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