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tv   RT News  PBS  July 30, 2013 2:00pm-2:31pm PDT

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- on this "my generation," renovate, innovate, elevate. - i've been an addict. i've been a pleaser... someone who didn't know that "no" is a complete sentence. - jane fonda. she's experienced a lot. what she's learned and sharing might surprise you. plus, choreographer judith jamison joins us for one last curtain call. - it wasn't, "can i be a dancer so i can make money?" it was, "can i be a dancer and just keep enjoying myself?" - woman found the recipe for health and happiness and is sharing it a world away. "my generation" is made possible by... auto and home insurance from the hartford, helping to make a difficult time a little less difficult for drivers 50 and over. information about our program, including how to find an agent, is available at for you...
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or someone you love. for care in the home, we are here. interim healthcare. when it matters most, count on us. - hi, and thank you so much for joining us. i'm leeza gibbons. we might not be able to predict the future, but one thing is for sure-- you can always count on change. life is a work in progress, and so are we. the people you're about to meet embrace that concept. they're not afraid to constantly examine their lives and say, "this is good; now, how can i make it better?" inspired by them, "my generation" encourages you to renovate, innovate, and elevate. jane fonda is one of those rare hollywood icons
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whose personal life is just as captivating as her impressive body of work. she sat down for an intimate chat which "my generation" contributor valerie bertinelli about her life and why she felt the need to give herself an attitude overhaul. - she's been a fixture in american life, from actress to activist, philanthropist to fitness expert. now jane fonda believes she's happier now that she's ever been. - i feel as good as i look. now, to look like this, it takes a village, right? - no, it doesn't. - hair, makeup, and all the people--a glam team. but i feel really good. it's funny, because i didn't always feel good, and i used to get stressed a lot. i don't get stressed so much. - at 74, fonda says she's finally hit her stride and talks about this journey in her latest book, "prime time." for her, getting older was nothing like she expected. - first of all, i never thought i'd live this long. - are you kidding me, with the way you take care of yourself? - that started late in life.
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i did not think i was going to live very long, and i didn't think i would be happy, and i thought if i lived so long, i'd be miserable. - really? - lonely, maybe an addict. i just did not have a very good image of-- why would we have a good attitude about old age? what i'm discovering is that it can be pretty great, and i wanted to understand why. - this discovery came when she hit 60 and entered into what she called her "third act." but the joys of getting older were only possible after fonda did an extensive life review, examining her past and learning in the process who she really was. so when people think of jane fonda-- i know i think of an icon, a beautiful woman... - thank you. - who has been a big voice for all of us women. - i think of a woman who has struggled a lot in life to be a whole person. i've been an addict. i've been a pleaser. i've been someone who gave myself--
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someone who didn't know that "no" is a complete sentence. - ha ha ha! - it took me a long time to figure out what i needed to do to be, as the french would say, "bien dans ma peau"-- really well in my skin, feel ok about myself, feel, you know, i don't need to be perfect. we're not supposed to be perfect. - it's hard to believe this young actress who rose to fame in the 1968 cult classic "barbarella" and then went on to win two academy awards would have any doubts about who she was. in fact, fonda's insecurities began as a young child. her relationship with her father, legendary film actor henry fonda, was often distant, while her mother's was cut short after she committed suicide when fonda was only 12. how do you get brave enough to do life review? i'm trying to forget what i did in my 20s. - ha ha! there's a lot that i'm really, really ashamed of about my past, but i want to know why i was the way i was, and i went through life feeling i wasn't good enough.
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so i decided--the day that i turned 59, i thought, "in a year, i'm going to be 60. "oh! and it's going to be the beginning of my third act. i don't know how to live my last 30 years." - really? - so i needed to know, what would i regret? in order to know how to do the last 30 years, i need to know what the first two acts have been about. - what she learned gave her the courage to be her true self, helping to end her third, very public marriage, to media mogul ted turner. - when i turned 60 and began to really gain confidence, i was ready to bring my whole self to the table, and i don't think he could quite deal with it. - really? - when you're someone who has a hard time with showing up, you're going to steer clear of people who are going to say, "come on, valerie. come on. show up." so i ended up with men who couldn't show up. i was ready to show up, and he didn't want to, and so i had a choice-- i could stay with him and be very well taken care of and happy,
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and he's wonderful and funny and everything like that, but i'd never be whole. - that's very brave. - i wanted to become whole. - being brave meant standing on her own two feet, no longer needing a man to validate her. - i went from 23 kingdom-sized properties that he owned and a jet that slept 8 and all these closets into a tiny little room in my daughter's house that had no closet, and i stood in the middle of the room, and i was so sad, and yet i knew that i was becoming whole, and i said this is god. - wow. - and i knew that i woulbe good, i would be ok from then on. - fonda describes that experience as mounting a staircase, a natural progression upward in life as you age. - it really should be spiral because change is spiral. it doesn't just happen, you know? it takes a long time to learn the lessons.
