OVER FIFTY & FABULOUS

THE BLOG

Fifty Women Over Fifty.

Fifty Women, Fifty and Over are sharing their stories and their images to help themselves and other women realise they are worthy of being celebrated. Of being photographed. Of being brave. Each and every single one of us has a story to tell, things we have overcome, things we have achieved, things we deserve to celebrate. This Project is to do that.

 

Ready to become one of the 50 Women? Click here.

THE BLOG

Fifty Women Over Fifty.

 
Shona15.jpg

SHONA

54

"Live, Laugh, Love"

Loyal, funny, intelligent, affectionate and adventurous.

Mother, Nona, Sister, Princess; Bestie; Aunty; confidante.

"I ask all the woman a series of questions when we first meet, during and after their photoshoot. I learn so much about these woman throughout this process and then I hear parts of their story after the day in their interview that bring smiles to my faces and tears to my eyes. And this beautiful woman, was no exception.

Such a breath of fresh air, Shona was this strong, brave woman walking into my studio, absolutely nervous, but so ready for this day. I think my favourite thing about meeting this amazing woman was actually when she came back to view her images with her partner. The support, love and respect this man showed her during her reveal was so inspiring and heart warming and such a reflection of the beautiful woman she is, inside. This bond and commitment to bringing out the absolute best in one another was so incredible. And the tears, of course the tears.

Getting to know more about Shona my admiration for everything that she has accomplished despite the hardships she has faced throughout her life, and the outlook that she has is so inspiring. I don't know how many times I can write the word inspiring in this, but I want to, a whole lot, when it comes to this woman." - Haley Adele

SHONA'S STORY

New Zealand, born & mostly bred in Patea in South Taranaki. I have lived most of my life there apart from 8 years in Palmerston North during my primary/intermediate school years, and latterly 3 years in London doing an OE early in my married life.

Returning to Patea when my Dad passed away when I was 13 (Mum died when I was 1). I have been lucky to have foster parents & my ‘other mother’ is still alive at 93, she is doing very well and lives at home with my older brother (to keep an eye on her). One of the biggest things to me that I have overcome in my life was losing both parents before my teens, that was pretty hard growing up.

As a child I wanted to be a Lawyer, until I realised just how much study was involved!! I did think I might follow something of a family tradition and join the Navy, like my late father and my brother but decided that wasn’t the life for me and went into Banking pretty much straight from school. 

Currently I am an Independent Contractor working as a Motel Relief Manager for the last 8.5 years which takes me around mostly the North Island and the top of the South Island.  Prior to this I was a Branch Manager at ANZ for 7 years, having started my career with them in 1993 working my way up from a lunchtime teller.

My biggest supporter was my ex husband, Adrian, we were married for 30 years - I have been through a lot of changes in that time, we had 3 children (1992, 1994 & 1996] I volunteered for Plunket for 25 years holding various positions, as well as volunteering on the local Medical Trust for 20 years. All the while he held the fort at home so I could do these roles, not to mention my banking career working part time, then full time & later being diagnosed with chronic depression.  Even though we are divorced now, we still have contact and are on amicable terms... I am proud that we can because so many couples end up bitter towards each other.

Do you have a nickname or name that your loved ones have given you?

Shonz is what my friends call me, and my Granddaughter who is 2 years old calls me Nona, which is a play on Shona, Nana and Nonna.

Do you have a favourite quote?

Live, Laugh, Love - which is tattooed on my ankle. I love it and I do my best to embrace it each day.

Where is your most favourite place in the world?

Home, where ever that is. The quote on the back of my caravan is "home is where I park it".

Tell me why you wanted to be a part of this project?

I saw the photo call on Facebook & decided I could do this, after being single for a few years I have recently met a new man who is like a ray of sunshine in my life, we laugh, we do stuff together, we talk and he shows me that he cares. I feel loved and that is such a great feeling 🥰

What is the biggest thing to you, that you have achieved in your life and why?

Our 3 children, they have grown into wonderful adults who work hard and have loving caring attitudes to those around them.

Favourite Charity?

NZ Cancer Society - yearly donation since my Dad passed away from Bowel Cancer at age 55 (1979).

If you could time travel, what would you tell your 20 year old self?

Eat the cake, wear the shoes, be kind & live your best life.

Shona7.jpg

What do you want to do with your life from here?

Embrace my new relationship while maintaining my current ones. I don’t have a lot of friends but the ones I do have are great. I make a point of keeping in touch with them wherever I am working, and spending time with them whenever I am nearby.

What would you share about the Experience and how did you feel after your photoshoot and then after your Reveal?

