The Sun City Poms

by Todd Antony

Nestled away in the state of Arizona in the U.S. is the retirement community of Sun City. It is home to some 35,000 retirees, and playing a very active part of that community is a group called the Sun City Poms. A cheerleading troupe who’s members range in age from 55 to 86 years old. Training twice a week and performing upwards of 40 times a year, they are the antidote to many peoples perceptions of ageing.
“The Sun City Poms” series came about during a trip to the U.S. when I was on a month long road trip in the U.S. shooting landscape work for my portfolio. I stopped at a motel in Sun City in Arizona as I was passing through one evening, and after doing a little research on my laptop about it, I ended up staying for three days wandering around shooting the city itself because it’s so unique in its geography and aesthetic. Built in a series of roads that are concentric circles that are lined with cactus and orange trees. But it was about 4 years before I returned to shoot the Sun City Poms project.
I was drawn to the subject not just because of the obvious visual attributes of both the ladies and the fantastically groomed locations around Sun City, but by the way in which these ladies push back against the societal norms of how we view aging. While shooting the series I was struck by how at one end of the age scale you have young girls competing in child beauty pageants, wearing make-up and dresses far beyond their years, attaining to grow up faster almost. While at the other contrasting end you have these inspiring woman trying to wind back the years.
I returned to Sun City a little while ago to shoot a short film on the Cheerleaders (video)