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40 Over 40 Project:

Celebrating women whose power, beauty, strength, grace, and spirit do not diminish with age.

 

I have photographed, profiled and celebrated 40 women over the age of 40.

WHY 40 OVER 40?

I have been witness to the strength and resilience of all kinds of women in my life but the stories that get to my heart the most often, are the ones of women that society used to label as “past their prime”.

What gives me hope for the future is that I have met woman after woman that have said HELL YES! Women that refuse to be labelled or diminished, are now stepping into their own power. Personally, I feel like I am only beginning to hit my stride. Now I feel called to give a platform to 40 of these women. I want them to be seen, celebrated and have a platform to use their voice to call out to us. I want women all over to hear their stories and be inspired. Will you join me on this journey?

I would like you to meet the UNSTOPPABLE

HEATHER COUSINS

Heather is an absolute delight. She has continued to grow into herself in the years that I have known her. Her sense of play and wonder are simply infectious. 

Anita Watkins

Heather Cousins Portrait Photographed by Anita Watkins in London, Ontario.

Heather Cousins’ Portrait taken at Anita Watkin’s Studio in London, Ontario. 

What is the one piece of advice you would give your 20 something self? 

“That in order to get on to the top of it all, there is a big hill to climb, and part of that hill is made of a lot of sh*t. I wasn’t designed to handle that crap. I don’t need it in my life. It’s ok to settle a bit and be happy just being a kind person. It’s better to be present for your loved ones than to be identified by where you work. Oh, and that childhood crap, you eventually find a way to manage it.”

It's better to be present for your loved ones than to be identified by where you work.

Its the desire to get out there and make a change in some small way to someone's life

What gets you up in the morning?

“I’d like to joke and say “my dog” but my current dog isn’t a morning dog, so it’s not him. And my teenager is way better at getting himself up for school, so there are days that I delay more than I should as I debate this question. 

In the end, its the desire to get out there and make a change in some small way to someone’s life. I mean small. Maybe it’s the smile they needed, to let the car in my lane, looking the Tim’s server in the eye. Maybe it’s showing a young girl that she rocks, or that a kid with ADHD can focus and take the lead. Maybe I just want to make them a gift and have them feel the value of someone taking the time to make something special for them.”

When in your life, so far, have you felt most confident and why?

“I think lately I have been feeling more confident because I am more in tune with who I am and I felt like I have been well mentored. I recently went to a jamboree in the Netherlands with the Scouts and I felt really confident. I put the time and the hard work in and I knew that the kids were having a great time. I also knew I had the support and trust of the kids and two other volunteers with me.”

I have been feeling more confident because I am more in tune with who I am and I felt like I have been well mentored.

When I have confidence and when I'm just being my usual goofy self

Have your perceptions of what being “attractive” means changed over time?

“I think people have perceived me to be most attractive when I have confidence and when I’m just being my usual goofy self. My definition of attractiveness has definitely changed. As a tomboy and active person, people who see me as attractive see me out there trying new things, laughing freely and joking around. They don’t care what I’m wearing or that I never wear makeup!”

Are there any myths you would like to bust about being a woman over 40? If so, can you tell us about them?

“Women over 40 can be nerdy and still be cool. It’s ok to like board games, D&D, dragons and science videos. There is a whole bunch of us who have been hiding this for too long.

Also, women over 40 can be sexy. We’ve been through it all and our confidence is very attractive.”

We've been through it all and our confidence is very attractive.

Is there anything you would like to share with people in your life?

“I have been very fortunate in life to experience the stuff I have, but hasn’t all been easy. Over the candy coating, there are some deep issues that I’ve had to handle, especially my mental health.”

Do you want to learn more about working with Anita?

Portrait Photographer in London, Ontario

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Is there anything you would like to share with people in your life?

“When first asked to participate in the “Unstoppable” Campaign, I took a moment to pause and reflect on what it meant to be unstoppable.  

One definition said, “Unstoppable people are like warriors. They are always ready to take on the world. They are guided by a light from within, full of boundless energy and unwavering in their goals. They have learned to activate their natural talents and develop the skills necessary to achieve whatever they aim for.”

As I thought about that definition, I was concerned that I perhaps wasn’t fit to be a part of this campaign. I thought it had to be someone who exudes confidence, who feels empowered…but then I thought about my life journey…and I decided I wanted to offer a different perspective.  
My life journey has had some extreme peaks and valleys, most recently I lost my partner, I waited so long for him, and then 3 ½ years of being together, on February 22, 2022 he died suddenly and unexpectedly. Unstoppable for me during this past year has simply meant… living… getting up each day ….and doing what I could to get through the day… and I want people to know that is still good, that is still great!

Surviving can be just as excellent as thriving based on your circumstances. I believe now that I was unstoppable because I wanted to survive so that I could begin to thrive when the time is right…once I was further along in the healing process and finding my way forward with Al in spirit rather than in the flesh. 

My “unstoppable” self comes from my faith and from the chapter Romans 12. It teaches me to care for my body as a temple; to use my gifts to make the world a better place; to love people unconditionally; to be humble and kind; to live in harmony; and to be joy filled with hope; patient in affliction; and faithful in prayer. I believe it wholeheartedly and had it tattooed on my arm to be a reminder every day…to live my best life….to be unstoppable.”

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