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but part of going through the last third of life is to reflect on your experiences. it's not enough just to have them, but to reflect on them and to try to say, what does it have to teach me? what's interesting, and katharine hepburn taught me this--she was the first one that said, "every morning, i get up, and i write in my journal." she said, the most thing i write about is my failures, "because you learn more from failures," and it's true. it's from your mistakes, your failures, on every level-- professionally, emotionally-- that's where you learn, if you take the time to reflect on them and try to understand what they had to teach you. - you don't strike me as someone who regrets your failures at all. i'm sure there's things in your life you do regret. - yes, i do, but i try to learn from them. - not repeat a mistake. - another thing that's really important is to own them, you know? own your mistakes. that's an important part of aging.
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the studies that show that most people over 50 are happier and less stressed and everything, and partly it's because we have this long backward view. we've been there; we've done it. we survived heartbreak. we survived financial crises. we're still here. we don't make mountains out of molehills. - let more things roll off our backs. - that's right. we tend to see what we have in common with someone else more than what are the differences, and it makes life a lot easier. - owning up to mistakes is something she knows far too well. fonda earned the nickname hanoi jane in the 1970s as an outspoken critic of the vietnam war, a part of her past she wishes she could take back. why do you think some people have such a hard time forgiving you for acts that were 40 years ago? - oh, because the vietnam war left such a scar on the american psyche, and there's been so little understanding, even today.
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i make a convenient lightning rod. and it helps, the fact that i'm a woman, that i'm privileged-- all of those things make it easy for men who are scarred and wounded to hate me. i accept what my responsibility is and the mistake that i made. - you've made that very clear. - i have apologized many times, so it pains me when people continue to hate. - anger is--it starts with pain or fear. - the problem is, if you don't forgive and you go through life with that hatred, you're the one that's locking yourself into a prison. - and it's that understanding that allows fonda to continue mounting that staircase, both literally and figuratively. jane fonda, now in her prime, and loving it. - jane wrote most of "prime time" at her ranch near santa fe, new mexico, and to overcome writer's block, she pulled out a chainsaw to clear the brush around the property. she said the arduous physical labor jump-started her thought process.
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i've so got to try that. love it. for more information about jane fonda, visit our website at - later, a renovated jane fonda is back, with reasons why you need to move it or lose it. - judith jamison's creative vision and innovative choreography was the driving force behind the alvin ailey american dance theater for over 20 years. "my generation's" bill boggs was fortunate enough to get one of her last interviews before she took the final curtain call on her career as artistic director. - thousands of people around the world are professional dancers, but only the most exceptional rise to the heights of world fame and critical acclaim achieved by judith jamison. she's been hailed as one of the greatest dancers of the 20th century, praised for her pliant technique, stunning beauty, and regal stature.
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named one of the world's most influential people by "time" magazine, she has received the national medal of arts and been honored at both the kennedy center and with a special program at the white house. so what's been the secret ingredient behind her singular success as a superstar dancer, choreographer, and longtime artistic director here at the alvin ailey american dance theater? - you know, it's harder not to work full-out than to work full-out. if you hold something back, it is pointless. isn't that like life, you know? what is the point otherwise, if you cannot go full throttle? so it was a commitment to excellence that i learned early in life. - judith jamison and i met at the alvin ailey company headquarters in manhattan. the building draws you in, in a way. - yeah. it's full of light. it's full of light, full of love here. - all the layers of accomplishment in your life-- dancer, choreograpr, director of this great company-- i'm wondering, is there one secret ingredient
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that made it happen, that enabled you to do what you've done, if you look back? - i think that's my upbringing in philadelphia. i think that had a great deal to do-- my environment that was set by my family, parents, grandparents, extended family, cousins who are still there in philadelphia. - what did they give you? - they gave me unconditional-- that thing that's so corny now that we say that people don't really mean sometimes. it's called unconditional love. they love you no matter what. - even if you screwed up. - because you're family. you're family, and that is the bond. - how about one specific thing from your mother or your grandmother that you have carried with you that's enabled you to excel as you have? - we always reached back in order to help those who were still coming forward. that was taught to me early, to make sure that you reach back and help someone get as far along as you've gotten along. - that family feeling is part of the environment
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that judith has established at the company. alicia graf mack is a company member who's been strongly influenced by her leadership. - to work with her on a daily basis has been such a blessing, and she's been a great role model in terms of being a strong woman, being an artistic director. seeing a woman in that position has been really amazing for me. - when i was studying dance, i wasn't thinking, "oh, i want to be a dancer." that was not in my mind. it was like, "oh, people are applauding. i'm having a ball. they like what i'm doing." you know? it was all about enjoying myself, working extremely hard, because it's still, to this day-- i mean, i don't dance in front of you, but i still dance-- i have a ball dancing. i still do. - under judith jamison's 21-year leadership, the ailey company headquarters, including rehearsal space, theaters, and a school, was financed and constructed.
