Cherie Kidd and Captain-Crystal Stout stand together at the Empire State Building in New York. The friends went to New York City to see a billboard of themselves in Times Square and to walk three runways during New York Fashion Week. (Captain-Crystal Stout)

Cherie Kidd and Captain-Crystal Stout stand together at the Empire State Building in New York. The friends went to New York City to see a billboard of themselves in Times Square and to walk three runways during New York Fashion Week. (Captain-Crystal Stout)

Peninsula seniors walk runways in New York City

Captain-Crystal, Kidd participate in Fashion Week

Two North Olympic Peninsula women say they are defying expectations while embracing the idea that beauty is ageless.

Captain-Crystal Stout, a hot air balloon pilot from Sequim, and Cherie Kidd, the former mayor of Port Angeles, flew to New York City this month to see Kidd’s picture in an ad on a billboard in Times Square and to walk multiple runways during New York Fashion Week.

“It was a thrill,” said Kidd, 78.

She walked the runway for Fashion Week in 2023, accompanied by Stout, 63, who prefers the moniker Captain-Crystal. As Ms. Washington Senior World with Senior World Pageants, Kidd was told there would be a billboard in Times Square with her picture on it in February.

“I had to go back,” she said. “It was incredible. It was right in the middle of Times Square.”

Captain-Crystal appeared on the screen as well, she said.

When the friends first visited New York last year, Kidd said she wanted to involve Captain-Crystal somehow. Kidd had convinced her in 2020 to try out for the Ms. Senior United States title, which Captain-Crystal won.

The pair continued on the beauty pageant circuit until the COVID-19 pandemic derailed events, Captain-Crystal said, but now the pair is pursuing new avenues again.

Kidd said she was connected to a show producer to do runway modeling in New York and was able to secure an extra spot for Captain-Crystal after she sent in an application. The friends were in New York Feb. 8-12 and were nonstop the whole time, they said.

“My adrenaline kept me going,” Captain-Crystal said.

The pair walked the runway three times for the American Heart Association, Sunchasers Sunglasses and That’s My Dress. They also participated in two photo shoots taken on city streets and on a rooftop.

“We were the two oldest women there in a sea of young people,” Captain-Crystal said. “It was fascinating. The responses were, ‘This is so cool you’re here.’ Without the body consciousness movement of any size, ability, age can be a New York Fashion Week model; I don’t know if I’d be on the runway if that wasn’t going on in the world.”

Mindset

Captain-Crystal said Kidd is an inspiration to her because age isn’t an issue to her.

“She’s breaking barriers, and as a mentor and friend of mine, I want to do that too,” she said.

Captain-Crystal said she modeled as a teen and in her early 20s, and she became inspired to try it again 40 years later.

Things have changed since then, she said, and she initially had to overcome some self-doubt.

“When I was able to let that go, I was able to shine,” Captain-Crystal said.

“My biggest thing — it’s OK, everything is meant to be. That enabled me to always be in a state of calm.”

Kidd said she doesn’t let age affect her.

“I feel like I’m 18. That’s my mindset,” she said. “I’m in the gym five or six times a week, stay active volunteering, and I don’t go out the door without my mascara and lipstick.”

Kidd appeared in two magazines last year, she said, including on the cover of pageant magazine “Art & Beauty” and in beauty ads.

She finds that the more she does in life, the more doors open.

“I kind of put myself out there, taking on new challenges, and I keep getting invitations for something different and something new,” Kidd said.

Next steps

Through modeling, Kidd feels she’s setting an example for women of all ages.

“Challenge yourself and do something new,” she said. “That’s how we grow and learn. Frankly, we should always have new goals.”

She said she and Captain-Crystal are trying to be front-runners for the mindset that beauty is ageless.

“Age is irrelevant,” she said. “It’s your attitude and just being positive.”

Captain-Crystal said she’s started exploring next steps with modeling, including creating a portfolio with a local photographer.

Through this recent Fashion Week experience, she said one of the most thrilling parts was sharing with people about her 501(c)(3) nonprofit Dream Catcher Program. It provides rides in a hot air balloon supported by a seat rather than a basket so people of all ages and abilities can participate.

Looking ahead, the balloon will tour the southwest in May, including stops in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico, to offer rides to seniors, veterans and children.

She’s planning to attend local events this summer, including the return of the Olympic Peninsula Air Affaire and Sequim Valley Fly-In on Aug. 24 at the Sequim Valley Airport.

Captain-Crystal also continues her Captain Delivers LLC that offers concierge curbside pickup and delivery.

Kidd continues to own and operate AAA Affordable Storage in Port Angeles and serves as a community volunteer for the Kiwanis, Rotary, Daughters of the American Revolution and as a Port Angeles Chamber ambassador.

________

Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at matthew.nash@sequimgazette.com.

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