According to my maternal grandmother, by age thirty, one acquires responsibility for one’s own face.
Suzanne Farrell (born 16 August 1945) has not aged well. In fact, she looks awful.
When I was in law school in Washington, a friend and I attended a performance of The Suzanne Farrell Ballet at the Kennedy Center Opera House. During an intermission, someone sitting next to us pointed out that a particularly frumpy-looking woman nearby was Farrell herself.
We were dumbfounded. We would never have guessed, in a million years, that the woman in question was the very same woman as the glorious ballerina seen in countless classic photographs from three decades earlier.
The woman we observed that night was a woman who did not know how to present herself offstage. She did not know how to dress, how to arrange her hair to advantage, how to apply makeup, or how to carry herself.
With her hardened facial muscles, she looked, that night, as if she were a battered woman ready to head off to WalMart to stock up on shotgun ammunition.
In contrast, Cynthia Gregory (born 8 July 1946) looks absolutely smashing today, if recent photographs may be used as guides.
Gregory understands the value of simplicity and understatement.
Her hair is elegant, her makeup is elegant, her attire is elegant—and yet everything is very minimal, and very natural.
She remains an extraordinarily beautiful woman.
Above all, she knows how to carry herself.
Her innate beauty and classic elegance remind me, a million times over, of my mother, who is more beautiful today than ever.
I never had the chance to see Farrell or Gregory onstage—but my parents, who saw both dancers many times, insist that both ballerinas were great and wondrous artists, if entirely different.
Gregory’s face reveals that she has enjoyed a happy and rich post-dancing life.
Farrell’s face reveals something else.