Women proudly growing out their grey hair has always been a fascination to me. What a beautiful symbol of growing old gracefully, embracing those laughter lines and letting your natural beauty show. So when I heard Belinda from Natural Beauty Expert had done a pro-ageing special and interviewed grey models, it was something I knew I'd love to share with all my gorgeous natural beauty customers. The time for using a 20 year old to market to the over 40s market is over and that is surely a triumph in the natural beauty world. Here we share a snippet of her interviews with Rebecca Valentine, founder of The Grey Model Agency, and grey model herself, Nicola Griffin.
RV: After watching the market for a few years and noticing how increasingly brands were opting to use more mature models in their campaigns I was surprised that no-one had started a specialist mature model agency in the UK. When I researched the area early this year I found that my suspicions were correct and that the market was moving towards a truer representation of this age group and although some agencies carried ‘classic’ models I only found one dedicated to mature models and then only female ex-fashion models. The timing seemed to be right to launch an agency dedicated to representing the diversity within this 35= age group and once I got the ball rolling it began to snowball with enthusiasm from the models I approached and the national and international press.
The Grey Model Agency
RV: Both men and women are very different from a generation ago. They have lived through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s when popular culture positively encouraged expression through appearance, fashion and art. Especially here in the UK where we have a strong heritage of individualism borne out of a suppressed, perhaps oppressed society. Internationally this age group is more media-savvy than any before, they understand their power and recognize their merits to influence media and advertising. Many have even been involved in shaping this world and now they want to use their powers to influence perception to better represent their choices and lifestyle now.
RV: I hope the hugely positive response we have received internationally since our launch only a few weeks ago is not a reaction to a novelty idea, and signals instead a long-awaited move away from the strive for perfection and return to youth that we have seen for over 30 years now. The whitewash of perfection and youth over content, individualism and personality has killed much of the creativity that we used to see in advertising in the 70’s when the industry was young and opportunities were wide open to the creative teams who were really pioneers. In latter years it seems to me campaigns have been client-led with creative teams working within very narrow briefs. By embracing diversity the breadth of opportunities will be rekindled. As well as winning campaigns and commissions Grey plans to create our own campaigns, TV shows, charity collaborations and continue to scout for elegant-eccentric models to prove to marketers that age does not spell drab, unaspiring or safe.
RV: I think there is a dawning realisation that nips and tucks, botox, fad (quick fix) diets and baby-blonde hair does not strip the years away and replace with a dewy return to youth. Like everything worth having in life it takes work commitment and most importantly belief. A clear picture is emerging as we get to know the models on our books that the trim figures, glamorous hair and healthy complexions are the result of years of yoga, pilates, lots of water, lots of exercise and outdoor pleasures, fun, a willingness and courage to change and an embrace of the new. This is the case for both men and women.
Grey Model Nicola Griffin
NG: Being a grey hair model means a great deal to me . I feel that I can help push forward the fact that having grey hair is liberating and gives you freedom to be yourself , I feel lucky that I can demonstrate that’s it ok to stop dying your hair , it doesn’t mean you turn into a old granny. I keep spreading the word of how to go with your natural grey / silver. Change your colours, let the silver shine through. I feel a real ambassador now for being natural healthy glossy grey/silver women in your 50s / 60s / 70s / 80s.
NG: I eat very well. I feel it’s important to think about which foods you eat, I drink veg juice and eat plenty of fresh fruit/veg. I do drink wine but am careful about the amount. I feel also a positive outlook on the future keeps me focus on working hard. Being happy and feeling well are the 2 main thoughts each day. I always feel really well when my diet is full of really good foods, not expensive foods but just fresh and not processed. Walking the dog every day helps me feel good too.
NG: I think the perception of age is changing fast. We have great older people to admire, my favourite models are a lot older than me, 65 & 86. So at 55 I feel young. I don’t feel old at all. In fact I feel the best I’ve ever felt. Age has nothing to do with it, it’s simple really age means nothing, if your well and look your best, being happy and positive with a thirst for living, this is what I’m finding in my aged group and above. Seeing more older models would be helpful in changing the perception of age.
For the full interviews, visit NaturalBeautyExpert.com.au – an amazing resource for natural beauty inspo and amazing advocate of our beautiful store and brands.
By Nina Weston