Oleda Baker, still going strong at 76
By Donovan Ortega
As a career fashion model, Oleda Baker got a late start. She was 26 years old and living in Miami and decided–through prodding by her then mother-in-law–to move to New York and walk the glamorous runways.
“I was so naive then,” said Oleda, while sitting on her couch in her beautiful West Boca home. “I had no idea 26 was late to start modeling, so I just showed up at an agency without an appointment and said ‘I’m here!’”
Oleda was hired on the spot. The head of the agency notified her that from then on, she wasn’t 26, her modeling age was 19. So, even 50 years ago, Oleda Baker was defying her age. It is clear, after seeing her in person at the ripe age of 76, she hasn’t quit the routine.
Her skin is smooth and hair is perfectly tended. Her figure is slim. Her teeth: white and straight. Her posture is impeccable. She still struts like a model on the cat walk. And she is 76 years old.
“If I can’t look the part, then my customers won’t have trust in me,” she said, in reference to her beauty product line called “Oleda”.
She explains that her looks aren’t a burden, but an enjoyable challenge. She’s made her personal appearance a part of her daily routine.
“I like to have good skin. I enjoy eating right. I work for that,” said Oleda. “I believe in doing everything the easy way. If I don’t gain a lot of weight then I don’t have to work very hard to take it off.”
But if there’s one thing Oleda does do, it’s work hard. Her career has been long and varied. She has written 10 health and beauty books, one of which came out in November to rave reviews. The book is called, “Breaking the Age Barrier,” and it is filled with many of Oleda’s tried and true beauty secrets. She pens a weekly column published in the Boca Raton Tribune. She has a line of beauty products that bear her name. She’s even authored one novel called, ”Reluctant Goddess”.
“I’ll give you a copy of the novel, but it might be to steamy for you,” said a smiling Oleda.
“I read her novel and I asked her to marry me,” quipped her husband, Richard DiMeola, who couldn’t help but over hear the question in the next room.
DiMeola walked into the living room and sat down. He got comfortable and I asked him what it’s like being married to Oleda.
“It’s a hoot,” said DiMeola while laughing. “When people see me they say ‘there goes Oleda’s husband’! But really, it’s just a joy.”
DiMeola has been in the cigar business for forty-five years and at this point in his career, he seems comfortable taking a back seat to Oleda’s many projects. That’s a good thing, because it doesn’t sound like she plans on stopping.
“I’m a hyper person. I like to finish projects so I can start new ones,” said Oleda.
One of her more recent endeavors is painting. She has a studio next to her home office. She paints fanciful nature scenes and portraits, and describes herself as a visionary artist. One of her more popular paintings is called, “The Husband Grows Older”. It shows a husband and bride on their wedding day. But, there are five images of the husband shown in varying states of aging and only one image of the bride. The bride remains young. That painting could be an analogy for, maybe, every single man Oleda has ever known .
“That’s a very chauvinistic painting,” he deadpanned.
And then we walked out of the studio and Oleda playfully smacked her husband on the rear. DiMeola turned around and smiled smugly.
“Do you see what I have to put up with?”
What’s next for Oleda? Well, she couldn’t tell you specifically, but she has a feeling there’s something new around the corner.
“I don’t think there has ever been just one thing I wanted to do,” said Oleda. ” I’ve always felt there’s something more, there’s something else. I don’t look for doors, I just see them and walk through.”
Oleda is founder and CEO of Oleda and Company, Inc., her 38-year-old anti-aging products company for skin, hair, diet, energy, nutritional supplement products as well as special makeup. www.oleda.com. firstname.lastname@example.org
Oleda’s latest book, “BREAKING THE AGE BARRIER Great Looks and Health at Every Age,” can be seen on www.oleda.com.