50 Over 50 Project for 2020


Jana Marcus

Age: 58


"Don’t believe people when they tell you things are impossible. You can make your dreams come true…and it's never too late to realize them."

Age: 58
Profession: Photographer/Author

What is the best thing about being your age?
There is such freedom in standing in your power and truth. I don’t care what people think about me anymore. I say what I mean and mean what I say.

What hardships have you endured that you feel have made you stronger?
The unbearable pain of losing loved ones has made me reailze we must always tell those close to us that we love them and cherish the times we have together – those times don't last forever. With that unbearable pain we must move forward and hope that our future actions would make them, and ourselves, proud.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Completing my book "Line of Blood," about two cold cases in my family history. It was a 28-year journey to find the answers, and it felt like my life calling to tell my Great Uncle’s story. Plus, writing it was the hardest thing I have ever done.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
An afternoon nap in the sun cuddling with my kitties, a raining day with a good book or movie, completing a project I’m happy with, and a big family gathering over a meal (Thanksgiving, Passover, etc.).

What is your most treasured possession?
My beloved cat Max – who is now 16 years old, some of my father’s belongings and a gold and diamond Jewish star that my Grandmother’s husband wore during WW2, when he fought with the underground to take Jews out of Europe.

What's your favorite thing you have checked off your bucket list?
Since I was a child I felt a calling to go to Israel. In 2013 I final made the trip and it was life changing and inspiring.

What is a trait you are most proud of?
Empathy and vision. I'm so honored and proud to have changed people's lives through the photographic medium, especially my work on the transgender community, "Transfigurations."

What is your greatest fear?
Not being able to breathe and having my face under water. I’ve tried three times to learn to swim, but it’s not in the cards for me.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish I had my father’s blue eyes.

What do you most value in your friends?
Honesty, sincerity, and being able to count on each other through thick and thin.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Clothes, beauty products, and photo equipment…I’m a big advocate of shopping therapy!

What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t believe people when they tell you things are impossible. You can make your dreams come true…and it's never too late to realize them.

What is your favorite motto or quote?
“Be the change you want to see in the world” - Gandhi
“Follow your bliss” - Joseph Campbell
"Be the hero of your own story" - Joseph Campbell

Additional thoughts for younger women...
1. Don’t believe the hype in magazines – be proud of who you are and what you look like.
2. Be true to your heart/follow your instincts…it will lead you to your true path.
3. Learn to be empathetic and try to understand where people are coming from who are different than you.
4. Don’t let yourself get caught in a mold of who you should be or what your career choices should be…you can change directions anytime with focus, committment, and bravery.
5. Find your impossible dream and believe you can do it….when you accomplish it find your next dream…never stop dreaming.
6. Learn to cultivate your female friendships, opposed to being jealous or competitive. Your friends are your family.
7. Care about the planet and the animals…they share our world and depend on us.