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Grown Woman: Why We're Proud to Be Badass Boomers Who Are Aging "Disgracefully"

We prefer to age disgracefully.

By Tish & Snooky Bellomo, Allure

In our new column, Grown Woman, models, stylists, and beauty professionals sound off on wrinkles, aging, and why the world needs to stop telling them to look younger. We asked the Manic Panic founders — Tish and Snooky Bellomo — to kick off the series and tell us why they won't apologize for what they call "aging disgracefully."
Age gracefully? No way! We prefer to age disgracefully. We're still working every day, singing in rock bands at night, always learning and having fun. The traditional way life is lived doesn't make much sense to us: go to school, work, retire. We're still learning — we learned to ski in our 40's, took tap dance lessons in our 50's, we've jet skied and are learning to play the harp in our 60's. No one better try to tell us what to do and what not to do. Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Harry, and Kate Pierson are perfect examples of boomers still rocking it and having fun. We wouldn't dream of not having fantasy-colored hair! We have no intention of going natural, after living, loving and blazing the trail in creative hair color for 40 years! Life should be colorful 'til the end!

The "anti-aging" and "aging gracefully" messaging we're constantly bombarded with is demeaning, insulting, sexist, and ageist. It's natural to age, and the beauty industry needs to stop making women feel ashamed of being older. We’ve earned every wrinkle — our wrinkles are a road map of our lives, and our laugh lines are proof of how much fun we're having. Happiness is the ultimate beauty treatment.

Our mother, one of the strongest women we've ever known, was our primary role model. She was older, a single mom, with white hair, which was a stigma in those days. Our classmates thought she was our grandmother. They poked fun at us and made us feel embarrassed of her. We soon got over that when we realized she was way cooler than the young, glamorous moms!

Society now is less judgmental than in those days in some respects, but in other ways it's worse. With society's unrealistic, photoshopped images, women often feel obligated to get surgery in order to keep their jobs and conform to an impossible standard of eternal youth and beauty. They're even advertising cosmetic surgery on the New York City subway. We're not against surgery, but we would hope that women do it for themselves and not because of outside pressure. We’re more about facials, especially by Tracie Martyn. Plastic surgery just isn’t for us (so far!).
Women can be beautiful at any age. Skincare, hair color, and makeup have been our lifelong passion and we always aim to look our best. Makeup and hair color are so much fun and can really lift your spirits. We try to be good examples for women of all ages. When women try to mask their age with heavy foundations, they just end up drawing attention to the very thing they’re trying to hide. Besides, anyone can Google you and find out your age, so why try to hide it? We all need to be proud — at any age.

At a certain time of life, women enter the "invisible age." It feels as if society would prefer we weren't there. A customer of ours in her 80’s colored her hair purple, and it changed her life. She was no longer invisible — she was technicolor! People talked to her, took selfies — she was so happy and was inspired to write a poem about Manic Panic and the impact it made on her life. When she passed away, in her honor, all her family and friends colored their hair purple. We were thrilled that Manic Panic played a role in her renaissance, and that our product has helped so many people express themselves and find their "inner Aurora Borealis."
One of our greatest life achievements has been founding and growing the Manic Panic brand — the world's first "alternative beauty” line, still privately women-owned and operated, by us! We're so proud that we did it our own way — with no investors, no one ever telling us what we could and couldn't do. Our success has enabled us to give back and help others by donating to several charities that are dear to our hearts. We feel more empowered now than ever, a feeling that only comes with age. We’re so proud to be badass boomers!

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Women's Lifestyle: Grown Woman: Why We're Proud to Be Badass Boomers Who Are Aging "Disgracefully"
Grown Woman: Why We're Proud to Be Badass Boomers Who Are Aging "Disgracefully"
We prefer to age disgracefully.
Women's Lifestyle
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