Looking to Stay Young at 80? Learn from Two Nude Models
Barry and Joanne have been married 57 years. They've spent the last 15 modeling.
“I’m loving it because I’m getting out there, I’m meeting people. It’s just fun,” says Joanne, age 80. “It’s better than sitting home eating Bon Bons.”
She’s not talking about playing bridge or gardening. She’s talking about nude modeling.
Joanne and her husband Barry, also 80, have been modeling for art classes for the past 15 years.
Barry got his start at age 16, when he started nude modeling for an arts group in his hometown. He went on to have a career in medical sales and raise a daughter and a son. At 65, he got back into the modeling.
“I got into it from Barry,” explains Joanne. She had just wrapped up her own career as an executive secretary. “He started doing these jobs and I thought, if he can do it, so can I."
By now, they’ve got a long list of clients, including 12 colleges and several art centers in retired communities. Sometimes they model separately. Often, they model together. This summer, they modeled for a sculpture class, posing intertwined.
It requires them to keep active. Both exercise every day. Joanne is “a walker,” and has done at least 2 miles everyday for the past several decades. Barry stretches and lifts weights. “At our age, stretching is what’s most important,” says Barry. “The only time I let myself go was late 1969-1973. But then did 3 sprint triathlons and got back into shape,” he laughs.
“I feel that when you get to our age if you don’t get your body going then you deteriorate,” he adds. He often works out in the nude.
The work also demands considerable focus.
“With modeling, you have to be able to concentrate on one point and it’s usually for 20 minutes. You just stare,” Barry tells me. “Sometimes it’s as long as 40 minutes or an hour.”
“I have a great mind for meditating so I don’t have a problem with that,” says Joanne.
“I do,” said Barry. He takes a five minute break every twenty minutes, which is typical.
When asked if they face judgment from friends, Joanne said: “We know who to tell and who not to tell, because some people really don’t take it well.”
Barry, on the other hand, replied, “Not really, and I really don’t care. I’m not embarrassed by anything I’ve done, or do, or will do.”
“Our daughter doesn’t want to talk about it,” Joanne laughs.
The two also enjoy nude beaches, skinny-dipping and other opportunities to lighten up.
“It’s a free feeling,” says Barry.
“I walk without a bra,” says Joanne.
“Nobody cares,” says Barry.
“We don’t care,” says Joanne.
Other advice the two give for staying young is to stay social. “It’s very invigorating at our age to have younger friends — people in their late 50s, 60s— because you get a different idea. We don’t always have to hang around with people who are 80," Barry says.
Their healthy lifestyle has enabled them both to surmount major health battles—a heart attack, stage 4 cancer and two hip replacements between the two of them.
“I believe as long as I can keep busy and keep moving, I’ll keep going for awhile,” says Barry.
“Me too,” Joanne agrees.
What are your unique strategies for staying young? Let us know in the comments below.