suddenly your body is more energized, you’re a happier person. You are having a more creative life.

HAVE YOU EVER BOUGHT INTO THAT IDEA OF AN EXPIRATION DATE ON YOUR CAREER, ON YOUR LOOKS, ON YOUR VITALITY, ANY OF THAT?
I would say on career, no. Because I am an entrepreneur at heart. If I had one penny, I would start my own business, no matter what age I was. But the physical — well, all this stuff — energy, looks, hair, body — it’s all becoming something of its own at this age. Of course, we have negative thoughts and scary thoughts. But you can’t cling to them. That’s a cancer of the brain. My wiser self knows: I am surprised about how my legs look today — but they’ll look worse in 10 years — so you better enjoy them today.

(Lots of chuckles between bites)

BRING IT ON...

Bring it on!

AND IT'S ACCEPTING ...
Yeah, and it’s not looking back. You gotta look reality in the face, and you have got to look towards the future. 

IT'S TRUE. BUT YOU'RE IN MEXICO. IT'S A VERY DIFFERENT CULTURE THERE, ISN'T IT? ABOUT BEING OLDER AND BEING ...
Well, it’s a different culture with age. There is courtesy and kindness extended towards elder people here. In San Miguel, there are a lot of older people so you are not being compared to younger people all of the time. Just the opposite. When I say to friends: “I am turning 64 — now that’s a marker” — and they say” “you’re a baby…come on…” I really have to say, it gives you a different perspective on your own age! 

SO WHAT DOES BEING GLORIOUS MEAN TO YOU?
Being fearless and free — I do love my F words: Fearless. Friendship. Freedom. Flaneur. Fashionista. Fiesta. Fun. Food.

GB: We're adding Fucking ...

Did I mention Patrice was joyful? Oh, yeah. She travels all over the Globe, writes, runs her boutique, Abrazos. Check her out at http://sanmigueldesigns.com/  or on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/sanmiguelpatrice

Glorious Broad #5: Faith Ringgold

Photo by Bryant Norman

Photo by Bryant Norman

GLORIOUS PROFESSION: Painter. Feminist. Educator. Author. Activist.

GLORIOUS PERSONA: A No-Holds-Barred Glorious Broad

GLORIOUS QUALITIES: Persistent, Creative, Fun, Ferocious

GLORIOUS FACT: She waited fifteen years – FIFTEEN – for her memoir, We Flew Over the Bridge, to get published. And what did she do in the interim? How about authoring sixteen award-winning books at last count. And she is still at it...

GLORIOUS PHILOSOPHY:

I don’t buy expiration date — as a woman — as an artist. I will do what I can do when, where I can do it. So there it is...

GB: Faith's fierce, determined, beautiful face beckoned me as I was flipping through a New York Times T Magazine article called “Works in Progress." While I was aware of her art, and thrown by her looks, it was her spirit that clinched me with the quote “If you live long enough and you persist, you are going to get recognition. You have to stay in the game. I wrote her that very same night asking for an interview and immediately got back the response: “Let’s do it.”

We met in her spacious studio — walls filled with art, sculpture, exhibits she was orchestrating. She was warm, she was funny and she was sheer power. A gorgeous woman at 85, we talked of our mutual love for Dinah Washington, for all things old jazz. She told me a story of her move to Jones Road in New Jersey, where she still lives. It was a story of racism she had never experienced before. She came from Harlem and hadn’t a clue — but oh, she prevailed. She ended her tale with “you really don’t know who you’re messing with.”

 But I knew — I knew it from one glance at her beaming through “T.” It is an honor to share this No-Holds-Barred Glorious Broad I had the good fortune to spend an afternoon with.

STAYING IN THE GAME: 9 Questions for Faith

WHO DO YOU CREDIT FOR YOUR DRIVE?
My mother.  You work hard and you will get where you are going. Just keep going. That was my mother.

DID YOU EVER HAVE TO HIT "RESTART" — A PERIOD OF COMPLETELY STARTING OVER?
No. I’ve never had to hit restart. I never stopped. When I had kids, there were certain media I could not work in … so I worked smaller. I made dolls. I made sculpture. But — I’m working. All the time. 

