By Alicia Doyle

The Writer
Specializing in Good News
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Life Over 50 means transcendence

for the cast of "Hot In Cleveland"

November 2014 Issue

Valerie Bertinelli has more empathy and compassion for others and herself. Wendie Malick has a deeper sense of gratitude. Jane Leeves doesn’t sweat the small stuff anymore. And Betty White tries to make the most of every day at any age.

For the cast of Hot in Cleveland, who return to TV Land on November 5 at 10 p.m., life after 50 means moving forward as they always have with grace—and learning more life lessons along the way.

“We still feel young – you feel our age more than we do,” said White, 92.

Hot in Cleveland revolves around three fabulous L.A. women of a certain age who are best friends: Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leaves and Wendie Malick.

Their lives are changed forever when their plane—headed to Paris for a girls-only celebration— unexpectedly lands in Cleveland and they soon rediscover themselves in a new promised land. Loving their new home, the women find themselves living under one roof and battling the sassy caretaker, Betty White, of the property they have rented.

White plays the role of Elka Ostrovsky, the opinionated caretaker of the house that the girls rent when they decide to stay in Cleveland.

In addition to loving her vocation, White fuels her passion for animals by serving on the board for the Morris Animal Foundation and the L.A. Zoo.

“We can still be fun,” White said of women over 50. “Good health is a major blessing and having a good sense humor helps too.”

Her exercise routine at home is also ideal, White further joked.

“I have a two story house and a bad memory,” she said. “I’m up and down those stairs a lot.”

 “Don't take life so seriously”

Bertinelli, who portrays Melanie Moretti, said she loves how the character seems to be a heightened version of her.

“I get the opportunity to act out all the things I'm too uncomfortable to do in real life,” she said.

When she’s not in front of the camera, Bertinelli volunteers for the East Valley Animal Shelter in Los Angeles by fostering kittens until they find forever homes.

“Young kittens are usually euthanized if the shelters can't get them fostered because of the day to day attention they need,” she said.

Exercise is a regular part of her life as well through fitbit, a wireless activity tracker that measures data such as the number of steps walked a day.

“I try to keep my steps to 10,000 or more with my fitbit and I love competing with my fitbit friends,” Bertinelli said.

She also participates in a boot camp at the recording studio headed up by Ditanyon Demps. “And he kicks our butts twice a week.”

Hydration is also key.

“I do my best to drink a lot of water,” said Bertinelli, who uses a free app called AddWater to help her keep track. “And I just downloaded another free app called Calm, to hopefully help motivate me to meditate more.”

At age 54, Bertinelli said the older she gets, “I find that I'm just trying to be a more aware human being. I forgive more and try to let things roll off my back more. It’s a work in progress.”

Looking back on her life so far, she advises “don't take life so seriously. Find the humor in even the scariest stuff. Forgive yourself and others—that's a hard one. I'm still learning.”

 “Don't sweat the small stuff”

After 50, Malick felt a weight lift. “Even more so turning 60, when I entered my third act.”

She plays the role of Victoria Chase, a former soap opera actress who played Honor St. Raven for 27 years on "Edge of Tomorrow".   A legend in her own mind, she's managed to start a whole new chapter in Cleveland where she fled four years ago with her best friends.

“Through Victoria I get to send up all of us who take ourselves too seriously,” Malick said.

Aside from her career she enjoys tennis and horseback riding and recently took up piano lessons.

“I'm also producing a movie about WildHorse Annie, a remarkable woman whose passion was to protect America's Wild Horses and honor their rightful place on our public lands.”

Malick also gives back as a spokesperson for the Humane Society of the United States and serves on the board of the Environmental Media Association, as well as the advisory board of Return to Freedom, a sanctuary for wild horses.

“Through our charitable gift fund, A Drop in the Bucket, my husband, Richard Erickson and I support a field hospital in Congo,” Malick said.

For exercise she starts each morning walking dogs, grooming horses and nuzzling a miniature donkey.

“We have a menagerie of furry friends and they keep me honest,” she said.

Malick also does Pilates or goes for a swim before work, and cycles or plays tennis on the weekends.

“I eat a pescatarian diet: fish, veggies, low carbs and very little sugar except for wine,” said Malick, who also takes vitamin supplements and drinks fresh lemon in warm water first thing in the morning. “I eat a lot of raw nuts and do a bullet juice a few times a week with spinach, almonds, blueberries, apple, ginger, cayenne and coconut water.”

She’s also a big fan of sleep. “I try for eight hours a night. And the most important health tip: laugh every day.”

At age 63, Malick said she doesn't sweat the small stuff so much and has a deeper sense of gratitude.

“I spend more time with the creatures I love—both 2- and 4-legged—and hanging out with these three women doesn't hurt either,” she said. “And I think laughter, kindness and forgiveness help us thrive at any age. Ultimately, beauty is just being comfortable in your own skin.”  

“We're all going to get older if we're lucky”

For Jane Leeves, 53, doing the show and having two kids leaves very little time for anything else “as I'm sure many working Moms can relate to.”

For her that means school runs in the morning, grocery shopping after work, picking the kids up, cooking dinner, helping with homework and planning the next day with all their activities.

“When I do get a week off it’s nice to volunteer at school,” said Leeves, who has been married for two decades.

On the set she plays the role of Joy Scroggs, a character she describes as a hot mess, always unlucky in love and pretty clueless about relationships.

“She can be vengeful, sarcastic and suspicious,” Leeves said of the role. “But she's deeply loyal.”

Leeves believes the biggest myth about being over 50 is that somehow the best is behind you.

“I thought I'd be ready to take it easy and let it all go a bit. Far from that. I think you gain confidence,” she said.

In her 20s and 30s she would never have dreamt of leaving the house without make up.

“Now I really don't worry too much about what other people think,” Leeves said. “My husband thinks I'm sexier with no make up a snuggly sweater and jeans. So that's a big help.”

Exercise, a big part of her life, involves three miles daily on an inclined treadmill followed by weights. She also is mindful of her skin using sunscreen every day and wearing hats and scarves in California’s sunshine.

“I'm more careful with my diet now,” Leeves said. “Gone are the days of the bread basket. White flour and sugar are the enemy over 50.”

When Leeves turned 50 “I was lucky enough to be surrounded by some pretty inspirational women: Betty, Wendie and Valerie. That's been a true gift. I learnt from all three the power of positive thinking.”

Life is so much better after 50, “I feel more energized, probably because I don’t sweat the small stuff,” Leeves continued. “I feel more present. Not looking back or forward just savoring the here and now.”

She used to think women we're lying when they said it gets better, “but it does. Age is all relative. Betty at 92 thinks I'm a kid.”

“So slap on the sunscreen every day, try every wrinkle cream on the market, try something new every now and again and laugh,” Leeves said. “We're all going to get older if we're lucky, so I want the happy lines.” 





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