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