Influencer, Yogi, and CEO Lorraine Ladish
Anyone else completely tired of the ageism in media and marketing — which unfortunately exists on both sides of the spectrum? Too young, too old: in our latest Art of Sway episode, we discover why age is actually NOT “just a number,” and what brands and consumers alike can do to challenge societal norms.
Our expert guest is Lorraine Ladish, founder and CEO of Viva Fifty, a bilingual community for those celebrating life at 50+. Lorraine is also a content creator and regular contributor to NBC News, HuffPost, AARP, BabyCenter, and mom.me. Her latest book on Embracing Age was published by Harper Collins in 2017.
In this episode, you’ll learn about Lorraine’s perspective on we can ALL help create a more inclusive society for all ages. Plus:
- Why it’s actually up to us to change our own narrative, and reject toxic ageism stereotypes
- The power of older people sharing the benefits of aging with young people, rather than sending the message that aging is something to be feared
- How older influencers can put their values first when dealing with youth-obsessed brands
- The real reasons to rebel against ‘age is just a number!’ messaging
- Lorraine’s story behind her statement: “What’s more beautiful than being able to be the first one to break barriers?”
Episode 27: Lorraine Ladish Transcript
Danielle Wiley: Welcome to The Art of Sway, the podcast that uncovers the power of influence and its impact on all areas of our lives. I’m your host, Danielle Wiley. Each week we’ll explore the many facets of influence through candid conversations with industry insiders, from brand marketers to social workers, educators, leaders, and more. Let’s dive in.
Danielle Wiley: Lorraine Ladish is a lifelong communicator, helping empower women and others to achieve their goals. She’s the founder and CEO of Viva Fifty, a bilingual community that celebrates being 50+. She has worked as an editor and social media coordinator for a number of online publications. Lorraine is a content creator and regular contributor to NBC News, HuffPost, AARP, BabyCenter, and mom.me. She has also contributed to People en Español, La Palma of the Palm Beach Post, Purple Clover, Latina Magazine, and Red Book. Her latest book on Embracing Age was published by Harper Collins in 2017. But most of all, she is a woman, a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a writer, an entrepreneur, and a yogini.
Danielle Wiley: I was introduced to Lorraine by Joanna Voss, one of our amazing guests from season two. She told me I would love Lorraine and that we would have an amazing conversation, and she was right. Lorraine is an absolute dynamo with the most wonderful energy, a fascinating background, and a really inspirational perspective on life and work. Please enjoy.
Danielle Wiley: Well, hi. Thank you so much for joining us today. I was so thrilled to be introduced to you, and I’m excited to have this conversation.
Lorraine Ladish: I’m excited too, I always get excited for interviews.
Danielle Wiley: Me too. It’s great to have an excuse to talk about yourself for half an hour or so. Jumping into it, I was doing some research and reading about your story, and you’ve had a pretty amazing journey from where you started to where you are today. I’d love if you could share with our listeners just a little bit of background and what your story is and how you came to this career you have now, which is really multifaceted. And I think everyone will find it pretty interesting. But let’s set the stage and you can give us the rundown.
Lorraine Ladish: That’s a little difficult when you’re about to turn 60, that’s a lot of years. So you have to really summarize, right? The basic thing is that from a very young age I knew I did not want to have a job I couldn’t… It was like, I don’t know, the worst thing that could ever happen to me was having a 9-5 job. And as a college dropout, it was not like I set out to have this specific career. My grandfather, my father are both writers. And my grandfather passed away. Writers, artists, creatives. And from a very young age I knew I wanted to be a writer, and my dad said, “No, you should be a marine biologist.” And I didn’t listen to him, of course. And here we are.
Lorraine Ladish: The short of it is that for four decades, from the age of 20, more or less, I have been making a living freelancing, also being self-employed. Doing different things always with words. I’ve translated them. I’m Spanish American, so I speak Spanish, I speak English. And I was at one point Cindy Crawford’s interpreter in Spain. I’ve done so many things that it’s just very hard to just… But basically, I’ve worked with words. I interpreted them, I translated them, I edited them, I wrote them. And when I lost everything in 2008, after moving from Spain to the United States at 40, I think I was 41 with my now ex-husband and my two little kids. I was a late mom. I didn’t know what to do. I had lost my sources of income. I was in a different country, even though it’s my country too, but it was not the culture I grew up in.
