From The Darkness To The Limelight
One Man’s Journey To Become A Mature Model/Actor
Meet Dr. Howard Snooks; sixth generation native of Colorado. By all outward appearances he was the epitome of success. He had a beautiful family and marriage of 34 years. He ran a thriving private psychotherapy practice that spanned 45 years. He was fit, healthy and happy. He had every expectation of sailing into a life of retirement where he could expand his love for travel and international bicycle trips.
Then 2015 happened.
In February of that year Howard’s father died unexpectedly. Then, shortly after, his wife dropped the bombshell news that she no longer wished to be married. Just like that; period. It came without warning and with no possibility of reconciliation. To say the least, he was devastated. Life had to go on, but what would it look like? Future plans were immediately erased just like random scribbles on the whiteboard of life. Then more loss came knocking at his door when his uncle and sister both unexpectedly passed in late summer and fall. Again, with the shock and the disbelief, he mustered through the grieving process and began to question what the universe was trying to teach him.
Then, just when he thought the onslaught of dreadful experiences was over, he had a bizarre accident during a blizzard in West Texas (of all places) forty miles from the nearest hospital and was stranded with a broken hip all night. It was the next morning before he was able to make it to help and had to have emergency hip replacement surgery. There were few people happier to say goodbye to 2015 than Howard Snooks, who viewed 2016 apprehensively, but with hope. As it turns out, Lady Universe was about to open up a whole new world for him.
While reading the Denver Post one morning in early 2016 he ran across an article explaining how senior citizens were scarce in the modeling/acting arena. Howard sat on that piece for a while, carefully measuring his thoughts. He had always taken care of himself. He worked out and, frankly, looked quite good for a man his age. He had no work or relationship responsibilities (other than his dog Oso), and like the clouds parting after a storm, he took this article as the guiding light forward. He immediately enrolled in modeling and acting classes, joined a talent agency and built his portfolio. The offers started rolling in.
He has done several Runway Exhibitions, including a competition of commercial models, where he won first runner up for Commercial Male in a field of 37 models; who were at least 45 years his junior. He has been in a music video, a Subaru commercial, did an ad for a CrossFit gym and a stock photo shot. He has a growing Instagram following and hopes to become a notable Influencer. His current project is creating a 2019 calendar called The Men Of Boulder, which will consist of men in all age brackets and will include inspiring messages specifically for women from each of the models.
I recently spoke with Howard and asked about his musings, motivations and outlook for the future. Here are some of the highlights.
“I had to make a conscious decision to survive and even thrive when my life reached its lowest point.” Howard talked about how people instinctively try to hide from their feelings when things fall apart, when in reality they need to face and embrace them. Having the courage to honestly feel the pain is the first step in healing.
“I am attempting to consciously evolve to be myself in the deepest possible way, without regard to stereotypes about masculinity, social status, age, etc.” We talked about the reactions his friends and family have had to his new-found career. He admitted there were those who were dubious, and some felt his reinvention would result in a changed, or less connected, relationship. He explains it this way. “People are used to you behaving in certain ways. When you change, they become scared and confused. Not everyone welcomes growth; either in themselves or someone they love.” He laughingly admitted his older (lifelong) friends were a little puzzled by his new passion, but overall, he has been met with support and encouragement.
He enjoys his current status as a single man and loves meeting new women and dating. Despite the end of his marriage, he felt fulfilled in his identity as a married man and looks forward to the possibility of marriage again, but there is no doubt he is cautious trying to align his head, heart and romantic feelings with possible partners. He still has much to offer.
To sum up this journey he states, “Personal life disasters can be a profound gift since they offer such opportunities for growth.” Howard will be the first one to tell you, when he was at his lowest, he never imagined that his world would unfold and bloom in such a beautiful way. Howard is embracing this new life. He is energized and focused. He is constantly learning the ropes and says the modeling community has been warm and welcoming. He appreciates their advice and it is his goal to pay that forward. He believes strongly in community and connections and he is excited for what each new day brings.
It was a great pleasure to speak with Howard and I’m honored to be able to bring you his story. He is truly an inspiration and a delight to talk to, and he absolutely believes that anyone can reinvent themselves at any age. He’s proving that to the world every day. Meet the new Howard Snooks!