My FOF sister, Shelley, instantly recognized the woman being interviewed on TV on a local New Orleans station. It was actress Tina Sloan, who played Nurse Lillian for 26 years on the soap, Guiding Light, which went off the air two years ago, after 72 years. A big fan, Shelley got excited when she heard Tina would be speaking at the Red Hat Society convention, which we also were attending.
“She’s beautiful,” I said to Shelley. “Great style, great body. How old do you think she is?”
“She looks like she’s in her fifties, but I think she’s in her sixties,” Shelley answered.
We ran into Tina a couple of hours later, at the convention, where she was planning to talk about “getting older, not old, with style, humor and grace,” the subject of her book, Changing Shoes. Of course, we told her about FOF and the Beauty Bash we’re producing in October, and asked if she’d speak there, too. Who wouldn’t want to hear from a woman who looks as good as she does? Coincidentally, Beth Chamberlin, who played Tina’s daughter on Guiding Light, will be demonstrating her kettle bell exercise program at the Beauty Bash. That sealed the deal. Tina accepted our invitation.
When I returned to New York, I wanted to learn more about Tina, so I listened to a few interviews with her on You Tube, and read the first couple of chapters of her book on Amazon.com. It will definitely be worth listening to this FOF.
Some Tina tidbits:
She’s 68, grew up outside New York and went into acting despite her parents’ vehement objections. “They were appalled. They said acting wasn’t smart enough, that I should become a teacher or work on a PhD,” Tina told an interviewer.
Tina’s played Al Pacino’s secretary and Ben Affleck’s mother in the movies, but TV is her real love. She likes the fast pace.
In her book, Tina recounts the moment, at 48, when she started to feel “invisible.” Getting coffee with Beth one morning, after shooting an episode of Guiding Light, Tina knew everyone—including an elegantly dressed man in the corner, with salt and pepper hair—was enthralled with Beth. “Nobody even glanced at me. [The man] looked at her the way men used to stare at me,” Tina writes.
“Everywhere I turned, there seemed to be signs that my life was changing, and not for the better: My parents’ health was in decline. My son had recently joined the Marines and would be going to Iraq. My skin was duller. My body softer. My role on Guiding Light had been fading away right under my nose,” Tina gained weight, eschewed Chanel pumps in favor of scuffed black flats and started running around in sweats, without makeup. Then she woke up, determined not to let her “light be dimmed” and to use all her tools to “stay forever frisky in all areas of life.”
“Staying in the room keeps you in the game,” Tina says.
Meet Tina and hear her sage advice at the Beauty Bash. It’s going to be one of the most beautiful days of your life. I promise.