Lorraine Ladish: And very long story trying to make it short, I didn’t really reinvent myself. What happened was that I learned how to put my skills to use in a new medium, and that was social media and online. Basically, at 60 years old almost, I’d been making a living full-time as an influencer, that does not only involve being on Instagram, that is my writing, my picture taken with my husband. He’s my second and hopefully last husband. The love of my life, but he’s also bilingual, multicultural. He was a photo journalist for many, many years, and now he’s stuck taking my picture and doing my videos. And so for 10 years, when I turned 50, I launch vivafifty.com, which is a platform in English and Spanish. And I thought it was going to inspire women over 50 to live their best lives. But as social media started gaining traction, and I always open an account on any social media platform that arises that could be the next big thing, just in case.
Lorraine Ladish: And Instagram started getting traction, it turned out that a lot of brands and sponsors were not so much interested in Viva Fifty, they were interested in Lorraine. And that surprised me a lot. But it took me from, oh, well, what do I do now? I have to pivot. I have to learn how to be that person. And I did. So when I see younger people complaining that they’re too old to start on YouTube or do this or that, I’m like, “Dude, I was working. I was telecommuting when I was 20 some in Spain when there was no internet.” There was hardly faxes or any of that. We didn’t have cell phones. And I figured out how to telecommute and be a freelancer and make it work for all these years, all these decades. So if I was able to do that, you can too.
Danielle Wiley: Just going back, because you said this all started in 2008 when you were at a super low point. But having been in this industry for a very long time myself, I know what the… People weren’t even using the term social media really in 2008. There wasn’t an Instagram. There were blogs and Twitter, people were not really monetizing those. I remember being at a conference in 2006 and they announced banner ads for blogs, and it was very controversial, and made people very, very angry. 2008 is very, very early to start a career in this because it wasn’t really a career for anyone at that point.
Lorraine Ladish: Well, it wasn’t a career for anyone who didn’t know what was going on. It was a year that I feel… 2009 especially, 2010 where things exploded. I am a journalist by trade. I’m everything by trade. I’m an interpreter by trade. I did not study for any of that.
Danielle Wiley: Yoga instructor, right?
Lorraine Ladish: Yoga instructor, but that is something I studied for. But all the rest of it I’m self-taught. And so the thing was that when I came from Spain I was a published author. I have 18 books published by traditional trade publishers. And it’s not something I advertise a lot because I live in the now, I don’t live on my past glories. I don’t think my best days are over. So sometimes I forget that I’m a published author. And I don’t know if I have a book in me right now. But anyway, the point was that I came from Spain, being a published author. I was teaching writing, I was an interpreter, I was writing my books. I was very happy about that. And when I got to the States, I was like, “Oh my goodness, what the heck am I going to do?” And I reached out to the Palm Beach Post, and they interviewed me as an author in their Latino section, in their Hispanic section.
Lorraine Ladish: And then the photographer told me, “Oh, they need people to run their Spanish site.” So I offered myself as a reporter, they told me I only had magazine writing skills. And so they said, “Oh, you can’t, you’re a writer. You’re probably not going to be able to do this.” But the editor was much younger than me, gave me an opportunity, and I worked for them for four years. And I wrote for them doing features on local people that in some way had made a contribution to the community. I did a book section, I did a children’s section. That made me have a huge network of people that would later on help me to find my voice and work online. So when everything was disintegrating and newspapers and publishers and all those people did not want my work, or anybody else’s for that matter, I didn’t know what I was going to do because I didn’t have absolutely any skills, even in bartending or in working retailer. Or any simple job that now my kids can get at the drop of a hat, my teen kids.
Lorraine Ladish: But I couldn’t get those. Somehow when the internet start… I had a blog for a long time. I started a blog in 2006, I didn’t really know what I was doing. But I’m a writer, so I’ll write on pieces of paper, on blogs, on books. Whatever, it doesn’t matter. And so I was going to these dance classes. By then, I was on food stamps. By the way, I was a single mom with nothing. I had left my now ex-husband after years of trying absolutely everything. I was told, women try everything, everything, everything. So if you do leave, you will not have any regrets. So even though I was a single mom on food stamps, I’m the queen of self-care. I signed up to these dance classes. That seems very, I don’t know, like something frivolous. But it was something where I could take my kids. It was a healthy environment. Drinking was just very healthy, networking and dancing.
