An activist for healthy living no matter what the age, Valerie Ramsey is THE Woman 2 Watch! She’s a 70-year-old runway model, anti-aging expert, author, motivational speaker and is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the out. She’s aged gracefully, beautifully and healthly and wants others to be able to do the same! Read below to find out more…
FG: What lead you to being represented by the prestigious Ford Modeling agency?
VR: Model Scouts in Calgary Ford Models photos, and they signed me.
FG: What are some of the challenges you faced in changing careers?
VR: Transitioning from being a stay-at-home mother of 6 in a New York suburb, to PR/Media Manager and later to being represented by 4 modeling agencies in San Francisco and New York, was a major change for me. Going to work in a corporate environment meant that I had to be computer-savvy and know a fair amount about the hospitality industry. You would assume that I would encounter ageism, but that was never an issue – not even when I started modeling. I think much of the reason for that is because of my own personal attitude – I never think about “age” at all or consider myself very different from any of the young people that I associate with in the work place. Of course, when you’re modeling and you’re the only one out on the runway with silver hair, that’s a little different! And obviously age matters when it comes to what the advertising world is looking for when they hire models. But as far as working with the girls (and guys) themselves – I honestly am not conscious of my age. Another major challenge I faced was when, at age 58, I took on the Public Relations position at Pebble Beach. On the very first week of my new position, while overseeing a large photo shoot for a car commercial, I broke my foot & sprained my ankle. The next day I was told by my doctor that he had just found that I had uterine cancer and he scheduled surgery for the following week. The day after that I got diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition. All of these events, one on top of the other and coming at me when they did, presented a real turning point in my life. Faced with the choice between giving up on my great new job when I hadn’t even gotten started yet, or saying, “No! I’m going to get past this and make the second half of my life as great as I possibly can!” I chose the latter and never looked back. A world of wonderful opportunities came to me as a result of that decision, including being recruited as a model and later writing Gracefully with my daughter, Heather Hummel.
FG: How did your friends and family first react when you announced you were going back to work?
VR: When I started working at Pebble Beach Resorts, my friends and family were thrilled – particularly the golfers! My friends who didn’t work admired my courage in taking on a job at what was truly an entry level position, and then having the determination to work my way up to a great career from there. When I started modeling at 63, they were even more surprised – but no moreso than I! Now they find me a source of inspiration, and my children and 8 grandchildren are very proud. It’s wonderful to be a positive role model for your children, even after they’ve grown up, and to be one for your grandchildren as well. As for Wally, my husband of 50 years, I never could have done any of this without his support and encouragement. He has been an enthusiastic cheer leader since Day One and loves everything I’m doing.
FG: What is the most challenging part of your job?
VR: Every new thing I’ve taken on from raising a large family (I, myself, was on an only child who went to boarding school at age 7, so I didn’t have much experience there!) to PR at Pebble Beach, and then to modeling, writing, being a guest on numerous national and international TV shows, being a keynote speaker for the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society plus doing many other motivational speeches as well, and now leading workshops – all of these have called on me to expand my knowledge, confidence and courage and to be the best I can be in ways that I haven’t tested before. Each one has been a new learning experience. One of my favorite quotes is by Eleanor Roosevelt. She said, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” I LOVE that!!!
FG: In addition to modeling you are also the author of a book, Gracefully Looking & Being Your Best at Any Age. Why did you feel you wanted to write this book?
VR: When I was signed by Ford, a newspaper article appeared about this 63 year old woman who became a model. It was quickly picked up by the national newswires and started appearing in major newspapers all over the country. As the story spread, I soon began receiving e-mails from women everywhere telling me that they found so much hope and inspiration from what I had achieved in my life. One of my daughters, Heather Hummel, is a writer, and when I read her some of these beautiful e-mails, it was her belief that we had the material for a book. She put together a proposal which was quickly accepted by a wonderful literary agency in New York City, and soon after that Gracefully was picked up by McGraw Hill. We now have a second book in the works!
FG: How many of your business decisions are based on know how vs. your intuition?
VR: It’s got to be a combination, but if one has to take precedence over the other, I would say that it’s got to be intuition. If your gut instinct tells you that something feels right, if it’s something that excites you and you want to do it, (even though you may be a little frightened at the challenge) then do it. Any new skills you may need in addition to the basic ones that you already bring to the table, can be learned. By the same token, if something doesn’t feel right to you, even though you may have all of the necessary requirements to do it, don’t take it on. There is a reason we were given those feelings of either happy anticipation or dread in our tummies!
FG: What do you consider to be some of the major highlights of your career thus far?
VR: There have been quite a few: first and foremost, of course, would be the beautiful family that my husband and I raised together. They are all happy, loving, successful human beings who give much to the world in everything they do, and those who have children of their own are extraordinarily good parents. After that (and there is nothing more important than our family) I would say: My first big media trip to New York for Pebble Beach Resorts, My first big modeling job, which was in the Grand Ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, My first TV appearance on CNN in New York – followed by 3 appearances on the Today Show, Fox News and many others. My first big speaking engagement at the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. Being a presenter at the Canadian Association of Retired People in Toronto. Going to Paris as an ambassador for You Go Girls Travel, The day Gracefully came out And now…. The first Gracefully – Mind, Body, Spirit Workshop coming up in Monterey, CA on Oct 16th
FG: What is a spiritual mantra or philosophy that you live by?
VR: One of them is “Change the way you look at things, and things change”
Live well and laugh often – and to that I would add, Love with all of your heart. Never stop learning, Express gratitude, This moment, right now, is life.
FG: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
VR: We can only experience life fully in this moment. Once it has passed, we may not have another chance, Life is full of the most incredible opportunities. Keep your eyes and ears open, listen to your instincts, and don’t be afraid to “Look around the corner to see what’s next!”Give back to the world as much as you can and the world will be good to you.
Finish this sentence….
FG: Women should stop complaining about______ and start doing _____________
VR: Women should stop complaining about (whatever is making then dissatisfied) and start with at least one positive step towards making a change
FG: If your life came with a soundtrack, what would be the top three songs?
VR: It’s a Wonderful World – Luis Armstrong, Come Fly with Me – Frank Sinatra, Luis Miguel, New York, New York – Frank Sinatra
FG: What project(s) do you have coming up?
VR: Heather Hummel & I are launching a series of Gracefully – Mind, Body, Spirit workshops which we plan to take nationally. We are thrilled that the American Heart Association is partnering with us in the western regional states, and hopefully across the country going forward. Heather and I also have a second book in the works
For more information on or to contact Valerie please contact her managing partner, Marc Paulhus at Marc.firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 831-521-1884. Valerie can also be reached via email at email@example.com or by visiting www.valerieramsey.com