Contrary to what the image of a post-menopausal woman typically used to be, this generation of women is standing up, taking charge and inspiring men and women of all ages globally.
Many of the following women have something of a celebrity presence. However, the definition of ‘celebrity has become fluid. There are hundreds of 60-something high profile women making waves in all aspects of industry. From technology to politics to medicine to viticulture to art to fashion. Inspiring post-menopausal women are making noteworthy contributions and, far from invisible, many are racking up millions of Instagram followers for their beauty and style tips.
These women prove that age doesn’t make you irrelevant. In fact, if this is what the years post-60 look like then the future is looking good.
Here are 9 Women Aged Over-60 Who We'd Like To Be When We Grow Up.
1. Oprah Winfrey, 67
Most people know who Oprah is. Indeed, she’s one of those rarefied public figures who often goes by her first name alone.
Against all odds Oprah took on the world winning accolades and respect along the way. She’s won acclaim and a multitude of awards as a talk show host, television producer, actress, author and philanthropist. And as the first African American female billionaire she’s broken through many glass ceilings. These are incredible achievements for a black woman who lives in an American society with a history of racism, comes from an impoverished background and struggles with weight issues.
You can read all about her impressive journey and accomplishments here. It’s well worth a read.
2. Dame Helen Mirren, 75
“The best thing about being over 70 is being over 70. Die young or get old. There is nothing else.” – Helen Mirren
Another extraordinary woman who needs no introduction. Many of us have seen this English actor on screen and gracing the pages of magazines around the globe. Fans love her forthright candour and the way she personifies beauty and elegance for older women.
Born in 1945, Helen Mirren has been winning hearts in her profession since 1965 when she starred in Antony and Cleopatra. Since then the Academy Award winner has performed something like 137 roles. According to Wikipedia her father was exiled Russian nobility and her mother a working-class Londoner.
Helen grew up in Essex, the second of three children. In her personal life, she lived with actor Liam Neesom in the early 80s. She married film director Taylor Hackford in 1997. They’ve been together since 1986.
3. Dame Judi Dench, 86
“Age is a number. It’s something imposed on you … It drives me absolutely spare when people say, ‘Are you going to retire? Isn’t it time you put your feet up?’ Or tell me [my] age.” – Judi Dench
The indomitable Dame Judi Dench has been acting since 1957 after debuting at the Old Vic theatre in London. Her mother was born in Dublin, and her English father, a doctor, was brought up there. They met while he was studying medicine at Dublin’s Trinity College.
Dame Judi went to school in York where she became a Quaker. She married her late husband, the actor Michael Williams, in 1971. The following year the couple had a daughter Finty Williams. Michael died in 2001 and she found love again with conservationist David Mills in 2010. Now, in her 80s Dame Judi Dench has been dubbed one of the greatest actresses of our time.
You can read about her impressive bio and life on Wikipedia here.
4. The Right Honourable Helen Clark, 71
“Never look back is my philosophy.” – Helen Clark
Helen Clark ONZ SSI PC was the second woman – the first to have won via election – to serve as New Zealand’s 37th Prime Minister. She was the country’s fifth-longest servicing Prime Minister from 1999 – 2008 and the Labour party became the largest party in Parliament under her leadership.
Going on to hold down the role of the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme from 2009 to 2017, she’s now the patron of The Helen Clark Foundation. In 2020 the World Health Organisation (WHO) appointed her as co-chair of a panel reviewing the WHO’s handling of COVID-19.
Ms Clark has been married to sociologist and professor Peter Davis since 1981. Forbes magazine ranked the former Prime Minister as the 22nd most powerful woman in the world in 2016. She also has a slew of other honours and awards which you can see here.
5. Ita Buttrose, 79
“The reason women are always reluctant to reveal their age is because other people label them as ‘past it’. In the 21st century, women over 60 are not past it – we are vital, active, sexual beings, living life to the full.” – Ita Buttrose
The Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Ita Buttrose AC OBE is Australian publishing royalty. An accomplished journalist, businesswoman, television personality and author, Ita was the founding editor of Cleo magazine which became one of Australia’s most iconic titles. Aimed at 20-40-year-old females Cleo championed sexual liberation and was famous for its nude male centrefolds. She went on to become the youngest-ever editor of The Australian Woman’s Weekly which at the time was the largest selling magazine in the world.
In 2019, Australia’s Prime Minister announced her as the new chair of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Born in Potts Point, Sydney, Ita’s father Oswald Buttrose was also a journalist and at one time the editor of The Daily Mirror in Sydney. She has been married twice, is the mother of two children, was named Australian of the Year 2013 and has co-authored 10 books.