Lorraine Ladish: And so there was this young businessman, and he had seen me on Facebook. He’s like, “Oh, I saw you were a writer.” And I’m like, “Yes.” And he said, “Well, I need someone to write something for me.” And I was like, “Oh my goodness, I’m going to write again.” And there were these blogs for his coupon website. And he was going to pay me, I think it was 15 bucks a pop for 300, 400 words. And oh, and he said they have to be SEO friendly. And I’m like, “What the heck is that? I have no idea.” I made it my business to learn what SEO was, and I started pumping out those blog posts like crazy. And of course it wasn’t a lot of money, but it was a lot of money for me at the moment.
Lorraine Ladish: And to me, in my brain, I was back writing. I did get a lot of help from people. There are spinoffs of this, different things that were very significant. People who gave me the chance to prove that the trust that they were putting in me meant something. I was like, if all these people are helping me and my kids, I have to show them that this matters, that I’m not just some loser. And that prompted me, well, to reach out to people I had worked with and stuff like that. And they kept alerting me of, “Hey, there’s this opportunity. There’s this gig.” So I applied for a gig with the now defunct about.com, which I think now is called [inaudible 00:11:31] Dotdash.
Danielle Wiley: Something like that. Yeah. I have a good friend who was in sales for them way, way… Or I mean, 2000.
Lorraine Ladish: Right, right.
Danielle Wiley: Long time ago. Yeah.
Lorraine Ladish: They were about dotcom, that then belonged to the New York Times. And the selection process was very, very hard. It was extremely hard. You had to learn HTML and how to make a little blog and do your own things, and create the content. The whole thing lasted a month, and I thought, if I don’t get the gig, at least I’ll know everything I need to know about online publishing. I got the gig. It was not a lot of money, it was 650 bucks a month. And I cried the day I got it because I was making nothing. And so that was just the beginning of me realizing not only can I do this, my head wraps around really well for whatever reason around anything that has to do with being online. Then Twitter started and I would tweet the articles and I would see an uptick in traffic.
Lorraine Ladish: And so I started thinking, wow, this actually does work. And that was before Twitter and all these other platforms started trying to make money and all that. But anyway, I embrace social media. My brain is made for social media. And maybe it’s because I was an interpreter that I can listen in one language and speak out the other. That’s what an interpreter does, and it’s not an effort for me. I was like, wow, I can’t do this. This is a third language. So then I started applying to write freelancing for… It was also the boom of Hispanic publications, so I could write in Spanish, I could write in English. They were paying really well, like blog posts that were maybe, I think it was a dollar a word or so, that was very far from the 15 bucks for 300 awards, right?
Danielle Wiley: Yeah, yeah.
Lorraine Ladish: So very fast I started to just see, oh my goodness, I can do this. There’s so much opportunity here. And eventually people started reaching out for me to actually manage their publications, their Hispanic publications. So I went from one to another, always as a contractor, because I don’t like being on payrolls. And I led this Latino for Latino Mom’s publication for two years, and I managed [inaudible 00:13:46] the 25 writers or more. And I made the planning calendar and I knew the budgets, I knew what was going on. I went to conferences and spoke and networked.
Lorraine Ladish: But then when I turned 50 I was remarrying the love of my life. And I felt in extremely good physical, mental, and emotional shape. I had an eating disorder when I was very young, I battled depression all my life. I went through a horrible time after my divorce. And here I was feeling really good. So I thought, I want to go out on my own again, and I just want to do my own publication, but what can I do in the next five to 10 years that I will love? Because you probably know this, of course, as a person, when you’re creative and you have your own thing, you need to love it so much that you will do it even on the days you hate it.
Danielle Wiley: Exactly. Yeah, yeah.
