In the late 1960s, a young Jane Hitchcock traveled from her home state of Alabama to New York City to follow her dream of becoming a ballet dancer. As luck would have it, she was “discovered” and soon began an incredibly successful modeling career that would continue throughout her life.
At age 70, Jane defies many expectations that society often has about beauty, aging and the ability to experience new adventures. As the cover model for our latest World Bazaar catalog, we sat down to interview Jane and learn what she has to say about beauty, aging and finding new adventures later in life.
Road Scholar: What does “aging adventurously” mean to you?
Jane: Living without limits and not identifying with an age and it’s so called “limitations.”
Road Scholar: How would you define “beauty?”
Jane: Beauty has to come from within or else it’s not beautiful. You could have a beautiful mannequin, but if it cannot emote kindness, love, generosity and empathy then it is not truly beautiful.
Road Scholar: Have the concepts of beauty and aging changed in recent years? If so, explain.
Jane: Yes it has. When I was modeling my career was over at 35 because I was no longer considered relevant simply because of my age. But now there is value in age and experience, and people realize older women have more to contribute past 35! Younger women also see older women now and see that they can remain beautiful and relevant throughout their lives at all ages. It’s the spirit within, not the beauty without.
Road Scholar: Did you foresee your modeling career lasting as long as it has? What would “retirement” look like for you?
Jane: I remember waking up one morning and realizing I hadn’t had a job in 6 months and I asked myself, “Am I still a model?” I absolutely loved my career and had accepted that my career had ended at 35. Then, five years later, Steven Meisel, with whom I had worked with throughout my career, tracked me down to a farm in the Swiss Alps, flew me back to NYC to be on the cover of Vogue with some other “golden girls” of modeling and my career took off again. So no, I didn’t see it lasting as long as it had. At 35 I’d been modeling for 20 years — I’d had a long career. I certainly didn’t expect to be modeling at 70, but I’m delighted to say that I am. I don’t know what retirement looks like, I’ll never retire from being a model as it’s within me.
Road Scholar: Why did you decide to move to Bali?
Jane: I’d lived everywhere else! I’d lived in big cities most of my life and I still wanted culture and adventure. But it was time for me to spend more time in the beauty of nature, a warm climate and a slower pace.
Road Scholar: How important is travel in your life? Do you think it’s important for people to continue to travel as they grow older?
Jane: I’ve always traveled for work so picking up and moving to London, France, Switzerland, Italy and now Indonesia wasn’t a big thing for me. I like change, I couldn’t stay in one place. It is important to go for what you want and live the way that suits you. At this point in my life, I’m happy to stay where I am, I’m content.
Road Scholar: What would you say to other women your age who are seeking new adventures?
Jane: If you are seeking new adventures, then it must be right for you — so do it! It’s a part of your creative expression. Curiosity and creativity keep you alive, and that’s what travel is about — appreciation of beauty and curiosity. Grandma Moses started painting at 80 years old — that’s inspiring to me as it proves there’s no limit on age.
Road Scholar: The World Bazaar presents an opportunity for artists from around the world to share their gifts for creating fashion and jewelry with a global audience. Do you think this is important? If so, why?
Jane: For me it’s important to support traditional cultures and artisans any way we can. Providing opportunities to their communities to keep their crafts and skills alive. I just love handmade artisanal products, to me they are works of art. I appreciate anything handmade, the quality, the detail and beauty that you see in all these gorgeous creations — I keep my handmade things forever.
RS: What is still on your “bucket list?”
Jane: To have a vegetable garden. Haha.
You’ll find Jane on the cover of our latest World Bazaar catalog. Discover our World Bazaar at https://worldbazaar.roadscholar.org/
You can also find Jane at:
Youtube: Jane Hitchock https://www.youtube.com/user/ModelJaneHitchcock