Living right shows up beautifully as we mature. Finding joy and being grateful are some of the ways these gorgeous women stay forever young.

Living right shows up beautifully as we mature. Finding joy and being grateful are some of the ways these gorgeous women stay forever young.

Alberta Holt, 95, Brooklyn

RETIRED READING TEACHER AND PART-TIME MACY’S SALES MANAGER

ON GETTING THE MOST OUT OF LIFE

Holt traveled a lot with her church—South Africa, Greenland, Indonesia, Hawaii, India—going on a big trip practically every summer of her working years,leaving the kids and hubby at home: “Somebody had to take care of our three children and my husband was happy to do so.”

FREE TIME

At 95 it’s about playing Sudoku and taking walks(by herself!) in downtown Brooklyn. Saturday shopping sprees with her daughter and church on Sunday. She cooks for herself every day and hosts Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas for her clan, including her three children, seven grands, four great-grands and one great-great grandchild.

NOTES TO HER YOUNGER SELF

“I would tell myself to finish school [Holt went back to college in her forties], get a good job and take your time getting married. Don’t rush into it.”

BEAUTY RULES

“I go to the beauty parlor once a month. I’ve never had a perm or hair color, no chemicals, ever.”

Vicki Yates, 61. Nashville

NEWS ANCHOR

PHILOSOPHIES ON LIFE

“Be curious.” Yates has a passion for travel. When she retires, she’d like to move to Europe for a few months. “Always learn.” She’s taking Spanish classes now. (“I took it in high school, but I’ve forgotten a lot of it. You’re never too old to learn,” she says.) “Give back.” Yates is a big fan and supporter of Nashville Cares, an organization that assists people with AIDS.

NOTES TO HER YOUNGER SELF

“Before, everything was so intense and so magnified. What I would say to my younger self is, ‘The things that you think are the end of the world, well,actually, they’re not.’ You’ll have wonderful times, and you’ll have some not-so-wonderful times. Enjoy the good times and be grateful that you got through the hard ones.”

HEALTH AND WELLNESS

“I get up at five most mornings, go to the gym, work out for an hour and it’s done.”

BEAUTY RULES

“Because I’m on air daily, I see my stylist weekly and she is great at taking care of my hair. I don’t have a relaxer andI don’t use heat after I go to the salon. I just wrap my hair at night. I’m good at taking my makeup off before I go to bed. I use Pond’s Cold Cream. I’m also a big fan of fillers. I’m not sure why more men and women don’t use them or admit to using them.”

Janice Cosby Bridges, 58. Detroit

CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER FOR A LARGE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM

ON GETTING THE MOST OUT OF LIFE

“I feed my soul by being grateful for the life thatGod has given me. I take a lot of me time. I have really good girlfriends. I have a very strong support system with my sons, my husband and my extended family. That feeds me. I work hard, but I have a good time.”Bridges’s mother died when she was 36, “soI’m conscious of the fact that tomorrow doesn’t always come. I’ve learned to live every day to the fullest.”

HEALTH AND WELLNESS

“I work out. I eat well. I have a full gym at home and two gym memberships. I’m an exercise junkie, but I didn’t really start until my forties. I ran a half marathon a couple of years ago. I like classes too; weights, Pilates. I do a little bit of everything,and I work out for about an hour and a half every day.”

BEAUTY RULES

“I’ve been natural for about two years. I’ve never colored my hair. I have two sons, 31 and 27. They’ve only known me with gray or salt-and-pepper hair. I was a product junkie when I first started going natural, but I realized through the process that I didn’t need so much. I use items from Mixed Chicks and Kinky-Curly. I don’t need a lot, but then I am obsessed with my skin care regimen; no matter what time I get in, I never skip it. I use a Clarisonic, I tone, I moisturize. I use a glycolic acid cleanser.”

Miosotys Santiago, 42. Groton, CT

STARTING A NONPROFIT TO EMPOWER WOMEN

ON GETTING THE MOST OUT OF LIFE

“After 9/11, I’m humble,” says Santiago. She lost her former fiancé and coworkers at the World Trade Center on September 11. After unthinkable sorrow, she came to the realization that life goes on. Her fiancé wasn’t with her, but she was alive and she had to start living again, if not for herself, then at least for her three daughters.

HEALTH AND WELLNESS

“One thing I don’t do is stress. I may have my little anxieties now and then, but as soon asI start feeling the stress I let my spirituality kick in. I just letJesus in. I sleep well, any chance I get, I sleep. I don’t drink and I stopped smoking two and a half years ago.”

ON GIVING BACK

Santiago is in the process of starting a nonprofit to empower women. “I was thinking about calling it Mio’s Miracles, but I don’t know yet,” she says. She believes every woman needs empowerment. “Women think about everyone else but themselves. We need someone to spark a little fire in us so we can become who we want to be.”

THOSE TATTOOS

“I’ve dedicated one arm to all my relatives and loved ones who have passed on,” she says. Santiago’s grandmother kept beautiful rose bushes. The rose tattoos began after her grandmother’s death.

BEAUTY RULES “I’ve been using Anew Ultimate Day andNight Creams from Avon since I was 25. I also exfoliate. Ilike St. Ives, and I love to sleep.”

Mildred Chestnut, 82. Wyncote, PA

RETIRED HOUSING DEPARTMENT WORKER AND FORMER DRESSMAKER

NOTES TO HER YOUNGER SELF

“Respect yourself and be kind to people. Always try to help people.” Mildred had a daughter who died of leukemia, so she supports the AmericanCancer Society. “Listen more than you speak. This puts you in a better position to learn something,” she says.

HEALTH AND WELLNESS

“My children got together and bought me a stationary bike. I’ll do 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the evening. My TV is right there and my phone is right beside me, so I can talk and keep on going.I drink lots of water, take my vitamins. I juice a lot. I have one of those Bullets. I like kale or spinach with berries,bananas and some flaxseed.”

FREE TIME

“I love to eat out,” she says. The type of food doesn’t matter to her as much as receiving really good service.

BEAUTY RULES

“I’ve washed my face with Noxzema all my life and I moisturize; that’s about it. My kids tease me because even when I take the trash out I put earrings on and some lipstick. I never know who I might meet.”

Betty Bradford Byers, 71. Dover, FL

RETIRED HR MANAGER, PART-TIME SUBSTITUTE TEACHER AND CRUISE LINE FACILITATOR

ON GETTING THE MOST OUT OF LIFE

“I think it’s important to stay balanced, mentally and physically. If you do that, your youthfulness stays with you.” Between substitute teaching and part-time work with a cruise line, Byers has written six psychological thrillers since retirement. “I wrote my first book in two weeks, during the Christmas holiday. The story just came to me.” Check out her work on bettybyers.com.

NOTES TO HER YOUNGER SELF

“Relax. Life is to be enjoyed!”

HEALTH AND WELLNESS

“I’m not a worrier, never have been.If there is something I can do about a situation, I do it. If not, I release it. The more active I am, the happier I am.” Byers and her family have Fit bits and they’re in constant competition.“It’s a family affair, but I’m number one!” To stay ahead, Byers has to do about 15,000 steps a day. She works it into her everyday life, parking farther from an entrance or taking a few more strolls around the classroom if she’s substitute teaching.

BEAUTY RULES

I cleanse and moisturize faithfully. “My hair is natural now, so I don’t have to do anything but spritz it with a little moisture.”

This article first appeared in the May 2015 issue of ESSENCE, on newsstands now!