By Liana Jacob
MEET THE GLAMOROUS model in her SIXTIES who attributes her youthful look to practising MEDITATION and despite strangers constantly accusing her of having PLASTIC SURGERY, she insists that she has NEVER been under the knife – she even gets mistaken for her daughter’s SISTER who is HALF her age.
Model and relationship coach, Angela Paul (64) from Bradford, UK, began her journey of self-care in her twenties when she was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a long-term condition causing inflammation to the joints, skin and other organs.
This became a wake-up call for her and she decided to take great care of her health. Her new lifestyle helped lift her symptoms without using medication through meditation, exercising, nutrition and creating a healthier mindset.
When she was 30 years old, she gave birth to her daughter, Arielle (now 34), and fell in love with being a mother, dedicating most of her thirties to raising her daughter and travelling with her husband, Alan (69).
Angela, who now lives in California, USA, worked as a full-time model since she was 16 years old but decided to quit when she became a mother. With her lucky genes and healthcare ritual, Angela has managed to age like a fine wine and the only product she uses to enhance her look is blonde hair dye.
She says the not so secret to her ageless beauty is her journey practising meditation and staying away from meat or poultry, which she has been doing for 38 years. Her appearance has attracted a lot of positive attention from men half her age who approach her and some negative comments from people who accuse her of undergoing cosmetic surgery, which she strongly insists is untrue.
“There really is no big secret to ageing gracefully at sixty-four; genetics help, but more than that lifestyle is a big predictor on how well one ages,” Angela said.
“For me, ageing well has been a lifelong undertaking; I started practising self-care when I was a young model through nutrition, exercise, meditation and mindset. The younger one starts taking care of oneself the greater the payoffs later on in life.
“In my early twenties I felt full of life, with confidence and energy, but in my late twenties I was diagnosed with lupus that fortunately I was able to treat without medication.
“It was however a wake-up call to significantly pull back on my high paced life. It was after this diagnosis that my meditation practice and disciplined self-care became the foundation of how I live my life.
“I was thirty when I gave birth to my only child after a gruelling thirty-six-hour labour and emergency caesarean birth. It was an absolute joy to be a new mother and most of my thirties were dedicated to raising her and traveling with my husband and daughter for his work.
“It was an incredibly rewarding experience as a woman, but it was also a time of questioning and I became uncertain about what I wanted to do creatively moving forward.
“While it was a beautiful chapter in my life, it was also a time of transition of not really knowing who I was besides being a wife and mother.
“I had no desire to model full time anymore as I’d been doing it since I was sixteen – but I was trying to figure out how to define and express the next version of myself in this new chapter.
“My mum had beautiful skin and thick hair which runs in the family, so I had good genetics early on. Growing up in England with a lot of rain I didn’t have much exposure to sun which was a blessing really.
“I never smoked or drank much in my teens and twenties so that helped, and I was always big on getting adequate sleep. To me sleep is my number one health and beauty aid.
“Also, as a model I knew all about the benefits of skincare; staying out of the sun and the best and most effective beauty products to use.
“I love to exercise so that’s been an integral part of my self-care, but I do believe my journey to healthy ageing has been significantly enhanced by my long time meditation practice.”
Angela says that she is now often mistaken for being her daughter’s sister when they’re out together and she often receives flattering attention from men ‘decades younger’ than her.
But this is something she takes on the chin as she believes living this healthy lifestyle is for the benefit of her and not how people see her.
“I think that we have to take care of ourselves from the inside first and foremost beyond the outer superficial means. I haven’t eaten any kind of meat or poultry in thirty-eight years but do love fish and sushi,” she said.
“I eat organic as much as possible and prefer several small meals a day as it’s easier on the digestion. I eat an avocado a day, drink fresh ginger with hot lemon first thing in the morning and limit myself to one coffee a day before noon.
“I don’t drink much alcohol but when I do, I prefer a little vodka than wine as it is cleaner and has less sugar. This maintenance has been my lifestyle for decades.
“I don’t believe in extremes, but I do know what works best for my overall health and wellness from a lifetime of consistent dedication that’s always been more about feeling good rather than just focusing on looking good. Looking my best then becomes a by-product of years of self-care and self-love.
“As exercise has always been a staple in my life it has served me well throughout all my decades. My forties were challenging as my mum was suffering from Parkinson’s disease and dementia and I was also dealing with other family illnesses and deaths.
“Turning fifty was fabulous and in many ways I’m in better health physically and emotionally in my sixties than I was in my forties.
“I’ve always loved to dance, but about five years ago I started taking Zumba dance classes four to five times a week. I absolutely love it and it makes me feel radiantly alive, youthful and sexy.
“People often comment that my daughter and I look more like sisters than mother and daughter. On Instagram men are often over the top with compliments.
“But as I know that’s all superficial and not particularly ‘real’ I just don’t let myself get attached to flattery or judgement which is also part of being a public person on social media.
“Unfortunately, most of the judgement comes from other women which I find sad and a bit disconcerting even though on some level I get it.
“People react to my age usually with astonishment or with the subtle/not so subtle suggestion that I must have had a lot of cosmetic surgery done or must be anorexic – both of which is untrue.
“If people ask, I readily share my lifestyle choices and it does take commitment and dedication that some people just don’t want to do. They want the end results but are not willing to do the work it takes.”
Angela, who is a writer and has written two books based around the beauty of ageing, says she is actually against the concept of cosmetic/plastic surgery and has deliberately avoided it at all costs.
“I’m personally against cosmetic surgery for a few significant reasons; one – I want to look like myself naturally as best I can. Two – I try to avoid surgery of any kind as much as possible,” she said.
“Three – Vanity for me includes not having people wonder what I’ve done to myself if the surgery turns out strange and clearly like I’ve had some major work done.
“Four – There are many non-invasive and natural products and procedures that can help with ageing for example I do facial yoga every day to tighten the jowls and chin.
“Fifth – I feel that encouraging women (especially young women) to age naturally is part of the message I espouse and strive to live by.
“Apart from the caesarean surgery the only cosmetic procedure I’ve done was to get braces on my teeth in my thirties.
“I’d have say that my best advice is to start looking after yourself as young as possible and you will reap the rewards later in life.
“It’s also not about looking like anyone else, including me or any celebrity of the moment, or being thinner etc. It’s about being the healthiest version of you that you can be.
“In popular culture and social media women are inundated with messages on how they should look so I really believe that it’s important to stop comparing ourselves to anyone, and for me that has included not comparing myself to myself at a younger age.”
For more information visit: www.instagram.com/angelapaul