Bahia Haifi, 44, is an actress who just played the role of a lifetime: Mary, in the film Full of Grace, which explores Mary’s experiences in her last days. She also appears in Chico’s Spring print ads, featured in Southern Living and Harper’s Bazaar. We spoke with her on location in Los Angeles about her sense of style and why getting older is great.
Q: What is your personal style philosophy?
Women have to stop saying things like, “I cannot pull it off,” or, “Oh, this is not that great on me. It’s better on you.” There are no fashion police on the street that are going to arrest you and put you in jail because you’re wearing the wrong sweater. Just do it. That’s my policy. You think you look nice in it? That’s what matters. When you feel good, you make other people feel good.
Q: What inspires your style?
I have to be comfortable. I like to be versatile too, and able to wear the same sweater to go out or stay in. I like things that I can mix and match that are not just for one purpose in the closet. I think that’s how all modern women dress.
Q: How do you think your style has evolved?
When I was younger, I had a lot to prove. I was way sexier. I had to seduce because I thought that beauty was an outside thing, and if you weren’t wearing something sexy, the guys wouldn’t look at you. The older you get the less you have to prove, “You know, this is me and you’re gonna have to discover what’s inside.”
Q: Why is style ageless?
Today, there is an infinite pool of looks to choose from. Style is about the choices you make. If you feel old, then you’re going to look old. If you feel young, you’ll look young. That’s the ageless part.
Q: Who inspires you?
Malala Yousafzai. Even though she’s young, she has such wisdom, such courage. She just opened her first school at 18 years old. I didn’t have her courage at that age. She gets me going. I’m also inspired by social media, and the way older women are taking to it. I’m happy that we’re not afraid of it, and that we are finding our place in it. Women ask me for my Instagram. They’re following me so that I can follow them, and I feel the unity. We can connect from all corners of the globe, and I think that’s amazing. I’m looking forward to seeing more and more successful women who have their own businesses and are using technology to grow.
Q: What do you think your younger self would think of you now?
She would say to me, “Not bad,” and then she would ask me to take more chances.