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How To Live A “Kuel” Life: Normalizing Aging For Women With Jack Perez

FYP 31 | Aging For Women

Aging is a topic many avoid altogether with “anti-aging” being promoted so much in media. But there is so much to life in the second act! That’s why Jack Perez is passionate about normalizing the conversation of aging for women. Jack, or Jacqueline, is the CEO and founder of Kuel Life, an online community and curated shopping experience for women 45+. Her mission is to make Kuel Life synonymous to normalizing aging and become the one stop shop for women who need answers and support. Join in as she chats with Hayley Foster about embracing her age and empowering others to do the same.


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How To Live A “Kuel” Life: Normalizing Aging For Women With Jack Perez

I am super excited to be here with the amazing Jack Perez of Kuel Life. We met on Clubhouse. She has an amazing brand that helps support women over 40 in their second act of life. I cannot wait to jump into this with you. I'm so excited that you're here with me. I have much respect for what you're doing. I feel like we're going to have a great conversation so thank you.

I am giddy. I'm so happy to be here. Having met you and spent the weekend with you and loving your energy, I knew that when I left that, I'm like, “I hope Hayley thinks I'm a good candidate for her show. I want to spend more time with her.” Thank you for inviting me.

It's my pleasure. Let’s dive right in. Tell me about your journey that got you to build this Kuel Life platform.

This journey, the more that I say it or the more that I talk about it, the more I realize that it's not a unique journey. It's not a journey that other women aren't on at the same time and that's what makes it so amazing and special. I built the Kuel Life platform for very selfish reasons because I felt like I was disappearing and becoming invisible in my early 50s, say 52 or 53. Every other human goes through this process called menopause. Some women don't even notice it or getaway without any symptoms but some women get buried and run over by a tractor-trailer.

I was one of those women that got run over by a tractor-trailer. I was unhappy. I couldn't regulate my emotions. I've never been someone who suffered from anxiety and I would wake up anxious. I was not a good partner and certainly not a good mother. I wasn't a good friend and I wasn't a good person to myself. I knew I needed to find an answer but when I went to start looking for answers and research, there was very little positive information out there that is relevant to women.

I focus on 45 and above but some women in their 40s, they're already in this area because they had kids earlier or whatnot. I was late to the party. I didn't notice I was in middle age. I didn't understand like, “I'm old now,” or getting older until I was almost 53 and then it hit me and I'm like, “I got to do something about this,” because there has to be a gap between the mini skirt and the pants. What do we get to do?

There's a gap there for sure.

I felt like there wasn't a lot in the media that spoke to me. I didn't see women that looked like me wearing clothes that I like to wear and all sorts of things. It's a lot of messaging around anti-aging and how aging is bad but the reality is that I have yet to meet a human who doesn't want to age.

The alternative to aging isn’t staying young. You can only stay young one way and nobody wants that alternative.

Have you met me?

The alternative to not aging isn't staying young. You can only stay young one way and nobody wants that alternative. The trick is to make it fun, exciting and to live the same life, if not bigger and better. The second half of life is far better than the first half because I give a lot less F’s about anything. I'm working on becoming un-effable with. I will have reached Nirvana when I am officially un-effable. That's my mission in life.

What happened was I felt alone and unseen. I'm not a person who ever experienced that before. It was weird. In part that I was doing it to myself, I'm not going to lie, I was having a hard time with what I was seeing reflected back to me. I grew up being a fairly attractive person who turned heads and got lots of what they call pretty people treatment that got extra drinks at the bar or had an overlooked traffic ticket or whatever that may be and then all of a sudden, I wasn't even getting any kind of treatment.

I was like Casper the ghost. I thought, “That’s not going to work for me.” There has to be a ton of vibrant, energetic, charismatic and super smart women out there who want to thrive in this time. We have such a gift that we get to live so much longer than our ancestors. This is the change that's happened over the years. We get this whole other era that our great grandmothers and grandmothers did not get. What are we going to do with it?

We have to decide what we're doing with that time because we don't have history to show us. You and I and the rest of us, we're defining it for generations to come. It's important. That's why I built the platform because I believe that the collaboration and the collective power of women is incredibly strong, powerful, can move mountains and can change the tide. That's what I'm working on.

I believe that you are doing that. I want to take a step back though because you said something interesting before, which is we hit a point in our life where we stopped giving a crap. For me, I hit 40 and I was like, “What am I doing?” I'm old and wise enough. I've got experience in my database of experiences to decide at 40 who I want to surround myself with. I don't want to go backward but I love that at 40, I was able to start looking at life differently and looking at my surroundings and my children and figuring out like, “What's the life I want to live?”

