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UCSF Physical Therapist Shines in Dove's Pro-Age Spotlight

Wendy Katzman

Wendy Katzman, a physical therapist at UCSF, is reveling in her new role as a model and spokesperson for Dove's pro-age campaign. A full-time working mother of two, Katzman endorses the campaign's quest to show that beauty has no age limit, and to encourage and inspire women of all ages. In December 2005, Katzman went to New York, where she worked with legendary portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz for Dove's pro-age ad, which is pictured here. UCSF Today caught up with Katzman, who answered these questions via email. Q: How does it feel to be discovered at age 55? A: This experience has been so positive. It has been empowering to be photographed by Annie Leibovitz and to be recognized as a positive role model for aging and women over 50. Q: What's been the best experience you have had so far in the spotlight? A: The photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz was pretty terrific, as was the overwhelming applause I received on Oprah when I commented it was about time the narrow stereotypes about beauty were challenged. Being in this campaign has stimulated discussions about aging, stereotypes in advertising and what it is like as a woman over 50 in a youth-centered society. Q: What do your family, friends and co-workers think about you being a national Dove model? A: Everyone has been overwhelmingly positive. My husband, parents, children and friends are very excited about the campaign's message to women of all ages, and they are proud of my involvement.
Q: What was it like meeting Oprah? A: It is funny how many people have asked me about Oprah. She is such an icon around the world. She is down to earth and hilarious. She's got great taste, a wonderful aesthetic and she is a positive role model for so many women. Oprah is a real person and she doesn't pretend to be perfect. She loves the Dove pro-age campaign's message -- that beauty has no age limit -- and endorses the campaign's belief that women should take care of themselves and be proud of their differences. Q: You said in the San Francisco Chronicle that you consider your gray hair to be your best asset. When did you decide to go gray? A: I highlighted my hair in my 30s and early 40s until I went completely grey in my mid-40s. I kept my hair really short for years afterwards after listening to people say that older women should wear their hair short. I decided to let it grow out about 5 years ago and really love having my grey hair long and curly… kind of unexpected for a woman my age, but that's what makes it interesting. Q: What beauty tips can you offer women over 40? A: I have been fortunate to have a good life and lots of opportunity. I have been able to grow both personally and professionally, and even went back to school for my doctorate at age 50. I have a wonderful marriage, two terrific daughters and close friends. Exercise, eating well and taking good care of my skin have also been priorities. I think we have to find ways to take care of ourselves both inside and out. Q: Have you seen your billboards in NY or LA? What is it like seeing yourself so large? A: No, I haven't seen the billboards, only photographs of the billboards in Germany, Amsterdam and New York. The experience of looking up at the large wall of photographs of me and the other Dove women on Oprah took my breath away. The photographs are beautiful! Q: What do you like about your job, and how long have you worked at UCSF? A: I love the people that I work with, the students and the patients here at UCSF. I began as clinical faculty in 1987 and took a full-time position in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science in 2001. I cut back in the clinic while I received my doctoral degree in physical therapy science and I have resumed a full-time faculty position in June 2006. Now I see patients in the UCSF Women's Continence Center, teach in the Graduate Program for Physical Therapy and exercise classes for older women in the new Mission Bay community center, and write grants to get my women's health research funded. Photo/Annie Leibovitz Related Links: Five Questions for Wendy Katzman
San Francisco Chronicle, March 4, 2007 Dove pro-age Campaign