Toni Beck was shaping up Dallas back before Jane Fonda even thought about going for the burn. In 1965, when Beck took over as chairperson of SMU’s division of dance, getting fit was the province of professionals, not the across-the-board obsession that it is now. Later, she became executive director of the Greenhouse, the renowned spa in Arlington that predated the current spa craze.
These days, as executive director of the Spa at the Crescent, Beck sees the full spectrum of Dallasites (or at least, those Dallasites who can afford the Spas $2,750 initiation fee) in the classes she teaches.
Today is Wednesday, and Beck’s first class of the day-a stretch class-starts at 9 a.m. She has been up since 5:15, had her breakfast of orange juice, two slices of toast, and a cup of coffee, and driven her five-year-old Honda to the SMU track to take an hour-long walk/slow run around the track, listening all the while on her headphones to K104. "Tom Joyner is terrific," she says. "He and I wake up together every morning."
The dozen members of the class, including Rosewood Hotels head Caroline Hunt and psychic Fan Benno, all pay rapt attention to Beck, who manages to make her simple ensemble of a loose, white top and gray sweatpants look utterly chic. Beck wears light makeup and minimal jewelry. She encourages her class in Molly Bloom fashion, by periodically intoning, ’’Yes, yes, yes."
Beck is sixty-one, with a lean, graceful body that most women a third her age would envy. Still, she says: "I’m an old lady, and that’s fine. Your body is going to change with age, no matter what you do. You do exercise for health, well-being, and confidence, but you can’t have the expectation that everything’s going to stay the same. I think it’s so sad when people think it will solve all their problems. The real point is finding peace within yourself."
After class ends at 10 a.m., Beck showers, changes, and begins her administrative rounds, which include overseeing thirty-five employees and making sure that the Spa’s 400-plus members stay happy. She meets with Rim Terrell, her assistant, and discusses the day’s agenda before the daily 11 a.m. operations meeting. Lunch from the Spa’s cafe-a salad of endive, watercress, and shrimp, with wild rice on the side, followed, by half a cup of coffee-is taken at her desk. Phone calls and paperwork keep her occupied until 3:30, when the weekly marketing meeting takes place. After the meeting ends, at 6 p.m., Beck heads for home.
There, the order of business is quiet time, classical music, and conversation with her second husband of seventeen years, television producer/director Paul Bosner, who she describes as "adorable, like a hear." Dinner tonight is prepared by Bosner: a glass of white wine, baked chicken, a baked potato, a couple of vegetables, a cup of coffee, and precisely five Coffee Nips, Beck’s longtime addiction.
After dinner, Beck talks on the telephone to her daughter, a fledgling movie director in Los Angeles, and is asleep by 11 p.m. She has on this day achieved her goal of focusing on what she is doing when she is doing it.
She also says that getting older has had its benefits along these lines: "I never was beautiful, even when I was young," Beck says. "I never liked my looks, and I’ve worked around beautiful women for so many years, so I understand when people are insecure about their looks. That’s the one thing I’ve had to work through, and I’ve done it in the last year. Now I kind of like it that I’m not like other people. I think it’s awful that I wasted so much energy. Once you’re comfortable with yourself, you don’t waste that energy. The other great energy saver is learning to say no. I started doing that when I was forty-five."
When told that she is widely considered, to be beautiful, Beck protests: ’There are moments when I feel together, but never beautiful."