At 40, we're at that point where we can make that decision. It's not what do you want to be when you grow up. It's who do you want to be when you grow up. Who do you want to become? Who is that person? What's that legacy you want to leave behind? For me and maybe for our generation, at 40, we start looking at it that way in terms of what have I accomplished and who have I impacted.

That’s why so many women in our network get to that point in life where they're like, “I want to do something different. I want to do something that fills my cup that empowers me and that serves other women or people in general.” I feel blessed honestly to have had that eye-opening experience. Mine came in the form of a divorce. It was my chance to say like, “Who do I want to be? Is this the life I want to be living?” I know you're part of the D club as well. I made choices and sacrifices for my better self to live the life I wanted to live. I chose happiness.

FYP 31 | Aging For Women
Aging For Women: We have such a gift that we get to live so much longer than our ancestors. We have to decide what we're doing with that time because we don't have his history to show us. We’re defining it for generations to come.

It doesn't surprise me that you got there that early. At 40, I had a four-year-old. I was a single mom so I wasn't thinking much about me or what I wanted or who I wanted to be when I grew up because I was in pre-kindergarten hell.

I was there too. I had a four-year-old at 40.

I just wasn't thinking that way but I got there. That's a good point. It doesn't matter when you get there. You get there when you get there but once you're there, you know the difference.

You feel the difference. It's a feeling. You feel like, “I want to feel good.” It has been a journey of doing the things I need to do to feel good from that moment on and taking things into my life like gratitude, forgiveness, acceptance and all the things that help us to be the best version of ourselves. I was talking about the never-ending journey of learning. I feel like at this point with all of the content and information that we have at our fingertips in every form possible, if you're not trying to make yourself a better person everyday, what are you doing? You're wasting life.

You only get one of them, as far as I know. I'm a big believer in constant curiosity. Sometimes, it can be to my detriment because there are so many things that I find interesting and many avenues that I want to explore. You have to stay focused on something for at least a short period of time or you can't make it worth your while and that's frustrating. That's one of the more frustrating things as I age because like it or not, I can do Math.

Thankfully, I'm a very healthy person. I work hard at taking care of my mind and my body because that's the vehicle that I've been given to live in and to drive around in this universe. I need to take care of it or it's going to fall apart but the reality is that no matter what you do, you still have an expiration date. Everybody does. We don't know when it is but everybody does. The older we get, the more that expiration date becomes a part of our everyday existence, which in turn is what allows us to stop giving the F’s, by the way because if you have an endless runway, what's a little inconvenience here and there? What's a little toxic relationship?

I did the Shift Intensive class with Bethany Clemenson. She was a guest and she's a mutual friend. One of the things that I learned from her, which I'm working on practicing much to the chagrin of the people I live with is that I now prefer to disappoint them than to disappoint myself. You can understand that that doesn't go over so well with the boyfriend and the son. They're like, “What happened to the selfless?” I’m like, “Jack's not selfless anymore. You can blame Bethany.”

That's very funny and interesting learning to come out of shifts. If that works for you then that was the shift you needed to make. We got to do for ourselves sometimes. I always say I do for myself every single day. My morning workout and routine are for me. That’s Hayley time. I would never give that up. Every now and then, I give it up. My little one is not going to be little and wanting mommy home in the morning for that much longer, every now and then, she'll be like, “Be here to wake me up with your kisses,” and it's like, “I'll take tomorrow off. I need a rest day.”

The collaboration and collective power of women is incredibly strong and powerful and can move mountains and change the tide.

I'm glad that you're making that decision that you're deciding to stay to give the kisses. You will never regret making that decision.

Also, the snuggle time at night. My older daughter wants no part of snuggle time with me anymore. She just wants to get in bed with her phone and doesn't want the snuggle time but my little one is like, “Please, mommy,” and I try to make concessions like, “If you got in bed at 10:30 PM instead of 11:00 PM, you'd get more snuggle time. We're going to start this process earlier because if mommy doesn't get her sleep, mommy’s not happy tomorrow.”

My son is still affectionate and I'm grateful for that.

You've told me that and that's beautiful. Let's circle back to Kuel Life and what that evolution was in terms of like you said, “I need to do this. This is a missing element in the world for me and for millions of other women.” What was your first step? How did you jump off that diving board and just dive right into this?

What happened was I had a good friend who lived in Sausalito, California and I had known her for years. She was a couple of years older than I was. She had also lived this amazingly big life. She had been on Wall Street, in a stand-up comic in New York and she had done the swim from Alcatraz. She was no wilting wallflower but she was feeling much the same way in terms of the loneliness and the not being seen. In conversations with her, we decided to build this website where we would house relevant information on topics that are important to women 45 and above.

