Iris Apfel

Iris Apfel

Now that the US has welcomed a new president, we welcome a true US trailblazer and decorator of the White House to nine presidents.

Iris Apfel is an American businesswoman, interior designer, fashion icon and probably cooler than any of us will ever be!

She describes herself as a "Geriatric Starlet" and is a real tour de force. Nothing gets in her way. She would certainly make a great US president!

Even if you aren’t interested in bold, bright fashion, after nearly a century on the planet, Apfel’s words of wisdom about aging, individuality and success are worth reading. Here are 5 secrets to success from Apfel, as outlined in her book - Iris Apfel - Accidental Icon

Iris Apel Accidental Icon

1. Don’t obsess over your age

“I never think about my age. Maybe that’s the ticket. I never think about it — it’s a passing thought. It’s just a number. … I’ve found that work is very healthy for me. I love what I do and I put my heart and soul into it,” she says.

It’s true, “Gettin’ old ain’t for sissies,” Apfel admits. But so what? “You start falling apart, but you just have to buck up and paste yourself together. You may not like getting older, but what’s the alternative? You’re here. Embrace it. I say put your experience to work, to give something back to other people.”

2. When something excites you, go for it

“I never expected people to know my name or recognize my face. I never expected to be called a fashion icon. I never expected museums to exhibit my clothing and accessories. I never expected to be a cover girl or the face of a cosmetics company in my nineties....” Apfel writes. “I never expected anything. I just feel things in my gut and I do them. If something sounds exciting and interesting I do it — and then I worry about it later. Doing new things takes a lot of energy and strength. It’s very tiring to make things happen, to learn how to master a skill, to push fears aside. Most people would rather just go with the flow; it’s much easier. But it’s not very interesting.”

3. To stay young, you have to think young

“When you get older, as I often paraphrase an old family friend, if you have two of anything, chances are one of them is going to hurt when you get up in the morning. But you have to get up and move beyond the pain. If you want to stay young, you have to think young. Having a sense of wonder, a sense of humor, and a sense of curiosity — these are my tonic,” she says. “They keep you young, childlike, open to new people and things, ready for another adventure. I never want to be an old fuddy-duddy; I hold the self-proclaimed record for being the World’s Oldest Living Teenager and I intend to keep it that way.”

4. Care about your own opinion above anyone else’s

“I never tried to fit in. It’s not that I went out of my way to be a rebel or do things that were not socially acceptable — unfortunately, I did have to learn how to play bridge when I was younger — but I learned early on that I have to be my own person to be content,” she says.

“If you have to be all things to all people, you end up being ‘nothin’ to nobody.′ The way I dress may be ‘different’ or ‘eccentric’ to some who feel the need to label, but that’s of no concern to me. I don’t dress to be stared at; I dress for myself. When you don’t dress like everyone else, you don’t have to think like everyone else.”

5. Don’t pretend you are younger than you are

“There’s nothing wrong with wrinkles. When you’re older, trying to look years younger is foolish, and you’re not fooling anyone. When you’re seventy-five and you get a face-lift, nobody is going to think you are thirty,” she says.

"My philosophy is to live in the now – yesterday is gone, you don’t know if there’s even going to be a tomorrow, so you might as well enjoy today. As my husband used to say, you should really live every day as if it were your last, because one day you’ll be right."

For a real insight in to Apfel's day to day life, make sure you watch the 2014 documentary.

God bless Iris, God bless America.

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