(So)(Co) Sit Down with Debra Rapoport

I'm so excited to share this weeks (So)(Co) Sit Down guest contributor with you. I met Debra Rapoport back in 2001 when my mom was running an amazing holistic health care center in Manhattan and Debra was a reflexologist there. She always came in wearing very unique, interesting and bright outfits and I was always so inspired by her (even though it didn't stop me from wearing almost all black, always). Several years later, I started to follow the work of Ari Seth Cohen and the amazing photographs he was capturing of older women on Advanced Style. One of his regular models was the amazing Debra in her paperclip earrings, hats made of paper towel and interesting shapes, colors and designs. I've loved watching Ari on this journey documenting fabulous older people, especially Debra and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get a sense of her lifestyle habits and beliefs. 

Join me on this journey of sharing stories and inspiring one another to be the best version of ourselves in our everyday lives. Read on to learn more about the ever so fabulous, Debra Rapoport.

How do you you spend your days?

I stay in contact with many friends and colleagues by email and Facebook. I get busy doing some creative work. Being a MAKER I always have things to start, experiment with or finish. I love to cook and prepare really good food for most of our (my partner and me) meals.

What are three things you are grateful for?

My health, my creativity, and the simplicity of my lifestyle (I avoid drama).

Explain you lifestyle in 5 words or less.

Joyful, creative, connecting, simple, and flowing.

If you were at attend a potluck dinner, what would you bring?

Tortilla lime soup or guacamole with homemade socca which is chickpea flour flatbread. (It's gluten free!)

If you could gift everyone you meet with one book, what would it be and why?

Spiritual Economics by Eric Butterworth

What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

I make coffee as a ritual whether I really want it or not.

If you could change one thing in your daily routine, what would it be? What would it take for you to make that change?

This is ridiculous but I would not be upset when I see the glass dining room table funky with spilled food! I would just forget it and let it go... big deal!

What does being healthy mean to you?

Healthy to me is when I feel vital, alive and ready to do the things I want. Also knowing that if I want to rest or nap, that is wise. I listen to my body. I love the way I feel when I do yoga and exercise. I want to make and eat real, colorful, live food but when I eat out and want something weird (like pulled pork quesadilla) I eat it with such pleasure that it fortifies me. I make my choices with consciousness... I am totally aware of what I eat and drink and know it is good for me by MY CHOICE.

Have you ever been faced with health concerns that pushed you to change your lifestyle?

NO, never. I grew up with a maverick mother and we were vegetarians and natural hygienists since 1949 (not a term known today but there is since 2009 a society called the International Natural Hygiene Society (INHS)). I was four years old. We never went to traditional doctors. Some of the alternative doctors we had to visit at night in the basement of their homes because the American Medical Association (AMA) was after them! They were making incredible potions from herbal mixes! It was such fun. Being aware of a healthy lifestyle, I knew the importance of staying aware and knowing as well as trusting what was needed at different stages of my life... each one of us is different so we have to address ourselves, our individual needs and our lifestyle. CHECK IN WITH YOUR SELF.

What song can immediately change your mood in the best way possible?

Harvest Moon by Neil Young! I just love everything about it! I love the words, the melody, and his voice!

What is one piece of advice someone has given you that shifted your way of thinking?

"Pray, but move your feet." (old Shaker saying)  also "This Too Shall Pass."

What article of clothing/outfit do you feel most empowered wearing?

HATS... any of the hats I have created allow me to have HATitude. Life is all about attitude! A pink feather boa... I love anything in dirty grey pinks.

Complete this sentence: "In order to be happy, I need to be..."

I need creative time, friends, good food and time to rest.

What do you have going on in your life that you'd like to share with the (So)(Co) Community? 

I have so many new young friends who teach me so much about the current world. But they are interested about those of us who are advanced in age and feel that we have something to offer. So I love sharing with my peers as well as the younger ones and bringing the two elements together for tea parties or soirees. We share good food, drink, ideas, creativity and community. This keeps me vital and worthy of being on this planet. A good portion of the world is ugly, angry, and in turmoil. It is difficult to endure unless we create our own joy, peace and sense of harmony.

The Advanced Style blog/book and film is everywhere and we are still doing screenings and Q&As. Check out the TEDX Amsterdam Talk that I did with Ari Seth Cohen of Advanced Style.

I continue to make, exhibit and sell one of a kind hats and accessories made with Viva Paper Towels so check those out on my website.

Debra Rapoport - Featured in the film Advanced Style, has taught at the University of California, Davis, and New York University, and currently at MAD and MOMA (collective initiative). Advanced styled is inspired by Ari Cohen's fashion blog and book, becoming an international phenomenon. The film portrays intimate and colorful portraits of independent, stylish women over 60 who are challenging conventional ideas about beauty and aging with the increasing obsession with youth. As a visual/performance artist, working with non-traditional materials, making work work for the body. This transcends fashion into personal style, which I call Hat Scapes, MY HAT creations are the place I start. i refer to my work as my A/B/C's. Assembling, Building, Constructing for the body. I say "Style is healing", because you are in relationship with and expressing YourSelf. Self first. Work in collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, The L.A. County Museum of Art, and Houston Museum of Fine Arts. Currently exhibiting in "Gifts from America" organized by Helen Drutt English, for the 250th Anniversary of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. 

Visit Debra on Facebook and check out her website