A Nice Surprise

By Vernice Shostal

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Retired nurse and current model Lynda Cox was reading an issue of Canadian Living magazine when she spotted an interesting ad by clothing chain Tabi. The clothier was looking for a model over age 40, and promised the top four contestants a four-day stay in Toronto complete with a makeover and photo shoot.

Lynda answered the ad and, to her surprise, was one of the lucky finalists. Although she didn’t win the overall prize, Lynda enjoyed her experience in Toronto. Wondering how she could take advantage of her new-found knowledge, she contacted Barbara Coultish Talent and Model Management in Victoria and landed a job as one of their older models.

“It has been a great experience and I am fortunate that I can do this for fun,” says Lynda. “One of the challenges of being an older model is that there is a limit to the amount of work available.”

Though Vancouver or one of the other larger Canadian cities would provide more opportunities for Lynda, she's happy living and working on the Island.

“I am a lover of fashion, probably because I always had to wear a uniform to work. It just made clothing more important during my time off,” she says.

Lynda follows fashion magazines for inspiration. Fashion shows are also a good place to see current trends and suitable outfits for a more mature person. Another reliable source of information are her daughters, who are knowledgeable about contemporary fashion and give tips on what styles complement her and how to wear new items.

“There are clothes made now for every body type and beauty products for all types of skin,” Lynda says. “It takes a little time to find the right choices, but it feels good to get it right and so worth the effort.”

Lynda grew up in Calgary. Without the financial resources for a post-secondary education, Lynda chose to train as a nurse where she was able to get her training while she worked in the hospital. “Luckily, I loved it,” she says. “Calgary General was a great place to train.”

After her training, Lynda followed some friends to Hawaii where she worked at Queens Medical Centre in Honolulu for two years during the Vietnam War, a time when Hawaii was a preferred R & R spot for the American troops, “so it was a pretty lively place to be.”

After a while, Lynda yearned for the changing seasons and returned to Canada where she got a job at Burnaby General Hospital. Three years later, she sought out another adventure.

Lynda accepted a flight attendant position with Air Canada and, after a short training course in Montreal, moved to Toronto where her flights originated. Later, she was transferred to Vancouver.

Most of Lynda’s flights were overseas and many took her to London. During those years, the IRA was “pretty active,” says Lynda, and all luggage and handbags had to be checked for bombs whenever they went to the theatre or any gathering place in London. “A little scary and it really made me appreciate home.”

Lynda enjoyed her career with the airlines and, perhaps, if she’d not met her husband, may have stayed with Air Canada. Living in Invermere, her husband’s hometown, however, was not conducive to an airline job, so she returned to nursing. Later, the couple moved to Port Alberni on Vancouver Island and then to their current home in Cowichan Bay.

Lynda takes advantage of every available opportunity. “I didn’t plan on becoming a model and certainly didn’t expect to win a place in the Tabi contest,” she says, “so it has all been a very nice surprise and makes life interesting.”

In addition to her modelling, Lynda enjoys biking, hiking, and taking courses offered at ElderCollege and Vancouver Island University. Currently, she is interested in improving her French and continuing her genealogical research.

“It’s nice to be at the age of life where I can learn just for my own interest.”



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