Meet the 3 Judys, authors of Getting Older Never Looked So Good: A Head to Heels Guide To Ageless Beauty.
Judith Taylor, aka Southern Judy (pictured on right), is married to a short, bald businessman who is the “love of her life.” They have a daughter who is an RN and a son who teaches computer science at Vanderbilt University and is finishing his doctorate. They reside in Nashville.
Judith Graham, aka Sassy Judy (left), is married to a stockbroker and lives in New York. They have no children.
Judith Herbert, aka Spikey Judy (center), is married to an engineer. They have four dogs and two horses (which Spikey jumps) and live in Simi Valley, California. She also is a facilities construction manager, drives a motorcycle and makes wire and beaded jewelry and art pieces.
How do you know one another?
Sassy: I’ve known Southern Judy for 18 years. We met through an organization of image consultants. We’re knowledgeable about color, lines, and proportion. Stylists tend to take whatever is in fashion and throw it on the person, but that approach doesn’t always work for us.
We wanted a third Judy, so I Googled “Judy” and found Judith Herbert (Spikey Judy), who had some image experience. I simply called and asked if she wanted to be involved in a book called Getting Older Never Looked So Good. This was about 18 months ago.
We wrote the book in one month.
Why did you have a need to write this book of advice?
Southern: I started the book three years ago. When many of my clients saw their children go away to college, they just gave up working on their marriages, their lives, and their clothes. I thought, ‘this is not the time to give up and slow it down, but to speed it up!’
Once I started experimenting with my clients, I realized that they wanted the advice I had. Sassy and I are totally different in our points of view but we’re such good friends and I wanted her advice to be in the book, too.
What are Southern women like?
Southern: We’re a lot more private than other women. We share ideas but we really don’t reveal much. We’re a bit more elegant. We’re not trendy; we’re traditional and classic most of the time. We’re more religious. We’re into the society thing, country clubs.
Many Southern women run away from aging. They’ll turn to drinking more than they should because they don’t know what to do.
The more plastic surgery they can have, the better they like it.
My clients are women who range in age from 40 to 80 years old. They’re starting to have more pride today because TV ads are using older women, not just those who wear size zero.
What distinguishes East Coast women?
Sassy: We have two types of women: Those who always cared about the way they looked and had pride in managing their weight and their wrinkles. I call them “The Haves.” They’re pretty secure women.
Then we have those women who haven’t cared for themselves in 40 years but suddenly their children are at college, their husbands are looking around at other women, and they peek in the mirror and say to themselves, ‘OMG, what am I going to do now?’ They want to do something productive with their looks and their lives, but they haven’t a clue where to begin.
A number of my clients have lost their jobs and downsized. Their marriages survived as long as there was money in the household. But the economic downturn impacted their relationships. ‘How can you divorce me?’ many women ask their husbands who want to end their marriages. ‘I’m 63!’
Tell us about women in Southern California.
Spikey: They’re literally running away from their fears of aging. Once sun worshippers, they’re no longer sun bathing because they don’t want serious damage to their skin. They’re becoming vegans after 50 and embracing fitness. They’re changing their entire lifestyle as they age.
Who do you think is the most beautiful woman in the world?
Southern: Princess Diana. When she became a princess and started to work with a stylist, she evolved into an icon, one of the best-dressed women in the world. She learned how to stand and how to walk. We were all cheering her on. She had part of all of us in her. We watched her go from a cute young woman to almost a queen. She rocked that world. Unfortunately, she was just a pawn. She had no idea it was all a game. She was in love, the prince came to see her and she bought it all.
I admired her love for her children, which isn’t typical in royal families, where there isn’t much closeness.
Spikey: There’s a common archetype among all women. As each of us embraces our feminine power we become the most beautiful woman there is. There’s a wonderful painting called The First Supper, depicting women of all nationalities sitting around a table and celebrating. They share a communal female energy. Shakti is the mother goddess in India, the universal principle of energy, power and creativity. We all embody that.
Sassy: My mother, hands down, is the most beautiful woman in the world. She’s 90. She still drives her own car, takes care of herself, and she still lives in the house where we grew up. She does everything on her own. She just retired at 89 as a floor nurse at University of Virginia Hospital. She’s a strong, opinionated, independent woman, which is why I’m that way.
Mother still has all of her faculties. Her health and her lifestyle are incredible. My brother died of a heart attack four years ago, at 52, leaving eight children. He was my mother’s rock. When he died, my mother showed strength and resilience, which brought out her beauty even more. She believed that life goes on in spite of the most horrible thing happening to her.
What’s the worst thing, without reservation, about getting older?
Spikey: My body doesn’t respond, as well as I’d like it to, to a lot of things, some of them sexual, too. I’ve been going through menopause for about a year. I didn’t have trouble with the sweaty stuff since I exercised anyway and got sweaty.
I still bounce fairly well when I jump horses, but my knees are getting a little stiffer. I’m hearing the A word (Arthritis) from my doctors. I can handle the droopy boobs and the wrinkles, but it bothers me that my body is getting creakier. One of my horses is old, too, so we creak together.
If I ever get Alzheimer’s, I say, ‘Let’s see how fast my motorcycle can go over a cliff.’
Sassy: I try to plow through the physical stuff. OK, so I have a pinched nerve, just ignore it! I have sciatica. Plow through it. I think the thing that’s scariest about getting older is what can happen to our mind. I don’t want my mind to go. I don’t want to get Alzheimer’s and know I have to be cared for by someone. have no children to help me through this. I have to be able to care of myself.
Southern: My dad’s parents were Cherokee and lived a long time. Mother was from 9 and my dad was from 7. Both were the youngest and they saw all their siblings die.
I have one brother and sister left and I have been the nurturer since mother died. I want to take care of them and to be ‘the mom.’ I want to try to keep them ok. I’m not as much worried for myself as for them. I want to be able to do as much as I can for them.
What’s the best thing about getting older?
Sassy: I like myself. I didn’t have this kind of confidence when I was younger. I no longer have to deal with anyone who doesn’t like the way I am.
I really don’t give a darn what anyone else thinks. I can be whatever I want now.
This is a total celebration of life. As time goes faster, I am all about now, such as the wonderful moment of sitting here and looking out over Manhattan with these beautiful friends of mine. I’m all about fun now.
Spikey: It’s time for us to take control of what we want to do when we grow up.
Southern: My husband and I have fun. We have a condo in Florida and we can just take off. If I want to buy something, I just buy it. You just don’t worry as much. I also like to see my kids grown and having fun in their own worlds. I like to stand back and be a proud mama.
I have a friend who belongs to The Bikini Club in Florida. Once a year they have to wear a bikini on Miami Beach so they work hard to stay fit. The rule is you have to be on the beach. I like that.
Do any of you have any observations about boomer men?
Spikey: My husband will now say ‘I want to go shopping. I want to get some new shirts.’ He’ll speak up when he doesn’t like a pattern or a color. All of a sudden, at 56, he’s starting to become more sensitive to those kinds of things. He’s also starting to pay more attention to his hair.
My boss, who is 52 and an executive, wants to capture the biker thing. He comes to work on a Harley, with the chains and the skull helmet and he changes into a suit when he gets to the office.
Men of our generation are a little bit more hip than my dad, who wore slipper socks.