Traveling from Bangkok to Singapore is like traveling in the golden age of the railroad.
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Eveline Hall: A popular model at the age of 65
"That’s a young old woman" jokes Ted Linow, co-founder of Mega-Models, one of the largest modeling agencies in Germany, about his currently most sought-after employee: Eveline Hall. It has the dimensions 84-60-90, clothing size 36 and is 1.74 meters tall. For the fashion world, that’s pretty average. But Eveline Hall’s age is not: The Hamburg woman is 65 years old.
Perfect posture even in old age
Eveline Hall shyly enters her agent’s office. She is a distinctive beauty who moves gracefully. Smiling, she holds out her hand in greeting. Her blue eyes glow under silver eyeshadow. She wears tight jeans. Her long, gray hair falls on a sheer, tight-fitting gray turtleneck.
Breakthrough at Fashion Week
At the age of 60, Eveline Hall – a trained ballet dancer and actress – looked for an agency because she "still want to do a little something". She has since promoted products for the older generation, but the breakthrough came with her appearance at Fashion Week last week when she was floating down the catwalk for Michael Michalsky. Since then, Ted Linow’s inquiries have increased. "I didn’t expect the response" says Eveline Hall. At 65, she now wants to really start again as a model.
Spiegel Online: Ms. Hall, what was it like to be standing among all the young models at Fashion Week in Berlin?
Eveline Hall: It was a wonderful atmosphere! You were sweet to me. I wasn’t made up like an old woman, but like the young ones too. I think I gave them a perspective on how things can work in this profession: That you can earn money with it in old age.
Spiegel Online: No unbearable competition behind the scenes?
Hall: I’ve lived in competition my whole life – as a dancer and as an actress. The annual fight over who can dance at Swan Lake. Or who gets the lead role in plays. There have been so many such vicious competitions I’ve survived that one wonders why I survived. I wouldn’t have that either without my parents. I shed more tears than can fit in the Alster. I don’t want to experience that anymore.
Spiegel Online: Can’t you get a grip on these competitive battles?
Hall: No. As a 15-year-old I was built up to be a solo ballet dancer, so you can smell the envy on the pole. The pressure of dancers having to achieve as much as possible in a relatively short period of time is unbearable. And dancer is one of the few professions where you can’t lie. Only the best get ahead. Those who are not good are thrown out and everything was in vain. The competition on the catwalk is nothing against it.
Spiegel Online: At the age of 26 – at the height of your dance career – you switched from classical ballet to the glittering world of Las Vegas in 1971. How did you experience that back then?
Hall: I danced there in the famous Bluebell group in the Lido, worked with Siegfried and Roy. That was the complete opposite: You walk into a cloakroom with 40 beautiful women and everyone is nice to you, nobody sees you as a competitor. The women are not dogged, but helpful and usually have a lot of humor. We Germans tend to miss that. I learned a completely different type of dance. I had never walked in high heels before, I learned to move in elaborate costumes – like on a catwalk. For me this era was like André Heller once said: "It was a time of the highest quality like real Chinese silk."
Spiegel Online: You celebrated with stars until the early hours of the morning after the show. How can one imagine such parties?
Hall: We dancers called ourselves Gypsys, we didn’t need any money because we were invited everywhere. Las Vegas was a small town back then, everyone knew each other in the show scene and in the evenings you were sitting at the bar with Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Elvis Presley and Tina Turner. Looking back, I can only say: What kind of pig was I? to be there at the time!
Spiegel Online: They don’t trust you to have extravagant parties.
Hall: Oh yes! I’m usually the last one to leave. I just don’t drink alcohol, except for a glass of wine with my meal. I have to take care of my body, it is my capital. I didn’t train for it every day for nothing.
Spiegel Online: Then high-calorie food is probably asian girl looking for man also taboo?
Hall: I love food. I was in a relationship with a French chef for seven years. And I know it sounds embarrassing, but it’s really true: I can eat as much as I want, I don’t gain an ounce. If it were different, I would of course also eat less.
Spiegel Online: Maybe it’s more because you still train every day?
Hall: That’s right. I exercise 45 minutes every day. For me, it’s like brushing my teeth, it’s an integral part of my daily routine. I want my body to stay the way it is. I also study one hour of English and one hour of French every day for fear of forgetting the languages.
Spiegel Online: You train with ten-kilo weights – and together with your 89-year-old mother. How does this work?