YOU DIDN'T QUIT YOUR "DAY JOB" AS AN EDUCATOR UNTIL YOU WERE 41. NOW, THAT'S PERSISTENCE ...
Well, it took me until the 80s, when I was in my 50s, before things got really good and I was able to live off my art. And that’s because I stayed in the game and had so many wonderful people who helped me to reach my goals, like Robert Newman at my first gallery. I will never forget him …

WHY?
He was the first gallery I had ever been in, The Spectrum Gallery. Art was HUGE in the 60s — and I was the only one working smaller and more political. He wanted me to just do what I was doing — but let’s see what would happen if you get bigger. He gave me the keys to his gallery when he closed it to the public and said — here’s your studio for the summer. That’s when I did Die, my first really big painting — and The Flag Is Bleeding.

I was there when they said Black Power. I thought...wow...when have you ever heard of power and black used in the same sentence. It was a fantastic time to be alive and I was so glad that I used that time to record it.

WHAT'S THE BIGGEST RISK YOU'VE TAKEN IN YOUR LIFE?
Being an artist! If I had known the problems of being an artist, what you have to go through and how HARD it is, I wouldn’t have done it. And that would have been a mistake I now know. But it took everything …

IF YOU WERE TO CHOOSE A GLORIOUS TRIBE TO LIVE WITH — WOMEN YOU ADMIRE — WHO WOULD THEY BE?
I am gonna start with Hillary. She is brilliant! And should have been President … and Louise Bourgeois, Selma Burke, Elizabeth Catlett, Louise Nevelson … I had been to her house. There was no furniture that I can remember — it was all sculpture. All of these women were very very powerful, very inspiring.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR FEMINISM...
Let me tell you how I BECAME a feminist. I was involved with the black power projects. I was recognizing the fact that the art world was exceedingly racist and we were trying to open up the museums so that black artists were getting in. So, we were going into the Museum of Modern Art with the art coalition group to demonstrate against the fact that no black artists were there... they would invite the men artists to come and sit around the table and — you know —  talk about the “situation.” Now, I was the one who had mostly engineered this demonstration, and yet, I am not even invited to sit around the table...  The next demonstration I called was at the Whitney. And that one was to demonstrate against the fact that there were no women being shown in the Whitney Biannual — and that — that was powerful! 

GB: GORILLA GIRL!!!

YOU'VE FOUGHT FOR FEMINISM, AGAINST RACISM, SEXISM ... WHAT ABOUT AGEISM?
At this point, I just live my life! And we’re not going away! We’re no longer just some little old person sitting in the corner. I just became a vegetarian this last year, taking 30-day challenges and feel fabulous. Bad food doesn’t taste good to me any more. How’s that from a former junk food lover ...   .

TELL US ABOUT THIS PROJECT YOU ARE WORKING ON...THIS QUILTUDUKO...
It’s an app I designed based on Sudoku. Wrote the music for it and  have more than sixty diagrams and thousands of beautiful images. They keep that brain functioning and use the color and design for it.

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU WANT TO GIVE YOUNGER WOMEN OUT THERE?
Be generous. Help people … not only maintain your success and achieve it –— but pass it on …

GB: Let me get this straight: Faith wanted to take a break from writing and making art — so she invented a game requiring over 60 visual diagrams and then wrote the music for it. And she has a new book out since I interviewed her on Amazon called “A Letter to my Daughter, Michelle Wallace.”  Ummm, what did YOU do today?

Faith is GB's Queen. That simple. You can learn more about her on her site faithringgold.com.

Describing her new project: Quiltuduko

Glorious Broad #4: Sarah Jane Adams

Photo by Leah Runyon

Photo by Leah Runyon

GLORIOUS PROFESSION: Antique Jeweler, Instagram Icon

GLORIOUS PERSONA: A Cheeky Glorious Broad

GLORIOUS QUALITIES: Generous, Joyful, Adventurous – and not takin' it all too seriously

GLORIOUS PHILOSOPHY:

I never considered myself a fashionista or any of those bullshit labels – I’m just me doing my thing, traveling, living out of a suitcase

Sarah Jane Adams @ saramaijewels has got 160,000 followers on Instagram. Ok, not 218,000 like Kim Gordon, not 10.5 million like Madonna, but still.  What she’s got is 160,000 obsessive fans — and I’m one of them. Sara lives part time in Australia, part time in London and part time just about everywhere else she feels like floppin’. She is the wandering gypsy I think we all want to be, or I wanna be. My ex went on a solo six month bike trip with his backpack and little else a year ago and all men gravitated to him with lust and envy and a “why can’t I” misty gaze. I think Sarah brings that up for women — not the envy but feeding the free-and easy-let’s-go-for-it part of you. Hey, I’m a pro-active kinda lady and live the life I want to but she’s an exaggerated version of what I could be on a very courageous day. Me and the 160,000 others who can’t get enough of her.

