Bold. In-Your-Face. Mysterious. Compassionate.
Caring. Healer. Ageless. Radical. Crazy. Teacher. Mystic.
Beautiful. Adventurer. Activist. Artist. Minister. Mother.
I love your hair!
Thank you, there is no color on my hair now, there's nothing on it. The unique color that has grown out has been the funniest part. I tried to grow it out before my sons wedding, but it wasn’t growing out in time. I tried to convince my hair stylist to bleach it totally out, but in the end I colored it and had to start over.
When I worked in modeling the color of my hair was so unique it couldn't be matched. I never put color on my hair until the year 2000 when I had my hair painted for stage, but I never dyed it because of the unique color. I left it alone until my mom passed away, and then my whole world felt grey and tan. I started adding semi-permanent washes to my hair, and then I got a haircut like the main female character on the Final Fantasy video game. The salon thought it was fascinating that someone my age would do such a bold cut. They didn’t want me to dye it.
People often think I have highlights done but it's the natural coloring. I bring my own tinsel to Christmas. It's not an official color. It's not a true white. My sister's natural grey hair looks platinum blonde. Mine is more of an auburn tone. My great-grandfather who is Scottish went from blonde to pure white but no one could tell.
"I bring my own tinsel
I'm just entertaining myself with my hair. Even wearing longer hair as an older woman has been interesting. People assume as you get older your hair should stay shorter because it is less healthy, but that has not been the case with me. My hair hasn't gone yellow or red but its own color. My hair messes with people, so I keep it. Even in church society, it has been funny. People tell me all the time they wish they had the guts to do it. I tell them if they wanted to they could. My hair doesn't make me feel old. I love women who embrace their color as it happens, regardless of age. It's been about 3 years since I stopped dyeing it.
"I love women who embrace their color
as it happens, regardless of age."
When my hair first started going grey it looked yellow, so I used purple shampoo to counteract the yellow, but then I realized this is just my version of grey. When I go to the salon for a trim now, they ask me if I want to cut my hair, or if I want to perm if, or if I want color, and no offense to the ladies who are sitting there, but I don't want to look like that. I want to be me. I have a framed photo of a horse mane that matches my exact hair. I relate to that image.
What do you do?
I am a pastor and minister. I help people with inner healing. I have chosen not to be a therapist or counselor and focus more on the pastoral ministry. I have experienced the federal witness program, where I was not able to live under my own Identity. Identity is very important to me. during that time I was doing my education and training under a different name. I still do not speak about the court case or situation. if I told you you wouldn't believe me.
"Identity is very important to me."
I got into the bad situation, through my modeling career. I did a lot of lingerie modeling, and leg work. My legs were even insured at one point. Playboy offered me a contract, but when I found out they wanted to play-up the fact that I was a pastor's daughter I decided to get out of the industry. I stepped into something unintentionally during this time, and I had to rely on God as my protector. There are only two of us who are alive today from that whole situation.
My favorite modeling jobs were editorial and lifestyle because it wasn't posed, it was natural, and my hair was a big part of the look. I never liked my smile, so this type of modeling worked well for me. As a child I had to have tumors removed from my mouth, and also lots of dental work. I've had years of speech therapy, and because of that, I have learned the importance of embracing others regardless of what they look or sound like.
"I have learned the importance of embracing others regardless of what they look or sound like."
How old are you? Are you married? Do you have children?
I am 63, I’m married, and I have one child.
When did you notice your first gray hair?
I noticed my first gray hair when I was 55. For years I thought my hair was turning blonde, but around age 55 I knew it was gray for sure. I colored my hair before it was gray for fun. I was between dyes when I noticed the color changing. I was excited about the idea of growing it out, and seeing what was under there. I put lots of wild color blends in my hair, but I wasn't consciously trying to cover the gray. I was having fun and also using my hair for its shock value. In my profession, people do not expect wild hair. Hair is part of my fashion. Hair is part of my personality. How we fix our hair shows what we are going through, including our health issues. For me hair has been my own language. My hair is part of my story.
"Hair has been my own language.
My hair is part of my story."
Do you associate gray hair with ageing?
In my family natural hair was embraced. We believed if you got to live long enough to have gray hair then you had to tell your story. My mom and my aunts are very creative artists, musicians, and we had some post mistresses. We considered it an honor to have gray hair.
But on my father's side any gray hair was a sign of aging and one should never let it be seen. My grandmother wore a wig and I didn't see her natural hair color for years. When she celebrated 50 years of marriage we convinced her to let us take off the wig and do her hair. I thought it was beautiful, it was who she was. But she still wore a wig until she died in her 90s. She didn't think it was healthy to dye it, but she wouldn't show it because of her fear of looking old, so she lived in a wig. The other side completely embraced the silver, so when I had to choose for myself I picked the side looked way more fun.
What age do you consider old?
When I was a small child I remember the older generation being in their late 80s. I was raised to think that's when people got old. My father was a pastor, and we were surrounded by all kinds of people who were full of life, and none of us thought that being middle-aged was old. My mother’s best friend dressed and spoke like a hip young kid. I found out later that this glamorous woman I looked up to was 60. I wanted to be cool like her. I believe people become old due to pain and situations, due to personality, and their mind. But I grew up around people who never seem to age because of their mind. For me it's always been mental. You would be shocked about some of the youthful discussions we have in one of my “older groups.”
"I believe people become old
due to pain and situations,
due to personality, and their mind."
