I don’t even feel like the same person I was at 29. Much happier, healthier, in better shape. Much more comfortable with who I am, just like six trillion times more confident. It’s really amazing.
Well, I grew up in the ’70s, which was the era of Farrah and Cheryl Tiegs—the total opposite of me. There was nobody in magazines or beauty or anything that looked vaguely like me. You know, I’m short. I’m not even 5 feet tall, and I was kinda a fat kid, so all the messages were just every single thing about you is wrong. Too short, too fat, too dark, too ethnic looking, every single thing. You know, I wore glasses, my mother used to make my clothes. I mean it was like, there was nothing.
Those messages, they burrow themselves in there and they get stuck.
I refused to put very much time or energy into maintenance. Like, I’m not gonna spend time in the morning doing hair or makeup, anything. So my look is kinda built on that, super low maintenance.
When I was working in restaurants, and even when I was teaching, you always had to have your hair up or have it covered. And so, my hair’s been a million different ways all throughout my life. When I first started cooking professionally, I had shoulder length hair. You know, big, thick, really good hair, but it was always up—constantly up—and it was annoying, and it was really hot. So I finally just cut it really short, mostly just for convenience’s sake.
Then I just kept it because it looked good, and then when the gray really started coming in, it kinda worked with the look.
When I was working in restaurants, and even when I was teaching, you always had to have your hair up or have it covered. And so, my hair’s been a million different ways all throughout my life. When I first started cooking professionally, I had shoulder length hair. You know, big, thick, really good hair, but it was always up—constantly up—and it was annoying, and it was really hot. So I finally just cut it really short, mostly just for convenience’s sake. Then I just kept it because it looked good, and then when the gray really started coming in, it kinda worked with the look.
The more I work out, the better I feel. So, the more you can get your heart rate revved up and pumping and get your blood flowing, the better you’re gonna feel and the better you’re gonna look.
But also, just my creative energy makes me feel really vital.
I mean, food, obviously, because I work in the food world. But I feel like the better the food is that I eat, meaning, you know, not high-end fancy, but the more local and seasonal and organic and quality the food is, that really taps into this sense of vitality for me and makes me feel really good. You know, the better I eat… like, in a day where I eat a lot more vegetables, I just feel way better and more vital, you know. On a day where I don’t, I can really feel it, so that sort of thing.
Also, spending time with people who I really wanna be around, as opposed to people I don’t wanna be around. I think the older you get, the pickier and choosier you can be about who you spend time with, and I think that’s really important.
You know, even if you have a life partner, a family that you’re very close with, I think there’s something so utterly vital and critical about having a really strong group of other female friends around you, who you can rely on and talk to. To me, that’s so… it’s soul nourishing to have them. They’re your family of choice. And I think especially as you get older, I know there have even been studies done about health and longevity, that the stronger your friendships and relationships are the older you get, the healthier you’ll be.
If I could go back and whisper very loudly in the ear of my 20s-year-self, I would say, ”Just stop doubting yourself so much and stop being so concerned with…not even with what other people think, but even just what you think of yourself. And maybe just trust your instincts.” Or I don’t know, in my 20s, I felt like I didn’t even have any instincts, I was so unable to trust them. I feel like I wasted a lot of time because of insecurity and not trusting my instincts, and I think, just that—listen to yourself and trust what’s inside.
And buy real estate in New York, because it was cheap back then.
0:05 Not the same person she was at 29 0:19 Growing up, everything about her was “wrong” 0:57 She refused to spend time maintaining a certain look. 1:09 Hairstyles: from long to short to silver 1:44 The more she works out the better she feels 1:52 What makes her feel vital: amazing, healthy food 2:22 Vitality comes from spending time with people she loves 3:17 What she would tell her 20-something self