The Dilemma of Aging in Los Angeles

Aging.  Not my favorite thing at all.

According to the Internet, I’m supposed to “age gracefully”.  I feel more like I’m being dragged kicking and screaming down the inevitable rocky path…

The wisdom with becoming older and wiser is GREAT (with caps).  But the lessening in mental and physical strength, speed, and functionality is not enjoyable, and neither are the saggy skin, wrinkles, and random bulges.

I will preface this post by stating that I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 24 years, and in this city a woman’s beauty (at all ages) is valued at a high premium.  We are trained to look for and idolize physical beauty, healthy appearance, youthful energy, and individual style.  Los Angeles (except maybe Beverly Hills) does not encourage cookie-cutter beauty (looking the same as everyone else) so we don’t idolize breast implants, Brooks Brothers clothing, or functional haircuts.

The perils of staying beautiful, by Phillip Ritchie

Our culture has lofty standards much higher than the norm, and youthful beauty that stands up against time, dressed in a unique fashion presentation, is held in the highest esteem.

Having lived my entire adult life with these standards, it is probably fair to say that my viewpoint is skewed. I am a successful business woman, an environmentalist, and a human rights advocate. And yet this is the culture I live in, and on top of that I model (the world of the pretty people), and I have chosen to agree with it. Had I grown up somewhere else perhaps I wouldn’t list my appearance or youthfulness as one of my higher priorities… But I do.  I admit it. Right or wrong, I am vain…

Plastic Surgery? by Phillip Ritchie

And with aging, not only do I see more and more wrinkles and saggy skin (which damage only my vanity) but other body symptoms as well.  Things don’t work as well. Weird problems pop up. My energy level and capabilities are down. Body parts break more easily.  A myriad of unpleasantness happens with aging all the way around.

That being said… my friend and photographer Phillip Ritchie states cheerfully: “the wrinkles are here, we don’t like them, but we have to deal with them”…

Janice Dickenson / 80’s supermodel inspired, by Phillip Ritchie

Prince Phillip and I got together this year for our annual birthday celebration and photo-shoot (our birthdays are 4 days apart in June, I turned 48 this year and Phillip turned 75).

Our pre-shoot conversation usually takes the direction of me bemoaning that I’m over and I can’t do sexy pictures anymore.  And Phillip- a striking, gray-haired vivacious pinnacle of energy, good posture, and bright eyes- looks at me with all of his 75-year-old self and tells me, loudly, to “get over it”.

Phillip seems to embrace his advancing years like a fine wine approaching an even higher peak of complexity. I fight aging, viewing the whole thing as I would a container of milk ticking past its expiration date.

“You’ve still got it,” he says, shooing me into the changing room.

“You’ve still got it” by Phillip Ritchie

This year for our photo-shoot Phillip said we should document the angst I have about aging.  His idea was to show in pictures the conflict that I, and many others, have about wrinkles and the dilemma of what we should do about it… plastic surgery?

And so we began.  These images tell the story that Phillip created.

Prim and proper with a twist, by Phillip Ritchie

Yes, I am aging.  While I accept the inevitable fact of this occurrence, I do know one important fact: Both beauty and health come mainly from the inside. To satisfy my desire for both, I use various solutions to keep my body healthy and vibrant. And along with that comes the bonus side effect of looking good.

Have I ruled out plastic surgery?  No… perhaps some day.  But in the mean time… look for part 2 of this post containing (in my opinion) the best-kept anti-aging, health secret for women beyond the age of 40. It has done wonders for me and I will share it with you as well.

Vintage 50’s beauty, by Phillip Ritchie

Thank you to Prince Phillip for the lovely birthday celebration and for reminding this old girl that she’s still got something. 🙂

Phillip and Jacqueline

Onwards and upwards.



2 replies on “The Dilemma of Aging in Los Angeles”
  1. says: Alley

    Loved this J! I lived in Los Angeles pre-kids for 2 years. I remember feeling pressure for beauty. Being born and raised in Connecticut it was my first time feeling that pressure. CT is based more on academics…where you went to school, what degree you have.
    It was a whole new world for me living in LA. I do have some of my best memories living in LA thoughand also learned more about fashion in LA too. Thanks for sharing with your viewers. Enjoyed reading this.

    1. says: YBR Press

      Hi Alley! Thanks for your comment. That’s great to hear that CT values the brain. Sometimes I think in Los Angeles mine takes a backseat in priority. I suspect had I spent the last 20 years in CT or somewhere else that I would have a PhD in physics and be an academic. Amazing how the environment changes us. But agreed, LA does have a magic in it. Thank you for reading! Jacqueline

Comments are closed.