How a sour year kickstarted a modeling career.
Not many 69-year-olds have Instagram. Even fewer have 26k followers. And even less walk the runway in fashion shows.
And none of them are quite like Howard Snooks.
“When I was younger, I never thought I’d be this way approaching almost seventy,” says Howard.
Howard grew up in a family of ranchers, with his mother’s family from Pueblo and his father’s from Boulder. Born and raised in Durango, Howard comes from a family of pioneer ranchers. A CSU alum with a Ph.D. from Smith College, Howard’s life was one that many would envy.
He had the family—a son and a daughter, and a marriage of 34 years. He had the career—a psychotherapy career of 45 years that led to endless opportunities, including the chance to present a paper in London when he was just 28-years-old. Howard had it all.
Or so it seemed.
In 2015, his world as he knew it would turn upside down.
It started with the unexpected death of his father in February, and then the passing of his uncle in October as well as his older sister in November. And as if matters couldn’t possibly get worse, that same year his wife said she wanted a divorce.
“She looked at me and said, ‘I never loved you,’” says Howard.
For Howard, this was a reality that was the hardest to accept.
“The divorce caught me off-guard,” he says. “I had to come to terms with the fact that I invented a relationship in my mind that didn’t really exist.”
To end this devastating year, Howard suffered an injury that would land him in the hospital to replace a broken hip. While spending Christmas in Texas with a friend, a blizzard struck the small town, and Howard fell, unable to get to a hospital until the next day only to find out he shattered his hip.
“I had to get emergency hip replacement,” says Howard. “Not quite the way I wanted to end my year or begin a new one.”
After some time spent in a rehabilitation hospital, Howard was finally able to fly home to Colorado. Ready to be back and ready for a change, Howard found himself at his dining room table, sipping his coffee and reading the Denver Post with his dog Oso by his side—and hoping for a sign.
“I stumbled across an article about baby boomers and how while they’re the largest demographic, they’re the most underrepresented in the modeling field,” says Howard.
It was this simple statistic that he took as an overwhelming sign. Soon after, Howard found a talent agency that provided instruction and offered a course on modeling. Today, Howard has landed spots in local commercials, including a Subaru commercial, and walked in 303 Magazine’s fashion show during Denver Fashion Week.
Howard also produced a 2019 calendar called Men of Boulder: Conversations about Relationships 2019, which tells the stories of twelve men from Boulder, ages 25 to 90, and how they support female equality, parity, freedom from assault and unwanted sexual advances in their relationships, and the Time’s Up and Me Too movements. Howard is Mr. September.
To say Howard took his lemons and made sweet lemonade would be an understatement. He was able to transform his health, both mental and physical, and take himself from his lowest point to the top.
“The most helpful thing I heard going through all of this is, ‘If you get knocked down six times, get up six times.’ Lean into the pain, don’t avoid it. And that stuck with me,” says Howard.
Howard plans to walk more runway shows and be the star of even more commercials.
Howard says, “I overcame my fears about change, and after coming out on the other side, I can say that I’m really happy I did it.