How to become a model after 40 – an interview with model Maria

by Sylvia

How to become a model after 40
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Recently Maria contacted me, telling me her story on how she became a model at age 43. Intrigued I decided to ask her how she did it and how other women after 40 could become a model as well!

Hi Maria. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for 40PlusStyle. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I am Maria from the Netherlands. I live on the country site but I was born and raised in a City in the middle of the Netherlands. I am married and I have two teenage children. I work as a model, as a make-up artist and on events and meetings as a hostess.

As a point of reference which age group do you belong to or perhaps you are willing to share your age?

I am 46 years old. I started as a model at 43 years old. I actually dont like the word “old” as I am not feeling old, but i feel like I am at a good age. In Germany ” senior” models are called ” best-agers” , i like that, because being 40+ feels like a best age !

business photos women over 40

Can you tell us a bit more about your website and blog. Why did you start it?

The first years as a model I joined a lot of forums. On forums you can upload your portfolio and pictures and meet photographers to get jobs for free work or paid shoots. On one forum a man, named Scott Gonnello, contacted me and made an offer for a model-website. I thought about it for a while, but it all looked very good. It took me some time to start working on it and to learn about blogging, tagging, google search engines etc, but now I am getting better at it and it is very important to me. It is like my ” business-card”, it represents who I am, my portfolio and it enables people to find me.

You decided to become a model at age 40+. Why did you have a desire to start a modelling career?

Like every girl, i always had a desire to become a model. But my life went in a different way. I was studying, then started  working to make a living, got children and worked even harder to get everything going. When I was 43 years old I went to a photographer as some sort of reward for myself, after going to the Gym for five years in a row. Then it all started. The pictures were very good and I decided to do more. I started to build my portfolio, went to agencies and got signed in. Not long after that I got my first paid jobs. Modelling at my age is not about fashion or doing catwalks. It is mostly editorial work, business-brochures, websites etc. I represent a 40+ women so I am asked to be a mother, a teacher, a business-lady, a director etc. There is a lot more about the modeling-business than the things we see on TV and in magazines..

How easy was / is it to become a model at this age?

It was quite easy because there are not many women in this age-group who are willing to travel, be flexible, diet like forever or to work for free for building up their portfolio. It takes a lot of work initially… And the models who have been doing this their whole lives are mostly too expensive for stock photography, editorial work etc.. as they are known faces and stick to the big contracts. I started from the ground up though, because it is an unrealtisc dream to think that sending handy-made pictures to an agency will get you a contract or work. You really have to invest time (and money) into getting good sedcard-pictures to represent yourself and to build up a portfolio.

40 Plus Model Maria

What are the requirements of being a 40+ model and getting jobs? Do you need to keep in shape? Use special treatments?

Yes and no. You will probably get more jobs when you are in shape and have a healthy weight. But there are also plus-size models and other models that don’t fit the mainstream who are getting jobs. I think it is more about the total picture of a person. You have to look good on pictures and you have to be able to act. Mostly it is about the product (for instance a kitchen or a bike) and not about the model. Sometimes it is about the company, or what the company has to say. Being represtentative is more important than being hollywood-pretty.

In your experience, are companies starting to use more models over 40?

Yes! People are not comfortable anymore with buying products or a message from a girl who looks like your daughter. The market for 45-65 years olds is getting bigger and bigger. These people are having more time and money because they are in a stage in their lives where they have more time to enjoy their leisure time since the children are mostly on their own now. They also tend to be more interested in welness-health-holiday magazines than fashion. It is ridiculous seeing a 20 year old model on a picture selling a wellness or medical product aimed at seniors. Thankfully, advertisements are becoming more and more a reflection of our society.

Is there a lot of work for models over 40? What kind of jobs do you do?

I work for stock  photography, business brochures, websites and editorial pictures like: welness, yoga, holiday/recreation pictures etc. I also work with photographers for free work to renew my portfolio once in a while. Free work is mostly about being creative, working on themes etc. Apart from that, I also work as a life drawing model/artistic model. This is not about erotic pictures, but for painters and photographers who are creating beautiful (naked) pictures in landscapes or in studios mostly referred to as ” body-art” or ” Fine Nude Art”.

lifestyle modelling after 40

What is your advice for other women over 40 who would like to start a modelling career?

