50 & Awesome: 5 Women Who Seriously Inspire

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Some say that age ain't nothin' but a number. But we say the 50s defy that rule — as a decade that is especially stellar. In fact, we've met five fearless women who are not only changing the face of the decade, but redefining it as one of the most exciting, successful, and happy times in life.

From Hollywood royalty to entrepreneurs who can whip you into shape, these following 50-year-old (and over) ladies serve as major inspiration, no matter what year is on your driver's license. Let's face it, we can't exactly stop the clock, but if we can remain as impossibly cool as these women, then we have a lot to look forward to.

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Rosanna Arquette, 53 — actress (recently Girls and Ray Donovan), director, producer

What did it feel like approaching 50? Was it hard? Scary? Exciting? No big whoop?
“You know, it was such a crazy time. It was one of the hottest days in the summer, and my daughter and I — she’s a teenager — got in a big fight, she left with her friends on my birthday, and I had to go to an audition. I went uptown, decided to walk to Central Park, and meet my daughter at the John Lennon Imagine. I sat on a park bench feeling really blue. [And], there’s this group of homeless people having a little party. This guy comes and sits next to me, and he says, ‘Aren’t you that Arquette girl?’ I said, ‘Uh, one of them.’ Then another one said, ‘Hey! Hey! It’s that Arquette girl!’ This woman does a backflip next to her cart like a gymnast, and asks, ‘Isn’t it your birthday?’ I was like, ‘Yeah!’ They all came around me, and sang 'Happy Birthday.' They gave me a brand-new plastic raincoat. It was amazing.

"My daughter came up with her friends and just looked at me like ‘what is going on?’ I said they were my friends and we were having a birthday party! It was amazing. Homelessness is an issue me and my family care about; so, it was interesting to have these people there who were so beautiful; and for some reason, I was there to celebrate my birthday with them.”

A lot of people say that 50 is the new 30 (apparently 40-somethings are getting snubbed here!). Why do you think that is?
“Well, I think it’s great to say that, but I truthfully feel like my mind is better in a lot of ways. Menopause is not for sissies, though. I think there’s a lot of challenges, but it’s also amazing. When you go through menopause, there’s a lot of things that come along with it that are difficult, and you have to find ways to figure it out. I’m not into the whole hormone replacement stuff — it didn’t work out for me at all. I turn to Chinese herbs and go to a Chinese doctor to get acupuncture. It’s really helpful.”

Do you ever feel self-conscious about aging? How do you feel about the way you look to yourself and to the world?
“No! I’ve never done Botox so there are frowning lines on my face. The more power to the people that do it, if it gives them more confidence. For me, I don’t want to look like an alien. I’d rather have the big wrinkle.”

Is sex better and if so, why?
“I have a great partner, but sex has its challenges when you go through menopause. There are things that happen that aren’t as fun as they were in your 20s. I think I’m more comfortable in my skin, so that brings something wonderful to sex. When you’re in a more committed relationship, and a relationship that goes beyond sex, yes, it’s better because you have a connection that’s deeper, a wisdom that’s deeper, a friendship that’s deeper, and a partner that’s mature. There are physical things that are challenging. I want to talk to the women who say it’s great. What are you doing?! I want to know. All the honest women I know in their 50s don’t say that.”

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What is better now than it ever was when you were in your 20s, 30s, and 40s?
“It’s really the wisdom for me. I wish I had the body I had in my 20s. I wish I had the career I had in my 20s, but the wisdom that comes along makes me feel better. Nothing is the end of the world to me. There’s more perspective even though there’s still stress.”

What's the best advice you still follow daily? Anything you wish someone had told you when you were younger?
“It’s important to address the baggage you’re carrying from your childhood and be honest with yourself. I have an 18-year-old daughter who’s about to go to college and our biggest rule is to tell the truth. If you do one thing in life, be honest.”

What about being 50 has informed the way you look at life?
“I got a finite time left; I better make the most of it... I’m trying to stay as positive as possible and come from love always. I try to be as kind as I can to people; keep your side of the street clean, you know?”

Name your top-three, truly special pieces of clothing that you will never stop wearing no matter what your age?
“I [had some], and then I had a daughter who raided my closet. She has it all and has trashed a lot of it, which is heartbreaking. I have a couple Birkin bags I’ve had for years that I’m holding onto. I have a beautiful Alaïa dress. It’s hanging like a piece of art in my closet. I have old Callaghan pieces, and a couple Gaultier pieces, and Alaïa. I love Alaïa. He used to make me clothes. Oh, and Galliano used to make me things, too. I treasure those.”

