Did it take a lot of prep work?
I’m still healthy, my hair is nice, and my skin is good. As for filters, forget it. I keep my facial appointments with Mario Badescu. I’ve done that once a month religiously for 40-something years.
And your body?
I had two months, basically, to make sure I felt good enough about the way I look. If I’d thought my waist was too big, or that I was too wobbly, I wouldn’t have done it. But after working in Pilates three times a week, I thought I could. Also, I went to the tanning booth and had a very light spray tan, something I’ve never done.
Were there physical challenges during the shoot?
I had to wear nine different bathing suits. All these people were prodding me and talking about “the girls.” I have never called my breasts “the girls” in my life. I hate stuff like that. The whole time, these people were nudging, “Poke this out, push that in.” I had to put up with that for eight hours. Still, we were shooting in the Dominican Republic and I had a really good time.
How do you come by the sexual confidence to pull off a move like this?
It doesn’t have as much to do with blatant sex as with a self-assurance that started when I was a child. So, when the offer came, I thought, “I can do this. I don’t have to give in to convention.” How else would I, as an 81-year-old, have talked myself into feeling good about getting into a bathing suit?
There are people who find nothing quite as steamy as your competence at work. What do you make of that?
I just returned from four and a half hours at Breads Bakery in Union Square. I had to bake a challah in the shape of a crown, something I had never done before. When I finished, that bread looked better than the baker’s version. But I’m a teacher and kind of an artist.