Lorraine Ladish: There’s this myth that you’re always going to love it. Of course not. But I already know that because I’ve done that all my life. So I’m like, okay, what can I do where even the bad days are worth it? And the answer was that, it was Viva Fifty. And not many women were publicizing their age, especially not in the Hispanic community. And I just ran with it. And even though a lot of people told me, “Well, why are you pigeonholing yourself?” Or this and that. It was like, man, it worked. And it worked to the point that when I started Viva Fifty, and 10 years ago, I’m really bad at math, whatever year that was. Nine years ago. I told my husband, “I don’t know how long this is going to take to monetize.”
Lorraine Ladish: I knew, thankfully I launched the site knowing SEO, knowing a lot of the things that I see people now having to scramble and fix stuff. I started out with at least a basic understanding of all of that. And I used social media to bring in the traffic. Back then it didn’t matter if it was Google or who was bringing the traffic in. And I got gigs pretty fast. I had networked so much that I had a lot of support from a lot of people to launch the site. And in less than a year I had replaced my income as the editor-in-chief for somebody else’s website. And I haven’t looked back since.
Danielle Wiley: I love this. Well, now I’m just thinking about it because this whole season is dedicated to celebrating women 50+, because I’m turning 50 this year. And I’m excited. I’m excited about it and I think it’s awesome. And I can’t get enough content just about midlife and optimizing it, and just being awesome and feeling better than ever. And I’m just so hungry for that content. And it’s so crazy to me to see people who shy away from it and don’t share their age. And I’m just wondering, why was it so important to you, the age thing?
Lorraine Ladish: Well, maybe because I didn’t see myself reflected in anything that was out there. And I was feeling so positive about it. My poor father has to listen to this again, if he listens to it. But I grew up watching my father, he’s 84 now and in pretty good shape, considering a few blips he’s had with his health. But he complained about his age from the time he turned 30. He’s a young dad, he’s 24 years older than me. I always told myself, I will never do that. I didn’t. And now that I’m turning 60, it’s funny because he is like, “Well, 60 isn’t that great.” And also, if I am publicly saying I’m 60, then people are going to realize he can’t be 70 some. He’s my father. To me that was very important. Because as I said, I grew up with an immune disorder and hating myself, and with a lot of issues that I wish younger people didn’t have to go through.
Lorraine Ladish: And then I thought, I didn’t get here only to spend my older years complaining about getting older. It’s just not going to happen. And I’m turning 60 and I still… Of course it’s not true that every day is wonderful. I’ve had a rotator cuff injury for a year and a half, but it’s also because I do extreme yoga and I’ve done things that at one point I was wondering, when am I going to get injured? And boom, there you go. But I’ve had injuries all my life. But because I’m a very active person, I was a fitness instructor when I was young as well. And so I just feel that younger people especially… Okay, this was a revelation that I thought I was reaching… And I did not finish that thought before. I thought I was reaching people my age on Viva Fifty or social media. It turns out I was reaching younger people. And so my following is actually the majority is younger than myself, to a large degree.
Danielle Wiley: Which is awesome, because you’re giving them… Blueprint sounds a little bit too scientific. But it’s aspirational and you’re showing them all the amazing stuff that is to come and that is ahead of them. And that it’s nothing to be afraid of or to be dragging your feet. Everyone should be jumping into whatever stage of life they’re heading into, I think.
Lorraine Ladish: Correct.
Lorraine Ladish: But the thing is that one thing that I super shy away from is, you’re not going to find me in a lot of midlife groups, to be quite honest. Because there’s a lot that I don’t have in common with people my age, and even younger. And one of them is this whole thing of when a younger person, and I’m talking about teens. I have a YouTube video where I thought I was doing the video for older people, and it turns out that I have a bunch of teens telling me they’re super scared of aging, super afraid of death, of a bunch of stuff. So I made another video just for them. And I will never tell a younger person, not younger by 40 years, not younger by a year. I will never laugh at their fear of getting older. And I’m never going to say, “Ah, ha, ha, wait until you get to my age.” Never.
Lorraine Ladish: I think I’ve been young and I’ve been hearing that all my life, and I still hear it. I post things online and older people tell me, “Oh, just wait till you get to my age.” I’m like, when does this freaking stop? I am tired of that. I think that I engage with people based on their energy. And recently my husband and I started improv classes. Go figure, right? It’s like at this age, is it too late? No, obviously not. I was thinking, well, imagine if I did improv now. In 10 years, I will be 10 years into it. The person that I have the best energy with on stage is a 24-year-old guy, and we just go off the rails when we’re together. And I was thinking, it’s not about age, it’s about energy. So yes, I think it’s important. And sometimes I also wonder why are women my age often turned off by my profile online? It happens. Well, people have told me, they’re like, “Well, maybe you should be more relatable to them.” And I’m like, “But I’m not them. I can’t.”
