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


Sue arrived to my studio a little unsure of what to expect 😉 We had a great consultation over the phone but it isn’t the same as showing up to the studio. Like almost every other client, she was nervous but settled in very quickly and totally rocked her session.

When we were viewing her photos, there came a moment when we just sat in awe of the choices she made. She sat there and said: this expression reminds me of the love I have for my son, that expression reminds me that I CAN be confident….and so on. I had reminded her that she was not one dimensional but rather an incredible women with many facets, like a diamond. She was sparkling in that moment.

A few weeks later, Sue came to the studio to pick up her folio box. She was not the same woman as the one that had walked into my studio for her photoshoot. THIS woman was simply glowing. She radiated confidence. She finally understood how beautiful she really was and you could see it.

I chose this photo to represent Sue for this project because it matches her classic style but also reveals her confident and playful side. THIS was the version of Sue that I wanted her to see. Wardrobe and jewelry are from the studio closet.

I am so grateful for the trust that clients put in me to photograph them. I do not take this responsibility lightly. Thank you Sue! You are UNSTOPPABLE!

Anita Watkins

Sue Abel’s Portrait taken at Anita Watkin’s Studio in London, Ontario. 

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

“If I could go back and speak to myself in my twenties…first of all I would say, you are strong, you are beautiful and you can do anything you set your mind to. Secondly, you deserve the best this wonderful world has to offer. Do not settle for good enough. Ignite that spark of the divine within you and shine your light! Third, who cares what other people think, do what is right for you. You are bigger than their limited point of view!​

Do not settle for good enough.

Each day we have the opportunity to create our own path.

What gets you up in the morning?

“The promise of a new day and fresh beginning gets me up in the morning. Each day we have the opportunity to create our own path. We can choose how it will unfold. Happy, sad, joyous and even making no choice IS a choice in and of itself. “

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

“Right here, right now is the most confident that I have ever felt in my life. I know who I am and that I have a divine spark within me. It is mine and no one can take that away. I have so much to offer this world with my wisdom, love and light.”

Right here, right now is the most confident that I have ever felt in my life.

Perfection is unrealistic.

Have Your Perceptions Of What Being ‘Attractive’ Means Changed Over Time?

“I believe that we often confuse attractiveness with perfection. Perfection is unrealistic. Each one of us has our own definition of attractiveness and thank goodness for that – who wants to fit into a cookie-cutter mold of what beauty or attractiveness is to be.”

What Do You Define As Attractive Now?​

“I find intelligence extremely attractive! Combine that with confidence and compassion and you have my definition of what it is to be attractive.”

I find intelligence extremely attractive!

I am strong but feminine.

When have you felt the most attractive?

“Participating in this project has empowered me! I feel beautiful and attractive. I am strong but feminine. I can see the beauty in myself that has always been there, yet I overlooked it.”

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

“Age is a state of mind. I’m still that 19 year old inside, full of life and ready to enjoy every moment. I may have wrinkles, lines and scars that were not there at 19, but they are evidence of a life lived…smiles, tears, joys, heartaches. My passions are still there, perhaps tempered with wisdom, but still very much alive!!! I love and desire to be loved. My heart has grown by the love of good people, great examples and coming to a greater understanding of life and my purpose.”

Age is a state of mind. I’m still that 19 year old inside, full of life and ready to enjoy every moment.

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

Like everyone, I have a story to tell. We don’t go through this life unscathed…some as a result of our own personal choices but also as a result of choices made by others around us. In particular when we are children. We are not responsible for the circumstances that we are born into. Our parents make choices that directly effect our lives as children. I was one of those who was born into circumstances that I would not choose for myself or any other child. I have seen and experienced some of the most horrific of human behaviours – but it does not define me! I was always aware that there was something different about me. I questioned the world around me. I challenged the status quo. I always looked to find that elusive ‘something better’. I could see the beauty around me and the peace that always seemed to be ‘just’ out of reach…but I carried on. I did not give into the path of least resistance, to settle for good enough. I innately knew there was something more…a greater purpose! The circumstances that you are born into are not your destiny. At a certain point in your life you have to take control of the wheel and direct your own path. Go where it leads you. If you fail, get back up quickly and continue on the path, perhaps a different direction, but don’t stop moving forward. There are those who do not want you to succeed – plain and simple. That is their problem. If you can envision a better way forward for yourself, then make it happen. Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes…

Do you want to learn more about working with Anita?

Portrait Photographer in London, Ontario


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