INSTAGRAM "STARDOM"
I’m drawn to rocker chicks, only this one answered my Instagram message. I asked if she would let me interview her. She agreed within minutes. Now Kim Gordon wouldn’t do that... 

She was on one of her first trips to NYC and I remember her big teddy bear of a man commenting to me while we photographed her: “Amazing — one year ago we had no idea what Instagram was and now it has changed our lives.”

ABOUT THAT FERRET
Half of Sarah’s appeal on IG is her attitude ‘cause she simply just doesn’t give a f***. She started out as a ferret. Yes, a stuffed ferret. Now that’s a lady who definitely doesn’t take it all too seriously. One day she had on a really old Adidas jacket, mixed it up with “whatever was around” and let her daughter’s boyfriend take a smart-ass picture of her. Her daughter posted it, hash tagged AdvancedStyle and AriSethCohen from the uber popular over 50 style blog — and all hell broke loose. Ari, creator of Advanced Style, happened to be in Sidney, came over the next morning, took a couple of photos, and that’s pretty much how it started. Sarah and Ari have become good friends since, and she has the utmost loyalty and respect for the man, “a gentle gorgeous soul.” “I never considered myself a fashionista or any of those bullshit labels – I’m just me doing my thing, traveling, living out of a suitcase...”

And that’s what comes through...her genuineness, her humor, her not giving a shit...

AND SHE'S NOT A NARCISSIST
If you’re on Instagram, you know there are a LOT of narcissists on it. Sarah is quite the opposite. She’s real. She speaks the truth. Her mantra: “Be yourself. Speak up.” She attracts all kinds of ages, all kinds of cultures. “I’ve got different genres of followers. Obviously, I’ve got a bunch of Adidas people (she loves her Adidas), the Brazilians love me ‘cause I am colorful and bright, I am festive, the older and middle aged women like me because I’m gray and able to live my life and have a happy time, the Japanese kids love me cause I am quirky and wear things in an unconventional way. And then there are the Philly people! I found them and they inspired me — so it’s very much a reciprocal thing.”

That’s the difference with Sarah. It’s reciprocal! She asks things. She responds. She does give a shit about the people who follow her. In fact, she considers them “her therapists.” “To have 160,000 therapists out there — some of whom are vocal and some of whom aren’t — that’s huge. I mean, what a blessing is that.”

Enough of me waxing on. Let me introduce you to the girl herself on a couple of rants. She’s the real deal — a “Gloriously “wicked, cheeky, wind up merchant” to quote Sarah …

Wrote, directed, designed, edited this first of a series of video interviews with feisty, strong, charismatic women who are part of the tribe called Glorious Broads. Sarah, who sees herself as a gloriously "wicked, cheeky, wind up merchant" is all that - but so much more. She's got style, wisdom and attitude galore.

This piece or a close facsimile was originally posted for Huff Post 50. Since the article, I've had so many women write me about Sarah's magnetism. Well, she's in Montenegro today — tomorrow — who knows?

Glorious Broad #3: Yamuna (yah-moon-a)

Photos by Leah Runyon

Photos by Leah Runyon

GLORIOUS PROFESSION: Visionary. Teacher. Healer.

GLORIOUS PERSONA: A Revolutionary Glorious Broad

GLORIOUS QUALITIES: Ferocious, Funny, Sexy, Irreverent, Rebel

GLORIOUS PHILOSOPHY:

The bottom line is — if you’re stupid in your body — you can be smart as you want in your mind — but if you are stupid in your body and just can’t be bothered with it — you’re pretty stupid.

GB: Though Yamuna and I had not actually met, our paths crossed plenty in that New York City way. I’d pass her studio on Perry Street after getting my body fairly plummeted at my local gym. Yeah, I was a gym rat — but I’d think — I gotta visit this place and get worked out and stretched by that goddess.