I was nervously excited once the shoot was booked in, and like most things in my life I try not to dwell on what might/might not happen and just go with the flow. It was so much fun and I just wanted to do the best I could for Haley and make it easy for her.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole shoot from hair/makeup, choosing outfits and the actual shoot itself ... it was quite funny listening to what Haley wanted me to do, processing it then trying to actually to do it, by the end I was almost doing it automatically ... I have a newfound respect for Models lol.

 

After the Reveal: Emotional to say the least, seeing a wall of ME looking so glam was pretty special. Even now I look at the photos and think ‘wow, that’s me!’.

Which was your favourite photograph and why?

I love them all but MY favourite is the image at the top of this page - that one is for me, I love the ‘fantasy’ of the outfit it is like nothing I would ever own but is sooooo luxurious.

Thank you Haley for the opportunity to take part in this fabulous project. I hope you find more women brave enough to put themselves forward to be a part of it too.

- Shona x

 
Katrina16 web.jpg

KATRINA

61

"If you're going through hell, keep going"

Happy, loving, honest, dependable, contented.

Mum, Nan, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, friend.

"I remember this beautiful woman walking into my studio with such a graceful and kind aura, I think I was immediately put at ease around Katrina (and usually that is my job to do or others!).

Everything about Katrina was warm and welcoming, such a kind person to be around. Hearing all about her wonderful family and children was such a pleasure.

My absolute favourite thing was when Katrina told me she wanted to create something playful and happy! I'm so proud of this lady for wanting this for herself, something you'd only do once in a lifetime. Being brave enough to want to do this for herself. That takes its own kind of strength.

Married to her husband Trevor, with her three amazing Children and five super cute grandchildren, Katrina is so loved by those around her and I can absolutely see why." - Haley Adele

THE Q & A

Do you have a nickname or name that your loved ones have given you?

I have always been called Tweet, Tweety or Tweetybird by family and friends.  My uncle gave me my nickname when I was 5yrs old as I used to sing on the swing like a bird.

Do you have a favourite quote?

If you're going through hell, keep going (Winston Churchill). I like this quite because we all have difficulties in our life, and to just keep going.

Where is your most favourite place in the world?

Any beach, ocean. Always feel at peace with the sound of the waves.

Tell me why you wanted to be a part of this project?

My daughter encouraged me to apply. I loved every minute of the fun and creativity that Haley brought to the photoshoot. I loved being pampered and the whole time being "about me".

Who has been your biggest supporter and why?

My family, especially my daughters Amanda and Ilona. They are always my go to people for advice and motivation.

Katrina14.jpg

KATRINAS STORY

I am married to Trevor and we have three wonderful children Amanda, Ilona and Richard and I am proud of all three. We have five gorgeous grandchildren who all melt my heart.  We have been blessed with a good marriage and happy life. 

 

One day in 2004 (November) our lives were thrown in turmoil when our son Richard was diagnosed with osteomyelitis, a bacterial infection in the bone. Richard was on life support for six and a half weeks and underwent several life saving procedures while in a coma.

 

He was 13yrs old and his youth and with the amazing doctors and nurses care, technology and our friends and families prayers and support, he survived. After ICU Richard spent six months recovering in the Orthopedic ward. I lived in the hospital with Richard.  His leg bones were crooked and he spent two years after leaving hospital in and out of hospital having multiple operations to straighten and strengthen his legs. He spent about six months in a wheelchair and I became Richard's nurse as well as mama. He was fed with a feeding tube for months and on intense antibiotics.

 

Life was a struggle at times for us all during this time, but we became stronger as a family unit and supported each other and all cared for Richard in our own different ways and personal strengths.

 

He is a living legend to our family xx

Katrina23.jpg

What would you share about the Experience and how did you feel after your photoshoot and then after your Reveal?

After the Photoshoot: It was like a dream come true! The morning after my photoshoot I'm like floating and thinking "did that really happen?" It was one of the most incredible things I've ever done "just for me". Loved it.

 

After the Reveal: WOW!! I looked so beautiful, felt like a model! Very proud to show my family how gorgeous I looked and felt. My feeling of being playful in some shots, vulnerable in other shots and sexy too was really cool.

I was showing my hairdresser the other day some of the photos and how the whole experience was incredible for me. She said she would love to be photographed in this way too. I said it was such an empowering feeling to be photographed and be part of the Over 50 and Fabulous Project.

If you could share one piece of advice to other women, what would it be?

Be yourself. Embrace your beauty (inside and out).

WHAT DID SHE THINK?

Thank you Haley. I never in a million years thought I would look so glamorous and gorgeous.

