Some say that beauty is skin deep, but Judith Johnson Turner disagrees. One of her favourite quotes is attributed to Khalil Gibran: “Beauty is not in the face, beauty is a light in the heart.”
“Attitude is everything when you age,” says Judith. “I try to be positive. I like to smile. I am curious about other people and ask questions about who they are, where they have been, what their interests and experiences are.”
This attitude accompanies Judith to her modelling assignments: she wants to represent mature women properly and provide marketers and clients with an alternative to what might be their idea of aging.
“My experience as a 50+ model has been positive,” she says. “Many people have thanked me for representing an alternative to the standard young, thin model look, which many older women have difficulty relating to. I appreciate their affirmation - it confirms my conviction about representing our age group in the media.”
Despite her current success as a model, Judith never considered it as a career choice. Growing up, she was interested in biology and the sciences and had a great curiosity for insects and plant life; she wanted to do cancer research and work on crop diseases.
After obtaining her science degree, one of her early jobs was inspecting a local salmon-bearing stream in Surrey that ran through a nudist colony. They told Judith she was welcome to inspect the stream as long as she took off all her clothes!
“I said there was no way I was going to do that, so some other researchers went and negotiated instead.”
After meeting her husband, Judith settled down to raise her three children and help her chartered accountant husband with his business. It wasn’t until they bought a 34-foot (10.4 m) power catamaran and lived on it for four months in 2004 that Judith looked into a modelling career.
“We travelled across Lake Ontario, down the Erie Canal system to New York and then through the Inter-Coastal Waterway to Fort Lauderdale. In every port we stopped at, people would ask if I was a model and wanted to know where they had seen me. I didn’t know anyone, but they all acted like they knew me. This happened with such regularity, my husband suggested I contact a modelling agency when we got home.”
Judith enrolled in a modelling course at Vancouver’s John Casablanca's Model Management, and entered it with the idea that models were all beautiful faces, frivolous and self-absorbed, without much going on upstairs.
“I discovered I was mistaken in my bias about models,” she says. “It is a serious business that demands focus and dedication, if you want to succeed. My agent told me there wasn’t a big demand for my look, but there definitely was work. This agreed with me since my kids were still in school and my husband had retired from his banking career, so I gave it a try. They signed me up as a commercial print model in the classic category. We are known as classic, which I consider a very loving term.”
The first modelling job her agent pitched to Judith was an audition for some runway work at a wedding fair. She quickly realized they would ask her to walk as if she was on a catwalk and strike a few poses.
“I had never done this, but I am a quick study and watched the others,” she says. “I walked down, turned the full circle and continued on. I struck a few poses and looked over at my agent. Her jaw dropped. She had no idea I could pull this off, but I could see she was pleased.”
For her first trip down the runway, Judith’s outfit consisted of only a pink bustier, matching thong and robe, so she was a little apprehensive.
“I was wondering if I could do this. Then it kicked in that I had to believe in myself. The audience wanted me to entertain them and to be marvellous. I decided if anything bad happened, they would probably think I had escaped from an old folks home. I put a smile on my face, relaxed and enjoyed myself.”
Over the past five years, Judith has gone on to do many modelling assignments and has learned to enjoy her new career and picked up a few fashion and beauty tips along the way:
- Eat right, exercise, get enough rest, consider vitamin supplements and drink plenty of water.
- Take good care of teeth and smile!
- Practise good skin care. Buy quality skin-care products that are geared to mature skin. Many are available in drugstores or health food stores. If possible, find a good esthetician and have regular facials.
- Stay away from cheap makeup. Often, it is unflattering on mature skin. Some new mineral makeup lines have wonderful powders and foundations that do not accentuate wrinkles, but still provide coverage and healthy colour.
- Have a light hand when it comes to eyeshadow, lipstick and blush. Less usually is more. Many makeup counters provide free makeovers to try different looks. For daytime or business looks, a neutral palette is more flattering. Sometimes lipstick needs to be a bit darker to balance white or grey hair.
- Maintain a good haircut and colour. Even white or grey hair requires maintenance. Use a purple or blue shampoo and conditioner especially formulated for grey and white hair. It keeps colour glowing and often helps the coarser texture of aging hair.
- For those who wear pantyhose, make it control top or firm support. This helps smooth those lumps and bumps under clothing.
- Keep glasses updated with a modern frame that flatters the face and suits hair and lifestyle.
- Wear sensible shoes that are both comfortable and fashionable.
- And finally, to be truly beautiful, strive to keep a positive attitude!
OCTOBER 2010 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND
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