At 73, Maryjane Fahey is living life on her terms. (And having really good sex.)
Once in the competitive publishing world, she was instrumental in redefining several high-profile magazines. Drawing from this wealth of experience and a lifelong commitment to being disruptive, Maryjane established Glorious Broads, a platform for celebrating the audacious spirit of women who embrace aging with defiance. And that age is not just a number but a badge of honor.
Through Glorious Broads, her message is clear and inspiring: aging should not be a journey of fading into the background but rather a bold march into the spotlight, each year adding to the richness of one’s narrative.
How old are you?
Are you married?
I’m delightfully divorced.
Do you have children?
I never wanted children. I have lovely nieces and nephews.
Where do you live?
In New York in the West Village.
So, who or what is a Glorious Broad?
Unconventional broads who age imaginatively and unapologetically. I have all kinds of women who don’t care about how they look but how they live.
Talk about the word “broad” because I would imagine that certain women would find that term offensive.
When I hit 73, a friend quipped I was entering the “younger old-old” phase. This struck a chord. We talked about how “broad” once had a sexist tinge, thanks to folks like Sinatra. Now, my generation and younger ones are flipping the script, reclaiming “broad” with pride. It’s about strength, not caring about old stigmas, and resilience. That’s the vibe I’m embracing. Just think of Broad City.
Glorious Broads Inspiration
What inspired you to start Glorious Broads?
I grew up in a matriarchal household that I adored. We lived in a little place in Brooklyn. I had five sisters, a grandmother who lived with us, a dominating mother, and a dad and brother whom we loved but didn’t pay much attention to. And so, I knew a world dominated by women. Over time, though, my mother’s influence waned; she never transitioned into the workforce. As a child, I wondered why, observing a stark contrast in my grandmother’s lack of power. It was an early, lasting lesson.
When I grew older, I saw these fabulous women who grew into what I wish my mother had. That was one part of it. And then another part of it was when I fell in love with a woman in an obituary. Her name was Clara Hancox.
She was 80-something when she died on a motorcycle in the Catskills. She moved to the country and became a lesbian late in life. She left her job at WWD as one of the senior editors and just reimagined everything. I loved this woman. I want to be this woman. And so, it put me on the track to find these kinds of women in New York, and there are so many of them. But I see it going worldwide if we kick some ass.
Working in Publishing
What were you doing before Glorious Broads?
I was in publishing and rethinking magazines. I worked with Roger Black, and we redesigned and launched Fast Company. We redid Newsweek. Then, he started working globally, but I left him when he started going entirely digital. The nerds he brought in were not my kind of people. I also wanted to avoid competing with these kids who wanted to do my job for half the money, so it lost its appeal.
So, I switched from the art side when I was hired to work as an editor at AARP Magazine across the hall for very good money about five years ago. And there, Myrna Blyth saw that I was starting Glorious Broads, and they were just starting something called Disrupt Aging, and she said, “You would be a perfect editor for this.”
I always knew that I could write. I had written a very fun book before taking the AARP job, and I just switched hats. Now, I work as an art director or occasionally for others when I run out of dough. That’s my journey. I hate that word, but that’s what’s happened.
What happened at AARP?
AARP is AARP, you know? I wanted to interview these kick-ass women that I knew, but they were very uncomfortable, and they wouldn’t run the sexual questions. They wouldn’t run the way people talked, at least my people. I made an excellent living for three years after leaving the publishing industry. It was a great gig, but I knew I came out of there clear on what I wanted to do.
“A blessing came into my life two years ago. I came up with an excellent idea for a television platform”
What’s a big challenge that you’re dealing with?
I wish there were more time.
A blessing came into my life two years ago. I came up with an excellent idea for a television platform. And I met this terrific director, Harry Mavromichalis. We instantly fell in love, and I asked him, “How can I get one of these ideas out there?” And he said, “Let’s do a sizzle, and we’ll work on it together.” Working with a partner has changed my life, so I wish there were more time. I have more energy than I ever thought I would.
How has your work with Glorious Broads impacted your personal view on aging and self-transformation?
I’m just coming off this Cosmopolitan shoot/special issue they did on sex after 60. I was amazed they did that. The exciting thing was to see that so many women have the same issue, which is they didn’t believe in themselves when they were young, and 50 years happened, and they embraced the fuck-you fifties. That’s a little bit of a cliché, but I find it over and over again. I loved that we all don’t say, “Sex is fabulous all the time.” It takes a little more work.
Not everything about aging rocks. If you don’t keep yourself healthy, you’re screwed. But there are a lot of pros.
“Not everything about aging rocks. If you don’t keep yourself healthy, you’re screwed”
Speaking of that Cosmopolitan issue, I was surprised to see it.
