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Modelling In Your 50s | CrunchyTales

Launching a Modelling Career At Age 50: All You Need To Know

4 min read

Fashion has long valued youth above all, but there are strong signs that the tide is turning as more and more over-50s demand to see themselves represented and the modelling industry increasingly begins to champion diversity, in magazine publications, in TV adverts and on billboards. 

The international consumer market is changing rapidly“, explains Rebecca Valentine, founder of Grey Model Agency. “Successful businesses must adapt and refocus their marketing and branding to appeal to both a sophisticated media-savvy youth market and to a powerful older 50+ demographic. Power and influence have shifted to the consumer. Now brands, marketing advisors and creative agencies must adhere to their demands to be more inclusive, represent diversity; creating forward-thinking campaigns that outshine their competitors“.

Bottega VenetaBurberryPreenCeline and Saint Laurent are just some examples of designer labels which have recently included older women in their campaigns or on the runway.

If you’ve always dreamt of being a model, now is the best time to take your chance.

What do you need to be a mature model?

Daphne SelfeMaye MuskJacky O’ShaughnessyNicola Griffin and Carmen Dell’Orefice are among those mature and popular professionals who prove that it’s never too late.

The key to success for older models is simple. With their life experience, the over-50s-generation embodies values like sympathy, trust and authenticity. Their positive attitude inspires the fashion scene“, explains experts at The Models Agency in Berlin.

But, as in any other field, there are certain criteria you need to be aware of. The truth is modelling is a very tough business and if you want to pursue a career in modelling, you have to look after yourself regardless of your age

Expect to be rejected for most of the jobs you go for and expect to work hard with early morning starts and late night finishes. 

Here’s a list of things you need to know about becoming a model in your 50s.

Getting started as a mature model

Personality, self-confidence, and versatility, are the most important traits required from brands these days for mature models. If you feel a bit rusty, there are actually modelling schools out there that can help you learn to hone your skills, but remember there is no age limit to getting started as a model.

Be prepared to make sacrifices, travelling thousands of miles a year alone, sleeping in hotels, carrying heavy bags, doing your own hair and make-up, smiling when you’re exhausted. Have positive energy and be reliable, likeable, and keen – all while looking great. It’s worth it.”, says  Julie Lowery, a mature model from Sheffield who has been featured in campaigns for Wella Hair, Harley Davidson Apparel, Boots No, and Oil of Olay, to The Yorkshire Post.

Resilience, in the end, is still the best quality for women over 50.

Invest in a great portfolio

Start putting a portfolio together by getting professional shots done and create a comp card giving potential clients a first impression of your modelling skills. 

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It is important to have a large variety of images in different outfits and situations to present your personal charisma to potential clients. Your portfolio should contain up to 20 photos and include information such as your measurements and contact information.

Find an agency

The most important thing you can do is to find a reputable agency to guide you, push you to clients and help you grow a career.

Usually, many of them have a formal submission policy and the application process consists in an online form you have to fill out. You will be asked for information about your age, measurements and dress/shoe size and to attach several photos of yourself. If interested, they will invite you to an in-person casting call.

But don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear from them. They typically receive submissions all the time, and their needs are constantly changing. Submit yourself to them again in six months.

Amongst agencies representing older models, there are The Brown Agency, Go Models, BMA ModelsCM models, Wilhelmina Models, and Agence Silver.

If you are based in the UK you can also look at the British Fashion Model Agents Association, the Trade Association of the UK model industry. Formerly the Association of Model Agents, it was founded in 1974 to protect and manage the career of its models. This continues to be the aim of the Association.

Start small

When you get started in the modelling industry, you should be aware that you won’t be on big international screens right from the start. 

Don’t fret; if your shootings are initially only for smaller campaigns or ads, they will help you become more established in the industry, confident in front of the camera and able to manage the stress of never-ending castings.

Be Social

Modelling is an incredibly competitive industry and it’s difficult to get noticed. Learning how to build a strong reputation and presence on social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok or Instagram may help as they represent a great opportunity for self-promotion, just like the comp card. 

You can even make money on Instagram if you get enough followers as brands sometimes use social media to pay ‘influencers’ to advertise their products.

But be careful, there are lots of dubious operators online. Avoid accepting requests or even sending your pictures when asked as it is often impossible to know who is behind the request. Always check the accounts carefully or simply reject them.

Relocate yourself

New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London and Milan are the hubs of the fashion industry and many of the top modelling agencies have offices in these locations.

Becoming a model at any age is probably easier in metropolitan areas than in a small town. If being a model is on your bucket list, then it may be time to consider a move.

Good luck!

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