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Video Produced By Michael Bud

By Modern60, Editorial Team

Last Updated on May 14th, 2024

Diane Mahree’s Wild Ride from Vogue Fashion Model to ‘Manos: The Hands of Fate’ Legend Margaret

Discover the awe-inspiring journey of Diane, a senior woman whose life story is a testament to resilience and perseverance. From gracing the pages of Vogue to battling cancer in her 60s, Diane's unwavering spirit shines through. With a surprising stint in a cult classic movie and motivational talks that inspire, Diane's life is a beacon of hope, proving that every peak conquered is a triumph of the human spirit.

Meet Diane (Mountain Girl), an 88-year-old inspiring woman whose life story is an inspiring blend of resilience, glamour, and unexpected turns. Born in 1944 in Des Moines, Iowa, Diane’s journey took her from the glossy pages of Vogue to the infamous cult classic film, “Manos: The Hands of Fate.” A former fashion model, Diane has navigated many paths—from high fashion to the antiques business, and from overcoming health scares to embracing the great outdoors. Her experiences teach us about the power of staying positive and finding happiness at every stage of life, demonstrating a spirit that truly embraces change.

Life Lessons from Diane Mahree (Margaret)

  • It’s all about change: Diane’s shift from modeling to antiques shows the importance of embracing new challenges and directions in life.
  • Resilience is Key: Overcoming cancer and other health issues, Diane demonstrates that resilience can guide us through life’s toughest moments.
  • Stay Active and Engaged: Whether it’s hiking, skiing, or dancing, staying physically and socially active contributes significantly to a fulfilling life.
  • Appreciate Every Moment: Diane’s enjoyment of nature and spontaneous RV trips highlight the importance of appreciating the simple pleasures in life.
  • Keep a Sense of Humor: From laughing about her unexpected cult movie fame to debunking rumors of her demise, maintaining a sense of humor has helped Diane navigate life’s surprises.
  • Give Back in Any Way You Can: Transitioning from hands-on volunteering to financial contributions, Diane exemplifies that there are many ways to contribute to the community, regardless of one’s physical capability.
  • Plan for the Future but Live in the Present: Diane advises planning for a long life while enjoying each present moment, balancing preparation with appreciation.
  • Never Assume It’s Too Late: Diane’s active lifestyle and new ventures post-retirement show it’s never too late to start new adventures or rediscover old passions.

How Diane Mahree’s Role in ‘Manos: The Hands of Fate’ Became a Cult Sensation

Diane grew up in Iowa, feeling like the tall, skinny girl who never quite fit in. “I was tall and skinny and had weird hair, too. I never saw myself as pretty,” Diane recalls. Despite her self-image challenges, life had a surprise for her. Modeling scouts approached her not once, but three times, each time leading her to a modeling agency. “People kept asking if I modeled, and suddenly, I found myself walking into agencies,” she says.

This unexpected turn led Diane to a successful career in modeling. In the 1970s, she landed significant magazine covers, including Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in Italy. “I landed a Vogue cover, and two Bazaar covers in Italy, which kind of put me on the map over there,” Diane explains. This success not only boosted her self-esteem but also set her on a life-changing trajectory, opening doors to new cultures and experiences that shaped her worldview.

Modeling Career and Life Abroad

Diane’s modeling career took off when she landed major magazine covers, including Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in Italy in 1970. “These covers put me on the map over there,” Diane recalls, marking her success in the international modeling scene. Her work allowed her to travel extensively, offering her a front-row seat to the world’s cultures. Living between the rugged mountains of Aspen and the chic streets of Paris, Diane experienced the best of both worlds. “One week I’d be in overalls with no makeup, working on my land, and the next, I’d be in Paris modeling the latest fashions,” she describes. This lifestyle taught her adaptability and gave her a deep appreciation for diverse ways of life and thinking.

Diane’s modeling career took off when she landed major magazine covers, including Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in Italy in 1970. “Being on those covers was a dream come true for a girl from Iowa,” she shares. Her work took her across the globe, allowing her to live a life split between the rustic charm of Aspen and the bustling elegance of Paris. “One week I’d be in overalls, digging trenches in Aspen, and the next, I’d be in Paris, surrounded by stylists and photographers,” Diane describes, highlighting the stark contrast between her worlds. This lifestyle taught her adaptability and gave her a deep appreciation for diverse ways of life and thinking.

Through modeling, Diane gained valuable insights into various cultures and languages. “Modeling wasn’t just about the photos. It was about connecting with people and understanding how they think and live,” she explains. This exposure broadened her horizons and deepened her appreciation for diversity. 

The Transition from Modeling to Antiques

After two decades in the modeling world, Diane felt the need for a change. “I just lost interest in modeling and needed something new to ignite my passion,” she reflects. This desire for change led her to start an antique business, a field that fascinated her with its history and artistry.

Diane moved to Paris with her partner to establish their antique shop. “We dived into the world of antiques together, learning and growing as a team,” she recalls. This move was not just about business but also about personal growth and building a life in a new city.

Starting an antique business presented both challenges and rewards. “Every piece has a story, and finding those stories is both challenging and incredibly rewarding,” says Diane. Despite the difficulties of navigating a new industry, the satisfaction of preserving history and creating a successful business was profound.

Family Life and Personal Challenges

Diane’s role as a mother began with the birth of her daughter, who has since grown to be a successful individual in her own right. “Becoming a mother was a transformative experience for me. It changed how I saw the world and my place in it,” Diane shares. Her daughter’s accomplishments fill her with pride and joy, reinforcing the deep, fulfilling aspects of motherhood.

