As the world becomes more diverse and inclusive, the fashion industry is beginning to reflect this shift by featuring models of all ages, sizes, and backgrounds. In particular, there has been a surge in older adults entering the modeling industry, challenging ageist stereotypes and showing that fashion and beauty are not limited by age. In the modeling world, age is proving to be just a number. When you think of a model you might picture a fresh-faced twenty-something walking down the runway in one haute-couture outfit or another. Models are oftentimes plucked off the street at ages as young as 11 or 12 years old, and if they’re lucky they stay in the business until they’re 30. But these days, we are seeing an entirely new and refreshing modeling demographic. This new era of modeling consists of the mature model. The mature model is older then ever before. Wrinkles frame the face, grey hair pops among unique outfits. Today, mature models are cool, and they are showing the world that age is something that should be proudly displayed.
As our world is diversifying and people are openly wanting to see a wide range of people in the media they ingest, older models are finding their place in the industry. Whether it’s an advertisement for clothing, accessories, or beauty products, people are more likely and more willing to purchase an item if they feel as though they are represented in the imagery. People are also more willing to accept the utility of the product when they can be confident that it will work for them as an individual. There was notable outrage when Dior selected Cara Delevingne, a 26-year-old model, to be the face of their anti-aging campaign. Why should a 26-year-old without even one wrinkle on her face be the face of an anti-aging product? Where Dior messed up, other companies have acted appropriately. L’Oreal selected Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton and Helen Mirren for the campaign for their anti-aging product line. Using models who actually need and use the product is key because it’s honest and it’s realistic. But that is just one factor in the discussion surrounding ageism. L’Oreal went one step further when they cast Fonda, Keaton, and Mirren to model for other cosmetics as well.
Why Senior Models are Important
For years, the fashion industry has been criticized for promoting an unrealistic standard of beauty that is primarily focused on youth. This standard has resulted in a lack of representation for individuals who do not fit the mold of what society considers "beautiful" or "desirable." However, as the population ages, there is a growing need for fashion and beauty products that cater to older adults. This need is not being met by the fashion industry, as many brands continue to focus solely on youth. Senior models are important because they bring a new perspective to the fashion industry and provide representation for a demographic that has been largely ignored in the past.
Ageism is a prevalent issue in society and is often perpetuated by the media, including the fashion industry. Ageism is the discrimination or prejudice against individuals based on their age. This can result in a lack of representation, limited job opportunities, and negative stereotypes. Senior models are combating ageism by showing that age is not a limiting factor when it comes to beauty and style.
The Rise of Senior Models
The rise of senior models is a relatively recent phenomenon. In the past, older adults were rarely seen on the runways or in fashion campaigns. However, in recent years, the fashion industry has begun to recognize the value of representing older adults in their advertising campaigns. This shift in attitude has been driven in part by changes in the media landscape and the growing demand for more inclusive representation in all areas of society.
The fashion industry is not immune to the impact of the aging population. According to the World Health Organization, the global population of individuals aged 60 and over is expected to double by 2050. This demographic shift has created a demand for fashion and beauty products that cater to older adults. The rise of senior models is a response to this demand, as brands recognize the value of representing this demographic in their advertising campaigns.
The Benefits of Senior Models
One of the benefits of senior models is that they bring a sense of authenticity to fashion campaigns. Many older adults are experienced and confident, and their presence in advertisements can help to build trust with consumers. Additionally, senior models can help to dispel ageist stereotypes and promote the idea that fashion and beauty are for everyone, regardless of age.
Senior models also bring a unique perspective to the fashion industry. They often have a distinct style and personality that can set them apart from younger models. This can help to diversify the fashion industry and provide a more authentic representation of beauty.
Examples of Senior Models
Some of the most well-known senior models in the industry today include Maye Musk, who has modeled for brands like Covergirl and Target, and Jacky O'Shaughnessy, who has modeled for American Apparel. These models have become symbols of the changing attitudes towards aging and beauty in the fashion industry.
Maye Musk is a particularly inspiring example of a senior model. She began her modeling career at the age of 69, after a successful career as a dietician and nutritionist. Musk has become an advocate for diversity in the fashion industry and is passionate about breaking down ageist stereotypes.
Oldushka is a Moscow-based modeling agency breaking the modeling mold and introducing us to the people who are taking the modeling world by storm. The agency exclusively represents models over the age of 45 and its roster currently includes models up to age 85. The agency grew out of Igor Gavar’s passion project which was his blog that chronicled retiree street style. He was fascinated by the beauty he saw in aging faces and he wanted to highlight older adult’s value on a larger scale. The youngest model signed to the agency is 60, despite the 45 year old cutoff. The one male model is 45, though, but he was signed because he’s older than he looks with his long grey beard.
As of now the agency represents 18 models in cities across Russia, and these models are seriously hitting the mainstream in Russia. The models are seen all over look books of local designers and brands, as well as magazines, and even in a Saint Laurent Russia campaign, naturally blending in with models of all ages.
Oldushka is unique in the fact that it exclusively signs models older than 45, but like L'Oreal, other companies are certainly starting to see the value in proudly displaying age. For the Fall 2017 fashion season Dries Van Noten cast models well into their 50s, 85-year-old model Carmen Dell’Orefice closed the Guo Pei show and Simone Rocha’s show included 72-year old Jan de Villeneuve and 73-year-old Benedetta Barzini.
We hope to see the Olduskha beauty-defying-age agency expand to the rest of the world. The beauty in old age is well-known to those living in it; it’s time for the world to see the talent that is held in our later years.
Tips for Senior Models
If you are a senior interested in becoming a model, there are a
few tips that can help you succeed. First, it's important to take care of your health and fitness to maintain a youthful appearance. Second, you should develop a strong portfolio of photos that showcase your unique look and personality. Finally, it's important to be persistent and patient, as the modeling industry can be competitive and challenging.
In conclusion, senior models are a valuable and important addition to the fashion industry. They bring a fresh perspective and help to promote a more inclusive vision of beauty and fashion. As more older adults enter the modeling industry, we can look forward to a more diverse and authentic representation of beauty in advertising campaigns and beyond.
I really enjoyed reading your stories, especially on modeling. I have worked with an agency years ago doing brand ambassador jobs and etc. However, my goal is to do runway fashion shows, commercials, and magazine. I believe there are still some molds that need to be broken in the fashion industry. Thank you for writing great stories to educate and inform others about aging gracefully and happily each day.