Marie-Berthe Paquette, 102 years old.I personally find myself beautiful, and when I don’t, I do my best anyway! I like to have my hair neatly styled and wear dresses, jewelry and other accessories. I’ve always paid attention to my appearance. In fact, I’m known as la frache (the trendy lady).
Marie-Berthe Paquette, 102 years old.I personally find myself beautiful, and when I don’t, I do my best anyway! I like to have my hair neatly styled and wear dresses, jewelry and other accessories. I’ve always paid attention to my appearance. In fact, I’m known as la frache (the trendy lady). Arianne Clement/Ground Truth

Stunning 100-year-old women teach us about true beauty

BEAUTY is not just in the eye of the beholder; it is in the captured soul and story of our older generation.

Canadian emerging photographer Arianne Clement has captured 13 stunning shots of centenarians from the Montérégie region of Québec.  

She reminisces about the experiences, writing, "One thing kept occurring: every single woman I photographed wanted to groom herself to make sure she would look good in my pictures. This is how it became a story about beauty.

"I became interested in the efforts that these women put (or didn't put) into looking beautiful, and the challenges that they face in their old age. I asked them about youth, aging, feminism, sexuality, charm, appearance, love, and I documented their beauty rituals. 

"Visiting Marie-Berthe, the woman in the first photograph, was an unbelievable spectacle. She likes to be the centre of attention and is willing to do about everything to make her audience burst out laughing. Every time I visited her, she told me funny stories, sang and danced. In her portrait, she is dancing in a sexy and provocative way for the sake of her audience (myself and two family members). 

"To me, the third photo is particularly touching. Laure Provost, the centenarian in the picture, was very sick and weak but also very peaceful and serene. She didn't have the energy to move or talk, and even though she used to be a very stylish woman, I doubt she cared about the way she looked anymore.

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"But even though Laure seemed distanced from the physical world, her daughter, Lise, continued to make sure that her mother looked good: that her nails and hair were done and that she had jewellery and lipstick on. She knew this used to be important to her mother and wanted to honour her. Since they couldn't communicate verbally anymore, these rituals were their way to stay close together.

"Through these portraits, I want to questions society's obsession with youth and beauty standards, and to give a voice to these women whose beauty is rarely acknowledged."

Arianne Clement's essay is part of The GroundTruth Project series, Emerging Photographers.

