image description


Who I am and who I’ll be
Furaha moved to New York in her 50s to pursue her career in acting. Now in her 70s, she is as active and engaged in life as she has ever been. She shares her story of taking advantage of life's opportunities, and continuing to grow and learn as you age.


19/99        Take us through your daily beauty routine.

Furaha         Morning starts with making a cup of Matcha tea, it has a bunch of healthful benefits, but the main one for me being energy. The flavor is quite earthy. The first time I had a cup, my energy level was in the toilet. I had started doing a tablespoon of Blackstrap Molasses everyday, because it has a lot of iron and it was still not enough. I was at a Starbucks and had to walk from Broadway to Central Park West, and I just didn’t have the energy. The gal at Starbucks, gave me a cup of Matcha tea and my energy level went from low to way up here – and I walked across those four blocks in less then 15 minutes with full energy. So ever since then, I have a cup every morning. Then I take my shower. I keep Aloe leaves in the house. I take one out, rub it all over my hands, and put it on my face, and whatever I don’t use I eat. Then I put on my makeup and I get dressed and that is that. Then I just reverse the process in the evening. 

19/99         What is your makeup process?

Furaha         Are you familiar with Dermablend? 

19/99        No..

F        They have a product that can be used as a foundation or concealer, so to minimize the amount I put on my face, I only use that, and then a finishing powder, just to polish it off. I use more than one shade; as you age, there is a thinning process that happens underneath the eyes, where the blood vessels begin to change someway, so the areas underneath your eyes look darker with age. And it just looks so undesirable- I hate it. This Dermablend product allows you to put it on in a way that just really smoothes it out and removes the dark spots underneath the eyes. It is amazing how much of a difference it makes to how your face looks to world, and more importantly, how your face looks to you. When I get up in the morning and look at myself, I think ‘I’m 70 for sure!’, but then I feel a lot better once I’ve gotten my face on - it is a little bit softer & I can take it. 

19/99        And lipsticks? 

F         I’m still struggling with the lipstick; I am not satisfied yet with my lip colour. I am of that era where your lips are supposed to match your polish, your shoes match your bag, and I rather like that idea. But this colour polish, I think this is as close as I can get to this colour on my lips. I’ve tried a real red, but I don’t like that either. 

19/99        Too bright? 

Furaha: Yes. So I haven’t quite found what my lip colour is. And I keep trying at it. I’ve been wearing this colour now for years, because I am comfortable with it, but there are times that…eeeeh. And I can’t find one that really stays on any length of time either. There used to be a company called Perspectives, and I miss them so much. You go to them and they match your make up to your complexion. Somebody at Sephora turned me on to them. It seemed that anytime I put on my makeup I would look fine in the house, but when I left the house I would be flaming red, and I couldn’t figure out what was going on. It was somebody from Perspectives that told me my undertone is yellow, and helped me to understand what I needed to do to avoid using products that would make me look red.  

19/99         How has your beauty routine changed over the years? 

F         It really hasn't. Expect for the Dermablend. There was a time that I wasn’t wearing make up at all. But I also wasn’t pursuing acting at that time either, and you know, I was 30 years younger; my skin looked different 30 to 40 years younger. I hear people say to me that I don’t look any different, and I smile and think it is nice, I know it is a crock but it is nice. Because I look at me 30, 40 years ago and I think ‘wow, my skin was tight, and all of that’. I am thankful for the age I am now, and wouldn't change it for the world, even if I could. But there is the reality that comes with time, especially by the time you are saying you are 70 years old, that you look different than you did when you were 18, or 28, or 38 or whatever-8 younger than. And it is okay – I don’t think I would want to have any kind of work done, because at some point, no matter what you do, at some point you are going to age. Keep breathing, you are going to age.


19/99         Do you feel pressure to look a certain way?

F         No not at all. I don’t feel any pressure to look a certain way actually. Because I am comfortable with how I look and it works for me. I know how I like to dress, I feel like I know what looks good on me and what doesn't. I think that I am comfortable enough in my skin at this point, that I don’t really care how I am seen, because the me that I present is positive, humane and spiritual, in a way, so it is not necessary for me to consider it, because I’m not putting out any negative energy in the first place. I mean I may from time to time, but as a rule that is not how I live, it is something that I push back on. If I think it is negative, I’m going to push back on it. There is a point where you begin to sense energy – you can tell when it is good energy, and you can tell when it is not. And it is okay for you to have whatever kind of energy you want – I’m not mad at you. I just don’t want to interact with it if it is negative. When you decide that you want to stop doing that, check me out.

19/99     What inspired you to move to New York to pursue acting?

F         Got tired of sitting in the audience feeling like God had come and left without me. As a youngster I did a lot of performing – modelling, singing, I was doing all of the these things where I was performing. And my mom told me to get a real job, so that is what I did. I floundered around a bit, worked for Xerox for a bit, wasn’t interested in corporate America. I ended up meeting someone who would change my life in a way I could have never anticipated, and that is how I became a picture framer; this man owned the framing shop down the block from me. I used to see him every day in the neighbourhood getting coffee down the block from the photography shop I was working in. The photo shop had to close, and he wanted to know what I was going to do and suggested I come and see him, and I thought…hmmm, he is probably just a dirty old man. But I couldn’t find a job, so I went to see him. And the rest is history. This turned out to be a lifelong relationship, he was the closest thing to a father I’ve ever known. And because of him, I was able to open my own frame shop. And he planted a seed one day – he called my shop and he said ‘Did you ever think about using your voice? You should be doing voice overs.” And as fate would have it, I was in a health food store one day, and this woman came over to me and wanted to know if I had a cold or I always sounded like that. And she said she had an audition she wanted me to come on. I figured it was going to be for free, so I go for the audition and they call me back the next day and wanted me to come and record. The spot was for BMW, and they actually paid me for the spot – I was on mic for less than 2 minutes and they paid me $750, so I thought I better check it out. I went to the library and checked out a book on voice overs, and the first book that I read said that if you want to do well in voice overs you will study acting. I signed up for my first acting class in Atlanta, and that is when it started – that was in ‘95 or ‘96. And my uncle was still living here in New York, so he started to send me everything he could find on acting; I figured I’d have to come for a vacation to check out New York, so I did, and then I realized I was smitten. At the same time I started taking class I figured I had to have a goal, so I started to audition for Summer Repertory, which I did twice and got cast twice, so I was decided - okay, I’m moving to New York, and I did. I had to get a job of course.