The thing is and you're probably already seeing this because you're in this age category, this is more tumultuous than puberty was. You've got the physiological changes, the family structure changes, the aging parents or the divorces. You name it, it's happening. Your dealing with an aging parent is the same time as your teenager stealing your car at 3:00 AM and you're stuck in the middle, which is called the sandwich generation. There are myriad and sundry opportunities and issues during this time of life but we don't get a party. We don't get a sweet sixteen party or a quinceañera. You just have to muddle through.

I thought, “I don't want to muddle through alone because I don't have all the answers. I barely have any answers but I bet there are a gazillion women out there with different answers. If we built a place where everyone could share their perspective, expertise and knowledge, how powerful would that be?” At first, it was a passion project. I was writing all the content. I am a writer but I wasn't an expert in all of the topics so it required a lot of deep diving into information and outlining but then I was like, “I can't. This is not sustainable.”

My MBA brain will tell you that I started to data-mine or cyberstalk, depending on the way you look at things but I looked for women who were in the spaces that were important to other women. I approached them. I started cold calling them. I didn't have much to show. I had a website that I built, which I built with chewing gum and a Band-Aid, Google, YouTube and buckets of tears. It wasn’t very elegant. It didn't have SEO. It was there but that's the thing. It was better done than not done. I just put it out there.

FYP 31 | Aging For Women
Aging For Women: This time is more tumultuous than puberty was. You have psychological changes, family structure changes, old aging parents, divorces. You’re dealing with aging parent the same time as your teenagers stealing your car at 3 o’clock in the morning.

What happened though, which I didn't realize this was going to happen but this was such an a-ha moment when I would talk to these women, whom I did not know by the way, they were strangers and I told them why I was doing this and I showed them the skeleton, I got all yeses. I did not get one no. I went from writing everything myself to now I will end 2021 with, I believe, 50 thought leaders writing on all topics from divorce to sex, to skincare, to fashion, to lifestyle, to connection, to emptiness and to taking care of your elderly parents. We're on it.

We have a wealth of information on that platform and it's brought to you by women who know their stuff. During this process, my business partner passed away from cancer. She died right after we launched. I’m hoping wherever she is, she can see what we've accomplished because she'd be really proud. It would make her feel good that she helped light this fire before she left.

I am a firm believer in those above us are looking down on us and they see what's going on. I lost my dad years ago. I started this business and it's in his namesake. My maiden name is Foster. Everything I do is based on the things I learned from my dad. I wrote the book and talk a lot about my dad in the book and how he mentored me. I'm a strong believer in the fact that those up above are looking down on us and they see it.

Every now and then I'll be like, “I wish my dad could see what's going on,” and I just look up. I know that he's got his hand on my shoulder and he's guiding me, supporting me and helping me make some of the tough decisions that I have to make. She is with you. She is all over this website. She is your guide and your muse.

I believe that. She gave me this ring that had been her mother's before she passed away. I don't do anything with or for Kuel Life without the ring on because I feel like I'm bringing her with me wherever I go. I hardly ever point it out but I'm pointing it out because we're talking about her. In case she's listening, I have your ring on.

She knows. It's those little things that keep that alive in us. I'm sure that wearing that fills your heart and guides you when you're having tough D’s or having to make big decisions. That's your guide. That's beautiful. I love that you do that. I love what you're doing with Kuel Life. I love that you have grown this network and you're bringing in all these speakers or writers to help provide content. What is the future?

I know you're offering it at a very inexpensive price now. It's $4.99 a month. If you sign up for a year, you get two months free. That price is going up in January 2022. If you are reading this in November 2021, jump on over to Kuel Life, which is and sign up because it's going up in January 2022. Can you talk a little bit about the different categories that exist within Kuel Life and what people can find there? You touched on sexuality and sandwich generation. Go ahead. I'll let you take over.

You name it. From health and fitness, fashion, emptiness, elder care, sex, dating, divorce and money. I have four different money experts. One of them talks specifically about figuring out your money during a divorce proceeding, which can be stressful. A lot of women, they're so stressed and attacked that they walk away and fold without thinking it through that they're going to live longer than the spouse they're probably divorcing if it's a heterosexual relationship. They need the money more than the dude because you're going to live longer.

The other thing that I discovered during this process as I was talking to more women is so many women become entrepreneurs in this second act because of all the things that we talked about, like finding themselves, giving no more F’s and realizing their dreams. I decided to add a curated shopping experience to the platform that focuses on those women-driven brands because I would talk to women and they're like, “I'm not an expert in any of these topics but I gave up my corporate job and now I'm making scarves. I gave up my corporate job and now I'm making these beautiful metalsmith jewelry pieces.”

