If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 25-year-old self? For Erica, it would be to stay present—among other things.
Hear all Erica’s advice for her younger self in today’s video.
If I could go back and give myself advice when I was 25, it would be, "Stay in the moment, do not think about the future, and be very present.”
Because the choices you make in life, they do, there is an effect, and to take that responsibility and stay present.
To be really at home with yourself and to be calm and have understanding.
And that you're not perfect and you don't have to be perfect, and that find your own uniqueness and your own voice.
Meet Erica: Staying Present
For years, people told Hillary “you should dye your hair” and “you should cover up your freckles” and “you should hide your wrinkles!”
At age 50, Hillary became a model because she refused to be anything but her natural, silver-haired self.
Watch the video to hear her inspiring story.
0:03 Confidence comes with age.
0:25 How she became a model at 50
1:18 Never dyed her hair.
1:22 Strangers: “You should dye your hair!”
1:38 40s: Worst for negative comments
1:57 “I am unique, and I prefer to stay that way.”
2:20 Her advice to someone going gray
2:45 Men are extremely attracted to gray hair.
3:26 Vitality comes from within.
3:47 Growing older is a gift.
4:04 Experience more deeply as we age
4:35 “I have no desire to look 25.”
Hi, I'm Hillary. I am 55.
I think you become more self-confident as you get older. You're more comfortable within your own skin.
When you're young, you're full of all sorts of insecurities. And for me, as I got older, I just grew more into myself and I have embraced my experiences. And I love the way I am with each passing year and not looking back.
I'm a Zumba teacher and there was a casting, and I thought it was just to be a teacher and it turned out it was for modeling.
And then from there I booked that, the contract, and met some agents and photographers, and they're like, "You should be doing this full-time." And I thought back because, as a teenager, I modeled a little bit, but I was never the right look way back then. It was very all-American, sort of, you had to fit in that box of blonde hair, blue-eyed, which was not my look at all.
And at 50, they said, "Well, you're so different. You're so natural, and we would like your natural silver hair." And it just clicked.
And now, it's nice to see that that change happening in the beauty industry, to start recognizing that there are differences, and to embrace a little bit older, more mature woman, rather than always featuring someone so young.
I never dyed my hair, and I started turning gray in my 30s.
And I went through a lot of negative comments from strangers who felt the need to tell me that I would be so much better with dyed hair.
Just like they tell me, I'll be so much better if I bleached my freckles and got rid of my wrinkles, and I just tell them, "No, thank you, that's not me."
Forty to 50 was probably the worst. Every single day I would receive negative comments. "You'd be so much better. You'd be so much younger. You'd be so much this." And I just...I became so rebellious about it. It was almost just, no way, no way would I do it.
And I was happy with it. I thought, "Okay, this is the way I'm intended to look, and I don't think it has anything to do with age." So, whether I have gray hair, wrinkles, freckles.
So, whatever society tells me I shouldn't have, has no bearing. None. This is it, I am unique the way I am and prefer to stay that way. But, yes, my silver hair was definitely the catalyst for it.
My advice to someone going gray would just be to stick it out. No one I know, and I'm in contact with so many people, has ever regretted the decision.
It is something, it will... Your skin tone will be enhanced because it's the way nature intended it to be. You will actually gain a lot more confidence because, surprisingly enough, and I will say this, men are extremely attracted to women with gray hair. For some reason, they see it as a sign of confidence, of sort of bold and risky, and that's appealing, and they feel...
I've always had more men stop and say, "You know, I love what you did. I wish my wife or my girlfriend would do that. And congrats to you for being so natural."
So, sometimes the image that women think will keep that vitality, and that energy, and that mojo going is just an image that the advertisers created for us, and it's really not what is the right thing.
Vital and alive comes from within. You can't buy it. It really comes from embracing who you are.
I live a healthy and fit life, and I think that the extra energy that that provides just brings out what's naturally in you. It's a choice to be negative or positive.
Growing older is a gift, a gift of being healthy and choosing happiness over sadness. We can create a lot of misery in our own lives. We can choose to embrace all the negativity that's out there, or just look at things in a positive way.
As we get older, we can just experience things in a deeper way and in a more productive way.
Pro-aging for me is the most important movement. I call it now in the industry and in the world. It just means stop putting a negative connotation on aging.
Aging is something positive, not everyone gets to do it. So, stop telling us that aging is something bad, something we should erase, we should always look back.
