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Joyce Carpati, 80, doesn't worry about looking her age. “I don’t try to look young, and I don’t want to look young,” she said. “I want to look terrific.”
By
TODAY contributor
updated 8/22/2012 11:53:21 AM ET 2012-08-22T15:53:21

In our series "What Beauty Means to Me," women from different backgrounds share their thoughts on aging, modern challenges, and of course, their makeup and skin care secrets. This week, we interview Joyce Carpati, a stylish senior citizen living in New York City.

Joyce Carpati has been many things: opera singer, wife, mother, grandmother. Friend and colleague of Cosmopolitan’s late Helen Gurley Brown. A self-described good conversationalist.

But above all, she’s always been fabulous.

At 16, Carpati studied singing in Milan, Italy. It was 1949, and the country was still recovering from World War II.

“People had nothing in Italy – nothing,” Carpati recalled. “But when the women would go out, you would see them dressed magnificently and they had a look like nobody else. American women here did not dress that way. When I saw it, I thought, ‘Oh, how wonderful, how lovely.’”

She returned to New York with her own custom made “beautiful tweed suit, and I had dark brown, beautifully-formed suede Oxfords. I came back and my hair was cut beautifully. When I came back, people did look at me. You just didn’t see women like that, all of that together.”

Carpati has been turning heads ever since. A friend recently called her the goddess of her Manhattan street.

“Many people do stop me in the street to tell me very nice things, even today, and I’m very happy because it’s a very good feeling,” said the 80-year-old, who was featured in the 2012 book “Advanced Style” by Ari Seth Cohen. “I guess I still grab a little bit of attention. It’s absolutely not deliberately, it’s just me.”

After singing in the opera and living in Europe, Carpati joined Cosmopolitan magazine when she was about 40 and stayed 27 years, most as marketing manager for beauty advertising. In addition to forging a lifelong friendship with Brown, she picked up some beauty tips that she abides to this day.

Glam-mas face aging in style: 'Every era builds character'

“I learned about products and became very much aware of what was really necessary and the importance of the sunproofing, the SPFs,” she said, adding, “Someone at Lancome, one of the top people, gave me a cream they were working on. He said, ‘Take this and use it for the month. Let me know what you think of it.’”

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These days she enjoys her opera subscription, visiting museums, dining out with friends and her first love, singing, which she has returned to in recent years. And she said she feels very much the same as she did when she was younger.

“I don’t think I’ve ever lost my style,” she said. “I don’t even go outside in the morning unless I make sure that I look presentable. This is the way I am. I love clothes. I wear a lot of lovely slacks, because I find them comfortable, lovely jackets, beautiful sweaters, scarves.”

Carpati said that Botox and fillers are useful to combat aging, but that plastic surgery takes away some of the character that makes women beautiful.

“I think you should be whatever you want to be. If something bothers you and you want to take care of it, you should take care of it,” she said, adding, “I think it’s your attitude. Your attitude can make you look marvelous. It’s how you feel about yourself, and that’s really what it is. I know I look well and that makes me happy. And I know that I can face the world like I did when I was 30 or 40 or 50.”

Video: Enhance your beauty with award-winning blush, concealer

Carpati said women should embrace themselves and highlight their assets, no matter their age.

“I don’t try to look young, and I don’t want to look young,” she said. “I want to look terrific.”

What are your favorite beauty products?
“I like the Avene [brand]. I like their sunscreen also for sensitive skin and I got that in Paris. It’s wonderful. I also find the Maybelline lipstick is wonderful. I have my night cream from my doctor — a prescription for that. I love Chanel powder. I use the loose powder of Chanel — the best — and the creme blush of Chanel. For eye makeup, I use Almay because it’s non-comedogenic. That’s basically what I use.”

What’s your makeup routine like?
“I use the sensitive skin lotion of Cetaphil in the evening, then night cream. In the morning I rinse my face and put on the sunproof moisturizer of Avene, some blush, a light smattering of the powder and eye makeup and I’m off. And that takes all of about five minutes.”

