Joy Shenk, 88

Loyal, positive, and energetic, Joy finds great happiness in the blessings she has received throughout her life. Joy loves being around people and enjoys caring for those around her. Those who know Joy admire her for her compassion, energy, and passion. Outspoken, you always know where you stand with Joy.

“Have a passion. I don’t care what it is, just have a passion. It will save you.” Oregon Photographer Rachel Hadiashar interviewed Joy Shenk in 2021 at the age of 88 at the studio in Portland, Oregon.

Joy feels blessed to get to do the things she loves every day and thanks God for the many blessings and individuals that have brought her so much joy throughout her life. Her spirituality and those around her have influenced her the most throughout her life, and has allowed life to get better and better as she gets older. “The people in my life are so incredible!”

Her greatest ambition is to stay healthy so she can continue doing the things she loves. She enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, horse, and Australian Shepard named Tangi. Joy often hears “I want to be like you when I am old”, a testament to her admirable character. 

Joy graduated high school in 1950 and went to Oregon State College, which is now called Oregon State University. She took courses in secretarial science but left after a couple of years because she was bored. Next thing you know, she moved to San Francisco with a girlfriend where she saw an ad in the newspaper looking for dancers. For a short period of life, she was a dancer in a nightclub. She was a showgirl in Vegas. (She left before the topless trend came in!) After her showgirl days, Joy worked as an Image Consultant at The Difference until she retired. Thankfully, taking care of her horse has kept Joy busy and structured through retirement. She has a goal to ride her horse until she’s 90. She wants to be active as long as possible.

Joys’ advice to younger self: “Remember that the people in your life are always the most important thing that you will be connected with in your life.”
Joy now, to everyone: “Always be aware of God’s blessings especially as they come through people in your life.” and “Have a passion. I don’t care what it is, just have a passion. It will save you.”

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I’M  RACHEL.

I take portraits of brilliant people being fancy.

Photographer Rachel Hadiashar is based out of a bright and airy studio space in Sherwood, Oregon, where she co-creates spirited and elegant images to showcase a client’s best self.
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