Meet Joyce Jones

Location: New York, N.Y.
Age: 69
Marital Status: Married
Education: Two years of art school for fashion illustration.

And, after various jobs from department store buyer to technology sales rep to cosmetics training director, she’s settled on her favorite job of all: modeling (she most recently modeled Cool Jams sleepwear for the FOF Shop). “My relationship is fabulous, I have some really nice friends and I’m healthy,” says Joyce. “I love what age has done to my head but I’m not thrilled with what it’s doing to my body.” We beg to differ.

Where are you from originally?

Trenton, NJ, but I’ve lived in many places–Philadelphia, New York, Arizona and Colorado. I even sold everything bought a boat and lived on it for awhile. I lived in Florida, Key West, Virginia and then moved to Oman in the Middle East. When I got back from Oman, I lived in New York, Costa Rica, Florida again, and, finally, back to New York.

Why did you travel so much?Image

I don’t know – it seemed like a good idea at the time.

So when someone asks where you’re from, what do you say?

I consider myself a New Yorker. I even considered myself a New Yorker when I lived in Trenton, New Jersey.

What were you like as a child?

My parents were very strict, especially my father. He was born in Hungary. My mother was first generation Hungarian in this country. I was a good kid but was always pushing the envelope.

Did you go to college?

I went to two years of art school to be a fashion illustrator. After school, I marched off to Philadelphia with my portfolio. I found out I could work for $62 per week, so instead I ended up working for the now-defunct department store, Dunham’s in Trenton. Later I worked for Stern’s in Philadelphia, Lit Brother’s in Philadelphia and Macy’s in New York. Then, I got out of retailing. I became the national training director for Love Cosmetics in the mid-70s. It was my dream job. I absolutely loved it.

How come?

It was really creative. The line was all water-based and up to that point cosmetics were oil-based. They were very light and natural looking. The whole idea was less is more. I was with them for a couple years.

Do they still exist?

No. I left before they went defunct. That’s when I started selling telecommunications hardware.

What a switch. Beauty to technology?

It was just a matter of being able to sell. It’s kind of funny because I’m such a non-technical person. I don’t Twitter or blog, I check my e-mails and that’s it. My husband jokes that my phone is gasoline driven. But I like it.

Do you have kids?

Yes, one son. He lives in Pennsylvania in the house where he was born and manages a Christmas Tree farm.

Is your son from your first marriage?

He’s actually from my second marriage. The first marriage lasted only eleven months. My current husband and I have been married twelve years. We got married the day after Thanksgiving so we wouldn’t forget the date.

How did you meet him?

On a mushroom hunt. I had just gotten divorced and was living in Arizona. Friends of mine invited me to come with them on the hunt. I hadn’t washed my hair, had a cap on and no makeup. This gorgeous man came to the door and I thought, ‘Oh no I look terrible!’

He tells the sweetest story about it. He said he heard this voice that had so much life, he had to see who it was…and it was me.

After the mushroom hunt, when did you see him again?

That night, when I got back to my apartment, I called him and said, “this may be really forward, but I’d like to see you again. He said, ‘Me too, when?’ He came for dinner the next day and we haven’t been separated since.

How old were you when you two got married?

I was 55 when we met and got married a couple years later. It was just me, him and the two people who introduced us at the wedding.

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So you’ve been modeling more recently. How did you get into it?

When I lived out in Littleton, Colorado, I was at an event with my husband and they were auctioning off a walk-on part for the local production of Bye Bye Birdie. My husband won it for me for $200. I joke and say my husband “bought me into the business.” I was only supposed to be in the play for opening night but I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding, I love this. I’m here for the duration.’ It ran for 6 weekends. I needed a headshot for acting; I got one done, and that’s when I found out I really didn’t take a bad picture.

Were you discovered as a model from that headshot?

Well, my husband got transferred back to Phoenix. There wasn’t much opportunity for theater there at the time. So I sent my new headshot to three modeling agencies. One of them called me, I went in for a test and they hired me. This was 10 years ago, I was 59 at the time.

What do you model for?

I did a lot of work for retirement places, golf courses and casinos because Phoenix has a lot of those.

Now that you live in New York, are you still modeling?

Yes. I just came from a casting for Oprah magazine, now I’m modeling Cool Jams sleepwear for the FOF shop and next I have a casting for pharmaceuticals. I’d say 80-90 percent of what I do now is pharmaceutical. After that, it’s a bit of fashion, some home goods and cooking products. Grandmas always cook, and that’s what I’m cast as, a grandma.

Do you think there is ageism in the modeling industry?

Yes. They seem to think my age group doesn’t do anything else but take medicine, move into retirement facilities and take an occasional vacation. You rarely see over-50 models cast in advertisements for cars, furniture or fast food. If you went by the ads, you’d think we almost never buy things like washing machines or dryers or cleaning supplies. For that, young moms are cast, the 30-36-year-old demographic.

Do you think it’s fair? Do you think the advertising just reflects what people are buying?

I’ve asked this on sets with clients. One of the answers I get is that they are following statistics which say people over fifty have brand loyalty, so advertisers don’t market to them. One client I worked for said the industry was starting to understand that people over fifty have disposable income and are not necessary brand loyal. Everyone is pinching pennies now and looking to make the switch to products that are more interesting or cost less.

Do you model full time?

Yes. I wish I could say I was earning a wonderful living but this industry took a beating through the recession. Over the last two months I’ve had way more auditions, things seem to be picking up a bit.

Do you have any passion projects or hobbies?

I’ve started taking horseback riding lessons in Van Cortlandt park. I’m enjoying it. I’ve also been taking tap dancing lessons at the National Arts Club. I did them as a kid and now I understand why my mother took me out. I’m not very graceful but I’m having fun because it’s all seniors and none of use are good.

What’s your exercise routine?

I do yoga three to five times per week at NY Yoga on 86th St. and York Ave.

How would you describe your style?

Eclectic. I have certain clothes I wear only on auditions. Usually I try to wear blue because there was a study that said people wearing blue are most often cast.

Where do you shop?

Occasionally thrift stores. I recently bought this marvelous black two piece outfit by Escada Couture. The bottom is a full skirt made of it’s lace and tulle. The top is silk, has a little sleeve and gold buttons down the front. I also shop at H&M and Macy’s. God bless Macy’s!

What’s your skin care routine?

Right now I’m using Dove and Aveeno moisturizer. If I’m wearing makeup, I use the Aveeno. If I’m not wearing makeup I use Dove because it is richer. I use a night cream by Dr. Sobel which is fabulous. He is my dermatologist and has his own product line. I slather myself with creams and I try desperately to sleep on my back, so I don’t squish my face.

Do you have a signature fragrance?

Je Reviens. It has a light floral scent. I have used it for 40 years and it’s probably in my marrow by now. If I’m going to be in the house all day, I’ll wear it just for me.

Do you have a favorite book?

My favorite author is Alexander McCall Smith. He writes all the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency books. I’ve read almost all of them. I’ve been to Africa a few times now and the books really give the spirit of the country.

Do you have pets?

I have cat named Kitty. I’ve had him for about 5 years now. He never claws anything – he’s the perfect apartment cat and he’s so sweet. I’ve never breathed a moment of my life without a cat.

What advice do you have for other women over 50?

Exercise, take good care of your skin. Visit a dermatologist regularly. Eat healthily, but treat yourself every once and awhile.