Last month an email popped up in my in box from the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) asking me if anything new has happened in my life since 2001, when I appeared on Oprah’s After the Show segment and spoke about my job modeling nude for art students.
After dozens of email messages and some phone calls and Mike’s photo sharing and my final Skype call with them, well, today I’m on Oprah again! You can link to the Oprah Winfrey Network to watch my original 2001 appearance about nude modeling, hear clips from my Skype interview, and see which of the many, many photos Mike sent that OWN decided to use along with my story. For those of you who want the Cliff Notes version, here’s how they summarize it there:
In 2001, Beth Finke sat in an “Oprah Show” audience and listened to a discussion about a topic particularly meaningful to many men and women: aging gracefully. As researchers and authors on the show discussed everything from wrinkles to workouts, Finke listened intently, but couldn’t quite relate to people’s common concerns. When the taping ended, Finke stood up to explain why.”I’m blind. I lost my sight in my 20s,” Finke said after the show, with cameras still rolling. “I have two things to say about that. One thing is, quit looking in the mirror! … Because as far as I’m concerned, I’m still 26.”
The second piece of advice she shared had to do with living without self-imposed limits. Though losing her sight freed Finke from the pressures of outward appearances, she told Oprah that blindness also cost her quite a bit in the process — she lost her job, the ability to exercise as often and “a lot” of self-esteem. Eventually, though, Finke chose to take back control of her life.
“I have been lifting weights for the last three or four years at home, and I just got a new job a couple of years ago doing, guess what?” Finke said. “I live in a university town and I’m a nude model for the art and design department!”
Oprah almost couldn’t believe Finke’s story, but it was indeed true. “I just modeled yesterday,” Finke said. “The boys were very quiet. The art professor said… ‘I don’t think they’ve ever seen a naked woman in the daylight.'”
Fourteen years after sharing her story, Finke is just as candid. She no longer models nude, but still looks for way that others can learn from her own experience….