A Baby Boomer In LA: Our Interview with Rebecca Olkowski
Rebecca Olkowski is the founder of BabyBoomster.com - one of the leading blogs on travel, smart eating, wellness, entertainment & living for fabulous women over 50. A self confessed "purveyor of all things fun and a die-hard foodie, Rebecca started BabyBoomster.com as a way to celebrate women over 50 and to inspire other women to embrace their age, and it is the perfect site for women who want to stay active, vibrant, and purposeful well into their 50s and beyond.
As we're based in London, and Rebecca is in LA, I had the pleasure of meeting her over Skype. We chatted away, sharing our thoughts on all things style related, and I was instantly infected by her jubilant, fun loving attitude....
Hi Rebecca, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me! I'm a big fan of BabyBoomster.com and how it really encourages women over 50 to make the most out of life. So why did you decide to start the website?
I worked as an actress for over 35 years and am most known for doing voiceovers for cartoons, films, TV and commercials. I’m most well-known as a voice actor for anime and video games. I was looking for a creative outlook to supplement my income and fell into blogging. It turned out I have a geeky side and started helping others set up WordPress (blogging) sites as well. After a few attempts, I fell into the Baby Boomer genre because I’m in my sixties and can easily speak to those issues. It’s been such a fun experience meeting brands, and others from all over the world. (like you!)
Wow that's so interesting - and quite a different route than a lot of other bloggers! It certainly takes a lot of start a blog, especially when you come from an entirely different background, so what were the biggest challenges you faced building and developing it?
The biggest challenge has been growing my audience. It takes time, persistence and creativity but it’s managed to grow larger every year. My other challenge is that I still help others with their own sites and am gradually working to replace that income with income directly from my blog. I have affiliate relationships with many other companies who market to my niche but only feature products I believe in.
Yes, maintaining a sense of integrity and authenticity is key, and I'm sure you get a lot of requests from brands to work with you. How do you choose the best ones?
Oh, boy, do I? I am surprised at the number of requests I get. Many brands think that just because a woman is over 50 she’s ready for the rocking chair. I turn down “senior care” products and most supplements because I feel it’s better to get good nutrition from smart eating. (no artificial flavors or processed food) For fashion, being a creative type I like brands that are colorful, fun, and unique. You won’t see me wearing a big sweater with Halloween pumpkins on it. My mother was an excellent dressmaker so I’ve been spoiled for well-made clothes. I think it’s perfectly OK for a woman of a certain age to stand out and be an individual.
Well obviously I completely agree on the style front! And also on 'senior care products'- I went to a dinner recently with other 50 plus bloggers and we were the discussing the same thing. Just because you're over 50, doesn't mean you're geriatric. It's a misnomer that still needs to be addressed.
Yes, we aren’t ready to be called seniors, even though we technically are. We still have plenty of life and world wisdom left in us and now that many of us are retired with kids out of the house, are ready to reinvent ourselves, travel the world, and have fun. A challenge for many of us is to loss or maintain weight, remain healthy and stay vital. It takes more effort than when we were younger.
I understand, and it's something I know a lot of 50+ women struggle with. And you're based in LA - notorious for putting pressure on people to look a particular way and to appear 'young'! So do you think it's even tougher there?
There is a huge amount of pressure to look younger in Los Angeles and many women over 50 resort to artificial means like plastic surgery, botox and other medical tweaks. There are many women walking around looking like science experiments that went bad. Not pretty. There is also pressure to be skinny as a rail and ads are constantly urging us to have invasive surgery or go on crazy diet plans. I love LA, though, because we thrive on physical activity and eating natural, organic foods. We don’t get shut in because of the weather so we’re out and about going places, meeting others and having fun.
Yes well the weather is certainly something we're jealous of in the UK! So when you're out and about, do you have a particular personal style you like to keep to?
That’s a good question. I like color, especially red, purple, turquoise, and other gem colors. Being older, my shape isn’t what it used to be when I was young so I tend to wear long blouses or tunics that cover my belly, ¾ sleeves to cover my imperfect arms, and flat shoes (because heels hurt my feet). It’s not easy to find what I really love in most of the nearby stores because they market to tiny 20-year olds.
Tell me about it! After all that's why I started the-Bias-Cut.com! And as a result, one of the questions I get asked a lot is who over 50+ do I admire for their style. I love ladies such as Viola Davis, Christine Baranski and Susan Sarandon. How about you?
Probably Helen Mirren. For under 50, I think Jennifer Aniston looks great 100% of the time. She always looks put together in a simple, and not a gaudy way. It would be nice to be as skinny as she is!!
Yes her look is very clean and fresh. And finally, what are your best 3 style tips?
Know your body type and dress accordingly. What looks good on a model may not look good on you.
Be stylishly comfortable. There’s no need to be in excruciating pain when you dress.
Keep it simple sweetheart. It always looks classier.
All great tips. Thank you Rebecca!
To find out more about Rebecca and BabyBoomster, head over to her website here.