Pamela Lutrell is the inspiring writer behind the style blog Over50Feeling40, and the Editor in Chief of San Antonio Woman and 78209 Magazines. After discovering a love of fashion when she turned 50, it became her mission to help women figure out what looks great on them, and to help them discover how to uncover their best selves. We were happy to have the chance to absorb some her great attitude with this fantastic interview.
Tell us about yourself: Name, age, occupation.
Pamela Lutrell, 63, Editor of San Antonio Woman Magazine and 78209 Magazine; writer; and blogger for women over 50.
What drove you to start your blog?
Just after my fiftieth birthday, I received a brutal wake-up call: my new driver’s license came in the mail! I looked at the woman in the picture and was shocked. She looked elderly, worn out, and downcast. She was overweight and wearing an oversized man’s polo, making her appear much larger than she actually was. She had no makeup and frayed, gray hair. The picture communicated that she was tired and had given up on herself. On that day in 2003, I realized that I had given everyone in my life (my family and journalism students) every drop of my time and put myself on the back burner. I had internalized criticisms. And so, with vigorous determination, I began to reinvent myself. I learned our appearance communicates something about us and controlling those messages is empowering. My look was telling others that I had given up on life. That’s not what I wanted though: I wanted to communicate strength and confidence.
The journey has led me to fun, joy, peace, confidence, and new directions…but is a continuous process. Transformation and confidence are empowering and can be done…it just takes the big decision, and courage, to do it! After a complete head-to-toe makeover, I began to share with friends all that I was discovering and learning about life after 50. My best friend, Gail, said, “You should start a blog! You need to share all of this online.” I wasn’t even sure what a blog was, but I studied hard and worked diligently to learn all I could. It was a total surprise when followers and loyal readers showed up. I have been so blessed by their encouragement and emails, and have made many new friends through this experience. Over50feeling40 is a statement of hope that no matter how far past 50 you are, you can still feel and look your best and have fun at any age. In fact, I think I’m having the most fun now!
You recently started a new job—what it is? How is it going?
With my newfound confidence came boldness. I decided at a very young age to major in journalism and become a writer. I never deviated from that path but did deviate with my plan. I spent 16 years teaching high school journalism. When I left teaching at age 61, I began to accept freelance writing positions and to develop my blog. I wrote for a local publication called San Antonio Woman, a bi-monthly regional print publication. A few months after I started, the editor announced she was leaving. So, at age 63, I was offered the position as editor of San Antonio Woman; and 78209 Magazine, a 668-page full color neighborhood magazine. It’s my dream job and it proves the adage IT IS NEVER TOO LATE. Of course, I am still blogging too; a little hard work never hurt anyone!
My advice for women who want to pursue their dream job later in life is:
- Be bold! Be confident and bold to share your talent with others. Tell employers why you are the best choice. We are so often too meek and I am here to say: go for it!
- Balance your confidence with humility and a desire to serve in the workplace. Shortly after I arrived at the publication, I would ask each individual, no matter their position, how I could help them. I let everyone know I was here to make their jobs better.
- Pick your battles wisely. Age does bring wisdom and it helps so much to be back in the workplace now. Wisdom means we do not overreact, and we show empathy for others while balancing that empathy with the bottom line for business success.
- Look at yourself as a mentor to younger employees. They need and often welcome the guidance.
The holidays are upon us—how are you celebrating? What traditions do you have?
I LOVE the holidays! It is a joyous time! And I love every song, meal, shopping… all of it! Christmas is my favorite time of year. I grieve on December 26.
My family always goes to church and then we have a large dinner on Christmas Eve. Everyone gets to open one gift. Then, on Christmas Day, we have a special breakfast, gift opening, and stockings for adult children and grandchildren. I have three grandchildren and I believe we all will be together this year… weather permitting!
What do you love about this moment in your life?
This moment in my life is just the best. I am doing work I love, enjoying my adult children, having fun with my husband, and being the coolest GIGI ever to Luke, Mathias, and Kinsley, which keeps me forever young. I love working hard. I love my audience for the magazines and my blog. I do not just have one Avis (DeVoto, the editor) to my Julia Child, I have many… how cool is that?
How do you feel about getting older—the good/bad/ugly?
We age and cannot stop it. I never let challenges hold me back. I embrace them!
Here are the facts:
- I have foot issues and can no longer wear heels, but there are the most beautiful flats on the market now! So much fun!
- I have a torn ear and can no longer wear earrings, but have you seen Chico’s necklaces and bracelets? They make such bold, creative statements. I do not miss my earrings.
- I have curves, but incredible designs like Juliet Pants, and Travelers styles fit my shape and make me look and feel amazing.
- I have aging eyes, but I am so in love with my new eyewear, it has become a part of my brand. I do not do photos without glasses.
- I pamper myself now! I matter. In the past I did not go for facials, manicures, or pedicures; but now, I do. Taking care of my skin is important.
- Finally, I have Osteoporosis and had never set foot in a gym until I was 60! The past three years has been about strength training. It is not easy, but has helped me so much. Confront your challenges head on and do not allow them to hold you back!
Life is short and goes by too quickly! Drink from the crystal glasses, eat on the fine china, place fresh flowers in your office and do not allow challenges to depress you or set you back!
Keep up with Pamela on her inspiring blog Over50Feeling40 here. All photos by Eber Guerrero.