- Katrina

 

Also known as Nugget, I was born here in New Zealand and has lived all around Whangarei, Taumarunui, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay, North Shore and Hamilton.

Currently working as a Marketing Manager, as a child I wanted to be a nurse, taking X-rays. (Phew - what was I thinking?).

2019/2020 sent me a massive health challenge which I fortunately survived. It stripped me of my confidence and all I wanted was to feel normal again.  I wanted my friends and family to see me as the strong person I had always been and that i was back. Taking the step to be photographed helped me to achieve getting my confidence back as well as looking like I had never been through what I had.

Where is your most favourite place in the world?

Anywhere with my family.

Who has been your biggest supporter and why?

By far my Husband - in a very silent and understanding way. I didn't have to ask I just knew.

Shereen5.jpg
Shereen6.jpg

60

"Everything happens for a reason."

Positive, Happy, Kind, Caring, Fun.

Wife, Mumma and Nana.

"When Shereen reached out to me to be a part of this project she shared with me just a tiny sum of who she is. It felt like massive things, but I feel like after meeting Shereen it is just a small part of the amazing person she is and the things she has overcome, achieved and battled in her life.

 

Shereen you saw things in a way that made me stop and think. You have been through so much in your life and I know that you have struggled, but you have also overcome. You are strength, you are kindness, you are beauty and my goodness, you are Fire. 

I wish this beautiful woman a wonderful life! I hope for all of these woman that they walk forward from this experience and see themselves the way that their family and friends see them, the way I see them, the way I hope they see themselves. Shereen I hope this for you." - Haley Adele

SHEREEN

THE INTERVIEW

Tell me about yourself and your life?

Left a solo Mum at the age of 27 with a 2 year old and 3 month old. I worked hard to have a better life and found one. Life was good until my health deteriorated, I was diagmosed with Ulcerative Colitis at the age of 33 and after more than 10 years of treatment I succumbed to the disease and after major surgery was left with a colostomy bag. Life carried on and my bag and i became good friends with nothing being a challenge.  Several other health issues challenged me for the next 10 years but nothing prepared me for the next challenge in 2019. I was diagnosed with 3 Cerebral brain aneurysms - WOW - this was scary - how why and all of those things that you ask yourself. Best news ever - I am here today writing this story - I am the luckiest girl in the world. Good things do happen and having the opportunity to be part of this project is definitely one of them.

What is the biggest thing you have achieved?

I made something of myself - this was important to me because I needed to maximize my Independence and dream.

What is the biggest thing that you have overcome?

Valuing myself again  - needing to know that there was someone who thought I was worthy.

If you were to give to a charity, what one would it be?

Starship  - anything to help a sick child.

If you could time travel, what would you tell your 20 year old self?

Slow down and enjoy what you have.

If you could share one piece of advice to your daughter/son or grandchild, what would it be?

Love yourself.

Shereen9.jpg

What would you share about the Experience and how did you feel after your photoshoot and then after your Reveal?

After the Photoshoot: I felt empowered and loved -  ooh and slightly jaded. I had so much fun and was so grateful to be made to feel so comfortable.

My favourite photo is the one sitting down in my Rust jersey - my face tells the truth behind me - life is good and I am living my best life everyday.

 

The images made me feel like my past did not exist and that I had lived life differently - I wanted my family to see me through my happy eyes and not the previously suffering eyes.

WHAT DID SHE THINK?

"I am happy to be alive - life is good. And thank you Haley for your amazing work."

- Shereen

 
Sue13.jpg

59

""Better to looked over than overlooked"

Colourful, happy, loving, caring, interested.

Wife, sister, daughter, mother, friend.

"SUE!! Ohmy. This amazing woman filled with so much life basically swept me off my feet when she came into the studio the first time.

Sue is someone who is so easy to talk to, my first impression of her was that she was so young in her heart and that definitely hasn't changed. That isn't to say that Sue hasn't experienced life and love and heartache but that she exudes a youthful outlook on life still, tinged with her experiences.

Chatting to Sue kind of felt a little like talking to my own mother, such a positive outlook on life, a proud ownership of who she is and what she stands for and believes in. We literally could talk for hours.

Thank you so much Sue for being a part of this Project and sharing your story with us, but most of all, thank you for introducing me to the word frofro!." - Haley Adele

SUE

Do you have a nickname or name that your loved ones have given you?

I am not aware of any nick names but I am sure my sons have plenty.

Do you have a favourite quote?

My quote is borrowed of a friend who used to have a blog, and I love it.
"Better to looked over than overlooked".
Because especially for woman as we age, we tend to blend in and fade into the back ground. I'm  all for colour and being happy, life is for living so I intend to live it, and live it in full colour.

