About 20 years ago, I wrote a counter to the Roanoker's folly and called it "Bid-ness Babes of the Blue Ridge." The women on the list were, indeed, attractive in the traditional physical sense, but they were accomplished, outgoing leaders in the community who made their presence known. Now, that's sexy. I still think it is and as women learn to better care for themselves physically, that entire personae carries into later generations of their lives, 40s, 50s, 60s. There are even a few I know in their 20s and 30s who fit this narrow definition.
Tornambe insists that women can be their own worst enemies in the perception of what is beautiful. He says, "Women are unduly influenced into negative opinions about themselves and forced to chase an illusion. The deck is stacked totally against them. We must change our perception of beauty and choose realistic role models. We also must abandon the notion that youth is the only path towards beauty. Women must embrace the fact that true beauty does, and must, transcend the decades as we age."
Let me give you some specific examples of beautiful women:
- Nancy Agee, new CEO of Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, is one of the finest people I know on every level. Smart, courageous, forceful, kind, thoughtful and quite lovely. Not a pretentious or presumptuous bone in her head. Nancy's in her 50s.
- Nancy Gray, president of Hollins University, is striking in her red suits, but it's the eyes that will capture you. Again, she's pretty, but her beauty goes so much deeper than that. She is a quiet, forceful leader with a sense of humor when it is appropriate and a non-nonsense, take-control demeanor when she needs it. Nancy's close to her 50s, too.
- Nanci Harwick (no, I don't have a thing for Nancy[i]s; just a coincidence) of Schultz Creehan in Blacksburg came from nowhere to take over as CEO of that company and runs it well. She's a single mother who understands struggle (she studied for her CPA exam with a book that was out of date because it's all she had) and has developed a strong layer of compassion. Nanci's in her 30s.
- Mary Miller, president of IDD in Blacksburg, is a member of the Virginia Tech engineering hall of fame, a PhD, a mentor to many, a mother, a visionary and a women with the loveliest, softest eyes you'll find. She's tall and blonde and in excellent health and, like the others, a person of considerable kindness, which glows. Mary's nearly 60, but I'm not sure of the exact age.
- Erin Pope is the baby of the group and represents the near-30 generation with style, grace, energy, intellect and a feisty assertiveness when she perceives an injustice. This one has what one of the boys called "cajones." She's a fine writer who I suspect will one day be well known and she is what The Roanoker might approve of as a classic beauty. She would laugh at the suggestion.
- April Drummond is in her 40s, has seven children (whom she tends alone) and is on the verge of graduating from Hollins University. April is the very definition of the late bloomer, but mostly that's because her opportunities came late. She's never had money, but she's always had intelligence, skill, talent, creativity (she writes plays and directs films at this point; she's also a fine actress and marvelous singer). My guess has been, since shortly after I met her, that there is a Pulitzer in April's future. Grit, determination and style mark this African princess with the classic long neck and sharp facial features. Beautiful woman in every sense.
- Ariel Clark, art director at the tba ad and PR agency in Roanoke, is one of the sexiest women I've ever seen and she smacks hard into traditional perceptions of beauty because she's on the plus end of sizing. She re-defines beauty in a positive way with her talent, her aura, her sunny disposition and her intelligence (not to mention skin that is absolutely flawless). She's about 30, I'd estimate, and everything about her turns heads.
- Tamea Franco Woodward of East West DyeCom and Global Metalfinishing is a real beauty in every sense, but she is so full of energy, drive, creativity, enthusiasm and positive vibes that those characteristics all but overwhelm what she looks like. She simply never runs out of curiosity and the will to learn. I'd estimate Tamea to be in her 40s, but like the others, she looks a good bit younger than the birth certificate would indicate.