Turning Back the Clock
In October 2006, Dove put out the call for women in cities around the world—and in this audition, wrinkles, age spots and stretch marks were welcome. Some women were a little bashful, but others were ready to show the world their beauty! "I actually feel like I'm better looking now at 53 than I was at 23," says one woman.
Watch the auditions.
The decision was tough, but after casting calls in cities around the world, the hopefuls were narrowed down. In the end, six women were picked to bare it all for the Pro-Age campaign.
"They actually showed me a picture of someone [posing nude], you know, very nicely, and they said, 'Would you do this?' And I—at first I said, 'Oh, you're kidding. Me? You want me to do that?'" Mary says. "They explained that everything would be in good taste."
Days later, Mary is whisked to New York City for her photo session with legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz. Finally, the moment of truth has arrived—it's time for Mary to take off her robe. And it doesn't take long for the grandma-turned-model to pose like a pro. "I feel like a nearly 65-year-old Cinderella!" Mary says.
Mary says the whole experience was surreal. "You know, when you're a little girl, you think, 'Oh, I want to be a movie star,' and that's all a dream," she says. "I can't believe at my age that I have a picture of myself that really looks good in Times Square."
Wendy, who regularly swims—in a swimsuit!—in the San Francisco Bay, says she didn't know when she auditioned that she would have to pose nude. "I saw the younger campaign with the women in the white bras and underwear. I loved that campaign because it dispelled the myths about beauty in particular and body size. They had women of all sizes and shapes, and I thought, 'It's about time,'" Wendy says.
"[It was] a little uncomfortable, but I warmed up to it…I knew for sure that I wouldn't be picked so I didn't think about it any more," she says. "I was like any other woman. You don't feel like you are the most beautiful. You think, you know, you have bulges here and there or you're too skinny there."
Fifty-four-year-old Mirenete says when she showed up to the audition in a bikini and a robe, there were about 10 people looking at her. "I said to them, 'Are you all going to look at me with my bikini?' They say, 'Yes, Mirenete.' I say, 'Very naughty of you!'" Mirenete jokes. Now, she says she's glad she got to show the world her true self. "I'm so glad Dove gave me the opportunity to show my layers like that and my beautiful skin."
Elaine says her physical training in the martial arts helped her to improve her mental and emotional life, as well as toning her muscles. "As I was getting stronger physically, I realized I was getting stronger mentally," she says. "I think because I had been training physically to build a stronger body, I felt confident enough that I could actually take physical action to change my life." Elaine decided to leave her marriage, put her belongings in storage and travel the world for a year and a half to follow her dreams.
Now, Elaine continues to take care of her body and mind by exercising and watching what she eats. She says she eats only when she is hungry and likes to drink Kombucha tea. In addition to the martial arts, Elaine continues to participate in athletic events around the world. She did a triathlon in Hawaii, a marathon in Paris and the annual Empire State Building Run-Up in New York City. "To me, 40 means a beginning," Elaine says. "I feel like I can do anything now."
When Evonne got a divorce at the age of 22, she says she decided to revolutionize her life. "I just decided I didn't like the way I was brought up and so on, and I was going to 're-raise' myself. I was going to have high life, condition in my life and energy, and I was introduced to the transcendental meditation technique," she says. "It opened the door for me seeing my inner bliss, and from then on, it's been up, up, up!"
Evonne has an active lifestyle in New York City, where she gets around by walking, riding her bike or Rollerblading. She also does Pilates and belly dancing. What's Evonne's secret to looking so incredibly young? "Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!" Evonne says. "Every morning [when] I get up, before I open the door to pick up my New York Times, I have moisturizer on."
In addition to taking care of her body, Evonne says living her life with passion and awareness has made all the difference. "Compared to 10 years ago, I feel marvelous. I feel more confident. I feel more beautiful. And I think it's because I've opened inwardly that I just feel the world's my oyster," she says.
After working in Hollywood for 18 years, Marcia says she began to rethink her life in her mid-40s. "When I was a little girl, I was horse-crazy, and we lived in the city so I never could get my own horse," she says.
So, Marcia decided to pick up and move to Austin, Texas, to reshape her life. "I bought my first horse just before my 47th birthday," and she got her Bachelor's degree at age 50. Marcia even turned her love of horses into a business—EquestrianSingles.com. "When you have horses, it takes up almost 90 percent of your time and it's hard to have a relationship. So I knew from the time I had the idea it would put people together who love horses, and it's a perfect match," she says.
Marcia says the things that keep her looking young are her attitude and the fact that she is doing what she loves to do. "For me, the key to staying youthful has always been following my dreams," she says.
"There was a lot of weight externally, but there was a lot of soul weight as well. There was a lot that weighed down my heart. As I took off 100 pounds of bubble wrap, I also took off about 100,000 pounds of soul wrap," she says.
Now, Dee Dee always makes time to work out and focus on herself. "I just started taking the time, and if I have to get up at 5:30 in the morning, sometimes I do. If I have to do it at 8 o'clock at night [I do]," Dee Dee says.
In her new book, Mariel Hemingway's Healthy Living from the Inside Out , Mariel talks about eating mindfully by drinking green tea and avoiding sugar. She also makes sure to get some physical exercise every day. She says slowing down life is important for well-being. "Not like doing things so slowly, but doing them with intention. We can stretch time by taking moments by finding silence, and to sit in that silence and be grateful," Mariel says.
Watch as Mariel talks about finding peace.
"My biggest struggle in life has been really hating myself in the past," she says. "The voice in my head was saying, 'Uh-uh, you're just not good enough.' And the fact of the matter is now at the age that I am—and I'm 45—I no longer have that voice in my head."