Danielle Wiley: You’re you.
Lorraine Ladish: I’m going to be who I am. And the people, I can’t think of this is who I’m speaking to. I thought I was speaking to this person, but then somebody else answered. So then I’m like, whoa, it turns out I’m speaking to you.
Danielle Wiley: But if you stay true to who you are and just share your own experience and your own energy, it’s going to find who it needs to find.
Lorraine Ladish: Exactly. That’s what I think. Yes. Definitely.
Danielle Wiley: Obviously you create your own media, which is in the theme of your whole career. But if you were to sit back and give advice, or review the other stuff that’s out there, what do you think needs to change in terms of how media and how brands talk to women and communicate with women over 50?
Lorraine Ladish: What would I say? I have a love-hate relationship with that, because I don’t feel unseen. I was just talking to a bunch of other women who feel like, “Oh, they’re not talking to me. Why? I want to talk to this brand. I want to work with this brand.” I personally don’t want to work with a brand that doesn’t want to work with me, period. I’m not going to force it. I’m not going to go on campaigning for that. Because, honestly, it’s like saying, I want to work with a brand that is addressing pregnant women, but I’m not pregnant. Why would I want to work with that brand right now? Why would I want to work with a brand whose target audience are young women?
Lorraine Ladish: What I feel that a lot of women say is, oh, it’s society. I have been saying this since I was really young, is that we are all society. I am society. So before I can go and point fingers and say, oh, but the media and whatever is saying this or this. Nowadays, especially, I am also the media. So it’s up to me to change my own narrative. I’m not one to go online and complain. It’s more like, take action, and I will do what I can. And I’ve written blog posts about it. What can we do to stop ageism? I’m like, if I’m a woman who wants to stop ageism in both directions, because when I was young, I was also deemed too young for some things. And I would hardly ever see my age because when they found out I was in my 20s they were like, whoa, you’re too young.
Lorraine Ladish: So it goes both ways. Ageism exists on both sides of the spectrum, and young people are not taken seriously often. That’s why adore helping young people. And older people, in my opinion, need to stop bashing young people. Really. If we all come together in this and don’t see it as, oh, me versus them. I’m competing with young people, or brands need to stop showing young models when they’re targeting older women. Well, maybe older women need to stop buying the stuff that is… Do something, you are part of the problem if all you do is complain about it. So in any industry, if you embody what you want society to be, I feel there is much more value in that.
Danielle Wiley: In terms of for content creators who want to monetize what they do and work with sponsors, which is something that you do. Just in terms of the opportunities that are available to you in looking through a lot of the work that you’ve done, it is stereotypical older. These are not brands who would work with someone younger, like AARP. It’s definitely brands and products who are geared towards women of a certain age. I think that’s why you hear some of that compl… Complaining’s probably a little bit harsh, but some of that criticism, right? Because it’s, just I’m 50+, just because I’m 60+, it’s almost like pink washing. Women can use a blue razor, they don’t have to use a pink razor. And just because I’m turning 50 doesn’t mean I suddenly don’t want to shop with all the brands I’ve always shopped with and can only shop with old lady brands now moving forward. Do you see that opportunities are limited because of your age?
Lorraine Ladish: No. No, no. Why do I say no? Because there’s a lot of what I do that nobody sees online. Because I’m a fitness instructor, because I’m a yoga teacher, I do a lot of wellness and mobility that nobody sees. We do not only user generated content, but also things for health apps, for just things that you’re not going to see on my feed. But at the same time, I think when people say that age is only a number… I’m going to tell you this, I can’t see. I’m wearing multifocal contacts. I had 20/20 vision at 40 some. At 46 is when I started losing my vision. And I’ve lost it completely. If age were just a number, I would see perfectly. If age were just a number, I could get pregnant at 60 and have more kids and be okay about it. If age were just a number, I wouldn’t have gone through menopause. If age were just a number, I wouldn’t have colonoscopies and had a very near close call with cancer, et cetera, et cetera.
