Age Appropriate - 40 Plus Modeling
At what age are you too old to model? The answer may surprise you.
For years “young girls” have dominated the modeling industry snagging contracts and bookings with cosmetic lines, top designers, department stores and magazines. Many believed that by age 25 a female model was ready for retirement and no longer marketable. Now the advertising trend is shifting towards more sophisticated models proving 40, 50 and 60 are not only fabulous but profitable as well.
Modeling agencies are now rallying to find mature female models to meet this new advertising demand.When I began modeling, older than most at age 22, I feared my age would be a deterrent to agencies and advertisers. When signed with my first agency, I was naïve enough to lie about my age telling them I was only 18 years old. When asked for my passport after being signed to a contract in Tokyo, Japan I realized I would HAVE to tell the truth about my age. In spite of my embarrassment, I contacted my agency to rectify the situation. They admitted that they probably would NOT have represented me if they had known. Since I was already signed, and they liked my look, they decided to give me a chance. Now 11 years later, at 33, I continue to model with even more bookings than during what was once thought of as my “prime”.
For years advertisers have targeted teeny boppers who are reported to have endless amounts of disposable cash, new families who are believed to change brands on a whim and young singles with large incomes and money to burn. It was once thought that after age 50 consumers were steadfast in the products they purchased leaving no room for advertisers to convince them otherwise. Now however, with the median life expectancy at 77.4 years, baby boomers feel their lives are only beginning at age 50. Advertisers are finding that these boomers are a particularly attractive demographic given their abundance of free time and even larger amounts of expendable income. They are also less likely to be raising young children and their careers are established and stable.
Flip through the pages of today’s fashion magazines and you will find Linda Evangelista for Ann Taylor, Demi Moore for Versace, Elizabeth Hurley for Jordache Jeans and Madonna for H&M- all in their 40’s. In her fifties, Christie Brinkley shines for Cover Girl. At sixty, Diane Keaton is age perfect for L’Oreal and Susan Sarandon defies age for Revlon. When signed with Revlon, Ms. Sarandon states, “I am thrilled the industry is hiring more mature women. It was so unusual for a cosmetics company to hire somebody my age- rather than fire them!” Upon interviewing two Forty-Plus models with the Bella Agency Guinilla Lindblad and Laura Shoemaker, I found they both agreed that women have changed abundantly over the years. “Women in general look better, feel better and in turn aged more gracefully”, Guinilla states. Both women having modeled since their teens had left the industry only to return years later to appear in ads for Target, Brooks Brothers, Eileen Fisher, Clairol and More Magazine to name a few. When asking Laura if she ever thought she would be modeling at this point in her life she states, “Absolutely not- but it is all good! My life is full and my priorities have changed. I have returned with a new mind-set.”
This phenomenon is also forging onto the big screen as well. Before now, you would hear endless stories of aging starlets whose careers took a nose dive after hitting the big 4-0. But now tides are turning and meaty roles once offered only to those actresses in their twenties are now going to the sexy, confident and bold actresses in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s. At 46, Julianne Moore is leading in 5 major motion picture roles in 2007 alone. Also signing onto roles into 2008 are Sandra Bullock, Halle Berry, Sharon Stone, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kirsten Davis, Diane Lane and Kelly Preston to name a few. In addition, 2007 Oscar winner Helen Mirren put an end to a decade of winners no older than 39!
With the face of beauty, fashion, film and television changing before our very eyes, gone are the days when young girls conquer the advertising market. With “age” becoming in reality just a number, advertisers encourage this mindset by proudly showcasing women of all ages. Women can at last be proud of those laugh lines that gently frame their face and the imperfect body they have confidently grown in to. Finally we can embrace every age and enjoy each stage that life naturally brings us.