Sandra Sayner, a senior model, tells the truth but her age lies. At 61 she looks at least a decade younger. Yet she’s the mother of a 42-year old son and two step-children.
In line with her mission of leading a fearless life, she took a friend up on a suggestion to enter the Mrs. Missouri pageant last May in St. Joseph, Missouri. The pageant had no age restrictions, you just had to live in Missouri and be married to qualify.
Thirteen contestants, mostly in their 20s and 30s and one in her 40’s, entered and competed in swimwear, evening wear, and talent categories along side Sandra. To her delight, Sandra was crowned second runner-up in her first and only pageant. She also was recognized as the winner of the Spirit and People’s Choice awards.
As an outcome of all the pageant photography, Sandra is now entering a modeling contract with Talent Unlimited as a senior model. However, the real Midlife Mona Lisa story behind Sandra is not so much her beauty, but her spiritual journey over the past 40 years and some of the obstacles she has overcome. She shares her lessons in the interview below.
Q. Tell us about your childhood?
A. I grew up in a lower middle class home in Michigan. Family life wasn’t always pretty. I watched our furniture and a car get repossessed and promised myself I’d never live like that. I had an excellent education and outstanding teachers. I remained a “kid” for a long time.
Q. Did you move out after you graduated high school?
A. In 1969, I moved out, married and became pregnant at 19. I found myself recreating some similar life cycles as my family. Walking down the aisle, I was planning my divorce and vowed to make a better life for my son and me.
Q. So how did you manifest this better life?
A. The owner of a hair salon suggested that I look at attending barber school in Detroit. He mentioned that I could make good money and tips as a barber thanks in part that I was attractive and very personable. I went to barber school and opened my own salon in 1972. My income in the mid 70’s allowed me to divorce, buy a home, and make a good life for us. (Sandra did not remarry for 28 years).
Q. How did it feel to be a single mother without a college degree in the 70s?
A. For a long time I regretted not graduating from college but my entrepreneurial spirit helped me build the life I wanted. I was confident that I could do whatever I set my mind to do. Along the way, I had many mentors and friends who helped nurture my successes.
Q. How did you begin your spiritual journey and what were the results?
A. In the early 80’s, I was contacted by a friend from barber school who was now living in California with his wife. At their request, I visited and then decided to move to California shortly thereafter. Being away from my family and friends gave me the opportunity to go inside and look at my heart and soul. Fortunately because of my spiritual practices and positive attitude, the next door always seemed to open for me professionally when I needed it.
On my spiritual journey I became active in the Chapel of Awareness in the mid 80s. It was there I learned to meditate and actively begin and participate in my spiritual quest. I am forever grateful to the Chapel of Awareness and friends there for opening the door to a new foundation from which to build.
Q. How did you like California?
A. Overall I liked California a lot. It is a very intense school and I matured rapidly. Coming from a town in the Midwest of 25,000 people to San Diego was an adventure in street smarts, superficiality, and opportunity. Incredible visionaries were in abundance and many people I worked with or for seemed to be more into appearances than substance. My spiritual practice gave me the tools to sort through and make good choices. I made many bad choices as well…but learned from them the first time.
Q. How did you meet your soulmate and husband?
A. We met at a conference working for the same company. I worked as a retail consultant covering San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles counties. Ritchie lived in Denver and covered all of the United States. The attraction was instant and Sandra and Ritchie married in 2003 in Kansas City.
Q. Which female do you look up to?
A. I admire Condoleezza Rice because she’s made it to where she is today because she saw herself as a woman who made her own opportunity. Her sophistication, education and classiness are inspiring to me.
Q. If you could go back and do anything over again, what would it be?
A. I would go back and share with my family, friends and acquaintances that there is always a good solution to everything that they are dearly loved and reassure them that they are worthy of any dream or goal that they desire just like mine of becoming a senior model.
Q. Like Cindy Joseph would you like to be a senior model for years to come?
A. Yes, I would love to be a famous model in my ‘60s and ‘70s. They say that youth is wasted on the young. Turning 60 was a rebirth for me and I feel I’ve only just begun. Now I have the courage and inner knowing to pursue my dreams!
Who in the media do you like to see featured on magazine covers? Are there a senior model that you feel represents you? Speak out Soul Sista…..
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Category: Fashion & Beauty