The next small series of interviews are my last from San Francisco. These were originally done in Spanish (the Spanish text follows this English translation).

What did beauty mean to you when you were 20-29?

Cashew Fruit (nut on top)

[My beauty care] was natural because I was poor and did not know about creams. Then I drank only water and ate fruit. Everything which I ate was healthy because I grew up in Nicaragua’s countryside, in a tropical climate. I bathed everyday and sometimes twice because of the heat. I had a very clean skin given all this. I never used any cream. Until I married and my husband asked me to cut my hair [as it was fitting] for my better life. But I have always been proud of my hygienic habits. I am 80. I attribute this [i.e. my advanced age] to how one takes care of the body throughout life.

In addition I also exercise. In the last 10 years I have exercised here but now my knee limits my workout. But I always exercise. And I eat a very healthy diet. I do not smoke nor drink any liquor. Sometimes I have a beer when I go to Mexico because I do not decline anything there.

How important is beauty to you now? If different, why have your ideas of beauty  changed over the years?

I take care of myself more now than when I was young. Even here, I watch fashion shows at 80 and imagine myself walking down the runway, proud of myself.

Now I am going to do the same as when I was 20. And now I think more about dresses. I like going to the movies. And this change helps me.

There in Nicaragua I lived in the countryside. When I lived here I had five children and could not think of fashion. We had to pay for our kids’ schooling. There was no money for myself, just to cover the basics.  I did not spend much money, I could only afford some cream now and then, and that is all.

Now I have more money and I even pay for massage. I am rich. I like keeping up with fashion and dressing up charmingly. I take better care of myself.

I have three daughters and they help me dress up. They buy me clothes.

¿Qué significó para Ud. la belleza cuando tenía 20-29 años?

Era natural porque era pobre y no conocerá crema. Entonces yo tomaba agua. Comía fruta. Todo era saludable lo que comía porque me crié en campo en Nicaragua en una clima tropical. Entonces se baña todos los día y a veces dos veces por el calor. Y con la piel limpia y esta parece me ayuda. Pero nunca usé crema. Hasta me casé y mi esposo me mando cortarme el pelo para mi vida mejor. Pero siempre yo he vivido orgullosa de mi cultiva de limpia. Tengo 80 años. Yo atribuye a eso a lo que hace uno antes a mi se cuida el cuerpo.

Después de eso, hago ejercicio. Por 10 años hago ejercicio aquí pero ahora solo tengo un poquito la rodilla. Pero siempre hago ejercicio. Y como muy saludable. No fumo. No tomo licor. A veces, tomo una cerveza pero cuando voy a México porque no le hago asco a nada.

¿Qué significa para Ud. la belleza ahora? Si es diferente, ¿por qué han cambiado con los años sus ideas sobre la belleza?

Me cuida más ahora que cuando era joven. Hasta lo he sido aquí, miro los desfile de moda ahora a los ochenta y me imagino caminando orgullosa de mi.

Ahora voy a hacer lo mismo que cuando 20 años. Y ahora pienso más en los vestidos. Me gusta ir al cine. Y este cambio me ayuda.

Allá en Nicaragua, vivía en el campo. Cuando vivía aquí, tenía cinco hijos y no podía (pensar en moda). Tenemos que pagar a la escuela. No había dinero para mí. Vivía con los básicos. Y esta me ayuda porque esta contribuye en mis comprabas. No gastaba mucho dinero, solo me ponía alguna crema y nada mas.

Ahora tengo mas dinero y hasta pago para que me hagan masaje. Quedo rico. Tengo mas agudamente para modérame. Me gusta estar al día y vestirme, con mas charm y tengo un poco mas de cuidado.

Tengo tres hijas mujeres y ellas me ayudan a vestirme. Ellas me compran la ropa.

Rosa, 80

San Francisco



What did beauty mean to you when you were in your 20s?

I am sure it was very important to me, since I bleached my hair, blond and at that time I only used lipstick, no earrings, I don’t remember that. My mom always dressed well, so she wanted her girls to dress well too.

What does beauty mean to you now?

At this time, I like to look neat, clean and I usually buy from the thrift stores, but still wear make-up and keep my hair neat. Try not to eat many sweets and exercise for my heart, and a good feeling.  Still am bleaching my hair, not really blond, but more ash blond.  I want to stay trim so I can live longer and help my husband.

If different, why have your ideas about beauty  changed over the years?

I am not sure they are that much different, my attitude about the price of everything has changed, since I am paying for it, instead of my Mom.  I want to be an example to others to keep myself humble and not to overdress.  But I don’t think I ever did that.

Betsy, 70

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