Describe yourself in 3 words.
Down-to-earth. Charming. Fairy.
Tell us your story.
I had an idyllic childhood growing up in Sydney, Australia, but from a young age, even though my surroundings were beautiful and filled with loving family, I yearned to travel. I wanted to explore the world and threw myself out there the first moment possible.
Classical ballet was my first love and I trained after school and during holidays. Dance brought out my confidence and the performer in me, but by the time I hit high school and had grown to my full height, the love had dwindled and so did the much-needed dedication. I knew that I wanted my life to be involved somehow in fashion or the art world.
Modeling was my ticket to see the world. In my opinion, modeling is one of the most misunderstood professions. It’s hard work and teaches you to be thick-skinned. It was a great vehicle for me to meet people and discover other cultures. I will be forever grateful for all the experiences and adventures it brought to my life.
My dear friend, the talented photographer Martyn Thompson, moved to New York at the time I was on a quest to find my next vocation. It was a tricky moment, as I was uncertain what to do next, and Martyn saved the day. I became his personal assistant and helped run his studio for a year or so. I then went on for the next 15 years to work in the industry I had always known, but this time behind the camera as an agent and then in production.
By my late-forties I was looking for a big whopper of a change. I was frustrated by only seeing very young women represented in the media. And so, The Silver Women was born. It celebrates women and shows all the beautiful stages in their lives, helping to demonstrate that aging is simply a wonderful journey.
What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment to date?
Having the courage and enthusiasm to leave home so young. I was 17 years old and fearless. This act kicked off all the experiences—the good, the bad, and the ugly—that have shaped who I am. I am most proud of creating The Silver Women platform. Something just feels so right.
What do you like the most about yourself?
That I haven’t become jaded. I continue to have childlike curiosity.
What are your greatest passions?
I am a visual person who is passionately drawn to the arts in every form. Ideas, feelings, and things that bring people together inspire me greatly. Food and film are especially brilliant at doing this.
Which women inspired you as a young girl?
Prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn was everything to me growing up. What a magnificent dancer. Annie Lennox and Kate Bush were my favorite music idols. I’m still, to this day, obsessed with all the movie stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age: Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Carole Lombard, Mae West. And Audrey Hepburn, ALWAYS.
Which women inspire you now?
All the above, plus my mother and every one of my female family members. They are all so caring and have great senses of humor. I like women who march to the beat of their own drum!
Have you had female mentors?
Yes, I certainly did but I wish there had been more, especially when I was younger. Luckily, I also had the great fortune to have met men who championed women. The men in my professional life have been outstanding. They had faith in me when I certainly did not have faith in myself.
Do you mentor other women?
Oh, I so hope so. I go out of my way and enjoy helping women of all ages identify their best qualities and talents and strive for the stars. I can’t bear any form of hierarchy in the workplace and have tried always to be approachable and open so that people would feel comfortable asking for guidance. Let’s just say, I do not have children but I have found many ways to mother.
THOUGHTS ON AGING
What do you like most about getting older?
What I absolutely adore is that I am seeking and want to be of service. I also love the fact that the simplest things now make me beam with joy. Or the simplest acts of kindness or thoughtfulness bring tears to my eyes.
Do you think older women are valued and celebrated?
It greatly saddens me when I hear that some older women feel invisible. Some cultures revere the older woman—alas, our society hasn’t been too kind. But I feel it’s changing and I’m happy to think that I may be a small part of this positive movement.
Which women do you admire for aging with grace and integrity?
Quite a few. Actresses Judi Dench and Emma Thompson. How wonderful are they?!
My friend Irene Gandy who is 75 and I swear is out every night enjoying every minute and always looking fabulous.Women who stay interested in others tend to be very interesting in my opinion. And that’s what aging gracefully is all about to me.
What advice do you have for today’s young women?
Observe all around you and not just your phone screen. Practice the art of conversation IRL. Travel! Travel! Travel! And, not to sound like a nag, but have good manners. They will serve you well in all areas of your life. Behave graciously, even when it’s hard. Keep your face out of the sun; your skin will be in better shape later on.
What is your perfect day?
Waking up to a good strong coffee brought to me in bed. The weather is sunny but crisp (I love spring and autumn). Then, meeting a friend and visiting a museum and being inspired or challenged. On the way home, a quick stop to buy ingredients for the delicious dinner I will cook for my friends and family. The afternoon is leisurely, spent preparing in the kitchen while listening and (usually dancing) to my favorite tunes.
A night spent around a table with everyone I love enjoying food, wine, conversation and laughter. BLISS!
BEAUTY RELATED QUESTIONS
Who is your beauty inspiration?
Jerry Hall in the Roxy Music video “Let’s Stick Together.” Glamorous beyond. My mother, who demonstrates that makeup, hair, and fashion should be a creative outlet, a source of fun and play, and not just about being beautiful.
How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
Some days 2 minutes; other days…endless. I’m not a morning person. Probably why I look better after 1pm!
Do you enjoy wearing makeup?
Yes. My day-to-day is minimal. But it needs to have impact. I believe in the power of a little blush and don’t even get me started on the superpower of red lipstick.
As you get older, do you wear more or less makeup?
I intend to experiment a little more. I always like for my skin to show through, so I’m not a fan of heavy foundations. But I’m thinking of sporting a little more eyeliner or colorful eye shadow in the future. Let’s see if I can pull it off.
A FEW OF MY FAVORITES
“Something” (The Beatles). I have a super-crush on George Harrison.
I adored reading as a child and letting my mind escape into different worlds, hence “The Chronicles of Narnia” by CS Lewis is my all-time favorite.
Robert Graves’ “I Claudius.” Anything written by Margaret Atwood. She knocks my socks off. I wish I had more time to read and were not so addicted to Netflix.
OYSTERS! (Preferably Sydney Rock oysters.) Pavlova with whipped cream and passionfruit on top.
Place in the world:
I love places that are steeped in history, so Europe has always been a big draw for me. I adore London, even its weather. New York has been one of my greatest love affairs and I feel so blessed that I experienced it from the late ‘80s, when it was intoxicating. However, my birth city, Sydney, is one of the most dazzling cities in the world.
I love photography. Fashion photographer Norman Parkinson is my all-time favorite—the way he captured glamorous women in faraway locations. Water Lilies by Claude Monet. How I would love to have it hanging in my living room. Well, a girl can dream.
Freshly cut grass—the only reason I can tolerate the sound of lawnmowers. The smell of bacon sizzling in a pan.
All of them! I’m into blooming trees such as cherry, magnolia, and jacaranda, which is very dear to my heart. Gardenias, for their gorgeous perfume.
The Red Violin, Some Like it Hot! Charade, I love the fantastic banter between Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant.