Beauty and Life Secrets of My Top 12 Divas

“Who do you admire? Who can we trust these days? Who is a true example of feminine courage and wisdom? Our elders are our best leaders. These are my top 12 feminine idols, and they might surprise you. Each one offers meaningful wisdom for a long life of health and integrity. Age brings out our true nature. Nothing can be hidden anymore. When time takes away the glamour, spotlights, and youth, what’s left? Very few women can survive years in the public eye and come out with wisdom for the rest of us. Hollywood has simply vanished. Many of our favorite idols have disappeared. Some just expired from stressful lifestyle. Others fell by the wayside in disgrace, addiction, drugs, trafficking, murder, illegal beauty treatments, botched plastic surgery, blood rituals, or abusive relationships. However, there are still a few dames who hold my respect.

This article is also an experiment in photo montage with apps like Canva, Instatoon, Clip2Comic, and Picsketch. Enjoy!

Now that the movie industry seems to be in silent hiatus, these 12 divas stand out as pinnacles of inner and outer beauty. Each one is a powerful role model of how to be yourself. Many ladies didn’t make the cut, I won’t mention their names. However, these top 12 stand out! I’d put any of these gals on a pedestal. There are very few women who share these traits:

  • Stand the test of time with strength and dignity.
  • Accept the fate of growing old with grace wisdom.
  • Offer something unique of their own deepest nature.
  • Offers a high-integrity example of how to live with grace, beauty, and wisdom.

How many famous women can you name that have these qualities?

Shirley MacLaine

Beautiful, smart, honest, fearless, sharp tongued, spiritual, funny, flexible, resilient, passionate, inspired, perfectionist, deep, independent thinker.

Shirley Maclaine’s astonishing career spans seven decades. She has been widely admired and criticized for her frank words and her interest in spirit.

“No one asks beauty secrets of me, or ‘What size do you wear?’ or ‘Who’s your couturier?’ They ask me about really deep things and I love that!”

Full of surprises, Shirley is honest with herself and strives to learn from each experience. She says she “delights in reading her worst reviews. We learn more about how we can be better.” 

Regarding current world political and social polarization, MacLaine says “Honesty in general is what America needs. We’re going through an awful lot of study and self-investigation. Many relationships are breaking up about what’s going on in Washington. Nobody knows what to make of it. Maybe it’s a good idea to shake things up. Truth would be better than lies.”

“Spiritual and psychic energetic changes in the world create a sense of acceleration. People don’t know what is happening. This has to do with the 26,000-year cycle called the Precession of the Equinoxes, which is a threshold to a new beginning. The pressure that many feel has to do with our awakening. It’s all about choosing to wake up to your true self.”

“The most profound relationship we’ll ever have is the one with ourselves.”

Shirley has been criticized for being too direct and even harsh in her words. Being outspoken as an ingenue is cute, however as a older woman, people hear it as rough and negative. I don’t agree. Shirley has seen a lot in her life, and she doesn’t need to mince words. I salute her fearless humor and sharp tongue. Wise honesty is exactly what we need now in the world, and it may not be easy to hear. Here are parting words of advice to strong women.

“Speak in a Lower Voice to Gain Confidence” “I would suggest you try lowering your voice. In the act of lowering your voice, you’re going to activate other pieces of awareness in your system.”

“Don’t Think About Life in Terms of Wins and Losses” “I don’t really regret much in my life. I’ve evaluated everything as more of a teaching than whether it was a failure,” MacLaine said. She truly does seem to take things in stride. Shirley Maclaine lives mostly in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

“Explore the Unknown” “I’m basically a mystic” she says. MacLaine has long been a believer in “soul science”. She believes in reincarnation and connections with a spiritual world. When she was in her 60s, the actress hiked the El Camino and even wrote a book, Camino: A Journey of the Spirit, about her trip. MacLaine says of her profound experience:

“Sometimes, the female knows more about how to evolve and survive than the male does.” 

Princess Diana

Diana is above all kind. She is also honest, secretive, pensive, smart, sensitive, good-hearted, generous, beautiful, and dearly loved.

In 1981 Diana married Charles, Prince of Wales and would have been the next queen. However, both their lives took a different direction. Diana’s beauty and humanitarian activism made her an international icon. The marriage suffered from Charles’s relationship with Camilla Parker. Through the saga, Diana endured constant public scrutiny. To the chagrin of the royal family, Diana embraced humanitarian causes worldwide, particularly those of AIDS and landmines, both of which had political implications. She risked her life for these causes in Africa, from destroying landmines to shattering the stigma against AIDS and leprosy victims. Diana was committed to helping the common people she loved.

While Princess Diana suffered many painful experiences during her short life, she always knew that a smile was the only way to share beauty of her heart. Diana also had a spiritual side. She said:

“I’m aware that people I have loved and have died and are in the spirit world looking after me.”

Princess Diana is perhaps one of the most political, non-political figures in history, beloved the world over. Amid a stormy relationship with the royal family, Diana and Prince Charles separated in 1992. They were formally divorced in August 1996, a year after she famously said in an interview: “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” In 1997 Diana was killed under suspicious circumstances in a car accident in Paris, France. Her legacy endures as a loving, compassionate humanitarian.

Tina Turner

Explosive, determined, beautiful, abused, abandoned, creative, kind, versatile, energetic, spiritual, positive, strong.

Tina Turner is an American icon—a remarkably versatile creative artist whose career has spanned over 60 years. The winner of eight Grammy Awards, Turner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 and received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2005.

Tina has overcome domestic abuse, discrimination, professional setbacks, life-threatening illness, and devastating personal loss. She credits credited her practice of Nichiren Buddhism as the source of her hope for a better world and her determination to overcome every obstacle in her life. Says Tina: “It wasn’t a good life. I had an abusive life, there’s no other way to tell the story. When that’s what you’ve got, you have to accept it.”

Tina Turner is a Buddhist. She discovered Nichiren Buddhism in 1973, distressed and exhausted from domestic abuse, when one day a young sound engineer said something different: “Tina, you should try chanting. It will help you change your life.”

Tina said later: “I believe we all have the potential for permanent happiness. We are born with everything we need to be joyful. We must simply tap into it. To me, a truly happy life means feeling optimistic and confident, no matter what circumstances we may face. We always have a choice. We know that our inner wisdom can guide us to make positive choices.”

Chanting sounded like it was probably more for college students than a mother in her thirties like me, so I put it out of my mind. A couple of months after that, my youngest son, Ronnie, came home carrying what looked like a rosary but was actually Buddhist chanting beads. He said he’d been chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo at a friend’s house up the street and asked me to go there with him to a chanting meeting. “You could say that chanting is a kind of spiritual performing art.”

I’m an American. My way of communicating with Mother Nature and the universe simply changed vocabulary from Baptist to Buddhist. The language of Buddhism works for me. And as I’ve learned about the world’s religions and philosophies, I’ve seen common threads shared between them all. It’s important to celebrate both—to find unity in diversity—which is what my Buddhist practice guides me to do.

Tina has lived in Switzerland for decades. She recently married Erwin Bach, a 57-year-old German record company executive they have been together for 27 years. Tt was a lavish, star-studded celebration at Turner’s Swiss villa on Lake Zurich.

“I credit my spiritual practice with getting me safely through turbulent, sometimes frightening times.”

“Little by little, my practice has brought out my courage to break away and live an independent life on my own”.

Cate Blanchett

Beautiful, versatile, smart, practical, intelligent, deep, talented, independent, honest, deep, wise.

Everyone asks Cate how she takes care of her skin. She says: “Put your skin first . nourish it from the inside out with healthy food and supplements. I don’t care if looking after my skin makes me look silly! My morning routine is second nature to me, like brushing my teeth. ” Cate wears a moisturizing mask for air travel. “I usually wait till the lights are out. If you leave it on for a while, you realize how dehydrating the plane is – after 20 minutes, it goes completely dry.” She takes a quality supplement to give everything her body needs. “I started to take vitamins and supplements and I noticed a huge change in my skin, hair, and nails after six months.”

On surgery and invasive beauty treatments, she says: “Some women might want to ‘fix’ their appearance with surgical intervention, but it’s not my thing. For me, it’s about looking the best you can at whatever age. There’s a big difference between altering your appearance and trying to work with what you got. My philosophy is to work with what you’ve got.

Take care of your microbiome and reduce stress. “A teaspoon of apple cider vinegar every morning makes you feel clean—it’s good for your gut. You get used to it. It makes your system more alkaline.

“Stress makes your body so acidic, and stress ain’t good for nothing. So, you’ve got to find those little moments where you can literally just stop and take a breath.”

Blanchett encourages open and honest conversations about the importance of media scrutiny and not immediately believing every juicy headline or tweet. “So much of our so-called information comes through social media. I’m old enough to have been taught at school what a primary, secondary, and tertiary source is. I say to my children when they mention something, ‘Where did you read it? Who authenticated that?’ You have to learn how to read an image and article. If you’re going to share it, you’d better make doubly sure you have checked the sources.”

Woman are leaders. Women have the capacity to lead with truth in our own bodies. Cate believes women should trust their innate female genius and look to their feminine yonis for guidance. “That’s the vagina.” She actually said this incendiary word on network television, with a twinkle in her eye and absolute confidence in her body, as if she were sitting on a huge secret to living a true life. Maybe we all need a moral compass, and we can find it right in our feminine body.

Marilyn Monroe

Creative, resilient, persistent, resourceful, beautiful, adaptable, passionate, tender, delicate, innocent, smart, manipulating, secretive, playful, powerful, independent thinker, NOT a dumb blonde.

We all loved Marilyn Monroe. She was always ready to enhance her image as a sex icon with inventive tricks and events. Like the skirt-blowing trick. Like her carefully sculpted outfits around a flawless figure. She knew what she was capable of, and she pulled off a miraculous feat, of creating a mystique around herself as sexual icon of the century. Marilyn had many secrets and tricks. For example, she was known to sew marbles into her bra to ensure a permanent hard-nipple effect.

Marilyn’s Monroe’s early life was traumatic. She became a ward of the state due to her mother’s paranoid schizophrenia. She moved through foster homes where she was sexually abused, withdrawn and developed a stutter. Her life included periods of nervous depression, lack of sleep, drugs, and emotional pain.

“Make your brows a focal point!  Marilyn’s signature dark brown eyebrows had sharp angles, in contrast to her skin and blond hair. Eyebrows subtly focus attention on the eyes. You can fill them in with a pencil and control misbehaving hairs with gel or clear mascara.

“Keep your skin hydrated. If you keep your skin soft, you might find it radiant enough to skip makeup.”

To keep her skin tight and firm, Marilyn would shock her body with ice baths. To avoid breakouts, she would wash her face four to five times a day. For that radiant glow on her skin, she would slather on coats of olive oil, Vaseline and Nivea face cream. All this gave her the famous glowing white skin.

Embrace your flaws. Marilyn Monroe had lots of flaws. Instead of seeing her features as imperfections, she found the beauty in their uniqueness. “I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”  She could have been a boring “girl next door”, but instead she made herself into a legend. Marilyn refused to wax her heavy peach fuzz “beard” because she said the fuzz gave her face a softness in photos, without using special softening lenses.

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”

Marilyn on spending time alone: “Finding solace in one’s loneliness is extremely important. If, in pain, you surround yourself with people, it wouldn’t be possible to recover and restore from it. Yet once you are alone, you get to spend time with yourself. You get the time to gain insights from within your mind and also the time to introspect. Thus, staying alone can heal you wonderfully!

Kindness was in Marilyn’s nature. When Ella Fitzgerald’s career was just beginning, and the Harlem club’s owner felt she was too heavyset, Marilyn approached him with a proposition — if he booked Fitzgerald, she promised to sit at the front of the house every night and to bring along other celebrities. Monroe kept her word to sit up front, and Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland showed up on opening night. Fitzgerald’s shows sold out, and Ella soon moved on to more important venues.

  • “Fear is stupid. So are regrets.”
  • “I don’t mind living in a man’s world as long as I can be a woman in it.”
  • “Keep smiling, because life is a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.”
  • “We don’t have to be perfect, or even close to it, to deserve love.”

Marilyn Monroe was no dumb blonde. As a famous icon she challenged the movie studio system, which had decided to crank out formula films quickly and cheaply. This would ensure studios’ absolute power over key actors and combat the invasion of television. Instead, Marilyn set up her own independent movie studio dedicated to making “quality films”, a direct chagrin to Fox’s shallow, superficial movies.

Marilyn Monroe died in 1962 amid speculation and suspicions ranging from Fox’s financial stress, mounting pressure from the blockbuster film “Cleopatra”, to her relationship with the Kennedy brothers, which were rumored but never substantiated. She was 35 years old. Although it was officially ruled a suicide, suspicious circumstances surrounding her death are a testimony to the power she wielded in the movie industry.

“It’s all make-believe, isn’t it?” – Marilyn

Mae West

Funny, beautiful, mature, outspoken, sagacious, bawdy, outrageous, rebellious, sultry, sexy, generous, big heart, defiant, living life as a theater, a whore with an iron will, and shimmy queen on the dance floor!

Mae West was an American stage and film actress, playwright, screenwriter, singer, and sex symbol whose entertainment career spanned over seven decades. She was known for her breezy sexual independence, and her lighthearted bawdy double entendres, often delivered in a husky contralto voice. She was active in vaudeville and on stage in New York City before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the film industry. She lived 1893 – 1980.

Mae West was boss wherever she went. She intuitively understood that sex, controversy and a juicy arrest could be a great career. She created a persona we will never forget. Mae West also tapped into the deep feminine mystique through the back door of sexual humor. As if she understood the irresistible appeal to a man’s “little brother” Johnson, and how to make it stand up at attention. All in fun.

Mae West married at 17, then bolted, preferring many paramours to one husband. She particularly enjoyed frolicking with muscle-bound men, like boxers and weightlifters, and dangerous men, like gangsters and bootleggers. “I would not conform to the old-fashioned limits they had set on a woman’s freedom of action,” she wrote in her 1959 memoir. “I saw no indecency or perversion in the normal private habits of men and women.”

West was one of the most controversial movie stars of her day. She bucked the system by making comedy out of conventional mores, and the Depression-era audience admired her for it. When her film career ended, she wrote books and plays, and continued to perform and recorded rock ‘n roll albums. In 1999, the American Film Institute posthumously voted West the 15th greatest female screen legend of classic American cinema.

Mae West on Censorship “I believe in censorship. If a picture of mine didn’t get an X rating, I’d be insulted,” West said. “Imagine censors who wouldn’t let you sit in a man’s lap. I’ve been in more laps than a napkin.”

Mae West had a big heart. She enjoyed a little eating place in the San Fernando Valley. When she learned the owner had to vacate, because of non-payment of a mortgage, Mae West paid off what was left and handed the deeds to the woman. • • “Why shouldn’t I?” replied Mae. “I wanted to keep on eating there, didn’t I?”

“Mae West courted excitement,” wrote her biographer, Emily Wortis Leider. “She loved big cities, form-fitting clothes, lipstick, jazz, sex in taxis, intrigue, gun-toting bootleggers, boxers lathered in sweat, and cops who read her the riot act.”

Sex played to packed houses and became “a whacking hit,” critic Robert Benchley lamented, “solely because the papers had said that it was ‘vulgar’ and ‘bold’ and because someone had the genius to think of its name.”

Mae rewrote her own lines. She insisted on rewriting her lines to make them funnier and sexier. She did the same with song lyrics. She wanted everything to fit the persona she had created for herself—a sassy, sexy, wisecracking New York hussy who craved men but shunned marriage. That persona was an exaggeration, but not by much.

West’s famous quotes were exchanged in bars and bathrooms all over the country.

  • “When I’m good, I’m very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better.”
  • “It’s not the men in your life, it’s the life in your men.”
  • “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.”
  • “Is that a pistol in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?”

Mae West endured many arrests after her Broadway performances. She just played the courtroom too. “I enjoyed the courtroom as just another stage,” she said, “but not so amusing as Broadway.”

Mae West died in 1980, at the age of 87. By then, the battle against censorship on stage and screen had been won, thanks mostly to her. She showed that a woman could not only talk about sex but joke about it. She also pioneered the art of using sex, outrageousness and controversy as a means of career enhancement, leading the way for countless performers like Janet Jackson, Annie Sprinkle and Lady Gaga, and Madonna.

Josephine Baker

Resilient, beautiful smile, creative, inventive, daring, courageous, kind, generous, wise, a woman who lived her dream, smart cookie that understood the value of life,

Josephine Baker was a black American-born French entertainer. She was also an underground agent for the French Resistance civil rights movement. In her adopted country France, she was the first black woman to star in a major motion picture. During her early career in the 1920s Josephine moved to France to become one of the most celebrated performers of the famous Folies Bergère in Paris. In her first show-stopping appearance she was dressed in a single ostrich feather that hardly barely covered her body.

Later in 1927 she became famous for the “banana dance” wearing little more than a skirt made of 16 bananas. The show was wildly popular with Parisian audiences and Baker was soon among the most popular and highest-paid performers in Europe. Josephine became the iconic image of the Jazz Age and the Roaring Twenties.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, she lived from 1906 – 1975.  Josephine spent her youth in poverty before learning to dance and finding success on Broadway. and soon became one of Europe’s most popular and highest-paid performers. Due to poor treatment of black entertainers in the US, she renounced her U.S. citizenship and became a French national.

Baker worked for the French Resistance, at times smuggling messages hidden in her sheet music and even in her underwear. For these efforts, at the war’s end, Baker was awarded both the Croix de Guerre and the Legion of Honor with the rosette of the Resistance, two of France’s highest military honors. Baker is also noted for her contributions to the civil rights movement and she refused to perform for segregated audiences in the US.

After WWII in 1947, she married French orchestra leader Jo Bouillon, and began to adopt babies from around the world. She adopted 12 children in all, creating what she referred to as her “rainbow tribe” and her “experiment in brotherhood.” She often invited people to their French estate to see these children, to demonstrate that people of different races could in fact live together harmoniously.

Josephine Baker’s radiant sense of humor shines in these quotes: 

  • “I like Frenchmen very much, because even when they insult you they do it so nicely.”
  • “Since I personified the savage on the stage, I tried to be as civilized as possible in daily life.”
  • “The secret to the fountain of youth is to think youthful thoughts.”
  • “To realize our dreams, we must decide to wake up.”

Tao Porchon-Lynch

She’s cheerful, full of energy, determined, one-pointed, uplifting to be with, loves to share. Who else would sit in full lotus position wearing stiletto heels?

Tao Porchon-Lynch was a lively and healthy lady of French-Indian background, Yoga teacher, and ballroom dancer. Long after many of her peers had retired, Tao was an active yoga master teaching six to eight classes a week in New York almost up to the end of her life. Tao won many prizes and accolades for her dancing. Tao is a cheerful person with a beautiful and gentle smile on her face. Her principle is to let the sunshine into life in order to unfold our full human potential. Born in 1918, Tao passed away in in February, 2020 at the age of 101.

Staying active was her key to a long, fulfilling life. She was also a vegetarian, but when asked if she thought the diet contributed to her impressive age, she shrugged. “Maybe,” she said. “I don’t believe in getting old. In America, look how many beautiful trees are hundreds of years old. They are losing leaves but they are not dying—they are recycling. In a few months, spring will start up again. You can learn so much from nature.”

Tao’s 5 Rules for a Long, Happy Life

  • Don’t procrastinate—tomorrow never comes.
  • You can’t believe in something if you only do it halfway.
  • Each day, whatever is in your mind materializes.
  • Never think about what can go wrong. I know my best day is every day.
  • If you wait for something good to happen, it will. Don’t look for tragedy.

Tao’s daily mantra is “There Is Nothing You Cannot Do”. Every new day is for her a new challenge to become better and more creative. As she states it: “When I wake up in the morning, I say to myself, ‘this is going to be the best day of my life’. I don’t want to wake up and think, ‘oh I have to do this, oh I have to do that’. I don’t believe in that at all. I really and truly believe, that whatever you put in your mind materializes.”

What we should do is to harness the power within us. In her yoga lessons she teaches discipline and control of the body and mind. According to her yoga philosophy, what we should do while we practice a certain yoga position is to:

“Tap into the primal spark of energy that all of us receive from the universe. This is something that every human being can do irrespective of religious beliefs. And this is what connects us with the rest forms of life on our planet.”

How yoga has enlightened her life: “Yoga taught me first, how to breathe, how to look at things in life, don’t jump to conclusions – feel what’s going on inside of you and determine if it’s worth spending time bemoaning things that seem wrong. I don’t want to sit there and think about the bad things that have happened. I am only interested in what I can do.”

Gwynneth Paltrow

She is generous, kind, intelligent, feminine, wise, considerate, balanced, sensual, thoughtful, private.

“I find that generosity is the best way to metabolize the fear that many of us feel during this time,” 

Eat This, Not THAT! “Your metabolism does slow as you get older. To stay in shape, I have to be more careful. But I also don’t seem to care as much as I did.” We appreciate the honesty.

“I really am a smoothie person. I love making a morning smoothie. Gwyneth’s detoxifying morning mix contains mushroom protein powder and cordyceps mushrooms, famous for anti-aging properties.

If you’re doing my GOOP Detox diet, get ready to cut back, WAY back. The detox diet calls for eliminating caffeine, alcohol, dairy, gluten, corn, refined sugar, shellfish, white rice, eggs, nightshades (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, potatoes),  and soy (although fermented gluten-free soy products, like miso and tamari are allowed in small amounts).

Detox Detox Detox “I take a detoxifying bath every night in regular epsom salts, which is great for skin and purity of skin and relaxation to get all the energy of the day off,”. And if you’ve got a little extra time on your hands, slather on a natural food mask, like mashed avocado, banana, or cucumber for an instant rejuvenating glow. Detox is about removing environmental toxins where you can. You try to figure out whether particular foods cause problems for you.

Cardiovascular Exercise is for the skin “I believe, for me, doing some cardiovascular exercise every day is really good for my skin for detoxification and skin tone and color,”  Walking is a great form of cardiovascular exercise. Maybe even better than going ot a fitness club. “You just have to decide to be the weirdo walking,”.

“Beauty is all about loving yourself. Beauty comes from within. It’s how you feel about yourself and how you express love and respect for yourself.

Keep Makeup Minimal Choose makeup products that have a short ingredient list and are free of toxic chemicals and additives.

Wellness is How you Feel! Wellness fundamentals are always the same: to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages, to do meditation, to exercise, and eat foods rich in nutrients. “For me, as I go through the aging process, I realize it’s less about, ‘Oh, I have this wrinkle, am I going to fix it or not?’ and more about, ‘Do I feel vibrant?'” she explained.

“I would never want to go back to my 20s or 30s. I know myself better. I like myself and I am so grateful for the wisdom that comes with age,”

Jessye Norman

Majestic, statuesque, generous, enormous spirit, energetic, capable, strong, disciplined, powerful, pensive, direct, honest, huge-hearted, independent, kind, wounded.

Jessye Norman (1945 –2019) was an American opera singer and recitalist. She was a commanding presence on operatic, concert and recital stages, Norman was able to perform many types of dramatic soprano roles, and refused to be limited to any voice type.

Norman was widely respected for recitals and recordings of music by Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Ernest Chausson and Francis Poulenc, among others. In 1984, she won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo, the first of five Grammy Awards that she would collect during her career. Apart from several honorary doctorates and other awards, she received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Medal of Arts, the Légion d’honneur, and was named a member of the British Royal Academy of Music. In 1990, UN Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar named her Honorary Ambassador to the United Nations.

“I sing in languages that I speak. So when I’m singing a Schubert song, I know precisely what every word means and, you know, when it was composed and who was the poet and all of that and whether Strauss or Wagner or French Belioz, Duparc or Debussy or whatever.”

Norman was suckled in a musical family and a rich environment of gospel music, which apparently touched her heart and was always present in her love for expression. At a time when the unspoken rule for black singers was a long and arduous road with no guarantees of success in a music industry that was critical of women’s bodies and hostile toward any black singer. African American soprano Jessye Norman, sang with so much passion and freedom, she blew away these industry rules. At a time when opera house make-up artists expected to use whitening paste on the skin of black artists, Jessye did her own makeup.

Jessye sang only the roles and the recital music she loved. As a tall, imposing black woman she defied the logic of opera impresarios and concert-hall managers. She loved to sing a huge variety of composers such as Béla Bartók. Leos Janácek. Henry Purcell. Richard Strauss. Igor Stravinsky. Richard Wagner. Arnold Schoenberg.  There were no other opera divas, white or black, that could sing this wide variety. Yet, she succeeded with such determination and grace that it rattled the industry. Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs, 1948) have never been the same since she performed them.

To describe Jessye Norman’s singing is really impossible in words. Her huge spirit, her enormous voice, and her endless passion for life was enthralling. She mesmerized audiences the world over.

Audrey Hepburn

Kind, aristocratic, graceful, talented, childlike, charming, wise, intelligent, loving, gentle, funny, lovable, delicate.

Audrey Hepburn (1929 –1993) was a British beauty icon, actress, and humanitarian. She was ranked by the American Film Institute as the third-greatest female screen legend from the Classical Hollywood cinema and was inducted into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame. Born in Belgium, she grew up in Brussels, England, and the Netherlands. Hepburn had an aristocratic upbringing. Her mother was a Baroness and Dutch noblewoman. Her father was a British consul and Nazi sympathizer. She studied ballet and performed as a chorus girl. She rose to stardom in the romantic comedy Roman Holiday (1953) with Gregory Peck.

Audrey Hepburn’s Hollywood career spanned nearly five decades and included some of the most beloved films of all time. Born in 1929 in Belgium, Hepburn rocketed to stardom when she was cast opposite Gregory Peck in the classic Roman Holiday, going on to even bigger success in such films as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sabrina, and My Fair Lady.

Audrey Hepburn was extremely thin. Growing up during WWII in the Netherlands, Hepburn grappled with digestive problems her whole life. An eating disorder from near starvation led to her slim physique, with its roots dating back to malnutrition and near-starvation. Hepburn’s wartime hunger led her to “resent” food and treat hunger like something to be controlled. “I decided to master food; I told myself I didn’t need it,” “Of course, I took it to an extreme,” Hepburn added. “I forced myself to eliminate the need for food.”  Hepburn was a teenager eating rarely and when she did eat, it was a diet consisting of lettuce, peas, and tulip bulbs.

Hepburn fought the Nazis as a member of the Dutch resistance. In 1935, when Hepburn was six years old, her parents divorced after it became known that her father was a known Nazi sympathizer. She watched friends, neighbors, and even her beloved Uncle Otto arrested and then executed, she experienced survivor’s guilt that likely contributed to her complex feelings about food and decision to skip meals. “Why was I spared when so many others were not?” Hepburn said. “I asked myself over and over…”

Top beauty icon for decades, Hepburn’s biggest beauty tip is simple

“Remain hydrated, which will keep the skin regenerated and plump. She insisted to everybody to drinking a lot of water. Hydration is so important for the support of everything,”

She was a lifelong introvert that could speak five languages. Hepburn once said she has to, “be alone very often. I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.” And she could speak five languages,  English, Spanish, French Dutch, and Italian.

She never considered herself a style icon. As one of the most effortless and enviable style and beauty icons of all time: Hepburn herself never considered herself that, and was once quoted saying that her appearance, “is accessible to everyone. With hair tied in a bun, big sunglasses and black dress, every woman can look like me.”.

She was a UNICEF ambassador for 38 years. After having spent almost 40 years working for the foundation, Hepburn became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1989, and received a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work.

“The ‘Third World’ is a term I don’t like very much, because we’re all one world. I want people to know that the largest part of humanity is suffering.”

Hepburn passed away at the age of 63. Hepburn was diagnosed with abdominal cancer at the age of 62 and her life was tragically cut short after being diagnosed with cancer


Amelita Galli-Curci

Independent, intelligent, passionate, gifted, wise, world-traveler, spiritual, private, wise, professional, big-hearted.