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judith and i met at a time of transition for her, as she retires and turns over the leadership of the company to ailey choreographer robert battle. what would you say is one special component of her personality that's enabled her to be so successful on so many different levels? - she remains curious about life, quite frankly, and that's reflected through her artistic choices. it was reflected through her dancing. it's reflected through her choreography and through the people that she surrounds herself with. - i was so happy to see that you were honored at the white house by michelle obama. - that was neat! that was neat! - she has distinguished herself as a true visionary in the world of dance. her work has been an inspiration to me personally and to the president. - what did that feel like? the little girl from west philadelphia at the white house being honored by the president's wife-- just tell us what that felt like. - that was good, especially when she tells the story of the only artwork that they had when they were first married
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was a poster of me. - your picture, in "cry," was the only piece of art we had in our house. - that was their artwork wherever they lived, you know, back then. i'm going, like, "wow! ok. i'll take that. i'll take that as a yes, a big yes." - the extraordinary care of an amazing, phenomenal, fly woman. - the first lady of the united states was actually saying, "we honor you." it was beyond. - could you feel a sense of, "if they could see me now," if your grandmother could see me now? - they see me now, so it's no problem. it's no problem. there are times when i go, "gosh, i just met hank aaron," and i was like, "i wish my father was standing right next to me. i wish my mother was standing right next to me now." but they're here. they know.
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- alvin ailey discovered judith jamison as she was auditioning for another choreographer. she says it wasn't really her best performance, but ailey saw something special in her. the rest, as they say, is history. - my husband was a physician, so after my husband died, i'd always wanted to go on a medical team. i didn't think you could go unless you were a doctor or a nurse. but my son's girlfriend was going to guatemala, and i thought, "if she can go, maybe i can go." so i offered to do whatever there was to do,
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which was to cook in the kitchen. and that's how i got there, and that's how i got to where i am now. i'm the stove lady. when i was in guatemala, one of the things we saw was that the most dangerous activity a woman in the developing world can undertake is cooking for her family. one day, this lovely indigenous woman came into the kitchen, and she said, "my hands were burned shut at the age of 2 because i fell into an open fire in my family's home." most of these women spend all day cooking indoors over smoky open fires, and most of them have a baby on the front or a baby on the back, so that baby is inhaling so much smoke, it's the equivalent of 3 packs of cigarettes a day.
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i saw babies whose lungs were so choked with creosote, they couldn't incubate them. they couldn't put the tubes down their throats, and so they couldn't save the babies' lives. it was at that point that i said, "we have to prevent this. "we cannot treat all the people who are standing in line waiting for medical treatment." this is just in one area of guatemala. i'd heard of fuel-efficient stoves. i knew that that was a way to get rid of those open fires in the homes. so what i did was, i said there are a lot of people like me who'd like to come with the medical team, and so why not if we form a team of people who put in stoves in the developing world? after doing this for a number of years, i realized that the need in guatemala alone was for 6 million stoves, and we were putting in 150-200 stoves. so consequently, i just stopped doing it.
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my friend said, "you need to start a stove factory of your own in guatemala," and i was saying, "i'm over 65. i don't want to start a factory." but then i started being introduced to stove designers, and so we started this initiative to help establish factories in the developing world to produce and sell stoves, and at that point, that was the beginning of stove team international. what we did was we developed the ecocina, which is a portable stove. "cocina" is the spanish word for kitchen. we were looking for the word for stove, but when there is no stove, there's no word for it, and so they call it the kitchen, the fire.