Where is your most favourite place in the world?

I love being on an empty beach where I can walk barefoot in the sand or in the ocean, think nothing, take in all the nature about me that is on offer. Feel the sunshine, the breeze or even that rain, breathe in that good coastal air, and fill all my senses to the limit. I go to the beach once a week and it always fills me with joy.

Tell me why you wanted to be a part of this project?

Your project came into my Facebook feed and I thought, WHY NOT! I have never done anything like this. I have always been the person behind the camera not in front of it. I don't really wear make up or get the opportunity to play dress up. So this was like being a kid in a candy store for me. Im pretty sure I told you I was your live doll and do what you want.

Sue17.jpg
Sue1.jpg

Who has been your biggest supporter and why?

I have friends that have been in my life for ever, these special people are my support system and I am theirs.

If you were to give to a charity, what one would it be?

I would give to Hospice, they were very supportive when my dad was ill.

If you could share one piece of advice to your daughter/son or grandchild, what would it be?

Be kind, be compassionate and be helpful.

If you could time travel, what would you tell your 20 year old self?

That everything works out in the end, no matter what. Life is full of lessons that we all learn from the cradle to the grave, so just enjoy life, open you eyes, your ears, your heart and especially your mind, and don't judge. Life is for living and it's up to you, and that no one has the key to your happiness, you do.

What do you want to do with your life from here?

Continue to live a happy enjoyable colourful life full of beach walks and time spent with people that make me smile.

HER STORY

THE Q & A

Born and bred in Hamilton, I have lived here my entire life because I love the place. I'm currently working part time, sole charge in the office at a Sign writing business. I love my little part time job, I think of it as semi retired and plan to keep doing this for a few more years yet. I always wanted to be a primary school teacher when I was growing up.  I did apply but I wasn't what they were looking for back in those days. When my sons were young I was a teacher aid for a few years, kind of pleased I didn't become a teacher, very hard job indeed these days.

I am a mum to two beautiful grown up boys, I am a wife, sister and daughter. I am a loyal friend to many, young and old, a workmate to a good bunch of blokes. I am that person that will talk to and help anyone, no one is a stranger to me. I love people, all ages, all walks of life. People make the world go round, we all have a story to tell.

I am the youngest of three girls. Grew up in a time where your friends were from your street, you went 
from Kindergarten to High School with the same familiar faces, some I still know today. I grew up in a time of family holidays at the beach, riding bikes and walking for miles.  No cell phones or social media  so life was simple and kind. Married for nearly 30 years with two gorgeous sons that have gorgeous ladies in their lives, but no grandchildren, just grandpets for me at this stage. 

My greatest achievement in life is my two sons. I had three miscarriages before my first son and another one between him and his brother. So for someone that never thought she would be a mum, they are my biggest love, and proudest achievement. Losing babies and then struggling with sometimes crippling anxiety made for some dark times. But with understanding people in my life and a very good doctor that I finally listened to I finally got to live the calm and happy life I have now.

Sue21.jpg

That having photos of yourself is fun.  That its not vain, its actually a really nice experience, to go through the process of professional hair and make up and then be expertly guided on positioning yourself for a photo. Hats off to models that do this as a career, it is not as easy as it all looks!

Sharing my reveal with my girl crew (young ladies) was really nice, they see things rather differently than my age group. I felt a little weird to start with seeing so many photos of myself all glammed up but then I just enjoyed it for what it was, my experience, so thank you so much for having me.

My favourite one is me wearing my multi coloured frock with my gold shoes, where I got to swish it around and make use of all that glorious fabric, it is so me, laughing, full of colour and having fun.

I would encourage other women to do this, sit back and enjoy having a fuss made over you. It's a day for just you, no one else, just you.

If you could share one piece of advice to other women, what would it be?

Find what brings you joy and hang onto it, but not at the expense of others.

WHAT DID SUE THINK?

I would like to just thank you again for having me be part of this project, and for you and your lovely support crew being such a good bunch of woman.

- Sue

 
Maxine3.jpg

55

" Things happen for a reason. Trust the universe."

Mother, grandmother, wife, sister, friend, cook, baker, artist, musician, dancer, gardener, seamstress, overall crafty person.

"Maxine is a woman of joy, hope and triumph. Her story of overcoming and releasing what life has thrown her way gave me the most incredible new perspective on what is possible when you take a chance.  
 

It's not often that you hear a story as heartbreaking and soul-stirring as Maxine's, but wow, I feel so blessed to have had her in studio and capture this point in her journey for her. 

