Previously I interviewed Marga (who at that time used the name Maria) about how to became a model after 40.
She received many questions after thi article from women who still dream of becoming a model after 40.
Today she shares with us her journey 6 years later and tells us what to expect when modeling after 40 and what it’s really like.
6 years ago, Sylvia interviewed me for 40+ Style. It was quite wonderful to get the opportunity to share my experiences because I wanted to show women who want to become a model that it’s never too late.
I think it’s the dream of almost every woman to be a model. People are constantly asking me why I wanted to become a model because it can seem like a silly or childish dream.
But, personally, I think it is somehow in our veins to aspire to be part of the glamorous world of modelling. We look at fashion magazines, runway shows, the allure of Hollywood, and the beauty of ballerinas, and we want to have that ourselves. We want to be the center of attention, where you work in the most beautiful of settings and have the eyes of the world upon you.
Of course we all know the flip-side of the coin. We know about the crazy fashion-model-world where a girl of 18 is considered too “old” or a size 10 is considered too “fat”. It is preposterous.
We also know that being admired because of our looks is very superficial and that it never remains. Ageing is a normal process and fighting against it is frustrating and very self-destructive.
So, why are we still dreaming about it even if we are 40 or older? After all, surely there are more important things in life that need our attention?
In defense of dreaming
First of all, let me say that there is nothing wrong with dreaming. It is very healthy and it keeps you going. Dreaming is not reality. We all know that, but having dreams, goals or secrets is okay. As long as it does not develop into an obsession or a frustration if the dream is as unrealistic as waking up with wings and wanting to fly away…
The second thing is that when we all live our lives, we, as women, are actually always living for others. We are living for our children, our partners, our family, our friends etc. When you ask a woman how she is, she very likely starts to talk about her children or her partner, her family, her friends…
A woman rarely starts talking about herself first. A man, on the other hand, does exactly the opposite. Very stereo-typical but sadly, I think, true.
Being a model or starting to work as a model, it is actually only about YOU and the way you should look in the finished photo or in the setting.
Nobody asks about your children, nobody asks about the health of your mother. Nobody actually cares. It feels strange, but the whole day is only about you and your looks. It’s very selfish, but sometimes also rather nice.
Being a model is really about getting attention; at the booking, from the makeup artist who is making you look very beautiful, the photographer who is, most of the time, very nice, the agency, the editor, etc…
We all love this dream; not only being the focus of such attention but also of looking at pictures of ourselves and being proud of them.
Even though we know being a model, even if it is just for one day, is a crazy escape from reality, it provides balance from day-to-day life when we care more about others than we do about ourselves.
In other words, there is nothing to be ashamed of for wanting to be a model, no matter what our age or circumstances.
Many of you still have that dream!
I was actually a bit overwhelmed because after my interview with Sylvia, I got a lot of messages from women who wanted to be a models and who asked me for personal advice.
I tried to answer, but every person, every situation and every country is very different.
In the interview I was already very specific about the effort it took me to build up a portfolio, to study the modelling world on the internet and to make the first baby steps to get signed up to a few agencies.
In what areas can 40+ women get work as models?
It took me years to build up my portfolio, to get some modelling jobs and to slowly develop my modelling career. In the meantime, I was aging from 40 to 51 and, in that same time, the number of modelling opportunities also decreased rapidly.
In your early forties, you might still get some modeling jobs as a mother. But at 45+, the commercial world believes you are too young to be a grandmother or a retired lady who may be going to bike or hike with her equally happily retired husband in their new outdoor clothes.
You are too old to represent a busy mother who still manages to look beautiful and fresh, even on the school run.
In commercial modelling, the focus is on making sure the age category of the model most realistically reflects the social stages of “normal” life.
Of course, there are many exceptions but, in general, companies try to create an image that is realistic through advertising.
At 45, you tend to be booked because you reflect the target group a company is trying to appeal to. The world of fashion, glamour or artistic photography are different stories and you need to be a certain type of woman with a certain type of look to step into these fields.