You can read more here.
6. Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, 77
“I’m more confident now than I’ve ever been. As you get older you have to be.” – Kiri Te Kanawa
Opera singer Dame Kiri Jeanette Claire Te Kanawa ONZ CH DBC AC needs no introduction. Born Claire Mary Teresa Rawstron her Gisborne-based parents were Tieki “Jack” Wawaiti and Mary Noeleen Rawstron. The story goes that ‘Jack’ was already married to Apo, the daughter of Rev. Poihipi Kohere. Mary’s mother insisted the baby be given up for adoption and Kiri was adopted by Thomas Te Kanawa and his wife Nell. Dame Kiri went to St Mary’s College in Auckland and was trained to sing opera by Sister Mary Leo Niccol.
Kiri met her husband Desmond Park on a blind date in 1967, and they married six weeks later. They adopted two children but divorced in 1997. Dame Kiri Te Kanawa began her career as a pop singer in her 20s. She went on to win a grant to study in London where she studied at the London Opera Centre. It was a beginning of a hugely successful international career.
7. Ranjna Patel, 60-something
“Being successful in business and people’s support and encouragement has given me the courage to have a voice,” – Ranjna Patel
A finalist in the New Zealander of the Year and the winner of the New Zealand Innovator of the Year 2021 Rangjna Patel ONZM QSM is the co-founder and Director of Tamaki Healthcare – formerly Nirvana Health Group. She and her husband Kantilal Patel founded the company in South Auckland and now have 50 clinics in Auckland, Christchurch, Whangarei and Palmerston North.
Ranjna has dedicated her life to working for the good of the community while challenging prejudice. A third-generation New Zealander she’s a powerhouse in business and changing lives for the better. Ranjna established the first Gandhi Nivas home in South Auckland for the rehabiliation of men who were perpetrators of domestic violence.
There are now three Gandhi Nivas homes and a 5-year longitudinal study by Massey University found that 60% of men who entered Gandhi Nivas did not re-offend.
Together with Kanti, Ranjna also founded the Hindu Temple in Balmoral where they feed 400-500 people every Sunday. Their trust also bought 20 houses in the vicinity so they could give migrants low rental.
8. Jenny Kee, 74
What do you love about this stage of your life?
“Having the freedom to express myself in the ways I want to be seen; showing the world that I don’t have to be invisible over 50. We are fashionable, youthful, healthy and passionate – and that will never change.” As told to platinummag.co.uk
Ita Buttrose may be Australian publishing royalty, but designer Jenny Kee is Australian fashion and artistic royalty. Jenny is well-known around the world for her quirky, colourful Australiana art and design.
Born in Bondi in East Sydney Jenny’s father was Chinese and her mother of Italian-English descent. According to Wikipedia, when Jenny turned 18 she left Sydney for London and began her career as a model. On her website, she tells how she worked with style guru and vintage trailblazer Vern Lambert at London’s famous Chelsea Antique Market which was her “university of fashion and life”.
Returning to Sydney in 1973 she opened her famous frock salon Flamingo Park in Sydney’s Strand Arcade and began collaborating with designer Linda Jackson. Their partnership included colourful Australian wool knitted jumpers, one of which – a Koala named “Blinky” – was owned and worn by Princess Diana who wore it to a polo game at Windsor Castle in 1982.
Photograph courtesy of Jenny Kee
9. Roxanne Gould, 60-something
“I’m hoping to still be in this business. Maye Musk [Elon Musk’s mother] is a close friend and an inspiration to me—she just got a Cover Girl campaign at age 70. I feel like I’ve got another 10 years in me, easy.” Roxanne’s response when, in 2018, Sarasota Magazine asked her where she wanted to be in 10 years. She was 60 at the time.
Instagram influencer and female empowerer, Roxanne Gould was one of the world’s first grey-haired models.
Roxanne began modelling at just three-years-old and has worked with the likes of Iman, Cheryl Tiegs and Jerry Hall. She went grey in her 30s and hasn’t looked back since. During the 90s she brought up her son and daughter, became a pastel portrait artist and earned a BA and Masters in Parapsychic Science. “This teaches how religion, philosophy and science affect mankind,” she says.
“My hope is that what you read here will give you a vision that ageing is not scary and my desire is to uplift you. It’s my passion is to help you realise your own beauty and to know that beauty is always on the inside,” she says.
We know there are many more incredible 60+ women out there – both with high profiles and without. Is there a woman aged over 60 who inspires you? She’s not necessarily world-famous, but she’s an inspiration? Let us know in the comments.