Amelita Galli-Curci (1882 1963) was an Italian coloratura soprano. She toured widely in Europe, Russia, South America, and the US.  She was one of the outstanding operatic sopranos of her time.

 She was renowned for her vocal agility. Her vocal technique was impeccable and to this day she remains one of the shining examples of exquisite vocal phrasing and overall polish. Just pop in a recording all you hear is pure vocal gold. Her interpretations are radically different from modern-day, owing mainly to the era of her stardom, and yet they can never be defined as outdated. Known for her bird-like vocal qualities, there is still a lot to be said for the way that Galli-Curci infuses her sound with a tremor-like quality in the opening lines of this recording, giving off the eerie feeling of a woman gone mad.

Amelita Galli-Curci made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Violetta in La Traviata. The opening-night review, “Surely no other role reveals her own peculiar powers, histrionic as well as vocal, to greater advantage; none permits her to disclose more affectingly the characteristic delicacy of her art, the essentially feminine charm of her persuasions.” She uses her own idiosyncratic ornaments, in excellent taste and appropriate to the emotionality of the phrase. Just listen for yourself.

Galli Curci lived in Italy, India, and the USA. Galli Curci was a devoted direct disciple of Yoga master Paramhansa Yogananda. She wrote the foreword to Yogananda’s “Whispers from Eternity” . Yogananda described Amelita Galli-Curci’s spiritual singing saying. “She is soaring in God.”

 A passionate advocate of meditation, Galli Curci wrote the forward to Yogananda’s book:

“In Whispers from Eternity, by our Swami Yogananda, we are taught to pray to our Heavenly Father by demanding instead of begging, and thus not limit ourselves to the law of beggary. The Swami explains in the beginning why all our prayers are not answered All the property belonging to a father can be claimed by his son, but not by a beggar. That is why the Swami tells us that in order to demand, we must first revive our forgotten identity with the Father by deep meditation, and that we must learn to remember by right living that God made us in His image.

“In this sacred book we are shown how to resurrect dead, old-fashioned prayers, and through their living qualities bring response from the silent Almighty. Instead of parroting dead prayers, we learn to saturate them with God-invoking love.” 

About Jane:
Jane Barthelemy is a writer, intuitive medium, channel, and energy healer from Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has over 50 years experience in Kundalini and Buddhist meditation. She earned an MBA and worked as CFO of the original Rudi’s Bakery for 10 years. Her life path followed many careers including opera primadonna in Italy and owner of a Venetian glass jewelry company. Serious health challenges led her to teach Yoga, Qigong, Taichi, Daoist sexuality, and to write two healthy cookbooks: “Paleo Desserts” and “Good Morning Paleo”. Her healthy food & lifestyle website won the 2021 CEO Magazine award for the “Best Healthy Food & Lifestyle Blog – North America”. Her upcoming books include: “Heal Your Past Lives” and “Buddha Speaks – Channeled Conversations with the Master”. She is married to Lama D from Bhutan. They live in Bali where they offer retreats and classes at this website:

4 Replies to "Beauty and Life Secrets of My Top 12 Divas"

  • comment-avatar
    Johana December 4, 2021 (7:48 pm)

    Fun to hear about some influential women that I’ve never heard of before. I like the way each of them had a very simple perspective on life and beauty. Nothing too complicated, just very authentically who they are. Lovely idea, so glad you created it for us all.

    • comment-avatar
      Jane Barthelemy December 5, 2021 (5:24 pm)

      Hello dear Johana, Thank you for your kind words. This one was really interesting for me too! Best wishes for your delicious health! Jane

  • comment-avatar
    Carol G December 3, 2021 (6:32 am)

    We need more inspiration such as this, especially now. I keep a board on Pinterest just for articles like this so I can go back to them to recharge every now and then. Thanks!

    • comment-avatar
      Jane Barthelemy December 4, 2021 (1:47 am)

      Hi Carol, Thanks for your comment. Writing this article was challenging, humbling, life-changing, and inspiring. Ha Ha! Best wishes to you! Jane

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