Well, I blew that opportunity. Yamuna moved on and is spreading her gospel globally: body sustainability. I now know I was the prototype for one of her dumb baby boomers — killing myself daily the way I did at age 30 — not listening to my aching bones …

I date these women. I see what they are like and if, in fact, they meet with my criteria of “Glorious.” Yamuna blew me away. Yes, she’s a unique beauty — but it was the carriage, the way she held herself that differentiated her from the rest of the schleps on the street — including me. We were “instant” girlfriends as she explained her body revolution in her funny, irreverent, kick ass way at her spectacular west village apartment…a Revolutionary Glorious Broad…

THE GLORIOUS BODY AND THE REVOLUTIONARY: 10 questions

DID YOU DREAM AT 20 THAT YOU WOULD BE THE WOMAN YOU ARE TODAY?
I dreamed it at 11. I used to say to my father: “I don’t know what it is yet — but I’m gonna do something radical for the world. And I’ll be doing this at 80. I’ll be going “oh yeah, so when you are 80, these are the things that happen in the body — these are the things you need to watch out for.”

CAN AN AGING BODY BE A WISER BODY — EVEN A GLORIOUS BODY?
Hell YEAH. It has to be. Otherwise it’s no fun. The bottom line is — if you’re stupid in your body — you can be smart as you want in your mind — but if you are stupid in your body and just can’t be bothered with it — you’re pretty stupid. The body needs more care every decade you get over 50. And you have to ignore the self-medicated society we live in…

PREACH...
We have drugs for menopause. Drugs for thyroids, cholesterol, blood pressure … you name it. We’re a medicated culture. Take control of your own body

Women keep secrets ... like ... we don’t talk enough about perimenopause or menopause. It’s a bitch! Women should be preparing for menopause when they turn 40.

SO TELL ME YOUR PHILOSOPHY IN A NUTSHELL
Your body speaks to you. Your hip, your knee, your hands, your shoulder, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. I call myself “the intelligent, alternative, knowledgeable” source to body sustainability. I can tell you that I can be wrong about almost anything in life — but not when it comes to the structure of the body — that’s where my expertise is. Body logic — hands on work.

BODY LOGIC? MORE PLEASE …
When my daughter was born, I was injured and had destabilized my left hip. It was impossible to find adequate treatment so I experimented with yoga to heal myself. I thought of my body as a laboratory — using practical knowledge once you understand the anatomy. I perfected that first body of work and began to teach it. That built my reputation. And then I moved to Spain and there was nobody giving me a body logic session. I bought a cheap little ball and started giving myself sessions so the ball and my body weight against the wall became my hands. I went wild. I did this for months and then realized — this is the birth of a new work. We’re gonna teach people how to be able to literally work on every part of their body and be able to problem solve, self-heal and maintain. This will be revolutionary. So…that’s how it started…

WHO ARE YOUR MENTORS…YOUR HEROINES WHO INSPIRED THIS PASSION?
If I look at the women in my life, Edith Harper was a huge influence. Older, wiser, a life therapist  I had the good fortune to meet and be nurtured by. Her motto was: “Get wise sooner.” And Therese Bertherat who wrote “The Body Has Its Reasons” in France. She was the first one who revolutionized “soft gym” – you don’t have to kill yourself.

BUT HOW DO YOU GET YOUR MESSAGE “TO THE PEOPLE”? YOU HAVE SEMINARS IN FABULOUS EXOTIC PLACES ALL OVER THE WORLD BUT … ARE YOU AN ELITIST?

No! I do a daily blog! I have 5,000 followers and give practical stuff they can really do. Try this, how about this — but I always do it first. And this is on my Facebook page each day. Free!

DO YOU HAVE A MESSAGE FOR YOUNGER WOMEN — HOW TO KEEP THEIR BODIES HEALTHY THROUGHOUT THEIR LIVES?
Oh yeah! Do not listen to what the fitness world has ever told you — because it’s wrong. You can't work out at 50 like you did when you were 30, having a 22-year old hulk beating up your body. It's a moronic thought. There are more joint replacements than ever before and aging without your own body parts fully intact is not the best choice for aging gracefully. And start thinking out of the box. You don’t have to kill yourself.

