Healthy Life

Ei Leen Simone is Reclaiming Her Health (and more) in her Sixth Decade

BY June 28, 2024

Self-proclaimed ‘aging influencer’ and aspiring model Ei Leen Simone may look effortlessly chic strutting down runways, posing in swimsuits, and sporting her silver locks in a high pony as she films at-home workouts for her 20,000-plus Instagram followers. But, the 63-year-old Cape Coral resident has had to work to develop her age- and body-positive mindset. “Something triggered me to say, ‘Hey, you can do something about it,’” she says. “‘You just have to have the want.’”

The Malaysia native went to college in New York and worked as a lab technician for beer icon Anheuser-Busch for 28 years. “I had fun making beer, drinking beer, traveling the world,” she says. Blessed with a quick metabolism, Ei Leen wasn’t much concerned with health and fitness for the first half of her life. “I wasn’t working out or worrying about what I consumed,” she says. “Then, forties came along, and late forties came along, and menopause started happening.” She noticed her clothes no longer fit, her silver roots kept relentlessly peeking through, and her usually patient and cheerful mood was replaced with a short temper. She got snippy with people over minor issues. She recalls an out-of-body experience, questioning, ‘Who is this person?’ as she complained to airport staff over a flight delay while on a work trip. “It’s crazy how it all sets in, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally—I just didn’t like myself,” she says.

Ei Leen retired from Busch at 50, launched a food safety consulting firm, and moved to sunny Cape Coral in 2011 with her husband. Here, Ei Leen slowly started shifting her mindset on self-care. To start, she ditched the hair dye and let her silver locks shine: “It was just a confidence booster. I found myself saying, ‘Hey, I’m not hiding anymore—this is who I am.’”


She spent years toggling workout regimens and diet plans, from Weight Watchers to keto, to find something that worked with her travel schedule and aversion to standard gyms (“I’m not a gym rat—I wouldn’t know what to do,” she says). In 2018, her step-granddaughter introduced her to BODi (formerly Beachbody); Ei Leen quickly adapted principles from BODi’s 2B Mindset, the brand’s nutrition program that emphasizes drinking tons of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and less driven by cravings and having tons of veggie-forward meals, with easy-to-eyeball portion recommendations for each meal. She swears by the approachable bodyweight workouts and adaptable guidelines, like drinking half your body weight in ounces of water daily. “Yes, I do go out to eat and drink, but those are my treat times,” she says. “The way I order, if it’s dinner, it’s going to be protein, and then I’ll sub the carb sides out for veggies.”

Another friend also got her hooked on the small-group, instructor-led classes at Orangetheory Fitness. The cultish studio blends high intensity interval training (HIIT) with traditional cardio for super effective, 60-minute workouts. Now, she attends up to five classes a week. “I drank the Kool-Aid, the orange-aid,” she says, laughing.

Two years ago, with her health—including her mood, energy and self-esteem—on track, Ei Leen was itching for a new challenge. “I always had people come up to me and say, ‘You should model,’” she says. She signed with an agency and has since posed for independent brands, such as L.A.-based Babykakes resort wear; dabbled in acting via infomercials for products like Duo Pain Relief cream; and walked for shows during Miami Swim Week and New York Fashion Week. During this year’s Naples Art Institute Scene to be Seen gala and runway show, Ei Leen wowed the crowd in a floral-adorned, two-piece sundress made from woven Publix bags and discarded book pages by local artist Karina Papanikolaou.

Throughout it all, she posts her journey on social media to show other women that they can achieve body positivity at any age. “I know there’s a lot of women out there going through the same situation I went through,” Ei Leen says. “I hope that seeing how I found [myself] can help you find [yourself].”

Photography by Kelly Jones

Styling by Erica Thebaud

Shot on location at The Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Estero

Wardrobe courtesy Marina St. Barth on Third Street South in Naples

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