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Women Who Inspire: Yazemeenah Rossi

Each month, The Fine Line features a special guest — a woman who thoroughly embraces her age and lives her life to the fullest. Up first: Yazemeenah Rossi, a model, actress, yogi, whole foods enthusiast, beach lover, and inspiration to us all.

Spend any amount of time on Yazemeenah Rossi’s Instagram and you’ll start to see 60 in a new way. Healthy, stylish, fit, and sexy, Rossi lives gently and authentically. Committed to the daily nourishment of her mind, body, and spirit, she honors herself in ways that are both tangible and not. And though legs for days and long gray hair may not be in the cards for everyone, there are things you can learn from a sexagenarian who still stops traffic wherever she goes.

Rooted in Reality

A recent topless portrait of the French-born beauty inspired a flood of compliments — “gorgeous,” “stunning,” “fabulous,” “so inspirational” — but it also prompted one woman to ask, “I was wondering if you were a beautiful child?”

The question really made Rossi think. She didn’t feel beautiful growing up. She remembers the painful rejection of schoolmates, who “found me not beautiful at all” and who “didn’t want to play with me.” The most cruel among them spat on her and threw rocks at her.

It was only a few years ago, after discovering a photograph of herself at 8 years old, that Rossi understood that, yes, she was a beautiful child.

Rossi grew up living simply on the island of Corsica. The oldest of three children, she was raised by her grandparents, who didn’t have running water or electricity until she was 10 years old. Money was in short supply, “but we had everything we needed, provided by nature,” she says. She spent a great deal of time outside, alone.

Today though, living in Malibu, she has plenty of friends and admirers. And she has plenty of validation that she is, indeed, beautiful. Both inside and out.

Current Conditions

Rossi began modeling in her late 20s, but she was well into her 50s before major fashion labels began to hire her. Still, people outside of the fashion world didn’t recognize her name until last year, when BoredPanda ran a story titled “59-Year-Old Grandmother Still Going Strong as a Fashion Model.” That article, which showcased self-portraits and photos of Rossi from various fashion campaigns over the last 20 years, nearly broke the Internet.

Magazines from all over the world contacted her for interviews, she was invited on television shows as far away as Australia, and the post eventually led to a campaign for The Dreslyn’s swimsuit collaboration with Land of Women. Photographer Ian Flanigan shot the breathtaking images of Rossi in a one-piece white maillot that ran unretouched and captured the imaginations of women everywhere.

Today, between photoshoots, Rossi works on various fine art and photography projects and spends as much time as she can outside. She takes acting classes on weekends and wishes to work in science fiction and adventure films.

Her passion for science fiction might explain why Rossi’s Instagram account states that she is a “time traveler/extraterrestrial” enjoying planet Earth. When you spend an afternoon with her, sitting on an oceanfront patio sipping coffee together, there is no question that she embodies many otherworldly qualities.

Yazemeenah Rossi The Fine Line

She is a spiritual being who is connected to nature and the wisdom in her body in ways that are uncommon. And her attitude toward aging is refreshing.

Growing Older Gracefully

“Aging is an organic, natural process that I have no power over — unless you count the power of letting go. … I have no time to spend on a struggle. Resistance won’t change anything, and it could even make the process worse,” she says. “And then I would loose my glow.”

It’s that glow that really inspires other women.

Rossi’s beauty routine is simple: She saturates her skin with oils. Her diet is rich and varied: She eats organic whole foods that she prepares herself, never hesitates to eat healthy fats, and drinks a lot of water. She has a daily yoga practice and gets eight hours of sleep each night. Only on a rare occasion does she feel the need to take supplements.

Yazemeenah Rossi The Fine Line

Though she is asked constantly to share her beauty secrets and her ideas on aging well, Rossi is reluctant to offer advice, but not because she is ungenerous. She is happy to share what works for her but insists that each woman is different and that we must each decide what is right for ourselves. “Be curious. Get the information you need. Feel and follow the wisdom of your body. Something that is good for me — even if it is a ‘good’ brand — may not be right for you,” she says.

“Time is the condition for maturation and transcendence,” she says. “Aging is a blessing and not a curse when you are intimately in touch with yourself.”

Photos: Courtesy of Yazemeenah Rossi

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