YOU'RE GIVIN’ OUT SEXINESS — DID THAT JUST GET BETTER WITH THE YEARS?
I walk into a room now and feel sexier, fitter and totally in touch with what I own — so different from my younger self. The last thing I want is my body at 30 because, you know what, my body is smarter today. I never thought about how I walked down the street and use my feet, my knees and my hips when I was 30. I do it today. Because I am connected to it. I feel like we need to be examples. We can’t tell people: Wake up, be smarter, younger if WE don’t. You can’t talk it and not live it.

YOU'VE COMPLETELY REVOLUTIONIZED HOW WE FEEL ABOUT LONGEVITY – BUT HOW ABOUT YOU?  YOU WANT TO HIT 100 YEARS OLD? DO YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT THE INEVITABLE END?
Oh yeah – I can’t wait! I am so bored by people who want to live to 100. That’s a gross out. I’ve lived a super full life already. I could die now. There’s enough of what I have created to keep going for generations. So I don’t want to live to 100. BORING. 

This Glorious Broad is a powerhouse. Check her out her daily tutorial on www.facebook.com/YamunaBody.

 

 

Glorious Broad #2: Janis Dardaris

Photos by Leah Runyon

Photos by Leah Runyon

GLORIOUS PROFESSION: Actress

AGE: FU_AGE!

GLORIOUS PERSONA: A No Bullshit Glorious Broad

GLORIOUS QUALITIES: Brutally Frank, Hilarious, Poetic, Profound

GLORIOUS PHILOSOPHY:

Getting older – it’s the freedom to say that I own myself – I am who I am and this is IT. I am not sure if I had it in my 40s but I definitely got it in my 50s. 50s are great.

GB: I was at a reading for a friend’s play when I spotted this glorious lioness across the crowded room — pepper and salt mane, all rough glamor — WHO IS THAT WOMAN!!??

A couple of vodkas later at the after-theatre party, I forgot about her —  until I jumped the elevator to return home. Who was my sole companion? The lioness. It was the middle of winter but she had a bike and a ‘tude to convince me we were in the middle of a summer heat wave. I’m a biker, I love heat and the deal was sealed.

 I call Janis’s face exotic. She calls it “RBF: Resting Bitch Face.” That “look” has got her into a heap of trouble — and won her a lot of demanding roles. Big surprise: she’s an actress.

Way impressed by her brutally frank, hilarious attitude, GB shares an embarrassment of riches over a few martinis — from sex to acting to aging — from our ‘no bullshit’ Glorious BroadJanis Dardaris …

 

BLINDERS BEGONE
“When I first got into acting — that’s the last thing any parent wants their child to do — and I said: fuck it, I’m doin’ it. And I had blinders on for 45 years.”

“You know that thing that George Bernard Shaw said: youth is wasted on the young? I don’t agree. When you’re young, youth is all you have. The passion of youth. The beauty of youth. I was so uncertain. That’s why I put the blinders on. Now my blinders are off and I’m ... aaaaaaaaaaah ... this is such a better time of life.”

V IS FOR VULNERABLE
“I basically don’t give a shit about what people think of me.  I’m not worried about the stuff I used to worry about. I used to have this tough exterior and I wouldn’t let them see my vulnerability. That’s changed.”

“It would be really dangerous — too dangerous — if we were as smart as we are now and as self-accepting and we looked like we did when we were in our 30s. I think the world would blow up. Or, maybe it wouldn’t ...”

BE UNBORED
“I have never been attracted to a normal man, but I don’t think that I'm very attracted to normalcy. It makes me bored. I always say: beat me, do anything but don’t bore me. I am completely helpless in the face of boredom.“

Sometimes I think about – am I gonna want to have sex in my 90s? Just because – I want to still be a life force

BROADS ARE BUDDHIST TOO
“There is such a thing as karma. I learned that you do wrong things and it will come back to you. Karma is a real thing. I never believed it. You take from the universe and don’t give back — it is what you will sow.”

FU AGE
“Aging gracefully: mind your own business. Whose saying this: aging gracefully — as opposed to what — getting your face hacked away at? I’ve never been a particularly graceful person. I don’t like the term. It feels like I will have to keep my mouth shut and be quiet — and wise. Fuck that. We have as much passion as we ever did. And I have even more opinions.

Let’s age with a sense of humor, a sense of irony … and generosity.”

GB: Now that sounds like aging GLORIOUSLY, girlfriend!