I limit myself in this article to commercial work, because a model of 45 is more likely to get modeling jobs in this world.
How to get started and build your portfolio
It is best to build a portfolio by getting, or even paying for, some first photo shoots, first of all focusing on local photographers or agencies. Or, look on the internet and talk to casting agencies or model forums.
Modelling forums are a good way to spread your wings, to expand your horizon and to make contacts, especially with photographers. But be very careful too, as there are a lot of modeling forums which are really more focused on explicit photography and lots of photographers are more interested in other things than taking pictures…
However, there are a lot of great people out there too. It takes time and common sense to find them, and a photographer who is willing to take good portfolio pictures is worth a lot.
How am I doing after ten years of modeling?
Before I started modeling, I had this dream that it would make me rich and famous.
In reality, combining so much travel with motherhood is not easy. It takes time, effort and flexibility to manage to combine modeling with everyday life. But, I’ve still managed to take part in some fantastic photo shoots over the years and to have some wonderful days.
The instant joy you get when you see good photos is fantastic. The moment of getting booked and the excitement of planning for the shoot and packing your overloaded travel and beauty-cases never gets dull.
Being away for a few days in an unknown city with nice hotels and getting to know new people is great. Who does not want a bit of adventure in life? Even getting back home is very nice. Having some stories to tell and some bloody good ego-boosting pictures to show…
And yes, of course, I could also tell you about nasty photo shoots, situations and bad photographers, and pictures flowing around on the internet on very wrong websites and even agencies who did not pay and contracts which turned out not to be contracts at all…
I assume, however, that it is like that in every business; that there is a glamorous side where it looks like a big, beautiful dream coming true, but also an opposite side which people prefer not to talk about.
Is it still worth it pursuing your dream of becoming a model?
If you do still dream of becoming a model, my advice would be, go ahead!
Book that photo shoot.
Get some professional pictures of yourself and try to get signed up by casting or modeling agencies, or promote yourself on social media. Read as much as you can on the internet about the dos and don’ts of modeling and, above all, be realistic.
While it’s impossible to help everyone to fulfill their individual dreams, I hope I have helped a little by telling an honest story on what you can expect.
Being a model of 50+ is nothing more than being very lucky to get booked because a company or client likes your looks for a product or message they want to get out.
Whatever kind of person you are, or whatever looks you have, this could be that specific look they have in mind and they could choose you to be the representative for the target audience that they want to approach.
You do not have to change into somebody else, you only have to smile (most of the time) your biggest smile and look like you look on your very best day. And yes, wrinkles might be appreciated, although spots are often Photoshopped away.
Make sure your first pictures are honest and not so glamorous or Photoshopped that you look like a “plastic fantastic” version of yourself.
Put yourself in the client’s shoes
Think a moment about being the manager of the company who wants to book a model from your age group. What do you want to see? A great 40+ lady who feels comfortable in her skin and is happy with her life? Or a lady who wants to look younger, thinner, or look like somebody else?
Forget about crazy fashion poses, fake eyelashes or bikini shoots. As a 40+ lady, you should be proud of your age. They expect you to look like a 40+ lady, wrinkles and all. That is the reason you will get booked…
This is my answer to all the women who want to start a modeling career after turning 40… Be yourself, get some honest pictures and find the right people, agencies and photographers to help you.
It is not an easy job, but who said life was easy?
At our age, we should have the wisdom to notice the difference between rubbish and quality when searching for people within the modeling industry; the photographers, the internet forums, the agencies.
And, most of all, we should have confidence in our own looks and style, whether in photos or in real life!
Good luck to all of you.
Do you still dream of becoming a model?
Want to know more, also read read her previous interview how to become a model after 40.
Marga is a former make-up artist and stylist who now works as a model. She also writes, has a sewing studio and likes to work in the garden. She was born and raised in a medium-sized city in the urban area of the Netherlands but now lives in rural areas on the German border with her family. You can reach through her personal website or portfolio site. She also has a creative sewing community here.
Like this article? Save it on Pinterest!