Is there one thing you absolutely must do before ever leaving the house?
“I have to make sure my hair is combed well with my braids … my hair has to be perfect. That is my signature look, my braids and the pearls. I’m always known for the long pearls.”

advancedstyle.blogspot.com
Carpati's no. 1 beauty tip? “Stay out of the sun. I never went in the sun — never —and they tell me my skin is very good."

Who’s your style icon?
“I always actually admired Catherine Deneuve. I always loved the way she dressed. She didn’t want to look like a young girl — she wanted to look for whom she is, and that’s me, too … also the famous French actress Danielle Darrieux.”

How do you manage your hair?
“My hair is long. I braid it and just put it around with a lot of long hair pins. Sometimes I put very tiny little gold stars, about four or five of them, in the braid — tiny little gold stars. If I’m going out in the evening, that’s another thing I just felt I love to use.”

Skincare tip to live by:
“Stay out of the sun. I never went in the sun — never —and they tell me my skin is very good. Stay out of the sun and keep it moisturized and eat well … I’m not telling anyone to be a health nut, but you have to know the foods that are good for you.”

What’s one beauty trend we likely won’t ever catch you in?
“Too much makeup, that is something which I am very careful of. Less is more for everything when you get older. You really shouldn’t use it — not too much — because it doesn’t help you, it hurts you. Just a little blush, a little powder to take the shine away and a little eye makeup and lipstick. And if the hair looks great with the little stars, then there you have it.”

More from this series:
Beverly Johnson: I didn’t want my daughter to model

Entrepreneur: It’s OK to mix professionalism, pretty makeup
Born with just two fingers, mom finds beauty in imperfection

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Photos: One makeup artist’s daily makeover project

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  1. The Daily Face

    By Rina Raphael

    Putting on one’s daily makeup is hard enough. Now imagine coming up with a new look every day.

    But that’s just what Annamarie Tendler, 26, did on her popular blog. The creative makeup artist, who noticed a lack of simple and approachable beauty blogs, challenged herself to post a few new makeup tutorials a week in March 2011."

    “I wanted to make something that didn't inundate the viewer with information, but rather offered up a simple concept in a simple way,” Tendler told TODAY.com. “As in, here is a look, this is how you do it, this is what you use.”

    The tutorials range from practical (“how to curl your eyelashes) to wild (a Lichtenstein-inspired look for Halloween), and the work can often be exhausting. “I need to be generating so much material and I'm only one person, who also works on other shoots and projects,” said Tendler. “I find that every couple of months I need to take a two week break."

    Surprisingly, Tendler isn’t even a makeup junkie. Her personal regimen is “extremely simple,” consisting of not much more than Josie Maran Argan Oil moisturizer. But after posting dozens of makeup applications, she does have one beauty she recommends to all women: “Wear mascara.”

    Click through some of Annamarie’s favorite looks: (Annamarie Tendler) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Apr. 13, 2011

    "I was inspired to do today’s look when looking at Brassai photos of the 20s," Tendler wrote. "Everyone looks so cool and glamorous."

    Under-eyes: Make Up For Ever HD Concealer in 325
    Eyeliner: MAC Blacktrack gel liner

    Eye shadow: NARS in Galapagos, Make Up For Ever in Aqua Cream 15, MAC in Satin Taupe

    Eyebrows: The Body Shop black eye pencil

    Eyelashes: False lashes by Mattesse on top (#1565) and bottom (#49)

    Cheeks: MAC in Harmony

    Lips: NARS Shanghai Express

    See the full tutorial (Annamarie Tendler) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. July 14, 2011

    "The best way to wear bright lipstick is with almost no other makeup. I used no liner for this look, only a wash of bamboo-colored shadow (a light brown) over my lids (diffused above the crease) and a ton of mascara."

