For one reason or another, the thought of getting nude in front of strangers would make anyone terrified, much less at 50. Yet we came across an empowering tale of one woman who did just that: ‘At 50 I Started Getting Naked For Cash.’
In terms of getting naked, Asha Sanaker has never been particularly shy. Whether skinny dipping or streaking, the 50-year-old mother said she had always been comfortable being nude.
However, Sanaker views her willingness to shed her clothes in public in a non-sexual way. Rather than seeking affirmative gazes from strangers, she said it made her feel “wildly and defiantly free.”
Upon being offered the chance to model for a life drawing class, Sanaker became immediately intrigued. Despite her excitement, she also harbored some concerns. Even though she wasn’t bothered by being naked in front of a crowd, she expressed how intimate this particular experience felt.
Her body would be displayed for others to observe, and their perceptions would be captured in an artistic medium. This gave Sanaker the chance to discover some vulnerabilities she hadn’t previously considered.
In our society, ageism exists, as women are thought to become less “beautiful” as they age. A common thread that all women share is the changes that come with aging. Sanaker discussed how she is now more aware of her less than firm breasts and cellulite from her navel to her knees. She wondered, however, if others are overly focused on her flaws. She questioned whether or not it’s more appealing for artists to depict a female form that is youthful.
Despite her apprehension, Sanaker bravely gave modeling at the life drawing class a shot. Posing as a nude model for long periods of time, even for five to ten minutes per pose, was tiring for her.
As a result, she had to sit, kneel, or recline. But, when it came to the twenty-minute poses, this took a lot of effort. Imagine staying still for 20 minutes in an interesting pose that won’t cause your extremities to fall asleep.
As the session came to a close, she found herself needing to lay down on the platform, and the artists assured her that she isn’t the only one to do so. In fact, they share, that it’s not uncommon for models to fall asleep. However, Sanaker said she couldn’t fall asleep as the only naked person in the room, “Women are too habituated to the reflexes of prey,” she wrote. “If I had to guess, I’d say the only people falling asleep while nude modeling are men.”
Once done, Sanaker had the opportunity to view some of the artists’ work. One, in particular, from a professional DJ and new father who was a regular at the studio, took her by surprise. Through its thick layers, the painting magnified her “bumpy juiciness.” In fact, that’s all that Sanaker could see—her imperfections.
“All the parts of me I actually love—the line of my neck, the weighted curve of the underside of my breasts, the intense blue of my eyes—were absent,” she said. “Just the parts of me I struggle to love were there—the pooch of my belly, the width of my hips, the heaviness of my upper thighs. I thought, “That’s all you see when you look at me?” she questioned.
Sanaker realized something incredibly powerful at that moment. The way she looks and feels about herself makes her happy. Regardless of how he perceived her body, it does not have to matter to her. It’s an important message that more women, of all ages, should try to adopt in their lives. There is great power in not only accepting yourself for who you are but loving yourself and bringing that confidence into the world.
Sanaker’s choice to pose nude and to love herself while doing so is indeed empowering. As she put it, “Capture me in all my beauty and imperfection. This is what 50 looks like.”