Interview by Charlie Price
Edited by Tiaja Pierre
You have become a bonafide influencer. Did you ever think your Instagram page would catch on like it has – and what do you like most about this part of your life?
Everything about social media has been a surprise to me. I started blogging 11 years ago when Instagram did not exist, and every part of this journey has been unexpected. I am uncomfortable with the term “influencer”. I would much rather refer to myself as a creator. If anyone is inspired by what I throw out into the world, I feel honored.
At this time in my life, I continue to love the creative and self-expressive aspects of composing an ensemble. It feels organic and meditative to me, as it has served me well during both difficult and celebratory times. I also appreciate involving myself in political movements that I feel passionate about and hopefully contributing to the greater good.
You once told me that you wanted to be a model of a certain age to be political and advocate for and represent older people – and to combat age shaming. Tell us more about that stance, please.
Yes, I choose to remain visible and hopefully reduce the fear of aging, which is really fear of our future selves. We live in a youth oriented culture and to be 78 years old and on the runway or social media is in itself a political act. Representation matters! I believe it is important for all populations to be portrayed in a positive way in every area of life. You cannot have diversity without including age and diversity within age!
You are an environmentalist and climate change activist. What is your strategy in this area to make a difference? What can people do to get on board with the movement?
I became politically involved in the climate change movement during the fires in Australia in 2019/2020. I began reading everything I could get my hands on, joined a climate change organization and began protesting. We have so little time to make changes that will assure that my grandchildren will have a livable planet to thrive upon.
I think that it is important to educate ourselves about the nature of the climate emergency, talk about it with our friends, spend the resources of time and money to combat what is now inevitable without intervention and change our behaviors whenever possible to live lightly on the earth. I realize that I am speaking from a place of privilege, as many are struggling to survive and are already affected by this emergency. Even more reason to speak out, as the earth will continue on without humans, if we do not change.
You are a yoga devotee – how has it changed your health? Also please share a little about your regimen with us if you would not mind.
My daughter Camille introduced me to yoga well over a decade ago. It did not take me long to fall in love with the practice. It positively affects my health in all areas: mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. Yoga helps me to stretch, grow and expand both physically and psychologically. It facilitates curiosity and my ability to be open to new experiences.
During the pandemic I took classes online, but now after the vaccine, I am back to attending heated yoga class four times a week. It is a lifeline for me along with a daily meditation practice, which adds mindfulness to my lifestyle.
You were in a mixed race marriage many years ago and obviously have a bi-racial daughter. What was it like then and now – and what are your thoughts currently on the civil rights movement – I know this is something very close to your heart and that you also are an activist for.
Nelson and I met in 1977. When we moved in together in 1979, someone set a fire in our back yard. Could this happen today? Yes, I think so. As long as systemic racism exists, as it does and has in this country since 1619 there is risk of violence and resistance to full equality. After over 30 magical years together, Nelson died of cancer in 2011. I continue to see the world through his lens.
This past summer was a time of reckoning after the murder of George Floyd. It brought racial injustice to the forefront and exposed what has been indisputable for centuries.
To contribute to change on a personal level I need to be aware of my own white privilege first, so as to not cause more harm. No relationship, past or present, will change this reality. Just as with climate change and ageism, the work I do within myself to be an ally and accomplice is never done. I am continually humbled but not deterred by the work that remains before us.
What does it mean to you to be a citizen of The West?
I grew up in Minnesota, and find that Denver has a different feel than the Midwest. This is where I have felt free to become who I am today and express myself fully. I attribute this partially to the communities that I have discovered, which have been accepting and supportive. This is definitely true of the Denver fashion community. I could not ask for a better place to live and thrive.