What do you hope 60 is like?
“It’s going to be better than 50. I think it will. I don’t know how, but I’m going to think very positively about it. I miss certain things that happen in my 30s. In my head, I feel like I’m a kid that still wants to go to rock concerts and see my friends play. I don’t think that will ever go away. I just saw Tom Petty twice with friends. It keeps me young; it keeps me alive. As long as I have rock and roll, I’ll feel young.”

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Martha McCully, 52 — former executive editor of Instyle, former and founding beauty director of Allure, lifestyle expert, and founder of consulting firm, MMc Media

What did it feel like approaching 50? Was it hard? Scary? Exciting? No big whoop?
"For me, 40 was crazier. I had all these ideas of what would happen by 40 (my own business, husband, kids), and none of it had happened. I learned to be okay with that and realized life gives us other things we didn’t expect. So, by the time I turned 50, I just decided to throw myself an incredibly fun and beautiful party in the Hollywood Hills, which I did."

Do you ever feel self-conscious about aging? How do you feel about the way you look to yourself and to the world?
"Aging is the strangest thing. I just don’t feel that much older than 30 years ago, but of course I do look older. At the same time, I feel more connected to my body than ever before. I’m in better shape now. I also see the effects of what I eat and drink on my body and skin. Step back from the tiramisu! I also can’t stand the term 'anti-aging.' It’s so insulting to living. I recently wrote a Huffington Post [piece] about this."

What would you warn younger women about doing or not doing when it comes to beauty and health?
"Protect your moisture barrier! As a beauty editor, I tried so many peels and acids and retinols that honestly I think I brought on Rosacea at an early age. Protect your skin, nurture it, heal it, smother it in moisturizer."

What is better now than it ever was when you were in your 20s, 30s, and 40s?
"Just about everything. I’ve found such freedom in getting older; I released myself from any competition for the next rung of the ladder, the inner circle of the clique, a higher level on the masthead. It’s so liberating to live based on what you want to do, not based on what anyone else is doing."

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What's the best advice you still follow daily? Anything you wish someone had told you when you were younger?
"After about 40, your main job is to take care of your health — emotional, physical, spiritual. No one thinks about dying when they’re young, and they shouldn’t. But after 40 you just have to be proactive about health. Like your teeth. Floss every day. Use a waterpik. Buy excellent toothpaste. Go to your dentist four times a year. Replace metal fillings. I also really wish I had known how much pointy shoes would exacerbate bunions."

Name your top-three, truly special pieces of clothing that you will never stop wearing no matter what your age?
"Truly special? I have an LL Bean navy/white striped shirt from high school, my Red Sox baseball cap, and Alternative lightweight zip hoodies from Venice."

What's your go-to designer for stocking up on the best everyday pieces? And which designer do you turn to for extra-special occasions?
"My uniform has really become T by Alexander Wang T-shirts — long and short sleeved — and cargo pants (usually from TJ Maxx) or skinny cords (AG Jeans), and my favorite Martin Margiela boots with the hidden heel. My friends make fun of me, but life is so much simpler when you know what looks good and you just stick with it. When I want a dress, I buy Derek Lam; they just fit right. I’m also into Tom’s Shoes wedge espadrilles this summer."

What's the greatest thing we can all look forward to when we turn 50?
"Just not caring so much about all the little things you care about now."

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Maria Hinojosa, 52 — journalist, anchor, producer, and founder of The Futuro Media Group

What did it feel like approaching 50? Was it hard? Scary? Exciting? No big whoop?
"I don’t think I would describe fear as the issue, but there was quite a bit of trepidation about age. The thing that’s made it easiest has been looking around me and seeing so many women who don’t only look great but whose energy seems boundless. That’s why turning 50 wasn’t as scary as I thought."

What do you love most about being your age right now?
"What I love most is becoming more and more fearless, because that’s what maturity does — it makes you realize that there’s nothing to be afraid of."

Do you ever feel self-conscious about aging? How do you feel about the way you look to yourself and to the world?
"Because I’m on TV, I am self conscious about aging, but the high points do come. When someone much younger tries to make a pass at me on the subway, I have to laugh about it."

Any beauty tips or practices you absolutely swear by?
"My biggest beauty tips are sleep and exercise and connecting to nature. Those are the kinds of things you can’t really pay for."
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What's the best advice you still follow daily? Anything you wish someone had told you when you were younger?
"What I always tell young women is to own their own voice, own their power, trust their gut and be fearless much earlier in life."

Name your top-three, truly special pieces of clothing that you will never stop wearing no matter what your age?
"I will never stop wearing tight jeans, platform heels (except not in NYC streets!), and my hoop earrings. Oh, and I will never stop curling my eyelashes and wearing lots of mascara."