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so this is an "eco," or an environmental, stove. in the ecocinayou use 3 small sticks, about the size of my fingers, and when you finish cooking your beans or whatever, you take the stick out, and you snub it out so you can use that wood later. it saves 50% of the wood that's being cut. it saves 70% of the particulate matter and carbon emissions, and the exterior is cool to the touch, even after you've been cooking for some time. i was up in the hills in el salvador when we were initially checking out the stove to see if it would be acceptable. we gave it to a woman, and she had it outdoors on a table, and she said, "i feel so wonderful. "i can go outside during the day. "in the past, i had to cook inside all day long.
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"i was in this dark, smoky kitchen all day long, and now i can be outdoors." it's revolutionary. ha ha! it's a miracle. you know, one of the first ladies who saw it looked at me and said, "ies un milagro!" and absolutely, it is. i want this to go on forever. that's why we're establishing factories, rather than just distributing stoves. we could have just distributed stoves. and i didn't stop with one factory. you know? i kept going. the first factory that was started-- not a single one of those people had jobs before we started the factory. to date, we have established 6 factories in 5 countries.
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those factories have produced over 15,000 stoves, which have affected the lives of over 100,000 people. we're teaching people how to make the fuel-efficient stoves, and we're helping them establish the factories, and we hope those factories go on forever. - be a part of the conversation. send an email to or like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. - we're back with the voice of experience. jane fonda shares some insight that will help your elevate your third act. - do you know that every year, one in 3 people over 65 fall... - for people in their third act, fonda says exercise is no longer an option. it's an imperative. - your brain shrinks. your muscles shrink. your bones get thin. your arteries harden. all those things happen, but if you stay physically active,
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it minimizes all of that. - which is why the queen of the workout video felt compelled to make more, for those in their prime time. - i realized, holy cow. i can't do what i did in my early videos, so i'm going to make new ones. you want to be functioning. you want to be able to be independent. you want to be able to lift things, including maybe grandchildren. - yes! - you want to be able to get in and out of chairs. it's important to keep these primary muscles strong and vibrant. i very often make smoothies for myself in the morning, but i'm going to do it for lunch today. - and a healthy diet is key to the way fonda functions. - don't drink too much, though, because it's my lunch. nice ring. - but that's not all. fonda is not afraid to talk about sex, an often taboo subject but a vital component to aging. - a lot of people in their third acts have closed up shop down there, and that's just fine. you can have a great third act without having sex.
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you know, there's a lot you can do that's a whole lot of fun, but if you choose to remain sexually active, you have to understand what's happening to your body because it's changing. women's are changing in some ways. men's are changing even more. so what do you do about it? - what do you do about it? - oh, all kinds of things, and i had such a good time researching. - when i first met you, you still exuded that grace and peace, but there was a-- there's something different about you now. - right. i'm more relaxed. - yeah. - well, i've become a different person. you slow down when you get older. i slowed down because i've got a fake knee and a fake hip. i can't run. i can't do things fast anymore, but that's wonderful because it helps, conceptually. you're forced to slow down, and so you go inward more. aging is a time when you do-- you move from ego to soul.
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- i'm valerie bertinelli for "my generation." - jane fonda's very first video came out in 1982. it went on to sell 17 million copies. that's more than any other home video to date. i think her body looks better than ever, and i bet you she can still fit into that striped red-and-black leotard. thanks, jane. you go, baby. for more information about any of the people you've seen on this program or to join us anytime, visit our website at and for all of us here at "my generation," i'm leeza gibbons. we thank you for watching. - today, sugar ray leonard enjoys the time he spends at this home in los angeles. - i'm in a place of service now. i mean, i tend to give advice to not just young boxers, but to young people in general, because i think that i am a testament of what can be, not what couldn't be.
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- "my generation" is a production of aarp in association with maryland public television. "my generation" is made possible by... auto and home insurance from the hartford, helping to make a difficult time a little less difficult for drivers 50 and over. information about our program, including how to find an agent, is available at for you... or someone you love. for care in the home, we are here. interim healthcare. when it matters most, count on us. - to purchase a dvd of "my generation," call (800) 873-6154 or order online at please include the show number.
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>> physical activity is important for healthy aging. it reduces a multitude of undesirable conditions, and it makes you feel good. so, let's get started. sit and be fit made possible in part by vq, makers of the resisnce chair. when you imagine your future, you wanted to be healthy and active. stay strong. 1-800-570-6220. "sit and be fit" is a creation of mary ann wilson, registered nurse, teacher and recognized leader in the field of fitness and healthy aging. mary ann consults with a team


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