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my son Sam. I’m proud that I'm still standing. I'm proud that I'm willing to live life taking risks. Sam is one of my greatest projects. it's so cool to be able to stand and watch him, be him. Also I'm glad I walked through doors that were open to me. I have had the courage to follow my husband into situations I wasn't comfortable with, when he said, "Take my hand, lets go and do this." I did.
I was raised as, “You can do whatever you want,” and not raised as a female or a male. I was raised as a person with the idea of equal chance, be it schooling, or be it employment. I'm not a daredevil, but I'm willing to take the risk of adventure, of trying different jobs, of seeing who I want to be. I am Peter Pan; I will never grow up because there are still new adventures. As I look back on the journey of the last few months with my husband (since the fire), I know we are not that old, and we have lots of adventure left. We want to take the risk to see what else is out there for us.
"I am Peter Pan;
I will never grow up
because there are still
What are some words used to describe you?
I have been called bold. I have been called in your face, and also mysterious, which is weird for me when I hear that term. Since I've been growing out my hair people have said it creates a mystique. But I don’t feel like that about people who have grown out their gray. I believe most people who are growing out their hair gray, and who have taken the time to be themselves are going to be open about sharing who they are. I am exceptionally compassionate, and I care for people, but I think the whole world should behave like that, so these are not my personal labels, but a way I am living out my belief system. I've been called crazy and radical. Some of my best friends are in their 20s, and we do adventures together. Someone recently said to me that I am ageless. Another word that gets put on me is mother.
Chasing my DNA, I know now that it is a gift to be respected as a mother. Mother is not the name we gave the healing women of the past, but they were the same women that you could go to for answers. When I was first called mother it was hard for me to accept because I personally miscarried 6 babies. When I think of being a mother I think of carrying babies, but my mother heart was always there, and it has been returned to me. That is why Sam is one of my greatest joys, because we made it.
The conflict of that journey came when I felt like I was fighting with a woman's body because it wasn’t behaving like a woman's body. I blamed myself, but then I found out the women in my family had difficulties conceiving when I was researching health DNA. Most of these women, who I saw as strong, had also experienced breast cancer like me. I have always felt that women should fight for their health, and their identity, and there should be those that love on them. Now at this age, getting to be a mom to all ages, it registers that I have earned some of what I now share.
"Now at this age,
getting to be a mom to all ages,
it registers that I have earned
some of what I now share."
What have you overcome in your life?
I have overcome a lot of health issues. I was born as a blue baby with several other defects, and I was not supposed to have made it through. I believe it was a mother's love in fighting for her baby that brought me through it. There have been a lot of health battles as well. As a woman, yeah I'm going to dive in there, fighting for my rights, fighting to be able to have my own credit and credit line, being a rape survivor, being myself and not being willing to back down at any given point. I am a person and I deserve my rights. I did march and burn my bra. I believe we all have a voice. We all need to be heard no matter who we are. We all get to have an equal voice. You don't get to say -that one can, and that one can’t.- I have fought for a lot of things that I am watching people fight for again, I can say don't back down.
"I have fought for a lot of things
that I am watching people fight for again,
I can say don't back down."
I stood and watched literally everything in my and my husband's life, everything that we created together, burn down in the Northern California Wildfires. But we are looking forward to the future, and to being able to hike and live again where we love, and to continue to be a part of the community we enjoy. I've had to fight to be ordained as a woman. I don't often stop to think about those different areas. I was just determined to live my life how I wanted it, but I have had to take a stand on some of these issues.
What do you want to celebrate?
I always celebrate life. When my son was little, we would take off days just to celebrate life, and to go to the beach, or do anything together. Knowing that now I have a granddaughter on the way, and I want her as a female to have certain doors already open for her, so she can be who she wants to be. She has really strong parents who I know will help her do that. I hope there is a point where she can recognize even the craziness of this particular grandmother who's telling her she can do whatever she wants.
My grandmother used to say to my mom “Someday a man will walk on the moon.” When my mother found out that the Mission to the Moon was taking place she had my father rent a TV. We sat there and watched it together, and my mom wept. She kept telling me the story of her mom, because she was raised to believe you could do anything if you tried hard enough, and that's exactly what she put in me each time I felt I couldn't do something. When I felt I couldn’t get back up or go on. She raised us to believe that you don't have to back down to anything that's in front of you.
"My mother raised us to believe
that you don't have to back down
to anything that's in front of you."
This scripture is dear to my heart: “I can do all things through the Lord that I know, who strengthens me.” In that is a positive awareness that I get to partner with my spiritual creator. I get to go and try it for myself. This is been an important part of my story. I won't be the Grandma sitting in the corner knitting, but I will keep fighting for those rights, so my granddaughter won't have to go through some of the same things I went through. To have a top paying job and to be told you can't open a line of credit because you're a female? I did not back down. I finally convinced the bank, by doing a loan for $200, and putting it in savings, so I could prove that I could pay it back. I did that in 1975. It's not that long ago, but it's a world ago.
Regarding my hair, my husband always enjoys that I am can be myself. He took a picture of me recently, and he said, "It's so beautiful because it's just me." I'm happy to be at an age where no one can tell me what to do, or how to fix my hair for me to fit in. You don't have that right if you haven't earned it. If you're not in the party at this point, do not do that to me, and if you still live under a rule box do not do that to me either. That's me.
"I'm happy to be at an age
where no one can tell me what to do,
or how to fix my hair"
I belong to a group of women who are choosing not to be reshaped after mastectomies to fit into the ideals of what it means to be a woman. I hope you are telling the story of women as a whole, and showing the complexity of our hair story. Our hair is a part of our larger journey. It is always a part of our story form the very beginning.