Diane’s life has also been marked by significant health challenges, including a battle with cancer. “Facing cancer was terrifying. It made me reconsider my priorities and the way I lived my life,” she reflects. This experience deeply influenced her perspective on life, instilling a greater appreciation for each day and a commitment to maintaining her independence as she ages.

Her reflections on aging include a candid acknowledgment of her fears about losing independence and the ability to do the things she loves. “I fear anything that might limit my freedom to be myself and to do what I enjoy,” Diane admits. Despite these fears, she strives to remain active and independent, cherishing her ability to make choices for herself.

Contributions and Community Involvement

Earlier in her life, Diane was an active volunteer, particularly with homeless people in challenging environments. “I used to work hands-on with some of the toughest communities. It was rewarding and eye-opening,” she recalls. However, as physical limitations have set in with age, Diane has shifted her approach to giving back.

Now, she focuses on supporting causes financially, contributing what she can to various charities and community projects. “Though I’m not out there on the front lines anymore, I make sure to support those who are. It’s not about the amount; it’s about participating in whatever way possible,” Diane emphasizes.

This shift has not diminished the importance of community involvement in her life; rather, it has reinforced how essential giving back is to her sense of purpose and happiness. “Helping others isn’t just good for them; it enriches my life too. It keeps me connected to the world around me,” she explains. Through her contributions, Diane continues to impact her community positively, adapting her methods to fit her capabilities.

Philosophy on Life and Aging

Diane’s approach to life is defined by her determination to never give up, no matter the obstacles she faces. “Don’t let the challenges get you down,” Diane advises. She emphasizes the importance of maintaining a positive outlook and actively seeking happiness, even when times are tough. “When I faced health setbacks, I asked myself what would make me happy right then, and I went and did it,” she shares, highlighting her proactive stance on living well.

For planning a long and fulfilling life, Diane suggests always being prepared for the future but also enjoying the present. “Plan well because you might live longer than you think, and make sure those years are good ones,” she recommends. Diane believes in staying active and engaged at any age, as this has significantly contributed to her quality of life.

Adventures in Retirement

Retirement for Diane has been anything but slow. She fully embraces this new chapter with a series of adventures that keep her energetic and joyful. “I love driving my RV around the mountains, stopping wherever I want, and enjoying the scenery,” she describes her ideal retirement days. Hiking, skiing, and dancing are also integral parts of her life, activities that keep her physically active and connected with friends and nature.

The therapeutic effects of nature play a significant role in Diane’s well-being. “Nature is my best medicine,” she asserts, emphasizing how being outdoors helps her stay healthy and happy. Social interactions during her hikes or when dancing also provide Diane with a sense of community and belonging, further enhancing her retirement life.

Through her active lifestyle and positive approach to aging, Diane exemplifies how retirement can be a time of exploration, joy, and continuous growth.

Unexpected Fame from a Cult Film (Manos: The Hands of Fate)

Diane’s (Margaret) life took a humorous twist when a low-budget horror film she appeared in, “Manos: The Hands of Fate,” unexpectedly gained cult status. “I thought that movie was safely buried because it was so bad,” she laughs. To her surprise, the film became famous decades later as “the worst movie ever made.” This sudden fame brought a mix of amusement and astonishment. “For years, people thought I had died in a fiery car crash shortly after the movie. Imagine their surprise when they found out I was still very much alive!” Diane’s ability to laugh at this mix-up shows her light-hearted approach to life’s unpredictable turns.

Final Thoughts

Reflecting on her life’s journey, Diane’s experiences teach us about the power of resilience and the importance of pursuing passions no matter the stage of life. “Life didn’t stop when I retired, nor when I faced cancer or survived COVID four times. I kept finding joy and new adventures,” she states, encapsulating the essence of her approach to life.

Diane encourages everyone to live fully and embrace the unexpected. “Don’t think your best years are behind you. There’s always something you can do to enjoy life,” she advises. Her story is a powerful reminder to seize every day, stay curious, and keep dancing through life’s challenges and surprises.

Through her modeling career, battles with health issues, and even her unexpected stint as a cult movie icon, Diane exemplifies a life lived with zest and humor. Her experiences encourage readers to approach life with courage, laughter, and an open heart, ready to take on whatever comes next.

Editor’s Note
Diane’s journey is an inspiration to living life with passion and resilience. Her story is not just inspiring; it serves as a blueprint for aging gracefully and joyfully. Whether navigating the highs of international modeling or the lows of health scares, Diane’s attitude toward life’s unpredictability teaches us the power of perspective and the importance of adaptability. Readers are encouraged to take a leaf out of Diane’s book and approach life with the same zest and openness, ready to turn every challenge into an opportunity for growth. Let her life remind us all that no matter the circumstances, there are always new joys to be found and new adventures to be had.

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Editorial Team

The Editorial Team at Modern60 is a group of highly skilled professionals with diverse backgrounds in journalism, content creation, editing, and digital media. They bring a wealth of experience and expertise to ensure that every piece of content meets our strict editorial guidelines and quality standards. The team is dedicated to delivering accurate, well-researched, and engaging content across various subjects, including health, wellness, lifestyle, and current events. With their commitment to upholding the highest standards of journalism and content creation, the Modern60 Editorial Team is the driving force behind our mission to empower and inspire our readers.

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