Lorraine Ladish: I don’t buy that thing that, oh, I am 60 and I feel the same as when I was 20. I don’t. It would be silly. It’s just biologically not true. I am excited. I am a vibrant person, and I am going to fight it every step of the way. I exercise every day. I meditate. I’m more confident than I ever was. But do I want to model? Even though I wear bikinis all the time, but do I want to be doing what everybody else is doing? I don’t know, I want to leave room for younger people too.
Danielle Wiley: Yeah.
Lorraine Ladish: What’s wrong with addressing colonoscopies? Or what’s wrong with writing for the AARP? Who pay very well, by the way. Better than any… I’m not going to mention names, but any other outlet for younger people that are basically the more qualified you are, the less they want to pay. I don’t see anything particularly wrong about that. I continue to-
Danielle Wiley: Yeah, I think it’s awesome. As I was saying earlier, as I’m getting older I’m so hungry for content that addresses the stuff that my body’s going through now, that my brain is going through now. To your point, your self doesn’t stay the same as you get older, things change and there’s not enough content out there. I was just curious in terms of content that comes your way, do you see that a lot of it is targeted to age specific [inaudible 00:27:58] and is something that-
Lorraine Ladish: I’m 60. Do I think I’m going to get the same opportunities as someone who’s 20? That would be ridiculous.
Danielle Wiley: But in terms of makeup, let’s say. Obviously, women 50+ have more money than women who are Gen Z. We can buy more expensive makeup. We could buy more expensive clothing. There are plenty of products that are not age specific that you could do a great job marketing. I’m just wondering if those come your way because they’re not age specific. Does that make sense?
Lorraine Ladish: Yes, I have done things with brands that were not necessarily age specific, but I just think that it is more… How would I explain this? Okay. There’s another thing that happens though. Possibly because I have not completely embraced my gray hair and I don’t have this certain look, I don’t fit in the older looking woman with gray hair. I don’t know how to explain it.
Danielle Wiley: Well, you don’t look like a granny.
Lorraine Ladish: Not really, because there are a lot of striking women with gray hair. Maybe they’re 50, maybe they’re 40, and they get cast-
Danielle Wiley: Thank you.
Lorraine Ladish: … in the older… Yes, of course.
Danielle Wiley: Touch my gray.
Lorraine Ladish: But they get cast as the older woman.
Danielle Wiley: Right. Okay.
Lorraine Ladish: So because I don’t have that look, I don’t get certain opportunities.
Danielle Wiley: Okay. So you’re saying there’s an opposite.
Lorraine Ladish: Yes.
Danielle Wiley: It’s not that… Okay.
Lorraine Ladish: Sometimes I don’t look old enough. I’m not saying I look young, but I don’t have the look that they are after, so I don’t get cast for certain things. And I know it. Because I’ve applied, because I’ve tried, because I see it. There is a very prominent women’s brand for midlife women that passes me up 99.9% of the time. And I am very much in their age group. So it’s not only about age, it’s about stereotypes. This is a very deep conversation.
Danielle Wiley: An aesthetic. We have brands all the time where they want a certain aesthetic. The creator’s house has to look a certain way, or they have to have a certain type of style. And it’s not necessarily reflective of who the real market is, it’s just what the brand has in mind in terms of this persona that they’re going after.
Lorraine Ladish: Exactly. I think it’s a way deeper conversation than that. And even before the internet, I remember my Spanish grandfather in Spain before internet, before any social media. He would complain, because he said, “On TV, why aren’t they talking to me?” In his then 50s, 60s, or what have you. And I’m talking about 50 years ago. And why are they targeting young people who don’t have money? This is not new. This has been going on since consumption started. It’s not a new thing. Maybe the way that we can combat that is simply by showing up as who we are. And this is why in daily life, I don’t think of my age almost ever, but online, I talk about it all the time. To the point that some people tell me I’m annoying. Why are you so focused on your age?
Danielle Wiley: Hey, I made a whole season for women 50+, so talk it up.
