Meet the fabulous and intriguing actress, model, dancer―and lover of hats.

By Real Simple
Updated February 01, 2010
Tim Walker

A secretary, a mother of two, and an actress, a model, and a dancer after a late-in-life career change, Mimi Weddell wore several hats. All of which were in addition to the collection of more than 150 chapeaus she kept in her New York City apartment. Hats were a necessity for Weddell. “I’ve worn them since I was a baby,” she says in Hats Off, Jyll Johnstone’s 2008 film about her life. “I can’t imagine going without a hat. The only romantic thing left in life is a hat.”

Weddell became an actress and a model late in life, after the death of her husband. She had roles in Sex and the City, Law & Order, and the movie Hitch. She also appeared in ad campaigns for Louis Vuitton and Juicy Couture. Her career switch when she was in her 60s fulfilled a lifelong dream to be a performer. “If you’ve achieved a dream, one dream however small or big, it’s a miracle,” she says in the film.

Her motto in life was “Rise above it,” which was written in big letters in her kitchen. And she stayed true to that maxim, taking dance and gymnastics classes and going on auditions until well into her 90s. Weddell died in September 2009, at the age of 94.

To see Mimi in action, watch the documentary Hats Off.