What's one goal you've set out to accomplish (or may have already accomplished) in your 50s, that you never would have thought was possible at any other time?
"I always dreamed of starting my own production company, and that was realized around the time I turned 50 — which is great! But it was also like having another child, and that’s tough because the labor doesn’t ever stop."

What do you hope 60 is like?
"I hope I can keep going at this pace. I’m incredibly energetic, in the best shape I’ve ever been, and I do as much now as I have ever done. But sometimes I worry about how long I can keep pushing at this pace."

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Elisabeth Halfpapp, 55 — cofounder, Core Fusion

What did it feel like approaching 50? Was it hard? Scary? Exciting? No big whoop?
"It was scary…thinking where did 50 years go? But, it was one of the best years of my life...celebrated 25 years of marriage and filmed my first two Core Fusion fitness DVDs! I then filmed the next eight DVDs in my 50s."

A lot of people say that 50 is the new 30 (apparently 40-somethings are getting snubbed here!). Why do you think that is?
"Because today at 50, we feel and look as great as we did when we were 30. We have taken care of ourselves through balancing our health and fitness. Our generation was the first to bring fitness into the mainstream and make it a lifestyle."

What would you warn younger women about doing or not doing when it comes to beauty and health?
"Be sure your fitness routine is balanced and that you avoid over-repetition of one muscular group. Then your body becomes out of balance, out of alignment, posture suffers, and stress injuries occur, along with overdeveloped muscles... And, of course, eat well, minimal alcohol, and avoid smoking…"

Is sex better and if so, why?
"Yes! You have even more confidence in yourself and have more experience…"

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What about being 50 has informed the way you look at life?
"Savor every moment with your husband, family, and very close friends…make them your priority."

How has your dressing philosophy evolved from when you were younger or has it? Is there such a thing as "dressing your age"?
"A little bit…I only have taken miniskirts with bare legs out of my wardrobe. Still wear my bikini!"  

What's one goal you've set out to accomplish (or may have already accomplished) in your 50s, that you never would have thought was possible at any other time?
"Overseeing the Mind Body program of Core Fusion and Yoga for 20 exhale locations. Spreading the Core Fusion Barre technique throughout the country and internationally."

What's the greatest thing we can all look forward to when we turn 50?
"Acceptance of yourself and others around you."
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Teruko Laura Burrell, 54 — model

What did it feel like approaching 50? Was it hard? Scary? Exciting? No big whoop?
"Albeit a milestone birthday, I did not think much about it. I am in a good place at this point in my life. I am not shy about my age!"

A lot of people say that 50 is the new 30 (apparently 40-somethings are getting snubbed here!). Why do you think that is?
"Fifty is the new 30. You are still young enough to enjoy life and old enough to know better. At 50, more women are physically fit and are taking better care of themselves. Last year, I zip-lined through and over the cloud forest in Costa Rica."

What do you love most about being your age right now?
"Confidence. I am not afraid to gently voice my opinion. It is not what you say but how you say it. You almost become fearless!"

Do you ever feel self-conscious about aging? How do you feel about the way you look to yourself and to the world?
"When I stopped coloring my hair five years ago, I was quite startled when I would unexpectedly see my reflection. I wasn’t used to the gray. Now I love it. I actually have had a few young women ask me where I get my highlights!"

What would you warn women younger about doing or not doing when it comes to beauty and health?
"Please do yourself a favor and cut down or eliminate soda and fast food. Excess sugar and salt is bad for your health, your skin, and will certainly add extra pounds that are harder to lose as you age."
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What's the best advice you still follow daily? Anything you wish someone had told you when you were younger?
"My daily advice is the mind can only hold one thought at a time, so I make it a positive thought. It keeps me in great mood throughout the day."

What about being 50 has informed the way you look at life?
"My attitude in life has changed whereas I am not as hard on myself to instantly achieve success. I value time and practice patience."

How has your dressing philosophy evolved from when you were younger or has it? Is there such a thing as "dressing your age"?
"After living in New York, I treasure comfortable shoes. I now own several running shoes and pretty ballet flats. (When I was younger, it was high heels or bust!)"

"I believe in 'dressing appropriately.' I tend to shop in the contemporary section at Bloomingdales, however I will take a pass on short, short shorts."

What's the greatest thing we can all look forward to when we turn 50?
"Life gets better. You appreciate time. Especially time spent with loved ones."

What do you hope 60 is like?
"It only gets better. My 40s were amazing, and so far this decade has been fantastic. I will know in five years!"




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