Lorraine Ladish: It does work, some people are like, “Why are you talking about 60 when you’re still 59?” But the point being is that, I was telling my husband, “The older I get, if I take care of myself and I continue to live the way I do, it’s going to be more striking.” In the sense that, because we have this, even I do have this bias in my head. And I’ve made jokes about it online where it’s like, oh my goodness, so-and-so is 55. And I’m like, oh my God, that’s old. I am five years older. But the image I have in my head of someone that age or my age is different to the image I have on myself, or how I conduct myself in daily life.
Danielle Wiley: Well, and I think what we grew up with is so different. You see all the time the ages that the women were in Golden Girls when they made that TV show. Blanche was 53, I think. I think we’re aging differently now, our perception of what it looks like to be older is different now. That stuff changes through time, and we haven’t necessarily had something to look to that is what we would aspire to.
Lorraine Ladish: Yeah, but it does, it makes us pioneers. What’s more beautiful than being able to be the first one to break barriers? That’s great. Again, I don’t know. I think if I am too old for something, it is to dwell on the negatives of stuff. I have enough drama in my life with three children, and they’re older now. But still, 18, 19, 21, there’s still plenty of drama there. And so I feel that with that, and my dad almost died of cancer, and my best friend died of cancer and all this, that I can’t be dwelling on whether a brand wants to work with me or not. And if young people are taking my place. What the heck? For me, it’s more like, how can I support you, you, you, and myself? How can we support each other? I don’t spend a lot of time discussing things online or calling things out, I am more about taking action and doing things. And that’s just the way I approach life.
Danielle Wiley: Your work has always been super honest and authentic about who you are. And it’s interesting, because you’ve been in this industry as long as I have, and I’ve seen this full circle moment that we’re coming to. So when I started my blog in 2005, super early days just like you, and everything was very authentic and people just sharing all the moments of their lives. Warts and all, as they say. And then I think with Instagram, everything got aspirational and fancy and curated, and less authentic and just more aspirational, and out of reach and not real. And then I think now, probably thanks to TikTok, we’re getting back to that authenticity and people want to see real life again. And creators are becoming more comfortable again with sharing that. Have you seen that same cycle?
Lorraine Ladish: I suppose I never changed, I’ve always been like that. My first book, I always joked that I started blogging when I was 30 when there was no internet, because my first book was a tell all of my eating disorder, mental health struggles and everything. And my family was completely shocked and embarrassed. And so I’m like, I’ve been embarrassing my family for 30 years in public. Personally, I have never changed. What does make a difference for me is that I always say that my story ends when somebody else’s starts. So if I talk about my divorce and what was going on, I will talk about it in public until my ex’s story starts. And it’s not for me to demean someone in public.
Danielle Wiley: Got it.
Lorraine Ladish: Or same with my kids, same with almost anything. That is the only thing that will prevent me from telling absolutely everything online and stuff like that. But I’ve not changed much. I’m pretty content. I don’t know what car I drive sometimes. I’m not a brand person. I’m not knocking people who are into it, it’s just not me. I like a simple life. I like to be creative. I live the life that I want to live. And that doesn’t mean necessarily being a millionaire, it means making a living doing what I love.
Danielle Wiley: This season I’m asking all of my guests, as a final question, to share with me a woman who has had a big influence on you in your life, in your career. Just give a shout-out to a woman who made a difference for you.
Lorraine Ladish: Oh, my goodness. Well, that would be my agent, Joanna Voss.
Danielle Wiley: Who you introduced me to you. She’s wonderful.
Lorraine Ladish: Exactly. And we’ve been working together for six years, we’re in our seventh year. And I was already making a living full-time online. But what working with Joanna has allowed me is to devote myself 100% to being creative and not having to do all the stuff that I did not enjoy doing, which was dealing with the brands that reached out. And it’s just not something I enjoy. Yeah, Joanna’s in my corner. And I’m in hers, which I think is important.
Danielle Wiley: Wonderful. Well, thank you so much again. This has been just such a delight getting to know you and Joanna. She said she knew we’d have a great conversation, and as usual she was right.
Lorraine Ladish: Thank you. It was great.
Danielle Wiley: Thank you again.
Danielle Wiley: Thank you for listening. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe. Please check back next Monday for a new episode featuring marketing conversations through the lens of influence. I am your host, Danielle Wiley, and this is The Art of Sway.