Muses

Glorious Broad #7: Dina Paisner

Dinah_4.jpg
 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 #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?