19/99         As you’ve gotten older have you felt pressure hit certain milestones or achievements?

F          No not so much. At this point I am very spiritual and my perception is that what is meant for you is yours, and if you believe it to be so, and you have faith in that and you just keep taking each next step as you are informed, then what is yours will be. You just have to keep moving. The things that I am supposed to realize, I believe I will realize them in the time they are meant to be realized. I have been gifted with talents that I have a responsibility to share, and my constant prayer is asking the Universe to show me the way and help me to walk it and try to stay out of my head. I can get into trouble when I am too much in my head, because I am thinking about it too much. Sometimes it is more important to just be, or do, and to let your body respond organically to whatever it is you are feeling inside and let that go out to the world, as opposed to ‘what are people going to think, and ‘how should I…’. Often I have gotten in my own way because I have been too busy thinking about it. How many times have we said when asked if we love someone ‘I think I do’…is love about thinking?!

19/99         Sometimes unfortunately no!

19/99         Does the term age appropriate mean anything to you?

F         Age appropriate for who?! You know, where does that come from? Or as one of my teachers used to say ‘Let’s unpack that’. What is that age appropriate?

19/99         We are trying to figure that out. And who sets it; who gets to decide?

F         Probably the same people who set the roles that have us having this conversation in the first place, who are very fearful of their positions at their table. It is a three letter word and starts with an ‘m’ and ends with an ‘n’. And that is not to say that they are all that way, but I think there is enough of them that have money that are that way that it requires us to really really try to change the conversation. And clearly that conversation change does not bode well for them, because it has them in a position that they never saw themselves in in the first place. And on top of that, to have unmitigated gall, to have an issue with women being in power – now let me get this straight --- you have been in power for almost 250 years, and this is what you come up with?! But you have a problem with women…do I understand that correctly? The good news is that these conversations are happening, and they are going to get louder and louder, and stronger and stronger. There are a lot of young women who are aware and woke, that their attitude is ‘not on my watch’ and I think there are enough women in the baby boomer population who are in total support of those women, and not stuck on just their peers. Because I think that it is a dangerous place to get when you choose to believe that the only knowledge you can garner is from your peers. If you are open and receptive you can garner knowledge from a 2 month old…you just have to be receptive. If I can do it, it seems that it is age appropriate.

19/99         If you could share advice with your younger self, what would it be?

F         To not take myself so seriously, and to believe in possibility, to believe in my talents, to accept it and say ‘And so it is’ and just be okay with it. And to tell my younger self, life is short, live it to the fullest, as if there might not be a tomorrow, cause you never know.

19/99          What makes you feel beautiful?

F           You know living this life is just so amazing. To have been intended here, in this body, in this mindset, at this time in my life, with possibilities being what they are, makes me feel very beautiful. To me it is all about energy, and that our creator, whatever you choose to call that creator, that the Universe intended me here. Whatever energy my creator has, I share that energy because I am a product of that energy. So as beautiful as this universe is, I am too because I was intended here by it. So I have to find that connection and be in that place constantly. That is the best place to be, it is like there is only one creator, whether it is God, Jesus, Lord, or Allah, it is all one energy, and as beautiful as these skies are, I am.

19/99         Is there anything that scare you about aging?

F         No, if I had to think about something that scares me about aging it would probably be not aging because that means, I’d be dying.

19/99.        If you could ask the older generation one question, what would it be?

F         Am I getting it right?

That was the toughest question. Especially when I think about my mom, I was fortunate – I had my mother until I was 68 years old, which is huge. And I gave that woman a fit. But fortunately I realized the value of who she was while she was still here. And was able to share with her, that I was kinda…silly for not getting it for so long, but once I got it, I got it. The level of expectation that she had for me, I fell short of so many times – and it was deliberate, and I can’t tell you why. I was really rebelling against my mom. And everything that she was doing was in my best interest. I couldn’t see it though. She sent me to great schools, provided me with great experiences.

This brings to mind the adage that ‘Youth is wasted on the young’ because I didn’t realize the value of what she had given me. I didn’t realize until I was well beyond my 40s the serious gifts that my mother had given me. I ultimately got to a place where I realized that if I could be a tenth of the woman my mother was, I’d be doing something. She is the last thing I see at night and the first thing I see in the morning. I can still feel her energy, and can tell she is still present in my life. There have been things that I have seen happen since she died that have made me say ‘yep, that’s my mom, still looking out for her little girl’. I still do things and think ‘what would my mother have done’ or ‘what would she have wanted me to do’. And now it becomes ‘Yeah, I hope I’m getting this right, by her’. And I think I am.

19/99          Do you think there is a point where we stop learning and growing?

F         I hope not, I sure hope not. There is always something new that we can learn. If you get to a point where there is nothing else to learn, then what is the point of living? What is the fun? Aren’t we supposed to be happy in this experience?


NEXT ARTICLE image description


Who I am and who I’ll be