14 Women Show Off Wrinkles To Make A Potent Statement About Aging

"For me, wrinkles are ... they are a map of my life."

09/06/2016 8:31 PM AEST | Updated 09/06/2016 8:31 PM AEST

Wrinkles. Laugh lines. Crow's feet. No matter what you call them, the creases on your face deepen as you age. But whereas many people look in the mirror and, with a collective sigh, lament the passage of time that's left its mark on their faces, others embrace the changes, and accept the idea that growing older is an integral -- and even beautiful -- part of living.

HuffPost photographer Damon Dahlen took portraits of 14 women, aged 52 to 90, who roll their eyes at ageist (and sexist) standards of beauty. Rather than fight the inevitable effects of aging, they see the lines on their faces as a road map of their lives. They are the etchings of many years fully lived -- and each and every one of them has been earned.

So why not show them off? Take a look at their gorgeous portraits below and read what each woman has to say about embracing the beauty of every age.

  • Roz Halweil Sokoloff, 90
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    "I'm a person -- not an age. The best thing about my being 90 is that I'm not aware that I'm old. I do everything the way I used to do it. Maybe I get tired quicker but I haven't been kept back from doing anything I want to do. I don't play singles tennis any more. But I do tai chi and yoga, and I swim laps. When it comes to my wrinkles, well, I stand back from the mirror at least two feet and I don't see one wrinkle and that's the truth. I don't even know that I have wrinkles. I'm proud of my accomplishments and I don't care about the wrinkles. I haven't done any Botox or any facelifts. That stuffs not important to me."
  • Mary Ann Holand, 59
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    "When I look in the mirror, I still see the little girl that I was and that I still am. I don't feel 59. I have grandkids now, so I guess that makes me believe I'm 59. But that's about it. I love the TV show 'Grace and Frankie.' I think we need more shows like that, that show amazing older people who hold their own. We have for too long glorified youth instead of people. We're all on the same journey. After my breast cancer diagnosis, I consider each year a gift. I want to live into my 90s."
  • Julieth Baisden, 62
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    "I am happy at this age. To me, my photos of me look the same now as years ago. Not much different. I like the way I look. I put on some weight but my face remains the same. Aging is an honor. Some people freak out when they see gray hair or wrinkles. I don't. I feel young. I feel very young. When I tell people my age, they don't believe it. I enjoy that."
  • Iris Krasnow, 61
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    "I've had gray hair since I was in my early 30s. I learned early on to not get my self-esteem or my sense of beauty from my exterior but from my heart and my passions and my engagement in life. The happiest people I know are the most fulfilled. They have a sense of passion and purpose and are surrounded by people they love. Very rarely do I hear 'oh, I'm so happy because I am the same weight I was in high school.' The message I like to share is don't count on your looks because they change. Discover an inner source of energy and fulfillment that has everything to do with your heart and soul and very little to do with your exterior. One thing for sure in life is that your exterior is going to change. I believe strongly in feeling beautiful without the knife. For me, wrinkles are ... they are a map of my life. I have four children. I have a husband of 28 years. I've enjoyed my life."
  • Maria Leonard Olsen, 52
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    "I tried 50 new things the year I turned 50. After I turned 50, I finally lived a life authentic to me for the first time. Unfortunately that also involved rehab and getting a divorce but I discovered who I really am ... and I am absolutely comfortable with myself. Finally at 50. I got my motorcycle license. I hiked the Himalayas and I raised money to help build a library for impoverished children in Nepal. I learned to horseback ride. I got my first book published. I finally know who the authentic Maria is. I lived the first half century of my life trying to please others. But now I'm living for myself. I have a definite feeling I'm on the downslope of my life and actually I guess I am and so I want to make it count. Wrinkles are a natural part of aging. When I was young, I disliked my dark skin and looking different from my friends and classmates but now I revel in my uniqueness."
  • Carole Paris, 83
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    "I paint and I like to do faces so whatever success I've had with portraits has had to do with the character people had in their faces. Those faces and those wrinkles and lines tell a life story. You can see the essence of the person by looking at their face. I study faces and I see a value in age. There is life there in those faces ... the highs and lows of life. You can see that the person has ridden the waves of life, both the ups and the downs. A face shows the character of a person. I would never think of getting a facelift. You face loses life that way."
  • Leslie Handler, 56
