Page 1
#EmbraceYourAge Beauty Wellness Fitness Style Living #RealTalk
Stay up to date

Get on the List

Unlock our weekly newsletter packed with tips on living authentically, healthfully, and stylishly at every age.Get on the List: The best beauty, fashion, wellness and fitness tips straight to your inbox

There’s Life on the Other Side of 60

When I started out in theater at age 19, the world was an amazing place for a young showgirl! I had danced all my life, so my 5-foot 4-inch frame was one big muscle. I looked very “exotic” and not “all American.” I was even told by agents, “We don’t quite know where to put you.” But I landed my first Broadway role just a year out of high school.

I learned the ins and outs of the business and finally had my big break as a leading lady on Broadway in Smokey Joe’s Café. That performance earned me a Tony Award nomination!

I had some amazing roles after that — including spending about seven years on and off doing Chicago — but as the years went by, the jobs became fewer and farther between. It was quite devastating, and I had to try to “reinvent” myself. When your life has been all about your looks and physical beauty, it’s hard to make the transition. Everything becomes a personal comment on you as an actress and a woman. My life, dreams, and goals changed. Not to mention my body! I had to ask myself some very hard questions and make a shift.


 I have come out on the other side stronger, better, and more focused than ever. I have discovered the importance of the universe, friends, family, and pets. I’m happy.


In 2006, along with my second husband at the time, I opened BBraxton, a men’s grooming parlor in Harlem. We closed it three years later, but I reopened it in 2011 — after we’d gotten a divorce — and I made it another three years with that business before closing a second time. It had become too hard to keep it going while also trying to keep my theater career, too.

But at this point I am both too old and too young. I am between a rock and a hard place. I am now 61, but I don’t look 61. So when I am sent to audition for a part in my age range, I don’t look like they need me to look. But if you sit me next to a 40-year-old, I can only kinda sorta pass.

But this is not my sob story! I get tired of hearing the boohoo stories of women over 50! What I try to always keep in mind is that act 1 is done! Act 2 is new!

But that’s not to say that I am unsympathetic!

Brenda Braxton

The last few years of my 50s were not good years for me. I was devastated when my husband told me he wanted a divorce. I thought I would never get through the nauseous feeling of “what do I do now that I’m not going to have that happily-ever-after marriage?” And I grew tired of seeing that sad look on people’s faces when I told them, “Well, yes, I’m going through my second divorce, and, no, I don’t have children.”

But I have come out on the other side stronger, better, and more focused than ever. I have discovered the importance of the universe, friends, family, and pets. I’m happy — and I still look damn good!

I do not have all the answers, but at least I’m open to — whatever! I realize I can still make a difference. I’m still figuring things out, and it’s not easy. I take it one nanosecond at a time and try to keep one foot in front of the other.

For more about Brenda Braxton, read our profile and go to brendabraxton.com.

Photos: Courtesy of Brenda Braxton

You Might Also Like

CrossFit: Smells Like Team Spirit
#RealTalk

CrossFit: Smells Like Team Spirit

CrossFit, by definition, is not a team sport. It is won for...

read
Truths I Learned With My First Triathlon
#RealTalk

Truths I Learned With My First Triathlon

“What the hell was I thinking?” Those were the words running through...

read
I Liked Being 50 a Lot Better Than Being 49
#RealTalk

I Liked Being 50 a Lot Better Than Being 49

Before I even blew out the candles on my 49th birthday cake,...

read
6 Women Share Their Experiences With Going Gray
Beauty

6 Women Share Their Experiences With Going Gray

I am one year into letting my natural hair color grow in....

read
I Am Passionate About Aging — Until I Am Not!
#RealTalk

I Am Passionate About Aging — Until I Am Not!

I am 60 now and totally fine with saying my age and...

read
The Gift of the Younger Man
#RealTalk

The Gift of the Younger Man

It was easy to judge from across the soccer field. After all,...

read
To Top