Maxine, you have been through so much in your life and despite the hand you were given, you are choosing to find joy in every moment. You are wildly capable and full of light - I can't wait to watch you shine" - Haley Adele

MAXINE

I was born in South Africa and when I was three we moved up to Rhodesia, which is now known as Zimbabwe. We lived there for 10 years and then I moved with my family back to South Africa. 

I am the third child of six children.  My eldest brother used to beat me daily and my parents did nothing to protect me or to stop him. My mother made a huge, unfortunately negative, impact on my life. She told me repeatedly from when I was young that I was going to end up fat, that I was the academic one whereas my sister was the pretty one, that my second brother was an artist, not me.

In Rhodesia, my mother had three servants and when we moved to South Africa, she had none. She then used me as the maid for the family from when I was 15 until I stopped doing it when I was 17.  My poor sister was the gardener. This meant that I never did anything except schoolwork (as I wanted good grades so I could get into Medical School, which didn't happen) and housework. No friends, no fun at all. This is why it is so important to me to incorporate fun into my life everyday.

​One by one I have overcome these beliefs. The last belief that I needed to let go of was that I was going to end up fat. Which I have done now. My husband tells me on a daily basis how beautiful I am, and I can honestly say that I believe this now.

Maxine21.jpg

THE LIFE I'VE LIVED

I am an academic - I have a Masters degree in Organic Chemistry but I am also an artist.  I learned how to paint and draw about 12 years ago. I also play the piano and guitar, although my eldest brother was the musical one.


In December 1999, I moved to New Zealand with my two small children and my now ex-husband. The relationship I have with my daughter is so special - we are best friends and we are extremely close.

 

I was an industrial development chemist for many years but I needed a career change and so I studied to become a Naturopath.  I ran a clinic for a while and then went to work for the Naturopathic College of NZ as a tutor.  

I gave up this job in July 2020 and I am not sure of what I am going to do next! I would love to work part-time somewhere and use the rest of the time to develop my artistic skills. We have just moved to Te Puke.  This is a brand new start for me (my husband is still working for the same company). I want to spend a great deal of time at the beach, in our new garden, doing art, playing piano, bellydancing, doing all of my creative hobbies. I am going to be joining a choir and trying out creative writing. I want to paint animal portraits for people, mainly of doggies!

 

Basically, I want to have fun!

Maxine18.jpg

HER WHY

I have struggled with my body image since a child probably due to expectations that were put onto me by my mother.  I developed anorexia when I was 15 and 16 and this mind set has stuck with me.

As the years have gone by, I had gained weight and I always told myself that there was nothing I could do about it especially as I was going through menopause and was getting older.

At the end of December 2020, I was the heaviest I have ever been - even heavier than when I was pregnant.  I didn't feel good. What was very annoying was that I was eating lots of healthy food, and never having treats because I believed they would make me fat, except I was doing that anyway. I downloaded an app to help track the calories that I was eating and was surprised to see that I was actually simply eating too much. I was very nervous that I would trigger my anorexia again, but I stayed very aware of my feelings and did eat more on the days that my body needed more. Also, I factored in a treat every day - either a biscuit, piece of chocolate or piece of cake. This made a huge difference to my mind set.

I have lost 7 kg now. I still want to lose one more but I feel so much better! I did this for me, and I wanted to celebrate it by having some lovely photos done. I feel empowered because I have listened to my body and done something that I did not think possible, without hurting myself.

 

Who has been your biggest supporter? Why? 

Me!  I have been my biggest supporter. Members of my family were so nervous that I was going to get sick but I knew that I could do this for me.

What is the biggest thing to you, that you have achieved in your life and why?

Learning how to draw and paint, and how to play the piano.  I always wanted to do these things but I thought that I didn't have the necessary talent

For the first time in my life, I feel beautiful and worthy. I did this on my terms.

If you could time travel, what would you tell your 20 year old self?

I would say to myself - trust. Everything happens for a reason even if you can't see the reason at the time. You are an amazing, beautiful, talented person. Your journey will be tough at times but trust that you will come out of it a stronger person who knows what they want and who can stand up for themselves.

 

What would you share about the Experience and how you felt after your photoshoot and then after your Reveal?

After the Photoshoot: I felt amazed - as if my dream had come true.  I loved the photos of me! I loved the photo of me dancing.  This embodies how I want to be - light, fun, happy

And I would say to another woman - do it for yourself, not for others.  We as women are forever thinking of others.  This is a magic gift to yourself to help you realise how the world views you.

" After my shoot, I felt light, as if I was dancing on clouds! Thank you for the opportunity, Haley"

- Maxine