Janis Dardaris, Actress, Acting Coach, was named a Philadelphia legend in Thomas Nickel’s book “Legendary Locals of Center City Philadelphia.” Nickels spelled her last name wrong on page 57. Janis thinks the misspelling’s kinda funny. That's the Buddhism talking.

 

 

Glorious Broad #1: Maryjane Fahey

PHOTO: CHRISTOPER SCALZI / DISTILLED STUDIO

PHOTO: CHRISTOPER SCALZI / DISTILLED STUDIO

GLORIOUS PROFESSION: Writer, Maker, Designer of — lots of stuff

GLORIOUS PERSONA: Landing on Her Feet — Yet Again — She Will Prevail!

GLORIOUS QUALITIES: Eternal Optimist, Up for a Drink, Or a Trip, Or a 50 Mile Bike Ride

GLORIOUS PHILOSOPHY:

It is never too late. Period. End of story.

A little bit about me, the founder of GB. I declare myself GB #1. Why not? Let’s cozy up together … shall we?

WHAT MAKES YOU A GLORIOUS BROAD?
Ummm. I’m funny. I keep it real. I'm not a spring chicken, but I'm not done clucking either. Hahaha. I love and support fabulousness. And I was a late bloomer. I’m still blooming. I think this is key to staying curious.

WHEN DID YOU GET HIP TO “THE MEANING OF LIFE" AND ALL THE POSSIBILITIES OUT THERE?
Meaning of life is a tall order but — I’m gonna say i had an “awakening” around 45. All came together. And then it exploded again. Then it all came together. See what I mean? It’s an ongoing process. It may explode again tomorrow …

DO YOU FEEL FREER AS YOU AGE?
So much so! I don’t care what the world may think about me…except for you, fellow GBs! And that took 45 years ... but hey...

I want to see age fear mongering and rigidity about our ROLES as women become a thing of the past in my lifetime. Talk about glorious ...

WHAT DO YOU CARE ABOUT AS YOU GET OLDER?
Loving better. Loving my people better. Loving strangers and new friends better. Loving the earth better. Making the most of the gifts that I was lucky enough to receive. Not wasting — anything. Enjoying my ambition — but — making the time to deeply enjoy doing not much too. This is a big difference. I was a serious workaholic from 30 on. My 20’s were another whole story …

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE MOMENTS IN LIFE — LOOKING BACK?
Whenever I took a chance and followed my guts.

ARE YOU A FEMINIST?
I grew up in a matriarchy: a grandmother, mother, 5 sisters — and my poor neglected dad and brother living in one tiny house. Girls ruled. However, I saw my mother lose her power as she got older: no purpose once we flew the coop. I vowed to have a powerful, independent life at age 8. So. Yes. I am a feminist.

WHY DID YOU CREATE GLORIOUS BROADS?
This project, Glorious Broads, has been germinating in me for at least 3 decades. I cannot leave the house without meeting another Glorious Broad.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU?
My beautiful friends — some of them — are obsessed with aging. It made me sad — and frustrated. I wanted to try to open up their point of view. Make them look forward to the decades ahead with confidence, courage, grace, passion, sexiness, power, wisdom, thankfulness and wit. Let go of fear. What the fuck? Let your face match your hands please. I am NOT putting down women who get a tuck. Do your thing! I am saying – do it — but learn to do it with pleasure, not with fear …

And I want those young'uns to see the imaginative, open, spectacular lives GBs are living.

HOW DO YOU CHOOSE A GB?
They are the kind of women — always — that make me say: I WANNA BE HER. They are SAGES...not saints. And they’re all excellent drinking pals ...

ANYTHING ELSE?
Yes. I want to see age fear mongering and rigidity about our ROLES as women of all ages become a thing of the past in my lifetime. Talk about glorious ... It's such horseshit that our culture tries to dictate that older women can't be smokin' hot, or cool, or on top of their game. That's not my experience, and not the experience of so many of the GBs I meet. It's about being yourself, myself, my true, weird, wonderful self and seeing where that goes. And where it goes is all over the place, but FAR from ageist stereotypes of the mild mannered, useless ol' lady. So fuck that. And cheers to Glorious Broads everywhere — self included!

Maryjane is on her 5th reinvention. But who’s counting? She was a designer, published author, now an editor, writer, future playwright, future sculptor – and the list goes on  … For now she primarily enjoys her brainchild, Glorious Broads, and  can't wait to see where it leads her — and us …