The modelling industry is a young woman’s game – or is it? As the modelling industry increasingly begins to champion diversity, we are now seeing a more inclusive age range in magazine publications, in TV adverts and on billboards.
While there’s still some way to go, it does mean that demand for older female models has risen. So how should you go about becoming a mature model? Read on to find out.
Famous Older Female Models
– Maye Musk
– Jacky O’Shaughnessy
– Carmen Dell’Orefice
– Cindy Crawford
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There are many different modelling types in the fashion industry. Your job is to figure out which one you suit most. Generally, it’s divided into two main categories – high fashion and commercial (also known as catalogue).
In high fashion, the rules are far stricter and differ hugely compared to commercial. It’s rare to see a top high fashion model over the age of 25 – only those who have created a name for themselves already are hired, and most of them choose to move on quickly as they approach their 30’s for fear of being turned away from jobs due to their age (it’s best to leave the industry in your prime than to be thrown out of it!) As well as age restrictions, high fashion models must also meet strict body and height requirements that the average person could not achieve even with the strictest exercise and diet regime.
In commercial modelling, the rules are much more relaxed. While brands and agencies still prefer models who are slender and proportional, commercial modelling accepts models of all ages as lots of different types of models are required to cater to the everyday audience. Brands whose target audience are mature people will need older models to represent them and create inspirational (but achievable) looks. Here, older female models will find plenty of work – so when entering the industry and looking for a modelling agency, make sure to research agencies that work with mature commercial models for the best chances of success.
As well as high-fashion and commercial modelling, there are lots of sub-categories of modelling. These include:
– Petite. Commercial female models must be at least 5’7, while high-fashion female models must be at least 5’8″. Petite models cater to a shorter audience, so can be around 5’6″ or shorter.
– Plus-size. If you’re not a size 6-8 UK dress size, you won’t find work in high fashion. Even commercial models must be around a UK size 8. In high-fashion, a plus-size model is anyone over a size 8. In commercial modelling, models that are a size 14 or above are labelled plus-size.
– Alternative. Alternative models have a different style to the norm. Think tattoos, piercings and pink hair.
– Fitness. Fitness models are those with toned muscles and athletic figures. They don’t need to be a specific height, but models who are over 5’7″ will have an advantage. There are some mature fitness models required for health retreats and gyms catering to the more mature audience.
– A certain grace or “cool” factor – that je ne sais quoi that makes you beautiful.
What Are Brands Looking For?
When looking for a mature female model, brands and agencies will be looking for the following:
– Good teeth
– Thick, healthy hair (even white or grey hair should be shiny and conditioned)
– Skin that is hydrated and well looked after (wrinkles will not prevent you from finding work!)
– A proportional physique and toned body shape
– Hard working, ambitious and eager to get out there and find opportunities
– Natural beauty
Once you’ve figured out which type of modelling niche you fit into, it’s time to find some work. The best way to find work is to get signed to a modelling agency.
To get signed to a modelling agency, you need to find their websites. These should have information about their application process – it’s usually an online form you have to fill out. You will be asked information about your age, measurements and dress/shoe size. You will also be asked to attach several photos of yourself. These photos are the most important part of the application. They must stand out from thousands of other hopefuls, so make sure they show off your natural beauty and are high quality.
You should hear back within a few weeks if an agency is interested. They will invite you to an in-person casting call.
If an agency isn’t interested, it’s unlikely you will hear back from them. Don’t be disheartened if this happens. Agencies receive thousands of applications each week. All models face a lot of rejection – it’s part of the job. Modelling is an incredibly competitive industry and it’s difficult to get noticed.
So you’ve got signed to a modelling agency, you’ve attended auditions and you’ve finally landed your first modelling job. Now what?
Your behaviour on the set of a photoshoot is vital for your future success – just because you’ve landed a job doesn’t mean the hard work is over. In fact, it’s just beginning!
You need to be on time to every appointment you are invited to. You must also prioritise auditions and jobs – those who regularly fail to attend casting calls and auditions will soon be overlooked for other models.
On set, you should work hard to be polite and engaging with everyone you meet. That’s not just the photographer and brand manager – you should be kind to your make-up artist, hairstylist, and even the shoot runner. You never know when someone you meet might find you future work or put in a good word for you.
You should also listen closely to directions when you are in front of the camera and follow them accordingly. Sets can be stressful, fast-paced places. Keep calm whilst showing lots of energy, and be polite to everyone – you’ll make a great first impression and will be more likely to get invited to future work.
Taking Care of Yourself
Just because you are a mature female model doesn’t mean you need to sit back and relax. If you want to pursue a career in modelling, you have to look after yourself regardless of your age.
That means eating a well-rounded, healthy diet 95% of the time. It also means following a regimented exercise routine that includes not only cardio but weight or resistance training to help tone muscles and keep the physique nice and proportional.
Your skin will also need some extra TLC. The older we get, the more relaxed our skin becomes and the more prone we are to wrinkles. To slow down the signs of aging, wear an SPF every day on any exposed skin. Have a good skincare routine and take off make-up thoroughly each evening.
You should also get plenty of sleep each night. Sleep is vital for maintaining a consistent, healthy weight, healing muscles after workouts, and keeping skin, hair and eyes bright and clear.
Your modelling portfolio is a vital tool that you should pay attention to if you’re serious about going far in the modelling industry. As a mature model, you need to focus on including relevant images – there’s no point including photos of you in your 20’s if you’re now in your 50’s!
Your portfolio should contain up to 20 photos that are professional and high quality. You should upgrade your portfolio constantly to ensure it’s up to date.
Your portfolio also features your modelling information such as your measurements and contact information. This too should be maintained to ensure accuracy.
Social media, in particular Instagram, is a great way to get noticed. Many mature models are utilising the platform to reach a younger fan base and show them how it’s done!
Instagram is a great way to share your look with the masses and gain the attention of brands in the process. The general public love seeing how models achieve and maintain their appearances. Exercise routines, meals, beauty inspiration, skincare… there’s plenty to post that will grab attention. You can even post your modelling photos as long as you ask the permission of the brand/photographer first.
You can even make money on Instagram if you get enough followers. Brands also use Instagram and like to pay ‘influencers’ (those with lots of followers or post engagement) to advertise their products. Ongoing brand deals (aka endorsements) can be very lucrative.