Hall: My mother is my best friend, she will soon be 90. She danced herself in the Admiralspalast in Berlin and always says to me: "Püppi, we want to mix in a little more, nothing more." I put her on the floor and hand her the weights, then she does her dance exercises.
Spiegel Online: You live with your mother. Who cooks for whom?
Hall: Mommy for me. She makes the best home cooking ever, her Königsberger Klopse cannot be topped.
Spiegel Online: Have you ever thought about going under the knife for your appearance?
Hall: No, never. Whoever has the need should do so, I do not judge it. I am a scaredy myself. In my old age, I don’t use anesthesia if I don’t need it. Besides, after decades of being so good to me, I’m not going to mess with God.
Spiegel Online: What annoys you particularly when others comment on your appearance?
Hall: When people say I look younger. That’s just not true. I may have a great figure, look more beautiful than other 65-year-olds – and that is hard work. But I don’t look any younger than I am, and I don’t want to. You can make yourself sexy, elegant, attractive – but not young.
Spiegel Online: If your looks and your job are hard work, what do you enjoy in life?
Hall: Good food and men. Going out with them is part of my fitness regimen. Men keep fit! It’s just fun to be ensnared, I enjoy it. And since I don’t want to get married again, I’m also very relaxed.
Spiegel Online: How did your marriage to David Hall, a Cherokee Indian, break down?
Hall: David was the most handsome man I have ever seen. Together we were a beautiful couple. He radiated a fascinating calm. But I felt locked up with him like in a cage. When he accompanied me to Hamburg, where I had to work, it was always just: "I’m so alone." He didn’t leave me any space.
Spiegel Online: You got divorced after seven years. How is your relationship today?
Hall: I’m looking for him through the American embassy. I saw him again, that was in 1995. Not since then. I’ve never loved a man like him. He was my great love and my first husband.
Spiegel Online: What would he say if he saw you floating down the catwalk when you were 65?
Hall: I don’t know. I can’t even think about the fact that I’m already 65 before I step on the catwalk. Otherwise I couldn’t do that.
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Digestif in the bar car, piano music for small talk – the "Eastern & Oriental Express" is one of the last luxury trains in the world. Traveling from Bangkok to Singapore is like traveling in the golden age of the railroad. See the luxury train in our photo show.
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Only travel with the luxury train "Farangs"
The children from the embankment are already waiting. As soon as the train announced itself with a loud signal, they ran out of their dilapidated tin huts onto the tracks that run right through Bang Sue in the north of Bangkok, where the "city of Angels" ugly is like a bad tooth. Now they stand there, ragged and torn, and wave – longing in their eyes. "Farang" call. "Farang." This is the common expression in Thailand for white foreigners, the synonym for wealth, which is also symbolized by the dark green shiny train with the cream-colored decorative stripe that slowly glides past the children from the embankment, out of reach for them as for most Thais. They are also exclusive "Farangs" that day for a trip to Singapore on board the Eastern&Oriental Express went: Americans, Germans, Austrians, French, British. Punctually at 5:50 p.m., the 300-meter-long train in Bangkok’s traditional Hualumphong train station set in motion. Three days and over 2000 kilometers lie ahead of him.
Eastern & Oriental Express: Three restaurants on the train
Each guest has been guided into his compartment by his personal steward, in which every square centimeter has been skilfully used. A private bathroom is connected, small, but with everything a person on a train journey needs. A total of 47 employees look after the 64 passengers – and Ulf Buchert, who has been managing the train for 18 years, is proud that most of the employees have been with the company for over ten years. "We almost became a kind of family" says the train conductor. Steward soon calls Thanasin for dinner, or rather for dinner. The train carries three restaurants with it. They conjure up the charm of a bygone era and imitate colonial flair: precious woods, white linen, table silver, porcelain, crystal and lamps that are modeled on calyxes. The women wear evening wear, the men wear dark suits or even dinner jackets and tuxedos.
Orient Express brings back memories of the 1920s
The ambience deliberately evokes memories of the twenties of the last century – when Europe seemed to be in a state of happiness and America was booming. "Everything should be the same as when Marlene Dietrich was still on the Orient Express" says Buchert. "No radio, no television, no internet." King of the Trains, Train of Kings, was the name of the Orient Express, which connected Paris and Constantinople, in its heyday. The Eastern&Oriental-Express tie in when it started on its maiden voyage from Singapore to Bangkok on September 19, 1993. By then, however, the train had already passed the first chapter of its history: it was built in Japan in 1972. Under the name of "Silver Star" it then drove in New Zealand until 1991, when it was bought by the Orient Express hotel group.