The young producer who reached out to me was fabulous. She “got” Glorious Broads and nailed the casting. I got there, and they all could have been my friends. They were funny and all types. They weren’t Barbies.
I feel like a lot of things line up as we age, but sex is not always one of them.
I will say that, during menopause, I was not the least interested. I had a lovely partner, but a lot of loss and personal things happened in my life at that time. And the last thing I was interested in was sex. So, we divorced. He was 15 years younger. When I look at it now, I get it. My lights were out.
But I took hormones. And that shifted me.
I remember sitting at a bar with a friend and seeing somebody who brought that zing back. I got his number.
What’s different now?
There’s love involved with sex, which adds another layer. When I was young, it was a little more dirty.
Is he younger or older, or the same age?
He’s my age.
Take us through your day.
I get up at 6:30 am. My partner stays over one night during the week because I get up early. I go to the gym. It’s important.
What do you do there?
I do a half-hour run. I’ve been sprinting more to strengthen my legs because they’ve become wobbly since COVID. I do weights four times a week. And the other days, I am stretching. I do a lot of ball work with Yamuna, who has elongated me. I don’t want to be an older person who falls over. I think we can keep upright if we work at it.
I’m home by 10:00. I have fruit, yogurt, coffee, toast, and peanut butter.
I do social media for the first two hours of work. I never thought it would take that long, but it does. I answer people and write the themes for the day. I often have an interview out.
Now that I have this partner, we are close to having this sizzle ready, and we’re putting together a list of people to approach. It’s about sex and age — it’s real and hilarious. It would be for platforms Hulu or Netflix. I’m so proud of it. So, our time has become the time.
Much of my energy is meeting with my partner and fine-tuning. We’re thinking about putting trips for Glorious Broads together. Debra Rapoport‘s got to be there — we’d go to Cyprus.
“All of us should have at least three different ideas or lives in front of us”
What advice would you give to redefine at any age?
First, put some money aside. Curiosity and openness must be number one, even if you can’t.
Keep your health and connections, which will line up and make sense. If you know what you want to do, you might want to work part-time, but do it. All of us should have at least three different ideas or lives in front of us. We’re living longer, and the opportunities are everywhere if you stay open.
What do you do for fun?
I see a lot of theater. And I go to Joe Allen’s, my favorite bar, and have a martini, which I do once every two weeks.
I’ll go see a rock band kid who is a Glorious Broad down on the Lower East Side tonight. The night won’t start till 10:00. I’m still into the nightlife in New York City.
It’s not Mudd Club days. It’s just going out and enjoying New York.
Gin or vodka?
Gin. I’ve been doing Hendrick’s.
What are three non-negotiables?
What I thought about right away is I have no room for bullshit. And disloyalty. Disloyalty to me or one of my people, you’re out. And the third would be plasticity. If your values are all about bullshit for me, I’m not interested.
I’m so happy just being free and doing what I want.
“I’m hooked on mindbodygreen podcast, and they have something called Sleep Support. It’s amazing”
What are you doing for self-care?
Rosehip oil, massages, and sleeping. I used to have a real problem with sleep.
I’m hooked on mindbodygreen podcast, and they have something called Sleep Support. It’s amazing. I’ve tried everything. I get seven hours per night and wake up happy and energetic.
How would you describe your approach to aging?
Aging gracefully sounds incredibly boring. There are a few out there calling it aging disgracefully. I think that’s right.
Watch your weight, don’t smoke, don’t do stupid shit. But other than that, it’s living more slowly. I never cared if I didn’t sleep, and now I do. I never cared about getting up and going to the gym, but now I care. Even though I was married, I never cared about having a loved one. I went through them, and now I care about that. So, it’s always getting deeper, and I’m enjoying that.
I was married once, but it was a stupid marriage. My guy is a musician; he goes away for six months at a time and will never live with me. I like the camaraderie and the sex, and I don’t feel like being online anymore, though I had a lot of fun with that.
“I’m not sitting here in my apartment. I’m a participator”
Who gave you good advice?
Faith Ringgold, a big-deal artist who just turned 92 and still has shows, said, “You got to remain in the game.” Saturday afternoon, I’ll usually be out at the galleries. I’m in New York. I’m not sitting here in my apartment. I’m a participator.
What are you listening to?
Well, I’ve been into jazz because of my boyfriend. So, we just had a big Charles Mingus night listening to Mingus connect with Joni Mitchell.
What are you most looking forward to?
This television idea. Getting characters like this out in the world would be so rewarding.
Last question. Anything that you’ve been surprised by as you’re getting older?
Hair. In all the most unlikely places — what the fuck?
Main image by Chris Scalzi.
The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.
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