I have no desire to look like I did at 25. I want to be the best version I can be at every age.
Hillary’s Story: A Silver-Haired Model
One of the best ways I’ve found to feel vital, energized and happy as I’ve aged is to stick to a regular exercise routine.
Our bodies love to move. Any kind of regular movement keeps us from getting stagnant, worn out, stiff, tired and stuck.
As we age, one of the kindest things we can do for ourselves is to make sure we’re exercising in ways that energize us and make us feel good.
It’s easy to recognize this if exercise is already part of your life. But what if you don’t already have regular exercise habits?
It can be difficult to create new habits at all—and it’s even harder when society gives us all kinds of messages that we are “supposed” to workout in order to fit a particular beauty standard.
Exercise for you, not because society says you “should.”
The media tells us we should exercise to fit some kind of unrealistic, externally imposed beauty ideal. These negative messages make it more difficult to connect to the positive aspects of exercising that just feel good in our bodies.
So if you don’t already have a regular exercise habit, how can you get started?
How can you distinguish between the unrealistic expectations handed down from advertisers that we’re “supposed” to exercise to look a certain way—versus developing new habits to increase your own vitality and pleasure?
I was never an athlete of any kind when I was younger, and I used to hate the gym. So I developed my own exercise routine after not working out for many years. Now I love it. When life gets too busy and I get out of my routine, I can’t wait to get back to exercising.
Not because I “should”—but because I want to.
Here are some things I’ve found that have really helped me embrace and enjoy exercising in a way that’s right for me.
Experiment until you find movement you love.
I hate to run. Like, hate it. I have ever since I was a kid.
I can never figure out how to sync up my breathing so I don’t get out of breath. I also don’t like how jarring it is.
So instead of running, I tried different things until I found a way to work out that really felt good.
Turns out I love the elliptical machine. It’s smooth, no-impact. I like the way it balances out my upper and lower body—and I can read a magazine while I do it. (That’s me. For you, it might be something completely different!)
Then I remembered that I’ve always loved dancing—so much that I never even thought of it as “exercise.”
Then I discovered spin class. Even though I never really liked biking before, the fact that spin class plays great music and has you bike to the beat makes it a different experience.
Also, Vinyasa yoga feels great to my body, especially when I’m tense and need a stretch as well as a good sweat.
Now I have four ways to work out that are actually fun for me and feel really good.
Developing a workout habit isn’t about forcing yourself to do something that you don’t like because you “should.” It’s about experimenting until you find something that feels so good that you want to do it.
Break a sweat.Any movement is better than no movement. But if you can move vigorously enough to work up a sweat, you’ll likely find yourself wanting to move a lot more.
That’s because when you exercise vigorously enough to sweat, your body also releases endorphins—the feel-good chemicals that elevate your mood, release tension, and give you what people call a “runner’s high.”
If you can get your heart rate and body temperature up enough to sweat, you’ll find that your workout elevates your mood.
Focus on how you feel, not how you look.We contend with so many unrealistic beauty and body image expectations throughout our lives, and we receive so many messages that working out is about being thin or having a certain shape.
Naturally, we might want to rebel against those messages, because they’re externally imposed, judgmental, and don’t bring us pleasure.
When I reframed exercise as how I feel rather than how I look, everything changed.
I started wanting to work out because my body feels good when I’m doing it. It’s a great way to release stress and tension, and my mood is about ten times better after I do it.
My job is to keep my body healthy and feeling good—and how that makes me look is just a side effect.
How have you incorporated exercise into your life in a way that feels pleasurable—or what challenges are you facing as you learn to do so? Let us know in the comments below!
How to Find Exercises That Feel Great to You
Sexiness comes from the inside. For Hillary, 55 is the age when that sexiness really kicks in. Find out why in today’s video.
Do you agree with Hillary? Or is there another age when you have felt particularly sexy? Let us know in the comments after you watch the video.
Video Transcript:Sexy at 25 has nothing on sexy at 55.
I mean, as a mature woman, this is the peak time for us.
We've fully grown into our bodies. We've grown into our mindset. We know what we want. We know what we like.
We should be comfortable in our skin, and that's very important, to not obsess about body flaws and this. We have a lot more to offer than that.
And sexiness, again, comes from inner confidence, inner secure in who you are. It's not about looking perfect in your bikini. It's nothing about that.
Meet Hillary: Feeling Sexy at 55
It's About Women, It's about beauty, It's about time
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