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AARP The Magazine

Meet the Winners of AARP's 50+ Model Search

From 51 to 91: Learn how they keep young at heart

Kim poses for Ari Michelson, aarp (Ari Michelson)

"Whatever I do at this stage of my life, I ask myself (and my friends) this question: Am I having fun?" says Kim Dillard. — Ari Michelson

50+ Winner

Kim Dillard, 51

Home: Houston

Lifeline: My family

Words to Live by: There's only one path to now.

Let's just say I was a late bloomer.

I lived in Dallas, Houston and New York in my 20s and 30s, and while all my friends were getting married and having kids, I still wanted to be a kid. I waited until 39 to get married, and 40 to have a daughter. Then I was a single mom, which is where adulthood really started.

See also: AARP's Black Community page

And then I waited until I was almost 50 to pursue my dream. Or more specifically (and literally), my sister's dream: She called me in the middle of the night and said, "I dreamt that we should start a faith-based television network for the urban community." And so we did!

We took our savings — she was a teacher, and I was a loan officer — and started a network. We knew nothing about television. We had to teach ourselves how to operate a television camera. But I believe it's good not to know too much, because if you know a lot about something, you may be afraid to try it. And, really, this idea is one of the main components of faith. I walk in a faith adventure every day.

TheRejoiceNetwork.com streams 24 hours of programming for an urban audience daily — you might see a holy hip-hop rap artist, or you might see classic black movies from the '40s and '50s starring Lena Horne. Through my network I am trying to pass on that example of faith and fearlessness to my daughter and to other young people, especially young people of color. One day, in the near future, a fit, healthy, active female entrepreneur in her 50s and beyond will be the rule in urban communities, not the exception.

Whatever I do at this stage of my life, I ask myself (and my friends) this question: Am I having fun? Am I making a difference? As I move forward, I hope to be able to answer both questions with a very loud "Yes."

Next page: A fabulous firefighter. »

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