Almost 30 years ago, Kathy Jacobs was a successful, sought-after model — her sweet and radiant smile even lit up the cover of Woman’s World! But as time passed, her career fizzled and she faced hardship and heartache — but she never gave up. Now, at age 56, she’s a cover girl again, proving it’s never too late to follow your dreams!
Today, Jacobs is the picture of serenity as her sweet pugs gather at her feet. “My three buddies have a lesson to share,” she tells Woman’s World. “They don’t judge you for anything: They just love you with all their hearts and accept you for who you are.”
This empathy is something Kathy learned early in life, growing up with a brother who had muscular dystrophy and battled the odds every day. “He had such a will to live,” she shares with a smile. “He graduated from high school with a standing ovation, and through seeing his struggles and triumphs, I learned resilience.”
That resilience has come in handy as Kathy has faced her own struggles, from helping her mother as she battles dementia to deep disappointments to struggling to revive her modeling career in her 50s — a dream she feared was a long shot.
“A year ago, I had a minimum-wage job sweeping the floor at a beauty salon,” she says. “I was losing hope, but I took pictures and sent them out one last time — and suddenly, I was getting modeling and acting jobs!”
In fact, the 56-year-old, 5’3″ dynamo is not only gracing a second cover of Woman’s World after 29 years, she’s also one of six finalists for the coveted cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. “I’ve learned to never give up!” Kathy beams. “People said my age or my height would keep me from succeeding, but I kept trying. I also know that there’s purpose in whatever hardships we face — because we all have a purpose!”
Here, Kathy’s secrets to inner strength and joy — at any age!
See Kathy’s inspiring posts!
A woman of many talents, Kathy shares her entrepreneurial skills, pug pictures and uplifting messages on her Instagram (@ageisbeauty) and on a YouTube channel of the same name—with everything from DIY mask tutorials to fun exercise videos to delicious baking recipes. Says Kathy, “It’s a fun, free way to inspire joy and love in others…and yourself!”
Indulge in a healthy sweet treat.
“Since high cholesterol, stroke, and heart disease run in my family, I try to eat a low-carb and low-sugar diet,” Kathy explains. “But sometimes, I need a little something sweet to keep me sane! My sugar-free vegan muffins are my favorite. They contain sugar-free chocolate chips, almond flower, almond milk, vanilla extract and stevia to sweeten. I put them in the freezer and just toast them up—it’s such a delicious treat!”
Find silver linings.
“One of the most disappointing times in my life was when I went on a reality show for budding entrepreneurs,” Kathy admits. “I spent years pouring my heart into creating skin-care products for women over 40, and the show was my chance to get it out there. But it ended up being me against a girl half my age selling bikinis — and I lost! I was inconsolable, but looking back, it made me stronger. Now, ironically, I’m modeling with girls half my age — in bikinis!”
“At least every three months, I visit my mom, who lives in Texas and suffers from dementia,” Kathy explains. “She’s 76 and her quality of life just isn’t what it should be. With my anxiety about her health and other stresses, a simple meditation helps. I’ll say: ‘I give myself permission to locate, release, and destroy’ and insert what’s causing me angst at the time. It gives peace to my soul.”
Make time for fun.
“I recently made a hilarious video where I took one of my pugs and put a bra on her!” says Kathy, who is a spokesperson for SheFit Bras. “I then did a workout using her in the bra as my weight. That really made me smile for days. In life, I’ve found that it’s often those little, everyday, silly things that make me laugh, bring me so much joy and ease my stress.”
Love yourself — no matter what!
“I prefer to show the world who I am rather than letting it tell me who I should be,” Kathy says. “Why does society think you need to hide when you turn 50? It’s crazy! But it’s all because we have this concept of how people should be at certain ages. I want to inspire people—and myself—to destroy that box. Whatever works for you is perfect: Beauty and joy have no age limit!”
Keep on dancing, body and soul!
“I have a group of ladies from ages 17 to 72 that I belly dance with!” says Kathy. “There’s no judgment, it’s great exercise and so motivating!” But if you’re not the group class type, a virtual Zumba class or YouTube dance routine works just as well. “Even doing your own moves in your living room works!” she says. “Nobody is watching, and you’ll feel free to be you.”
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.