07/21/2016 04:05 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

I On Beauty Chapter 19: Still Modeling After 70




Throughout my life I have worn many hats and the most lucrative has been modeling. As some of you may know, most modeling careers are over by the age of 40, and I believe one of the reasons my career has lasted so long is my attitude and zest for life. For example, since I could never decide which art I loved the most, I took them all! I have spent my life practicing dancing, acting, modeling, playing guitar, singing, boxing and horseback riding...and the list goes on!

During my life, I'm happy to say I have had much success as a lifestyle model, as well as being an experienced equestrian, which has enabled me to compete in show jumping across the United States and internationally, most recently I was in England at Burley Manor covering an event.

I remember as a young woman, my mother would have preferred for me to be a homemaker while, at the same time, my father was encouraging me to see the world. That is what I did! Throughout my journey I have encountered so many wonderful people, talented artists, and other great models, all while visiting parts of the world that I had only dreamed of.

Many times I am asked how I still have the energy to juggle traveling, modeling, being married to my wonderful husband, Arny, social obligations, continued lessons and endless hours of maintenance. The answer is "It ain't easy," and anyone who tells you that it is, is lying.

As we age, our regimen gets more involved requiring more effort, especially in the modeling industry. You have to stay on top of current fashions and the newest beauty and makeup trends. There is also the endless battle to stay thin, finding the right skin care, staying on top of the proper diet, and making it all seem effortless.



Being in the industry I have also learned many beauty secrets, dozens of shortcuts and great sources to help stay young, but, after trying so many brands that didn't work I decided to produce my own skincare line - I On Youth Collection by Irene Michaels.

I would have to say that one of the type of jobs I dislike the most is when I get a call to audition for a product like Depends. I look in the mirror and say to myself, "am I that old?!" Yep, I guess I am. However, there's the other side of the coin - in the same week I'll be asked to go on a cruise ship and model cruise wear on an island somewhere. So, like anything in life, there comes a point where you have to adjust. It does not hurt that I happen to have wonderful representation with Sandra Wee Tom at the Stewart Talent Agency and Laurie & Lynne Hamilton at Shirley Hamilton Talent, Inc. both in Chicago.

A funny thing happened, one day when I was sitting in a doctor's office. When the nurse called my name to go in for my appointment, she said, "I saw you sitting there for a long time, but, I thought for sure that the woman I was looking for might have left. When I saw the age on the card, I thought, 'it can't be her!'" But, she finally came up and asked me. She just could not believe that I was the older woman!

The nurse went on to say that I looked like a 40-year-old., not 71. I replied, "Yes, until you stand next to a real 40-year-old. There is no escaping time!"



I believe it is a luxury to grow older. Of course we all want to look 27 forever, but if you just allow yourself to age gracefully and appreciate all you have, spirit will keep you young. Believe it or not, it is more difficult for a man to enter midlife than for a woman. Men today dye and streak their hair; get injected with Botox and other fillers; get liposuction and plastic surgery. They are truly vainer than women.

The whole aging process is interesting to me. I believe you should simply be who you are, feel the strength and power you possess as a beautiful human being and that will shine through brighter than any highlighter.

Remember, you can be anything and do anything with a strong desire and the approval you give yourself to believe that it's okay to be older. That, along with much dedication, \ discipline, and believing in yourself can help you accomplish great things at any age.

Need proof? --- I'm still modeling after 70. Just sayin'!