The multi-decade model weighs in on seeing and loving herself more fully with every year and phase.
– KEYS SOULCARE
As a multi-decade model, mom to three grown daughters, and a Keys Soulcare lightworker, Danusia Garrison has seen herself — and the beauty industry’s view of all of us — through an array of different lenses. After booking her first professional job at 18, and eventually stepping away to raise a family, she has found herself more “in-demand” than ever at the present age of 59. Looks aside, it’s Garrison’s presence and self-awareness — not to mention her Instagram handle @beingsilver and forthcoming podcast, Breaking 50 — that translates with brands and audiences of all walks. We couldn’t wait to chat about how she’s defined age and beauty over the years, plus how she inspires others — and herself — to do it everyday.
You recently did a photoshoot with Keys Soulcare for our body campaign — how was it?!
It was fantastic. Traditionally, on photo [sets], you sometimes get stuck into this stereotype of “the older woman” and you have really limited freedom. But, new brands like Keys Soulcare are different —especially if women are at the helm. During the “Praise Your Body” shoot, there was so much freedom to experiment and to really be myself.
When do you feel most beautiful?
There’s a deeper emotion to beauty and feeling beautiful that centers around forgiveness. You have to have this forgiveness of the world and the negative things in it. And, you also have to have this forgiveness of yourself and negative images of yourself that you may have. I feel the most beautiful when someone says “thank you” to me.
Let’s talk about your Instagram handle, @beingsilver.
It’s about my age and my place in the world right now. I asked a lot of women my age, “Would you like to be younger?” Every single one said no. And not only no, but, “Hell no! I don’t want to be in my twenties. I was terrible. I was so insecure.”
Interestingly, just about every younger woman who I asked, “Are you looking forward to getting older?” also [said], “Hell, no! I’d like to be young forever.” There’s this incredible disconnect between the real experience of getting older — which is great, you know — and reality.
Once you cross 50, you seem to wake up and lose all the magical power you had, or rather, that’s been ascribed to you by society. I think younger women don’t want to lose that power and that’s why they don’t want to get older. Meanwhile, everyone my age just wants to keep being our best, healthy selves and keep our societal power.
And what about you?
I’m happy to be my age, but I want to show that older women are not a mono-person. We all think differently. We dress differently. We have different goals, dreams, and powers. It would be ridiculous to say everyone from zero to 50 is the same for women. But yet, we say from 50 to a hundred, that’s just one woman. I want to show younger women that there [are] so many older women [who] are amazing role models, but that they’re just not exposed to them. They’re all around us.
As someone who’s been in front of the camera for so many areas of your life, how has your relationship to being photographed changed over time and how has it remained the same?
When I was younger, I had a lot more freedom to be different characters or different personalities on camera. But also, it was a lot harder to not let the self-doubt creep in. What’s happening for me now is almost the opposite. For [many clients and] brands, I have less experimentation opportunities. I’m wearing kind of the same “older woman” outfit. But now, I can block everything around me and just lose myself inside the camera. So, self doubt? I just don’t allow it in. Now, being surrounded by so many talented, passionate people and energy becomes the intoxicating, fantastic part.
What traits have you always loved about yourself and then which ones have you fallen in love with over time?
My mind is a universe of possibilities for me. I love hanging out with myself — I tell the best jokes. What’s taken time are the external things — like my nose in particular, or my feet after being told that the “right” woman is a certain way or not. It’s taken me a while to realize that there isn’t one right anyone. Wanting to be different is rarely about what we want. It’s usually about what someone else wants.
As a mom of three daughters, what’s it like to see someone [who] embodies so much of you walking around and experiencing themselves, what they look like, and how they feel about it?
I think for most mothers, it’s our goal to transcribe our best qualities onto our daughters so that they’re better than us and learn things sooner; that they’re more powerful and more beautiful than we ever thought we could be. I’m in awe of them. But, I also have learned that you can’t impart wisdom to somebody — we all have to have revelations on our own.
Who are a few of your own age and beauty inspirations right now?
That’s easy, because I talk about Michelle Obama all the time. Not just her sharp, dry wit or her ready smile, but she has a comfort in her own power and self. She’s daring, she’s cool, and she dresses in a way that says, “You can’t shake me off my game.” She’s just showing up as if she’s really in the best moments of her life, and it’s palpable.
How can you celebrate yourself and your ongoing journey today?