The reality is, no matter what you do, you still have an expiration date.

I'm not particularly a hardcore religious person but I do believe in divine downloads or the universe talking to me. I'm like, “This platform needs a shopping experience to go with it.” I want to focus on women-driven brands because that ties into the whole mission of pro-aging, normalizing aging and supporting, enabling and empowering one another throughout this process so I added that. If any of your audience has a product that they make or they sell, I would love for them to reach out to me because it might be a good fit. We won't know until we have the conversation. I'll talk to almost anyone to at least explore if there is something there between us because you never know.

My brain starts firing off different people that I am going to connect you in and at the same time, I would love to sell my books on your website.

Let's get them up there. I have a whole section of women authors and you should be one of the women authors on there. You want to write for Kuel Life, we can put your books with your articles as well. It's a win-win package. I'm so excited.

What has been your biggest challenge?

That there’s not enough me. What happened was it was two of us working seven days a week, 12 to 14 hours a day and then one of us disappeared. The other one thought, “I can absorb it. I have a lot of energy.” The other one was stupid but I finally got a virtual assistant. It was the greatest gift I have ever given to myself. If any of your audience is out there and they're on the fence or vacillating, it is so worth it because it has allowed me to free up my mental space for more of the strategy about where do I want to grow, where do I want to go and how do I want to serve the women in this community as the platform grows because it is growing everyday.

Where do you see this going? By the time we reach 2025, we're going to have a billion of women in menopause. That's a big freaking market to serve. What’s the vision for you with this?

My vision is that Kuel Life is synonymous with normalizing aging and that women all over the world, when they come across an issue or a problem or they have a question and they're curious, they skip fricking Google and they go directly to Kuel Life and type in whatever that is. It can be divorce, dry vagina or whatever that term is because I am working on making Kuel Life the quintessential platform that houses the relevant, important and meaningful information that we all deserve, need and should have access to.

I feel like we should end it on that note. There you have it. Kuel Life, the platform of the future for normalizing aging. I'm putting that out there to the universe. You're going to be on Oprah and she's going to be touting your website as the place to go for normalizing aging for women.

FYP 31 | Aging For Women
Aging For Women: The vision is Kuel Life being synonymous with normalizing aging and that women all over the world, when they come across an issue or a problem or they have a question and they’re curious, this is the first place they go.

You said it. It would have to be her Soul Sunday because she doesn't do her show anymore but I would be happy to sit down with Oprah on her Soul Sunday.

That goes to show how much TV I watch. I do know she's off the air.

I know she's off the air and I don't watch TV.

There are so many things we have in common. You are doing amazing things for women. I am grateful to have you in my tribe and that you did this episode with me. Thank you. I know that there's one last thing we want to let the audience know before we leave, which is about the holidays. Do you want to share that?

Yeah. If you're still looking for gifts at this point in time, why not go to the Kuel Life platform and look at the curated shopping experience? It gives you an opportunity to purchase with a purpose. That $1 that you spend goes directly into the pocketbook of that woman and you can read about that woman. You’ll know who she is. Not directly but indirectly, you can read about her and see what drives her and motivates her.

That way when you give the gift, even if it's to yourself, you know that you've made a difference. It's not mass manufactured in China or it's not going to show up on the Amazon brown truck in two hours but there's a story behind it. By you participating, you're weaving yourself into the fabric of that woman's life.

Shop on the platform for your holiday gifts. Thank you all so much for tuning in and thank you for being here. I can't wait to see how Kuel Life continues to evolve and grow over the next few years.

Thank you.

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About Jacqueline Perez

Jack founded Kuel Life in 2017. Through her platform, Perez champions change, redefining modern midlife & beyond for women through curated content and women-driven brands. The Kuel Life Community grows daily. With over 40 Kuel Category Experts and 35 women-driven brands, Kuel Life offers women an opportunity to Share, Learn, Shop, and Play with Our Second Act Sisters!

Previously, she spent 20 years at Summit Strategy Partners, a San Francisco-based marketing and public relations firm, where she was a founding partner. Jack brings extensive, deep, start-up experience; having worked with hundreds of small to midsize companies. She is excited to finally birth her own start-up. Having earned an MBA from the University of Chicago, Perez carries a hard-nosed business understanding to the entrepreneur world. She is fluent in Spanish, and having worked with multiple international firms, has a clear grasp on cross-cultural influences.

Jack’s passions include: spending time with her son, traveling to exotic, off-the-beaten-path places such as; Cuba, Jordan, Zambia, Bolivia, and Zanzibar. An endorphin junkie, Jack likes to throw heavy weights around, is an avid jump roper, and a third-degree black belt in Taekwondo.

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