Anna-Lis Gasque’s elegance and positive attitude are well-known to many on the island, so we were overjoyed when she agreed to pose among the flowers for this month’s cover. At 74, she remains as luminously beautiful as ever: “I disappear when I’m next to her” smiles her husband Kenneth.
Tell us a little about your background, Anna-Lis.
I was born in small town in Jutland, Denmark, and grew up on a farm with nine brothers and sisters. In that part of the world you leave school at 13, and I was expected to work in the fields and with the animals.
Did you enjoy it?
I had a fantastic childhood, but I also knew there was a big world out there and I was dying to see it. I grew up wearing wellington boots and clogs and I couldn’t wait to have real shoes! At the age of 15 I got a job in a zoo on Bornholm, a holiday island in Denmark, and later, in my 20s, I ended up running my own disco in Silkeborg.
I always planned to get out of the nightlife scene by the age of 30, and so I set up a fashion shop. I enjoyed it, but soon realised that the sales reps were having more fun. I went to a fashion fair, spotted a collection I liked, talked to the manager and had the job in half an hour. I was loading the clothes I’d admired into my car at the end of the day! Later I set up my own label called Avantis.
How did you meet your husband Kenneth?
I came to La Santa with some friends, and he was the first person I met! He was in reception and checked me in.
And checked you out, too perhaps. Were you sporty at all?
Not at all. I’d never run properly in my life. But Kenneth took me out and trained me up for a half-marathon, and I’ve completed three of those now. At 68 I learnt to swim and loved it. I’ve taken part in several open water competitions, swimming from Lobos to Fuerteventura and La Graciosa to Lanzarote. I usually end up on the podium, as there aren’t many other women in my age group.
How did you feel when we asked you to be on our cover?
I thought “This is my last chance to be a cover girl”! I’d done a little modelling in Denmark before, but it was never something I focused on.
Is there a secret to looking so fantastic?
I look after myself, and I’ll always be interested in fashion – I currently design the Ocean Lava range. I’ll never let myself go. It’s also attitude – I believe in looking on the bright side of life. I’m incredibly lucky, we have three children and six grandchildren around us and a good life here. I don’t feel old inside at all.
For regular updates, pictures and videos of Lanzarote be sure to like and follow our Facebook page “Gazette Life Lanzarote”.