Nina Lorez Collins is a writer/entrepreneur and the founder of The Woolfer, a social platform and website for like-minded women over forty. The community grew organically out of a closed Facebook group she started in 2015 called "What Would Virginia Woolf Do?” Her book, What Would Virginia Woolf Do? And Other Questions I Ask Myself As I Attempt to Age Without Apology, was published in April 2018. She’s a graduate of Barnard College, has a Masters degree from Columbia in the field of Narrative Medicine, is a trustee of the Brooklyn Public Library, and has a long professional background in book publishing, both as a literary scout and then as an agent. She has four nearly grown children and lives in Brooklyn. In addition to her work at The Woolfer, she manages the literary estate of her late mother, the filmmaker and writer Kathleen Collins. We spoke with Nina about the Woolfer, the 30 books on her nightstand, and the one thing she never thought she’d experience in this decade.
What’s one practice, goal, or purpose that helps get you out of bed each day?
I try to do a daily yoga practice with my dear friend Karen on Zoom. Realistically we manage this 3x a week (she’s an early riser, I’m not), but when we do it we both feel amazing.
When and where do you feel the most centered?
When I’m at my beach house, and it’s clean, and I’m caught up on work and bills and can just sit and be.
What’s made a difference in how you feel lately?
Exercise always makes me feel better, more so as I age.
What’s one thing you try to remember each day?
To be grateful.
What’s a product or life hack that’s saving your sanity?
My new Halo dog collar is pretty awesome—it has GPS and training features that help me manage my new poodle, Strudel.
What’s your biggest challenge right now?
Taking my start-up to the next level.
What’s your biggest reward right now?
My relationships with my four quasi-adult children and my partner John.
What’s one good habit you’ve cultivated recently?
Taking a long walk nearly every day.
What’s the hardest part about this point in your life? (What helped?)
Probably physical changes, and that’s helped by HT, exercise, lots of sleep and water, and staying on top of doctor appointments.
What’s the best part?
Feeling like I don’t have anything to prove anymore.
What do you wish someone had told you about it?
I wish I’d been told when I was younger that I could really just chill out, that everything will be ok. And I wish I would have believed it.
What’s one thing you never thought you'd experience in this decade?
What’s on your playlist?
Chopin, Amos Lee, Billie Holliday, Etta James, Rufus Wainwright, Nina Simone, Dolly Parton, Mindy Smith, Alicia Keys.
What’s on your nightstand?
About 30 books. I read constantly. Right now I’m most excited to read the new novel by Rachel Cusk, Second Place.
What’s in your bathroom cabinet?
Fish oil, magnesium glycinate, C Q-10, estradiol .0025 patches, 100mg progesterone capsules, vitamin C serum, Eminence moisturizer and eye serum, Elta MD sunscreen, Tom’s deodorant.
If you could name one book, show, or podcast that’s speaking to where you’re at, what would it be?
Better Things spoke to where I was a few years ago. Now that my kids are all out of the house it’s hard to say...
Do you have any new role models for this decade?
No, I don’t. Maybe Jane Fonda?
What does self-care mean to you?
Rest, water, sunshine, wind, peace.
How are you managing your health?
I’m diligent about doctor’s visits.
How do you feel about your career?
I’m happy where I am now in my career. I’ve always worked for myself and I’m proud of the various things I’ve created and built. I’d like now to find a future path for The Woolfer, and that will involve either outside investors or a merge/partnership of some sort.
Do you have a mentor or a mentee and what has that relationship meant to you?
I don’t, but I do have an older couple in my life who are like surrogate parents, and since my own mother is long dead and I don’t speak to my father, they are very important to me. It’s nice to have someone tell you they are proud of you.
What advice would you give women entering this phase of life?
Everything you are going through is normal and there are solutions. Find your tribe!
Is there a beauty product you always keep on hand?
Skin Trip coconut moisturizer.
Do you have an object in your house that inspires you?
Pictures of my mom.