Marie-Berthe Paquette, 102, My father was a painter and craftsman and he shared his love of art with me. I believe that everything that is artistic is beautiful: theatre, picture frames, poems, paintings, flowers, songs. In a person, it’s the character, the silhouette, the smile and the eyes that count. That said, my biggest regret is not getting an education.
Marie-Berthe Paquette, 102, My father was a painter and craftsman and he shared his love of art with me. I believe that everything that is artistic is beautiful: theatre, picture frames, poems, paintings, flowers, songs. In a person, it’s the character, the silhouette, the smile and the eyes that count. That said, my biggest regret is not getting an education. Arianne Clement/Ground Truth
Alida Provost, 101. I’m a very rational and level-headed person, and I’m not very sensitive to beauty or art. I come from a very poor family. Spending money at the hairdresser’s or on unnecessary beauty accessories was completely out of the question. I only sewed by necessity. For instance, I made dresses for my sisters using cotton pouches that had been used for storing sugar.
Alida Provost, 101. I’m a very rational and level-headed person, and I’m not very sensitive to beauty or art. I come from a very poor family. Spending money at the hairdresser’s or on unnecessary beauty accessories was completely out of the question. I only sewed by necessity. For instance, I made dresses for my sisters using cotton pouches that had been used for storing sugar. Arianne Clement/Ground Truth
Isabelle Gagnon (left), 103 and her daughter Clermont. Of course I’d rather be good-looking rather than ugly! But back when I was young, I couldn’t be bothered with beauty. It was vanity. It was a sin. What really mattered was the family, putting food on the table, and making sure that the children were bathed and clothed. I am blessed because my daughter is the one now taking care of me.
Isabelle Gagnon (left), 103 and her daughter Clermont. Of course I’d rather be good-looking rather than ugly! But back when I was young, I couldn’t be bothered with beauty. It was vanity. It was a sin. What really mattered was the family, putting food on the table, and making sure that the children were bathed and clothed. I am blessed because my daughter is the one now taking care of me. Arianne Clement/Ground Truth
Anne-Marie Provonost, 100. My husband was a very good-looking man. He had beautiful curly hair, and was nicknamed Willy La Coche’. It was very important for him to always be well-dressed. When he went out to work at the lumber camp, he’d sell his suit and buy a brand-new one when he returned. He was a flirt and a bit fickle: he loved all women and too much. But it’s important to forgive.
Anne-Marie Provonost, 100. My husband was a very good-looking man. He had beautiful curly hair, and was nicknamed Willy La Coche’. It was very important for him to always be well-dressed. When he went out to work at the lumber camp, he’d sell his suit and buy a brand-new one when he returned. He was a flirt and a bit fickle: he loved all women and too much. But it’s important to forgive. Arianne Clement/Ground Truth
Solange Racine, 101. As a young lady, I could not afford to be frivolous. We were poor and had to work all the time. We had to take part in day-to-day chores, pick the raspberries, take care of the babies, cook, help with the harvest, do housework and bathe the children … and all of that without electricity. We didn’t have time to think about beauty.
Solange Racine, 101. As a young lady, I could not afford to be frivolous. We were poor and had to work all the time. We had to take part in day-to-day chores, pick the raspberries, take care of the babies, cook, help with the harvest, do housework and bathe the children … and all of that without electricity. We didn’t have time to think about beauty. Arianne Clement/Ground Truth
Madeleine Beaugrand Champagne, 101. When I was young, like all women, I wanted to be attractive. I curled my hair, wore the beautiful outfits my mom made for me and suffered in high heels. Still, I never wore makeup; I felt like it was fake. Rather than maintaining physical beauty, which is vain, I advise young women to cultivate the beauty that surrounds them.
Madeleine Beaugrand Champagne, 101. When I was young, like all women, I wanted to be attractive. I curled my hair, wore the beautiful outfits my mom made for me and suffered in high heels. Still, I never wore makeup; I felt like it was fake. Rather than maintaining physical beauty, which is vain, I advise young women to cultivate the beauty that surrounds them. Arianne Clement/Ground Truth
Laure Saucier died in 2016 at 101 years old. Her daughter Lise Provost, remembers her mom’s struggles with beauty: “Even though we constantly told her that she was beautiful, my mom had always found herself ugly. She often said that she had a monkey face and that she didn’t like her plumpness. My mother regularly dieted. She  tried different weight loss pills. She wore girdles and corsets.
Laure Saucier died in 2016 at 101 years old. Her daughter Lise Provost, remembers her mom’s struggles with beauty: “Even though we constantly told her that she was beautiful, my mom had always found herself ugly. She often said that she had a monkey face and that she didn’t like her plumpness. My mother regularly dieted. She tried different weight loss pills. She wore girdles and corsets. Arianne Clement/Ground Truth
Madeleine Beaugrand Champagne, 101 years old. The word beauty invokes great classic French authors, and music. When I was young, I always had my nose in a book and I wrote. I don’t mean to brag, but people envied my writing skills. I like Mozart a lot, but it’s Beethoven who really makes my heart sing.
Madeleine Beaugrand Champagne, 101 years old. The word beauty invokes great classic French authors, and music. When I was young, I always had my nose in a book and I wrote. I don’t mean to brag, but people envied my writing skills. I like Mozart a lot, but it’s Beethoven who really makes my heart sing. Arianne Clement/Ground Truth
Anne-Marie Pronovost, was 100 years old when photographed. When I was young I had long hair, nice legs and curves. Young ladies today all strive to be skinny, but I think that real beauty is natural beauty. We are who we are, and that’s all that matters.
Anne-Marie Pronovost, was 100 years old when photographed. When I was young I had long hair, nice legs and curves. Young ladies today all strive to be skinny, but I think that real beauty is natural beauty. We are who we are, and that’s all that matters. Arianne Clement/Ground Truth
Jeanette Ballard, 100 years old. I definitely find myself as ugly. Beauty fades as we get older. Our noses and ears get bigger, our gait changes, we get hunched backs. Some are worse off than me, but I’m not beautiful at all. Still, I enjoy life and I look forward to the future, even if it’s a short one when you’re 100 years old.
Jeanette Ballard, 100 years old. I definitely find myself as ugly. Beauty fades as we get older. Our noses and ears get bigger, our gait changes, we get hunched backs. Some are worse off than me, but I’m not beautiful at all. Still, I enjoy life and I look forward to the future, even if it’s a short one when you’re 100 years old. Arianne Clement/Ground Truth
Laure Saucier (left) with daughter Lise Provost. She was very stylish and competitive. She was in love with my father and I think she worried about not being good enough. She always wore lipstick, blush, high heels, earrings, perfume, and curled her hair. She’d rub baby oil on herself and bought MadameAvon’s rejuvenating creams. In the evening she went to bed with cotton strips wrapped under chin.
Laure Saucier (left) with daughter Lise Provost. She was very stylish and competitive. She was in love with my father and I think she worried about not being good enough. She always wore lipstick, blush, high heels, earrings, perfume, and curled her hair. She’d rub baby oil on herself and bought MadameAvon’s rejuvenating creams. In the evening she went to bed with cotton strips wrapped under chin. Arianne Clement/Ground Truth
Solange Racine, 101 years old. I actually care more about beauty today than when I was young. I like to dress rather well, in pretty, simple, and practical dresses. I put on foundation and perfume in the morning, lipstick after each meal, and I go to the hairdresser’s every week. I’m also careful not to eat foods that are either too rich or too sweet. It’s important to not let oneself go.
Solange Racine, 101 years old. I actually care more about beauty today than when I was young. I like to dress rather well, in pretty, simple, and practical dresses. I put on foundation and perfume in the morning, lipstick after each meal, and I go to the hairdresser’s every week. I’m also careful not to eat foods that are either too rich or too sweet. It’s important to not let oneself go. Arianne Clement/Ground Truth
Marie-Berthe Paquette, 102 years old.I personally find myself beautiful, and when I don’t, I do my best anyway! I like to have my hair neatly styled and wear dresses, jewelry and other accessories. I’ve always paid attention to my appearance. In fact, I’m known as la frache (the trendy lady).
Marie-Berthe Paquette, 102 years old.I personally find myself beautiful, and when I don’t, I do my best anyway! I like to have my hair neatly styled and wear dresses, jewelry and other accessories. I’ve always paid attention to my appearance. In fact, I’m known as la frache (the trendy lady). Arianne Clement/Ground Truth


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