In 2006, I was part of a modeling shoot for the now-defunct MORE magazine, the first magazine geared for the over-40 woman. I had done some modeling in the past, and it was exciting to be in front of the camera again as I was getting closer to 50.
At the shoot, I met the four other women I’d be working with in the photo session. One of them was Connie Maynord, a striking, statuesque redhead, with a charming accent, who was living in Texas at the time. Connie, like me, had modeled in her younger days.
Over the course of the day, the five of us got to know one another as we tried on different outfits, had our hair and makeup done, and posed for photos. Captivated by the experience, Connie decided to return to modeling in her 50s.
“MORE opened the door for me and gave me the push to get back into modeling,” she said.
When she returned home, Connie began to search the Internet for venues looking for local models. As a springboard, she’d sometimes mention the upcoming MORE photo spread, and after the photos were published, she’d use them as tear sheets.
Before long, she was modeling for department stores, bridal shops (mother-of-the-bride evening wear) and doing still modeling for art classes, something she had done in the past. She soon was strutting her stuff as a regular in fashion shows.
“At 20, I wanted all of me to be perfect: my body, my smile, and my natural red hair. I was fearless.”
Connie recalled her first big fashion show after graduating from modeling school when she would be modeling a bright orange string bikini with a matching floor length cover-up that tied at the neck.
“The designer had instructed me to enter the room flowing like Marilyn Monroe and once at the center of the stage to quickly turn and untie the floor length cover-up and let it drop to the floor.” When she did, the room gasped. “I smiled and received a huge applause,” she remembered.
Connie is still fearless today and says it is a great quality to cultivate in the modeling world.
“Every time I go out on stage I feel as good as I did when I was 20, and just as beautiful. I feel good about myself that I can still do that.”
Such confidence and comfort in her own skin continues to serve her well. “My husband laughs. He never knows where he may see my photo, commercial, or film clip, and he is thankful I keep my clothes on. I laugh and tell him, ‘The offer hasn’t come yet.’ I recall the Dove Pro Age campaign’s semi-nude models and I’d do it, so call me,” she said with a chuckle.
Connie is in good company. It is a boon time for mature models as the country’s 76 million Baby Boomers age and want to see their demographic represented in fashion and beauty advertisements. The market for older faces is growing.
“Consumers want to feel like the products they’re purchasing are made for them, too,” said Briana Lombardo, the president of Long Island Models, located in Long Beach, New York. About 20% of the agency’s roster is over 50.
“Oftentimes our models will refer their family or friends to us that have always wanted to get into the industry. We just had a model introduce us to her mother who is 51 years old, and she instantly started getting auditions and booking requests,” said Lombardo.
No mature model is arguably more visible than Maye Musk. At 74, Musk recently graced a cover of Sports Illustrated, the first woman of that age in the magazine’s history. Like Connie, Musk modeled at young age, but she came to the world’s attention when she became the oldest spokesmodel in CoverGirl’s history at the age of 69.
“As I got into my 60s, people were talking about aging, and being scared of aging, and I’m saying, ‘Why are you scared of aging?’ We need to change that around,” Musk said in an interview with People Magazine in 2021.
Last fall Connie modeled with a group of young models. Entering the room, she smiled and said, “Ladies, take a good look. This is what you will look like in 40 years.” The young women seemed pleasantly surprised by that glimpse into the future.
“What age would I be if I didn’t know the year I was born? Ageless is what I chose,” Connie said brightly.
Connie has auditioned for bookings in a room filled with 20- and 30-year-olds, yet age has often worked in her favor. At times she “got the gig due to so few of us mature all-size ladies having the courage.”
“Today, I’m at my youngest, my prettiest, and probably my skinniest, so I’m going to rock this world,” Connie says, repeating her credo.
Seeing women like Connie Maynord and Maye Musk representing mature women with such grace, poise, and beauty makes us all less invisible and shows that there is life, glamour, and beauty after 60.
Social media, too, has gotten the message. Instagram is filled with stylish older women, midlife fashion bloggers, and grey-haired fashionistas, who can be seen in classy poses promoting fashion, cosmetics, and hair products. Popular influencers are no longer limited to the 20-somethings.
And Baby Boomers have buying power.
“Thinkabout how many boomers can – and will – buy that dress,” noted Connie, who has modeled the fashions of designers Manuel Cuevas, who has dressed many of Country Music’s major celebrities, and Project Runway’s Johnathan Kayne. Kayne also designed both of Connie’s gowns when she competed in the 2015 and 2017 Ms. Senior Tennessee America pageants.
“Isn’t it great we aren’t all 22 years old and a size 2?”
Today, most agencies allow potential models to apply online by uploading photos and a resume.
Lombardo suggests that the first thing anyone, regardless of age, needs to do is to get some professional photos taken. “We do mostly commercial and print work so they should choose a photographer that can deliver lifestyle photos.” She recommends a variety of images, including headshots (smiling and neutral), three-quarter length (from the waist up), and full-body length.
“There’s honestly no height and weight requirements at all anymore. For any age and however tall, short, thin, or curvy you are, there’s a market for you,” she said.
A few other tips Lombardo offered: Make sure the modeling agency you sign with is legitimate. Never pay to join. Also, make sure your modeling agency works with mature models.
Connie, too, has some advice: “Modeling is not for the weak, overly modest or for those with a fear of rejection. It’s hard work, with long hours, fittings, practicing, hair, makeup, and the crazy fast day of the show.” Still, she tells interested women: “Go for it!”
How do you feel about modeling after 60? Would you do it? Do you think our generation is misrepresented in fashion and style magazines? What would be the best way to deal with this issue?