At 70 years old, this Instagram influencer shows that it is never too late| Trending Viral hub

“It’s Never Too Late” is a series that tells the stories of people who decide to pursue their dreams on their own terms.


Lyn Slater will be the first to tell you that her life has been a series of happy accidents and purposeful metamorphoses.

“As I am constantly reinventing myself, my life is always a surprise. I am an improvisational person. I don’t plan. “I’m very in the moment,” said Slater, 70, a former professor of social work at Fordham University in New York. “That thought has been very useful to me. “It has created endless adventures, surprises, incredible friendships and deep learning.”

Indeed.

In 2014, I was taking some creative classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan. Her teacher in a class on opening a vintage clothing store suggested she start a fashion blog. Ms. Slater, who is from Dobbs Ferry in suburban Westchester County and moved to New York City in the mid-1990s, thought, “Why not?” She had always had a passion and talent for style and was often mistaken for being part of the fashion industry. She thought she would focus on the blog and that topic.

“I dressed in a way that people didn’t expect. I was very avant-garde, I dressed in a minimalist look, in black and white. I used Japanese consignment store designers, like Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto,” she explained. “I dressed the way I felt and to convey an identity.”

After a classmate suggested she call herself Accidental Icon, Ms. Slater took the title and acquired a Web page and blog domain using that name. He posted three times a week, usually composing introspective articles about clothes and designers, and the integral role those two subjects played in her life. She would often wear a piece of clothing and write an essay “about the designer’s inspiration and how I felt wearing it,” she said.

The accompanying photographs were taken by his longtime partner, Calvin Lom, 66, a retired cyclotron engineer. (Today the couple lives in Peekskill, New York) A five-year stint as a sought-after fashion influencer: @iconaccidental on Instagram: it was his next big running pace.

Then came the identity crisis and loss of self.

Their triumphs, transformations and misfortunes, without forgetting their truths, are told in their book, “How to Be Old: Lessons for Living Bravely from the Accidental Icon,” to be published in March by Plume, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

“The book is a collection of essays that began when I turned 60 in 2013 to the present moment,” Ms. Slater said. “It is a book about reinvention and things I have learned. How I became an accidental icon and experiences that happened to me. It culminates when I have this crisis of values.”

(The following interview has been edited and condensed.)

How did you go from being a full-time social worker to Accidental Icon?

In 2014 I was doing very heavy work that focused on trauma, child and sexual abuse, and the child welfare system. I needed to do something creative, because for me that saves my life. Teachers and people told me I had great style. When the blog suggestion came up, I wanted to delve deeper into it. I was always interested in clothes and fashion. Clothes have always manifested who I want to be. I thought, “Okay. I can do that. I know how to make a website. “I can make this happen.”

How did you know what to focus on?

There was a great void for women my age, who were like me, urban, intellectual and committed to their lives and careers. The blog I wanted to write did not exist. I wanted to engage with a community of women who wanted to think and talk about fashion as a way of expressing identity. I never had a target market.

You quickly gained a lot of attention and amassed almost a million followers on your social media platforms. How did that happen?

My writing was my authenticity. The blog really was my impetus to be a writer. I became more visible in the world. I transitioned from blogging to working predominantly on instagram and make sponsored posts. He did a Valentino campaign and then an international one with Mango, a Spanish brand aimed at a younger consumer. The fact that they introduced me was groundbreaking. Then I got followers from all over the world. I signed with a modeling agency and got a literary agent. Fashion editors saw me and I started doing photo shoots for magazines and music videos, modeling, doing campaigns and working with emerging designers.

In 2019 you had a crisis. What happened?

I got lost. I realized that I was unhappy. Everything became very controlling. People tell you what they want you to post, how they want you to take your photos, what they want you to say. That’s not why I started this. I wanted to have a new adventure, meet new people, explore new fields and express myself creatively. I lost the intimate community that was truly engaged. I was creating a space where people who felt invisible and unheard felt, through me, seen. Younger women who were terrified of getting older said I was helping them not be afraid of it.

What did you learn throughout this experience?

That you need an analog life and a digital life in equal parts. At first, the blog allowed an older person to break into fashion. But after a while, he put me in a box and that became oppressive. I have learned how living a digital life can change you. I got caught up and began to compromise my values. I have learned how easy and seductive it is to get lost in all of this.

How did you return to your core self?

I wrote again. I don’t spend much time on social media anymore. I don’t do it for money anymore. Now I do it like I originally started, that is, writing. I have a Substack that I interact with more than my social networks. I have strong priorities, like putting my family, my home, and my health before anything else. I continue to publish thanks to the group of people who are committed to me and for whom my words are important to them, they inspire them, they comfort them and they make them feel good about themselves.

How did it feel to turn 70?

I think aging is not accurately reflected. Aging is a journey. People saw an older person who didn’t worry about being old. My age was irrelevant. There are many good things about aging. You have a lot of life experience. So when things happen, you don’t go crazy. You know what to do. You did before. You become more confident, you become less dependent on what other people think, which is huge.

What is your best advice?

The key to life is to jump into life without a plan and be open to living that way. It is a hopeful philosophy because it anticipates that there will always be a future and that there will always be something exciting, different and new.



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