Stories of Real People: There are no dead ends


People who have made it to the top of their careers are interesting to study. Precious few come back down the mountain to learn something new again. Collecting stories of real people embracing continuous learning is inspiring to me. I hope you benefit, as I do, from their example.


11302018_ariannalallone_152108-1020x720.jpg

Former PNB ballerina Ariana Lallone soars in second career with Teatro ZinZanni

When Ariana Lallone left Pacific Northwest Ballet after nearly 25 years, she took up a new career: dancing midair high above the dinner-theater audience, with a hoop as her partner.

There’s more than one way for a dancer to fly.

For nearly 25 years, Ariana Lallone lit up the stage at McCaw Hall as a member of Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB), with her dramatic intensity, sky-reaching limbs (she’s 5 feet 11) and soaring technique making her an audience favorite. When her PNB career ended in 2011, Lallone knew that she wanted to keep performing. Eight years later, look up, and there she is — an aerial artist with Teatro ZinZanni, dancing midair high above the dinner-theater audience, with a hoop as her partner.

“It feels exactly like you would think it would feel,” said Lallone, grounded for a chat in a Queen Anne coffee shop last month, of her five-shows-weekly flights to the ceiling of ZinZanni’s tent in their current production of “Hollywood and Vine.” “It’s amazing! It’s very thrilling. I love it.”

Lallone’s seven-year association with ZinZanni began shortly after her final PNB performance — “literally the situation of when one door closes, another one opens,” she said. ZinZanni artistic director Reenie Duff, who had long admired Lallone’s work at PNB, approached her to play a ballerina role in “Bonsoir Liliane!” In the show, which opened in the fall of 2011, Lallone wore a red tutu, did some barre work and “very nervously” joined in the opening and closing song.

###

Ballet can be a notoriously short career. While many of Pacific Northwest Ballet’s retired dancers have remained in the ballet world, others have found more unconventional second careers; here's a sampling.


Christine Haskell, PHD has built her practice working with the insanely talented and highly creative across multiple sectors. In the Stories of Real People Series, you’ll find stories of real people doing extraordinary things, shareable joy, and links to the full source material.


STORIES OF REAL PEOPLE: Viola Smith, a Pioneering Woman Drummer Who Was Still Actively Drumming at Age 100 


People who have made it to the top of their careers are interesting to study. Precious few come back down the mountain to learn something new again. Collecting stories of real people embracing continuous learning is inspiring to me. I hope you benefit, as I do, from their example.


Early in her music career, Viola Smith became known as “America’s fastest girl drummer.” She spent decades challenging the barriers facing female musicians -- and the centenarian she still plays today. She is the drummer for a band in her home community.

Smith was born on November 29, 1912 in Mount Calvary, Wisconsin, the eight of ten children. Smith’s love of music began at a young age. Her parents ran a dance hall in Mount Calvary, Wisconsin and she and her nine siblings all played instruments. By the age of 12, her father had arranged for her and her other underage sisters to have permission to travel and tour as part of his band, the Schmitz Sisters Family Orchestra. Later renamed the Smith Sisters, their band became a favorite touring group and even shared a bill with the Andrews Sisters.


Christine Haskell, PHD has built her practice working with the insanely talented and highly creative across multiple sectors. In the Stories of Real People Series, you’ll find stories of real people doing extraordinary things, shareable joy, and links to the full source material.


Stories of Real People: Iris Apfel, 97-Year-Old Style Icon, Has Just Signed with a Modeling Agency


People who have made it to the top of their careers are interesting to study. Precious few come back down the mountain to learn something new again. Collecting stories of real people embracing continuous learning is inspiring to me. I hope you benefit, as I do, from their example.


Iris Apfel has long proved that in the fashion industry, age is just a number—and now, she's doing the same for the world of modeling.

IMG, one of the biggest agencies in the game, announced on Thursday that it had added the 97-year-old Apfel to its roster. The company will represent Apfel for modeling, as well as appearances and endorsements.

"I’m very excited. I never had a proper agent," Apfel told WWD. "I’m a do-it-yourself girl. I never expected my life would take this turn so I never prepared for it. It all just happened so suddenly, and I thought at my tender age, I’m not going to set up offices and get involved with all kinds of things. I thought it was a flash in the pan, and it’s not going to last. Somehow, people found me. People would just call. Tommy Hilfiger said that was no way to do it, and he put us together. I’m very excited and very grateful."

It's about time that she got some proper representation, as Apfel has been racking up deals with some big clients in recent years. Per WWD, she's worked with Kate Spade, MAC, Alexis Bittar, HSN, and Le Bon Marché, among others.

Apfel hopes that her success will inspire other older women to do the same. "I don’t think a number should make any difference and make you stop working," she said. "I think retirement is a fate worse than death. I love to work, and love my work. I feel sorry for people who don’t like what they do. I do it now to the exclusion of everything else. I meet interesting, creative people, my juices flow and I really have a fine time."


Christine Haskell, PHD has built her practice working with the insanely talented and highly creative across multiple sectors. In the Stories of Real People Series, you’ll find stories of real people doing extraordinary things, shareable joy, and links to the full source material.