If you had asked me ten years ago if I would be happy modelling swimwear and lingerie at 50 I would have run a mile. I started a new career as a professional model at the age of 46 with no idea where it might lead, but with a great sense of optimism and adventure.
Until I reached 40, I had no real career mapped out and certainly wouldn’t have classed myself as having any leadership skills. I found myself divorced and returning to university to gain a degree in Education Skills which I loved;I found learning later in life so much more rewarding than I remember school was. I thought I had finally figured it all out and was set to have a career in early years education.
Life often throws a spanner in the works and when my eldest daughter became ill, I had to stop work and be at home full time. I have to be honest, this set back really crushed my new-found confidence.
During this time, I started modelling in charity fashion shows which was a great way to network with new people and helped to build my confidence back up. After several years I took the plunge and applied to a few model agencies. To my surprise I was signed up by a top London agency and have been working ever since.
In the last three years I have carved myself a niche in the market as an older, silver haired curve model (size 14-16) and become a body confidence activist. I have modelled swimwear in the Bahamas alongside American model Ashley Graham, activewear with Davina McCall for F&F Clothingand represented the older woman in lingerie campaigns including Figleaves and Chantelle Paris.
I’ve been lucky to have worked with brands that are inclusive and show up to represent older women in fashion, it’s about continuously pushing for change. I use any opportunity I get to help represent older women in marketing and advertising and use my social media as an influencer to encourage women to step out of their bubble and be seen and heard.
I am now asked to speak at events about my own body confidence journey and am keen to keep the conversation going around the lack of representation of older women in the fashion and advertising industry.
I have become an Ambassador for the Be Real charity which is committed to help the younger generation change attitudes to body image and to put health above appearance and to beconfident with our bodies.
I’m looking forward to visiting schools in the future to share my own story and experiences to help young women break the cycle of comparing themselves to others and stopping their own body image from holding them back.
I realised that I wasted so many years stopping myself from achieving and trying things because I lacked confidence andheld myself back. I have talked to so many women who are in their late forties and fifties who say the same thing; this new level of body confidence and acceptance is liberating. It has allowed me to push myself out of my comfort zone so much more and it’s where I have grown the most.
I talk to so many women who share similar experiences of reinvention later in life that I decided to create a podcast called Out of the Bubble. I invite women from all backgrounds to share their stories, how they’ve overcome hurdles, reinvented themselves and found new passion and purpose. The women all leave you with lots to think about and good dose of inspiration. In previous years I would have shied away from networking and sticking my head above the parapet but now it’s where I thrive best.
During lockdown I decided to cover more women so now host a Facebook live morning show where I interview a different woman each day and I am delighted with the viewers’feedback. It gives me another opportunity to share these women’s stories that so often get left unheard when we all have a story to tell.
If any of you have a story to tell that you think would inspire others, I would love to hear from you.
I am also happy to reach out to anyone who may be struggling with their own body confidence or might know of any organisation that are keen to help women have a better relationship with their bodies to improve mental well-being.