I would like to point out that you will need good pictures to get started. Go to a very good photographer who is willing to help you out with some great portraits and full-body pictures (on which you are shown from toe till head). You can also setup profiles on modelling-forums like Modelmayhem, modelingseo.com, one-model-place etc. Here you can meet photographers and learn a lot more about the business.

Let’s talk a bit about your personal style as well. How would you describe your style?

I am a classic and chic lady. Not very modern or girlish. I do not have tattoos, piercings or any plastic surgery at all. Most people also call me very natural. I also never tan. I am pale white and always stay out of the sun. Photographers are very happy with that because it is very nasty to correct skin-tone variations due to sunbathing. My classic style is convincing as a business-lady and most jobs require that. I am not afraid of getting older. I want to do that in grace and style and I hope to be a nice, goodlooking grandma some day, pictured with a lots of kids while baking coockies or reading stories to them on a couch.

How do you go about choosing your clothes and what inspires your outfits?

Basics and Classics. I like to combine timeless classics with the latest trends to update the looks. I personally think we as 40+ year old women, should not want to look like our daughters. We should have our own style, which is representative of  this wonderful time in our life.

model maria

Has your style changed at all after turning 40?

A few months ago I gave up mini-skirts! I saw a woman of my age in a store wearing a mini-skirt and suddenly it looked ridiculious. Some things are just not looking good anymore when you are getting older. On the other hand: i still wear a bikini in the swimming pool.

Do you believe in dressing ‘age appropriately’ and what does it mean to you?

Yes I believe it’s better to look good as a 40+ women, rather than to look bad while trying to look ten years younger. Clothes that suit your body shape are mostly sexier and better looking than clothes in the latest trends that don’t suit you… Some  fashion trends are very nice for 40+ women, but some are only for younger girls, like skinny jeans, leggings, baggy shirts or very low-waist trousers.

Would you say that at this stage of your life you are now more, or less interested in fashion, style and the way you look?

I have always been very vain so I always tried to look my best. I don’t follow fashion like a blind horse, but I am very interested to learn about and search for fashionable clothes that are good for my daily life and model-jobs. When I have to dress like a business-women, i mostly have to bring my own clothes. Good classics are essential here. For pictures there are some rules: less is more, black makes the picture dead, grey can make yu look even older, etc etc. It is an art to find good clothes that work well in daily life as well as for jobs. My work as a hostess is even harder. I have to look very representative, but wearing high heels all day can be extremely tough, so shoes need to be of high quality. The clothes need to fit perfectly, but also be comfortable enough to be able to smile the whole day.

Do you have any other style tips for women over 40 that you like to share?

Yes, don’t try to look like your 15 year-old daugther. Even if you have the body for it. You can look drop-dead gorgeous in a beautful dress and completly frustrated in a skinny jeans and flowerprinted-shirt. Also, it is better to buy a few good leather shoes/boots than having 50 pairs of lousy cheap fake-onces.

Do you plan to continue with modelling and how do you see your career develop over the future?

Yes, I hope to model till the end of times. I am doing yoga on a daily basis to stay lean and in good shape. I hope my children wil be proud when they see me in magazines as an older lady or even as a grandma. With or without my own teeth, I will smile from ear to ear.

modelling yoga

Anything further you would like to add?

If anybody wants to ask me personally or need my help (or providing me a job) dont hesitate to contact me. I think 40+ women should support each other in stead of focussing to hard on being competitive. I am willing to help anybody within my power.

Thank you Sylvia for this interview and your wonderful website.

Maria’s full name is Margaretha van der Vet and her model name is model-maria. For more information or to book Maria you can visit her website.

Would you like to see more 40+ models in the media? Would you want to one yourself?

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Tangobabe

Great interview, Sylvia and Maria. Very interesting as well and what a beautiful, open and down-to-earth lady Maria is!

