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Breaking stereotypes of older women

With Donna Summer’s Hot Stuff playing in the background, 76-year old Janice Lorraine recently struck a pose and challenged old age stereotypes with her impressive physique on the Australia’s Got Talent stage.

Based in Queanbeyan, Janice began competing in natural bodybuilding when she was 56 years old after retiring from the workforce.

Worried about getting older, and bone density, Janice recalls seeing a frail woman in a car park and deciding “I’m not going to be like that”.

While initially “too scared to go in” to the weights section of her gym as it “was all men”, Janice forged ahead.

“There was a fellow there that saw I was serious and said I’d like to train you,” she saysd, and this eventually led to bodybuilding competitions.

In her first competition, Janice was 56 years old competing against a 47-year-old woman.

“She had this beautiful body and I had to compete against her,” she recalls. “I beat her and that surprised me.”

But it also spurred her on to further competition.

“I went to the Australian Championships and before I knew I’d won, I said to my trainer if I win I might go to the Universe and Olympia [competitions],” she smiles. “It doesn’t matter if I don’t win, it’s an experience.”

Now, Janice has been involved in the sport for 20 years, and recently returned from Italy where she won gold in the Ms Figure (60+) at the ICN Universe Amateur Natural Titles.

As to her television appearance, Janice says she was approached to appear on Australia’s Got Talent.

Her routine was designed to inspire – surprising the audience as she switched from demure dressing to a shiny, purple bikini displaying her trim and toned physique – and she’s glad she did it.

“It’s not easy being judged in public but the crowd was wonderful. Every time I struck a pose they cheered,” she says.

Janice secured three ‘yes’ votes from the judges to secure a spot in the next round of the reality competition. She hopes her exposure can encourage people to live “the life you want to live regardless of stereotypes and expectations of others”.

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