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For 21 years, Ethel Bennett has served as the National Director for the Senior America Pageant.It is an annual event that seeks to crown a senior woman who depicts dignity, elegance, poise, and an upbeat look on life.She should also possess talent and a good philosophy about living.
In 1985 at 64 she
won the crown - Ms. New York Senior America.Bennett
has been a motivational speaker for 15 years, addressing audiences at libraries, luncheons, and senior centers.Her
topic?"Staying Young Forever." She
also writes a column titled "The Age of Elegance," for the Senior News
in which she
discusses the activity in senior America.And it doesn't stop there.This 83-year-old dynamo produced an exercise video, "Stay Young with Ethel Bennett" and has been an instructor for 30 years teaching ballet stretch, yoga, and calisthenics. In her younger years, Bennett worked as a model for Bloomingdale's and Macy's in the stores' spring fashion shows and did some print modeling for Bernard McFadden Publishing, a house that specializes in romance novels.She
also penned a detailed memoir called Ring Them Bells which encompasses 80 years of living, four marriages (losing two husbands to death), the Great Depression, WWII, the civil rights movement, and seeing the drastic changes in the morality of women and their political aspirations.
Having seen many changes occur among the roles of women, it is the current generation of girls that have her
"I do not approve of what's happening to young girls now.Young women are exposing themselves physically and I think it's terrible.And I believe it is the cause of many rapes, sexual harassment, and murder," Bennett
said."Although I do feel women as a whole have stepped forward: they're educated, have gained independence and respect by being educated, and having that opportunity they too can achieve positions of importance," she
"People are living longer and are staying younger.Giving them the opportunity to have achievements in life before starting a family.Years ago people died at the age of 70.Now they're dying at 90 and 50 is like 30," said Bennett
underwent a single mastectomy and is currently undergoing chemotherapy.
Their dedication, concern and support has enriched my life," Bennett
Ring them Bells
Story of Ethel BennettHere is a story written by Lorraine Mund, describing the life and times of Ethel Bennett, a former Ms. Senior New York State and Director of the National Pageant for Ms. Senior America.
This book describes how Ms. Bennett
traveled from her
humble beginnings in Brooklyn, to her
present status as Director for Ms. Senior America
.You'll laugh at her
experiences along the way and marvel at the energy of this modern woman in her
80th year.This book cannot be purchased in any bookstore and is only available through this website.Get your copy today.You'll be glad you rang the bell.Click image for better view.GREAT GIFT FOR MOTHER'S DAY - MAY 12.
Newsday.com: There she is . . .
For two decades, Ethel Bennett, director of the state and national pageant and 1985 winner of the state title, has helped women of a certain age become queen for a day; one of whom earns a year-long reign.
Newsday.com - Crowning Moment
"In Miss America, the woman who wears that crown is a pure, virginal girl,ý explains the director of the state and national pageant, Ethel Bennett, 81."But when you're talking about Ms. Senior America, you're talking about a woman who has already lived her life.ý
...That's a pageant Ethel Bennett knows intimately, since besides being the director, she placed second runner-up in the nationals after taking the New York crown in 1985.She
husband, Marvin, 81, co-direct the state pageant together.
stepped up to the microphone after the talent competition ended and nudged the audience, "What are we proving?
At last, Bennett
bellowed, "This is the moment we've all waited for.ý The 11 ladies stood perfectly in a line, terrified, like schoolchildren at a recital.
And then lastly, Bennett
says the name, the name everyone already knew, "Marie Mango.ý
1999 Ms. Senior America Pageant
National Pageant Director