Heather Fonseca

I definitely hope to see more older women in magazines, and being used in advertisements. Thanks for this great interview. It’s inspirational!

cami

Great article and great advice. As a model who is 50+ I can totally relate…it can be done but takes hard work and Maria gets it! Thank you!

Cami

Erik Bolding

Maria posed for me three times in the studio in Holland… and the cooperation was good. ‘best-aged’ woman usually have more self-confidence. Thank you Maria!

Greetje

She is drop dead gorgeous, had children and has a flat stomach. Not fair. (No I am joking. ) She is a beautiful lady and obviously the camera likes her. I never realized you had to put in so much work and effort to become a model. So she is not just a pretty face. My compliments. Well done.

cami

yes she is gorgeous…and yes it is hard work…we do a lot of marketing ourselves and working constantly on modeling portfolios and try to get the industry to see that women over 40 and 50 are valuable for print work and art and all of the things younger women can do…plus we have life lessons learned on our side. :) Maria is a great friend as well and is always encouraging other women…a beautiful trait to have…and I think most women over 40 don’t compete anymore…we band together and push each other to be better…and also to accept ourselves for who we are…she embodies all of that! xo,
Cami

Greetje

I had a look at your Facebook page. Tsss….. nature has been kind to you as well!
Beautiful.
I tell myself: as long as we are all happy, that is what matters. Haha.

CamiAnn

Thank you! You are very kind…Beauty is on the inside as well…as Maria has shown us…she has been an unbelievable supporter of mine…and I admire her and all of the women on here for coming together and letting our voices be heard! This is a great thing! We are all beautiful in our own way…and you are correct…we must be happy with who we are…of course we can always better ourselves but the beauty of being over 40 or 50 is that we don’t worry about the small stuff…we all have our flaws and that’s what makes us beautiful! xoxo, Camiann

Rebecca

Excellent interview and advice! Age 40 and above is a wonderful time to enjoy a modeling career. Competition dwindles down and mature models are in demand with the big agencies. Maria is a beautiful model. What a great inspiration for other aspiring models. Thank you!

Ulla-Marie

I like it!

Maria fortes

I”m a 45 year old petite women, who has been interested in modeling and fashion designing since I was very young. For many years I have put this dream aside, and work as a social worker, to which is a rewarding job. At this point in life I’m looking to find out if I have a chance to put my work in modeling and fashion designing forward. I have been searching the internet, and came across this site that I found to be inspiring and has allowed me to learn many tips that will help me to advance in this process. If possible and interested after recieving an e-mail I can send some photos to be viewed. I greatly appreciate your time, and this webpage. Thank you, Maria :)

Sylvia

Hi Maria, I’m so glad that you go after your dreams. There is still so much time to fulfil them! Yes, I’m happy to look at your photos. It would actually be great if you could upload them to the style forum. That way, you will not only get my feedback but from others as well. http://40plusstyle.com/forum/

sandra

i would like to become a model for make up and clothing it would be my dream

debbie

hi Maria. I’m so happy you have got your dream. I’m 46 and model advice in london have asked me to go on a open day in April. I have never done any type of modelling and I’m looking forwards to going down and seeing what it is all about. Can you tell me if you have ever been there and if so what is it like? Many thanks from a new beginer. Debbie.

Nicki Muhammad

I would love to know more about modeling after 40.

Angela Leige

I’m very inspired to here that there is Modeling life after 40. I was a model in my early 20’s and desired to model again, only i felt unsure about modeling after 40. I’m five-ten (5’10) inches tall and did run way modeling back in my “hay day.” Many of my friends have asked me to consider it. I would love to know how to tap back into the industry. If you have any information, i would greatly appreciate it. I love fashion and attended the Art Institute of Atlanta a while back. I’ve been out of touch with this industry for some time now, but now seems like the best time. Thanks.

caroline Achieng

hi am 41 yrs old from kenya ave always wanted to be a model am 6’3 black good skin and good features. i have two sons and and is looking for the next big thing. Help

Kim Wolfe

I am interested in modeling and getting more information, alot of people tell me I should model.

Sylvia

Hi Kim. You would need to contact the writer of this article or contact or a modelling agency. Good luck.

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