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    "Each new wrinkle tells me that I survived and became happy after every challenge in my life. When I see a new one, it doesn't bother me. After two babies, my tummy bothered me, but my husband said it reminded him that I had given birth to our two children. I think the 50s are the best of all the decades so far. You really come into your own ... no more questions about what to do with my life ... all the insecurities. You've gotten over all that. I've had cancer since my 30s and I'm still here. Complain? I don't complain."
  • Lavada Nahon, 57
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    "I am excited about becoming a crone. We look at that negatively here ... but in Africa, women move up in prestige as they go through menopause. It is all those years that play into your value. In Japanese culture and Asian cultures, elders are revered. I had a friend say recently that, as an elder, you don't step out and away from people, but you take on more responsibility. You are responsible for educating and teaching and helping others. The older women in my life were always the role models and they held everything together. I am looking forward to being that person that my mom was to me." 
  • Deborah Gaines, 55
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    "Your vision of beauty is determined when you are quite young. For me, my grandmother was heavy and had wrinkles and gray hair but she personified love for me. She was 95 when she died. And I still thought of her as the most beautiful person I knew. Now I have really reconnected with that feeling. The people who are most important to me find me beautiful because of the love I radiate and it has nothing to do with wrinkles or what is on my face. Until you have a baby, you worry about your body. But when you have a baby you think your body deserves an Academy Award. Being beautiful is about being present to those around you. I'm proud of the map of my face because it's a map that shows a long and joyful journey." 
  • Anne R., 59
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    "Wrinkles are a reflection of what happens to you as you age -- they are part of who you are. Reading the face lines is how to see a person's experience and resilience. They are a reflection of having had to weather many storms with family, friends, work. And for me the wrinkles are to be embraced and celebrated because they show you who I really am inside. Wrinkles are not weaknesses but rather the result of a lifetime of all kinds of emotions."
  • Barb Rabin, 67
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    "Wrinkles are a natural part of aging. My forehead wrinkles are from worrying about my kids and grandkids and my 95-year-old mom. My favorite wrinkles are around my eyes. They are from smiling and enjoying life and also sometimes crying. Wrinkles are proof that I am still alive and that makes them totally worth it."
  • Lisa Hirsch, 66
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    "If i didn't have my wrinkles I wouldn't be this age. And a lot of people don't make it to this age. Aging gracefully is -- I think -- something of a privilege. It's a privilege that you are even here. My husband is totally against getting work done and he thinks I'm beautiful and that women should age with grace. I accept that it's just a part of life. I think women should age naturally and gracefully."
  • Barbara Hannah Grufferman, 59
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    "I feel good because I exercise. And that all happened after I turned 50. I started wearing sunscreen and trying to stay as healthy and fit as I can. We can look and feel good as we get older if we take care of ourselves. Sleep, exercise and eating well ... all of this is important. Since I turned 50, I wanted to get my act together. What does this mean? What is aging all about? What should I be doing that is different now than what I was doing before? As I inch my way toward 60, I'm looking at what adjustments I should make. My motto is: we can't control getting older, but we can control how we do it. I embrace wrinkles. I call them my laugh lines -- and they are my life lines. Because they are part of who I am now. I've embraced the evolution completely. At the same time, I want to make sure I'm doing everything right for myself so that I can age with grace and vitality and energy. The goal shouldn't be to look younger. But you want to look the best you can at whatever age you are."
  • Sandra LaMorgese, 59
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    "I am really looking forward to turning 60. I still feel like I'm 30. I don't feel any different than I did at 30. The mirror image is the only thing that's changing -- and that's in a good way. At first I did not like what I saw when I started aging because it was new. But then I changed my mind about what sexy and beautiful is -- and I didn't mind. The wrinkles did bother me at first -- but once I changed my perspective, they didn't. I have a 60-year-old face, which I should. I'm not supposed to look like I'm 25 any more. About 20 years ago, a woman said to me 'I feel sorry for you because you are so beautiful that when you turn older and ugly, you won't be able to handle it.' I told her, 'I'm not going to get ugly. I'm just going to age.' We think aging has to do with being ugly. But it's not ugly. It's beautiful."
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