– as told to The Silver Women
Most people assume age milestones to be checkpoints, where one must weigh and measure past achievements against past failures in hopes of leading a more learned future. How depressing. Age should be celebrated for the addition of new breath and life, new perspective as opposed to the aching nostalgia of what things used to be. And that is just what Artist and entrepreneur Linda Mason embodies in her new decade: the 70s. -Serena Ferrari
Women who inspired you as a young girl?
My mother was an artist…using color, shape, and light to enhance our lives. She would never take no when told something was impossible to be done (mainly by male architects). She brought my brother and I up as equals. She transformed our town and small box houses of the 40s and 50s with glass bricks and extensions. She involved us in the decorations and choice of wallpapers, carpets, and my beautiful ballroom dancing dresses. She came from a very poor background and much hardship but she had an eye and appreciation for quality, beauty, and generosity.
Mother Teresa. I felt for her as a child and aspired to do the work she was doing dedicating my life to those less fortunate.
Isadora Duncan. I loved dance and here was a dancer using dance and life to express herself in wild freedom and living to the full. She was fearless and passionate.
Margot Fonteyn. Another dance favorite who inspired me by expressing herself with so much emotion and continuing well into her 50s.
Women who inspire you now?
My friends and peers and in fact all those around me old and young. They do not cease to amaze me with all I discover about them and with what they do and how they handle life.
Most valuable lesson taught by your Mother?
You can always find another man, good girlfriends are to be treasured. Never say Never.
Do you think older women are valued or celebrated enough?
It is not a question of being valued or celebrated, we are looked at differently. It also depends on where you live in the world. I will never forget one day introducing my mother to an Italian friend and my mother telling me (she was in her 60’s at the time) that he was the first man, I had ever introduced her to that didn’t look at her as my mother but looked at her like a man looks at a woman.
Have you made career changes over the years?
I have made many changes in my career which may seem very different, however they follow intertwining threads creating a tapestry which I hope God gives me the time to finish. I started out training to be a Nanny and although I didn’t stay long working as a Nanny it gave me the patience tolerance and love needed for my work with the young models as a makeup artist and must have also played a hand in making my children’s portraiture successful. I have never looked upon myself as a writer and wrote books to give back… give help to young makeup artists starting out; help women see makeup more as an adventure than a chore. Becoming an entrepreneur in 1987 was a big learning curve. My cosmetic company and the brands developed at “The Art of Beauty” by Linda Mason are artistic creations similar to my other artistic endeavors I so enjoy, my painting, film and Installation.
Through the decades!
20’s: In my twenties, my impatience was slumbering in the closet of my subconscious. I just lived. I lived in two beautiful cities which inspired love, creativity and passion, Beirut and Paris. My environments reflected my indulgent mental space at the time. No thinking just feeling. I fell in love. It’s important to fall in love at any age but especially so in your twenties. I was quite unfaithful. But that was the point. In falling in love with someone, in your twenties you make self-discoveries in the ebb and flow of ascending and descending relationships. It’s part of your evolution. Boiling with life, I spilled into the party scene and stumbled into an ever-evolving continual party- my work as a makeup artist. Work which I could earn a living at and channel both my passion and creativity into.
“I found my passion and in doing so myself”
30’s: In my thirties the focus was on my work, I felt invincible. These years were memorable for my work with the best most inspiring people in the fashion and beauty industry in both Paris and New York on fashion shows and photo shoots. My need for adventure and new challenges brought me to New York where my first book was published and I created a cosmetic line from A to Z working with the best in the manufacturing Industry. I started painting but most importantly ended this era giving birth to a new beginning, my daughter Daisy.♥
40’s: These years were probably the only ones where I might have changed a few things. I would not have struggled so much or spent so much time writing as many business plans trying frantically to prove myself as a business woman. I would have found time for my friends more as I did in my 30’s. My major accomplishment these years revolved around my daughter. Creating stability through home and church, finding good schools.
50’s: I started to lose loved ones. My Mother followed by my Brother. I opened My Boutique/ Gallery “The Art of Beauty by Linda Mason” doing something which I swore I would never do which was, have a shop! I loved it. It was wonderful to create a world filled with color and makeup and to be able to reach out to “real” people and help them. This space was my workshop which I could experiment in and develop products and ideas and teach classes.The two books I wrote during this time brought together different aspects of my life. “Makeup The Art of Beauty” allowed me to reach out to old friends, the generous photographers whose work was needed for the book. Teen makeup allowed me to get to appreciate more my daughters friends who I used as models. The streets of Soho were a treasure trove of discarded objects and my husband Gene would find many inspiring things to bring back to the shop for me to work with and transform into art.
60’s: I continued creating art and makeup and used the walls to display my new works which had evolved. I used Art shows as an excuse to party once again. Business was good and starting to make a profit, then the 2008 crash came. My two books from this time were Eye Candy, peopled with assistants, interns and young women frequenting the shop and Ageless Beauty for women over 40. Ageless Beauty allowed me to photograph clients and to reconnect and rediscover the models I worked with in the 80’s. My daughter came to work for me and then a new addition, her fabulous son, who would hang out behind the counter. In 2013, I closed the boutique in order to return to my nomadic roots and do things that I had been talking about and procrastinating with. So these last three years have been spent doing just that, making movies, installations, painting, surfing and visiting old friends, along with being a grandmother. Preparing myself for the big leap of my 70’s and now I have arrived at the beginning of my new adventure.
What have been your greatest challenges?
I’ve always been haunted by my impatience, a very vocal enemy of mine, I wanted to do things, and was annoyed when the timeline of my reality rarely aligned with the timeline of my dreams. But that impatience was the fossil fuel that kept me working, treading the path of my passions as opposed to any other externalities.
” My outlook has always been optimistic and the changes have taken place gradually over time. There have been milestones and revelations. Living in Beirut in my early 20’s was a major milestone”
What are you most grateful for?
My daughter, grandson and my good health. My friends and extended family. I am also very grateful to have God in my life and to continually have new inspirations and ideas and the ability and energy to work towards them. Although my humor is not obvious to many, it’s there, so I am also very thankful for that too.
Thoughts on AGING,
The downside…Not having a flat stomach anymore.
The upside…Freedom and grandchildren.
Your advice to young women of today?
Enjoy life and have fun. -Linda Mason
Images courtesy of Linda unless credited otherwise.
FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS
Book/Novel: Sir Winston Churchill has always been someone I loved and admired. I knew and understood the importance of his wife but this book took my understanding and appreciation to another level. I enjoyed it very much. Also, it was given to me by my daughter.
Clementine: The Life of Mrs Winston Churchill by Sonia Purnell.
Film: Amarcord (Federico Fellini) One flew over the Cuckoos Nest (Milos Forman) India Song (Marguerite Duras)
Scent: Hermes Caleche
Flower: English Rose and Jasmin both for their smell.
Lipstick /makeup product you can’t live without: Linda Mason Elements. foundation in the shade “Water”.Cubed concealer in “Water” and Powdepac “OOM” translucent.
Food/Meal/Cuisine: Sea Urchins, Caviar, Fois Gras, Passion Fruit
Song: Can’t help Falling in Love with you & Its Now or Never Elvis Presley
I love Rock and Roll Joan Jett
Artist: Chihuly, Osaretin Ighile, Picasso, Monet, Degas