For all its perceived progress, the fashion and beauty industry is still lacking in many areas. Among them, diversity. Ageism is one of its biggest problems, especially with women. There is a prevailing culture which sees older women as no longer relevant. But that’s slowly changing. For instance, one of the biggest modeling agencies in the world just signed their oldest talent yet. 97-year-old Iris Apfel now joins the industry’s biggest names, such as Karlie Kloss, Gigi Hadid, and Gisele Bündchen, as one the talents of IMG Models. The New York-based style icon told WWD: “It’s great fun. I like it a lot. Who would think I would be a 97-year-old cover girl?”
While we celebrate this great feat, we also want to highlight other beautiful models who, like Iris, are breaking the standards and proving that age is truly just a number. Get to know the other notable models aged 65 and above who are shaking things up in the modelling industry.
Also known by her IG handle, Icon Accidental, Lyn Slater is cool and she knows it. Her IG account, boasting of over 600k followers, and featuring her distinct sense of style, is proof of that. “This project is me saying: I’m not twenty, and I don’t want to be 20,” she told W Magazine. “But I’m pretty cool, and here I am.” I aspire to be that awesome and confident when I’m her age.
British model Daphne actually started modelling in 1949 but quit her career to focus on her family. She was rediscovered at the age of 70, after being featured in Vogue. She has since been busy modeling and walking on runways, becoming the face of beauty campaigns, and she’s even been awarded the British Empire Medal for her contribution to the industry. She’s now using her influence to help younger women by launching an online modeling academy.
Another model with IMG Models is Maye Musk. (You might recognize the last name. She is, in fact, the mother of Elon, founder of Tesla.) She modelled from the age of 15 in South Africa, but according to RTE, “it was only when she stopped colouring her hair at 60 years old that [her] career really took off.” Now, at her age, she has done several projects and campaigns, including a nude cover for New York Magazine. She is also known as Covergirl’s oldest spokesperson.
Jan de Villeneuve
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Skin Series Part 3 Model Jan de Villeneuve at Models1 | Makeup by Julie Jacobs at David Artists | Hair by Nicola Harrowell | Shot at Studio Nineteen | #model @jandevilleneuve @models1 #makeup @juliejacobsftf @davidartistsltd #hair @nicola_harrowell #representation @rockenfeller_goebels @arcreativeagency @magnaproductions #skin #natural #raw #beauty #beautiful #light #flawless #benjaminkaufmann #stunning #style #sytling #archive
Jan’s sleek features, with those sharp cheekbones, and deep blue eyes, has made her a force in the fashion and beauty industry, even walking for the likes of Kenzo and appearing in Vogue when she was younger. It certainly seems age hasn’t stopped that. She started modelling in 1966 and, like Daphne, took time out of the industry to prioritize her family. Now, she’s back modelling and walking for Simone Rocha and Aganovich.
A Vogue muse, Carmen was just 15 when she appeared on the cover, and has been featured in the publication multiple times since. Though she retired from modelling in 1958, she returned to the industry and has been on a roll ever since. On her 85th birthday, Vogue paid tribute by releasing photos of her from their archives. “There’s nothing nostalgic about her look. Dell’Orefice has changed with the time, making her not so much a classic beauty, but an iconic one,” they wrote.
Jacky was originally an actress. She was re-discovered by American Apparel at the age of 61 while eating in a restaurant. She soon helmed the brand’s lingerie campaign with the tagline, “sexy has no expiration date.” Dressed in a blue lace bra and red panties, she stirred up controversy but brushed it off saying, “I was game the whole time.” She added, “I’m comfortable. I don’t feel that any of this is inappropriate. When people talk about age appropriate hairstyles, and age appropriate dressing, well, whose age? And who are you?”
Also known as Lola Androgynous, Tessie has become a prominent name in the local fashion industry. Browsing through her Instagram account, it’s apparent Tessie embodies fashion that transcends not just age but gender, as her moniker suggests. Her quirky style, that gives a modern, artsy twist to classics, makes her the perfect model for labels such as Christiana Manila and Uniqlo.
Art by Marian Hukom
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