5. Sensuality from Sixteen and Sixty

As we get older, we may leave behind unlined faces and bright teeth, but we never have to leave behind our abilities to connect to others in a sensual way. Many women who were interviewed said that sensuality was equated with feeling and looking attractive at any age—from teenage years to midlife and beyond. Models I talked to agreed. During photo shoots, models are often told to "make love to the camera" because photographers know pictures can look cold and dull no matter how beautiful a woman is. Safety pins may pull at a model's clothes and fans may blow wind into her face, but she has to look into the eyes of the photographer in an alluring way to get a good shot. Women who report feeling attractive as they age say they never forget their capacity to be sensual and hold onto it into their 60s and beyond.

6. Leave Competition Out of Beauty

It's important to remember that beauty is about looking the best you can for your age rather than competing with others. Successful models whose careers last the longest learn that lesson early on. From the day they start working, there is another younger model ready to take their place. So they cope best by looking forward, not sideways or backward. Theirs is an exaggerated and intensified version of what many women experience when they compare themselves to younger women. Women who say they feel attractive as they age are interested in looking and feeling healthy, robust and vital, not younger. They don't focus on having the smoothest skin, the thinnest waist, plumpest lips or the youngest body. They feel like winners, not because they come in first in a competition, but because they get out of a race they know they can't win and channel their energy into achieving their personal best.


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