Key Takeaways:

Actress and ageism activist Mariann Aalda on show business, age discrimination, and making the most of the second half of life.

Actress and ageism activist Mariann Aalda.

Mariann Aalda, a professional television actress for 30 years, has made the spotlight her home. She was a daytime TV trailblazer as one of the first African-American soap opera heroines, playing the feisty, young criminal defense attorney, DiDi Bannister, on ABC's Edge of Night.

Her primetime TV career flourished in sitcoms. She starred in The Royal Family opposite Redd Foxx and Della Reese. In one of most memorable parts, she had a recurring role opposite Meshach Taylor as his yuppie-from-hell girlfriend, Lita "I'll be waiting in the Beamer" Ford, on Designing Women. She also co-starred opposite O.J. Simpson for three seasons as his wife, Ellen, in the HBO football dramedy, First & 10.

She has also had guest-starring roles with Kirstie Alley, Mo'Nique, John Ritter, Brett Butler, Jean Smart, Delta Burke, and Robert Guillaume - just to name a few. 

But, by the time she hit her mid-50s, the casting directors stopped calling. As she says, "They didn't want me anymore because I'd gotten old." So, she decided to switch gears and become a hypnotherapist. In her new career, her clients were upscale, middle-aged women suffering from depression because they looked at the second half of their lives and felt irrelevant. 

She gave her clients suggestions but realized she could no longer provide them with advice without doing her own work. So, she returned to her comedy roots as co-producer and star in the 25-episode web series, Talk To Me, Ginger!. It's based on her performance art character, adult sex-ed evangelist, Dr. Ginger, the protagonist of her solo show, Gettin' Old Is a Bitch...But I'm Gonna Wrestle That Bitch to the Ground!, which has sold out shows in New York, New Orleans, and Chicago and broke a 30-year box office record at the 2019 National Back Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC.

At 73, she's been a pro-age activist for 20 years. She's been profiled as an AARP Age Disruptor and gave a TEDx Talk, "Ageism is a bully...stand up to it!" 

In her upcoming GetSetUp session, she'll cover everything from backstage gossip to tips on becoming an actor later in life to how to become more proactive in eliminating ageism. 

Join her Monday, March 28, for Guest Speaker: Mariann Aalda - World Theatre Day with Soap Opera, Sitcom, and Stage Actress  

May 19, 2022
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