    Under-eyes: Make Up For Ever HD Concealer in 325

    Eyeshadow: MAC in Bamboo

    Eyebrows: MAC in Fling

    Eyelashes: Lancome Hypnose Drama

    Cheeks: MAC in Harmony

    Lips: NARS in Schiap

    See the full tutorial (Annamarie Tendler) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Aug. 12, 2011

    "Red seems like a weird choice for eyeliner, since most people don’t want to look like sleep-deprived junkies, but it works as a bold liquid liner. Also, by coupling it with bold brows, you will achieve a defined look, instead of it looking like you might have allergies."

    Under-eyes: Make Up For Ever HD Concealer in 325

    Eyeliner: Blacktrack, Make Up For Ever Aqua Eye liner in shade 10 (red)

    Eyebrows: The Body Shop eye pencil in black

    Eyelashes: Lancome Hypnose Drama

    Cheeks: MAC in Harmony, MAC Highlighter in Pearl

    See the full tutorial (Annamarie Tendler) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Aug. 23, 2011

    "This is definitely something I’ll have to experiment with at a dark, nighttime party."

    Under-eyes: Make Up For Ever HD Concealer in 325

    Eyeliner: NARS liquid liner pencil

    Eyeshadow: MAC in Copperplate, NARS pencil in HollywoodLand

    Eyebrows: Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes in shade 21 (teal)

    Eyelashes: Lancome Hypnose Drama

    Cheeks: NARS in Penny Lane

    See the full tutorial (Annamarie Tendler) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Oct. 18, 2011

    "I will warn anyone who tries this [Roy Lichtenstein-inspired look] out that pulling this one off if a lot like cleaning your bedroom: it looks worse before it looks good."

    Face: Ben Nye Creme Color in White

    Dots: Ben Nye Creme Color in Red

    Tears: Ben Nye Creme Color in Blue, Cosmic Blue, and White

    Eyeliner: MAC Blacktrack

    Eyelashes: Lancome Hypnose Drama

    Lips: NARS Lipstick in Heat Wave

    See the full tutorial (Annamarie Tendler) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Nov. 21, 2011

    "This is a great party look because it’s dark, goes with anything, and you feel festive without being over the top. Yeah, you don’t need to wear green eyeshadow and red lipstick to get the point across that you love Christmas."

    Under-eyes: Make Up For Ever HD Concealer in 325

    Eyeliner: MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack

    Eye shadow: Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in Strut, Make Up For Ever Flash Color in Silver

    Eyebrows: MAC Eye Brow Pencil in Fling

    Eyelashes: Dior Blackout

    See the full tutorial (Annamarie Tendler) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Nov. 28, 2011

    "I probably wouldn’t wear my makeup like this out on the street, but it’s definitely a look that can be modified for everyday wear."

    Under-eyes: Make Up For Ever HD Concealer in 325

    Eyeliner: MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack, Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner in Shade 10 (red)

    Eye shadow: NARS Duo in Scorching Sun, MAC Goldenrod, MAC Goldmine

    Eyebrows: MAC Eye Brow Pencil in Fling

    Eyelashes: Dior Blackout

    Lips: NARS Lipstick in Heatwave

    See the full tutorial (Annamarie Tendler) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Dec. 19, 2011

    "This is more of a dark look. I started by lining the eyes with Blacktrack, including both the upper and lower inner rims and winging the liner."

    Under-eyes: Make Up For Ever HD Concealer in 325

    Eyeliner: MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack, Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Pencil in shade 10L (gold)

    Eye shadow: Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in Shade 15, MAC Shadow in Satin Taupe, NARS Duo in Cordura, MAC Highlighter in Pearl

    Eyebrows: MAC Eye Brow Pencil in Fling

    Eyelashes: Lancome Hypnose Drama

    Cheeks: MAC Blush in Harmony

    See the full tutorial (Annamarie Tendler) Back to slideshow navigation
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Video: New beauty phenomenon: What is BB cream?

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