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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

The New Faces of 50+, our winners of our

"I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up," says Alfredo Martinez. — Ari Michelson

70+ Winner

Alfredo Martinez, 72

Home: Los Angeles

Lifeline: Painting

Words to Live by: It doesn't get any better than this.

When I was young, everything was about getting and maintaining a family. I grew up in South Central L.A., was drafted out of high school. Then I came back, became a hairdresser—in the days of Shampoo that was cool — got married to a wonderful woman, had two daughters.

While growing up, I did not have the chance to go to college, so I made sure my daughters did. I needed a foundation, so I worked for a corporation for years.

Soy! Visit AARP Espanol

Then came 9/11, which changed my life. It gave me a sense that life was short. I decided to get in shape, lifting weights, swimming, biking. I began studying at the Palos Verdes Art Center, painting and drawing. At first the kids were like, "What's this old man doing here?" And then they saw my work.

I'd always had a talent but hadn't taken that talent seriously. I decided I wanted to be an actor, so I took acting classes — which resulted in an agent. Now I do large multimedia paintings, and I have gotten several roles in commercials aimed at seniors. My wife is beautiful, my daughters are beautiful — and graduates of the University of Notre Dame — and I'm an artist.

In a way, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. But that's the beauty of this time. When I was young, I wanted to be old. Now I'm old, and I feel so young.

Next page: Nifty at 90+. »

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