So What If I'm Old?
"I am not an older version of myself...
I'M THE NEWEST MODEL" - Mariann Aalda
The New Old
As much as most of us want to live a long life, nobody
seems to want to get old.
But you don’t get one without the other.
For a lot of us, a big part of that distress is the word
But as a uterine cancer survivor, I can give testimony
that when faced with the alternative, getting old is
preferable! And it's a status not everybody gets to
achieve...which also makes it ASPIRATIONAL.
Soooooo...what would it look like to de-stigmatize
“OLD” and reframe it and claim it like those on the
heavier side of the weight spectrum have done with
the word FAT...or like the LGBTQIA community has
done in giving props to the word QUEER?
What would it look like to stamp out the societal
shame of getting old by infusing it with DIGNITY?
What would it feel like to squelch the depression
of advancing years with CONFIDENCE?
What could it be like if -- instead of fear and dread --
getting old harkened JOY and CELEBRATION?!!
No matter whether our situation be better or worse...
richer or poorer...sickness or health.
We can't always control our circumstances, but we
do get to choose how we respond to them.
With comes the WISDOM and EXPERIENCE
to choose well. And that knowledge is
I'm 72, and believe me, I get it.
I grew up in the 1950's with big dreams of being an actress on TV. The resilience, tenacity and audacity it took for a little colored girl (that's what we were called back then) to get to Hollywood from my 5-block by 9-block, sleepy little village of Phoenix, IL, are now serving me well as a pro-aging evangelist. (See my TEDx Talk for the full story.)
My Primetime TV career flourished in Sitcom, including starring opposite comic legend Redd Foxx and Touched By An Angel star, Della Reese, as their daughter, Elizabeth, in the CBS sitcom, The Royal Family.
Along with guest-starring in comedies headlined by Kirstie Allley, Mo’Nique, John Ritter, Brett Butler, Jean Smart, Delta Burke and Robert Guillaume (to name drop a few), I've also played the wife
or girlfriend of Ernie Hudson, Dennis Haysbert, Clifton Davis, Sherman Hemsley, Miguel Niunez, Haywood Nelson and Harold Sylvester. (to drop a few more)...and co-starred opposite O.J. Simpson for three seasons as his wife, Ellen, in the HBO football dramedy, First & 10.
Yeah, I've got some stories to tell...quite a few of them. They're all in the book! But I digress...
What I am probably most frequently recognized for is my
notorious recurring role opposite Meshach Taylor as his yuppie-from-hell girlfriend, Lita"I'll be waiting in the Beamer" Ford, on CBS’ Designing Women.
But in the 1980’s, I was a Daytime TV trailblazer as one of the first
-- and still few -- African-American soap opera heroines, playing the feisty, young criminal defense attorney, DiDi Bannister, on ABC’s Edge of Night, the distaff half of "Calvin & DiDi," one of
the first -- and still few -- BIPOC super-couples in the wonderful world of soaps. I went on to long-term, recurring daytime roles
on CBS’ Guiding Light and NBC's Sunset Beach, but it's "DiDi" for which I am most fondly remembered by soap opera fans.
Now in my seventies, I'm renouncing basking in past career accomplishments in favor of marinating in new possibilities!
Adding the skills of my training as a certified hypnotherapist
(CHt.) and NLP practitioner to my artistry as an actor, I'm blazing
a new trail: prosecuting ageism. Bringing diversity, candor and humor -- along with an expanded psychological awareness and fresh perspective -- to the exploration of the modern
older woman...to a societal, cultural and media landscape
that's woefully behind the times.
It's time to catch up!
Host/MC & Speaker for a wide variety of events, from political fundraisers and charity telethons (March of Dimes) to corporate (SAG-AFTRA, Chicago Dept. of Human Services) to fashion and standup comedy shows. My social activism also extends to the other end of the age continuum, with a citation from the California State Assembly and an honor as "Volunteer of the Year" by the Los Angeles Dept. of Children’s Services for my work with at-risk youth (Friends of the Family & MacLaren Children’s Center) Click below for my profile as an AARP Age Disruptor and the TEDx Talk, "AGEISM IS A BULLY...STAND UP TO IT!" (Included in Ashton Applewhite's [This Chair Rocks] OldSchool.info guide to anti-ageism/pro-ageing resources.).
GETTIN’ OLD IS A BITCH...BUT I’M GONNA WRESTLE THAT BITCH TO THE GROUND!
Wit and wisdom as presented by my performance-art character, "the world-renowned Adult Sex-Ed Evangelist & Mojo Motivator," DR. GINGER. This show has won audience raves and sold out theaters in Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans and New York City...and broke a 30-year box office record at the 2019 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC. Running time is 75 minutes, but time and content can be tailored to the event and needs of the sponsor. Click on the video below for clips and audience testimonials. And then click to the right of it for the teaser for "Dr. Ginger's" 25-episode improv web series parody of relationship counseling.
AN AGEING SHAMELESSLY REVOUTION! @mariannaalda_ageingshamelessly you'll be greeted with daily doses of croning inspiration, confessional revelation, mindful meditation, and random acts of humor. ALL AGES are welcome! Instagram is also the place to find out about upcoming appearances, events, etc...You can send a personal message or email me from there, as well.
Hard at work on: 1.) Ageing Shamelessly! franchise (book, journal, workbook & affirmation cards); 2.) a show biz memoir of "a little colored girl"who goes to Hollywood...with some TMZ-worthy backstage tales; 3.) a book adaptation of my solo show “as told to” me by Dr. Ginger, and 4.) a collection of “and a little child shall lead them” stories of what my child had to teach me about being a good parent..and how I learned to re-parent myself. Queries and proposals on request to email@example.com.
All newsworthy announcements, including information about events, appearances, etc. will be posted on Instagram, so be sure to click on the Instagram emblem and follow so you don't miss out!