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Meet our over-50 models

24 October 2016

We go behind the scenes to discover more about the Mrs Robinson models.

Mrs Robinson older model Lou

Lou Kenny

Lou started modelling at 19, but stopped in her thirties to become a yoga teacher. She has recently taken it up again and spent much of the shoot doing headstands!

‘The women who are doing well in this category are in their seventies. I met a model who started modelling later in life and she said the best years have been since she turned 65, so I reckon I’ve got a good eight years still to go to build up my new career as an older model before I reach my peak.

‘The key to success is preparation – keeping fit and keeping natural, so no work to your face or body. I did a job in Paris and they said it had taken time to find the right model because most of the women of my age had had too much work done. So I thought, “Great, I won’t go ahead with the boob job then!”

‘Coconut oil is my go-to for everything – I even swish it around my mouth. I put it on my skin and my hair. As we age, we dry out; grey hair is dry hair, so I feed it as much as I can. You do have to keep job-ready – we often don’t get any notice. So you have to keep fit and well at all times.

‘There’s longevity to this career now and I’m just beginning. We’re in the prime of our lives, after all!’

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Tracey Bailey

As well as working as a model on and off since she was 17, Tracey has been an amateur jockey, which she says has been the key to keeping her in good shape.

‘I was Mrs Robinson’s first model. I’d known them for a long time and Fleur had been my booker for the last 20 years. I thought it was a brilliant idea and they’ve found a really great niche in the market.

‘We’re all getting younger  –  our looks, mental attitude and the way we dress  – compared to our mothers and grandmothers at the same age. People are almost proud that they look good at this age.

‘I think our generation were brought up with a different attitude to the way we dress. We all dress in a younger way and because fashion is a lot more casual, it’s easier to dress in a relaxed, informal way. People just wouldn’t have worn jeans and Converse shoes at our age, years ago.

‘I’ve been lucky because I worked with horses when I modeled when I was younger and that kept me fit. I still train them, ride and do all the mucking out, so I don’t have to go near a gym!’

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Evon was running music class for children when she was spotted by Mrs Robinson and started modelling just over a year ago.

‘I received an email from the agency, but didn’t reply at first. I thought it was junk mail! I was flattered, of course, but I was busy. But I went to see them. They were very nice and said they could get me some work.

‘My first job was in Germany and I had never stood in front of a camera before and didn’t have a clue; I was really thrown in at the deep end. I’d just assumed I’d got the job, but I had been invited to a casting to see if I was right for the client. I had to stand on a particular spot; they wanted to see what I looked like.

‘I hadn’t been modelling for long when I did a JD Williams catwalk show in February this year. My legs were trembling. I was watching Marie Helvin and another 80-year-old model who went on with such attitude. I did a lot of copying that day!

‘There’s definitely an art to being directed, to switch into another mindset and not be self-conscious and to project self-confidence. People make it look easy, but it takes practice. When I’m writing or singing about myself, I am in control of what I give away, and can give as much or as little and I choose. That’s very different to someone trying to draw you out. You have to lose yourself, in a way.’

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Frankie Park

Frankie has been modelling since she was 18 and says the beauty tips she has learnt along the way have helped her keep glowing and in good shape.  

‘I’ve been modelling for so long that I was spoon fed what to do with my skin, both externally and internally. For instance, I think one of the reasons I’ve managed to keep modelling, is that I’ve never been hugely fat and I’ve never been too thin, so I haven’t put my skin under any strain. Nowadays models have got too skinny and they’ll age much more quickly. I do remember when I was young, when I was working, I was told to lose weight and I thought, “Why?” I was slim enough and, anyway, I love my food.

‘I think the big difference that’s changed from when first started is digital photography. It’s a different way of working now. When I was modelling for catalogues, we had to shoot one outfit so many different ways, with a shirt buttoned up, undone, cardigan on and off.

'Now, everything is shot today and on the internet the next; it’s much more instantaneous. I would say it’s easier, because you can edit the pictures. When I started, everything had to be so perfect – if there was a crease on the outfit it had to be reshot, so they would check everything before sending us home, even on a long distance shoot.’

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A glamorous grandmother, Elsa is newly back into modelling after a break from the business of more than thirty years.

‘I think it’s about time fashion started recognising older women. Forty years ago, it was thought that if you were of a certain age you weren’t allowed to wear youthful clothes, and had to go into hiding. It was almost a mourning place that women had to enter and I’m delighted that we have broken through a barrier about how older women should behave –that they should look after the grandchildren, stay out of the limelight and accept that life is over.

‘A friend of mine read about Mrs Robinson and said I should give it a go. I had been living in the US and when my family arrived back here, I could see there was a movement for older women wanting to be recognised and not ignored any more.

‘For me it’s like a new career and new perspective. I started going grey in my twenties and used to dye my hair and then thought, “Why pretend? Why do people think there’s something so wrong about grey hair?” And it’s a plus for me now. I’ve noticed that some models who are still colouring their hair are finding they aren’t getting as much work.’

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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