So you’ve got a few wrinkles and your breasts are losing the fight with Earth’s gravitational pull. You know you’re not Next Top Model material, so what do you and the world of fashion have in common? A lot, actually. There is a great demand for the mature model, especially for commercial print and television advertising.
Increasingly, well-heeled shoppers want to see women and men on the runway that represent them. They want to see their own age group wear the clothes they’re going to purchase. Television and print commercials target their products to the demographic most likely to buy them, and often that’s the middle-aged and retired person with expendable income.
The challenge for agencies that hire out such models and actors is the lack of availability of workers in the field. Most of us in our mid-years are preoccupied with full-time jobs, kids, and aging parents. If you’re unemployed or self-employed and your kids are grown, you’re in the perfect position to take on this type of work. A flexible schedule is key to success as a model and commercial actor.
Be forewarned, however, that you will be expected to maintain a certain look. That means keeping the same hairstyle and colour (unless you check with your agency before making a change) and maintaining your weight. Your stat sheet showing your measurements and your portfolio need to be something a client can rely on to be an accurate representation of your appearance.
Finding a credible and honest agency can be a challenge. Look for one that can show you a list of models and actors that you recognize from current campaigns. You will be expected to spend some money up front for a modelling and acting course. This shouldn’t be an exhorbitant cost. My 18-week course cost me less than $800. There should be no initial cost to “assess” your value as a model. You will have to build a portfolio, though not necessarily as extensive as that of a 20-year-old striving to walk the runways of Paris and Milan. Your shots will need to be commercially viable, and if you wish to become a commercial actor, you’ll need a talent headshot. This is a picture that represents your typical, everyday look. It’s not a fashion shot. A good agency will bring in professional photographers, wardrobe stylists and make-up artists at a reduced fee. Expect to spend approximately $450 to $500 for the photoshoot and prints.
How good-looking you are is less of a concern than whether you can bring personality to a shoot or commercial and whether you can take instruction and bring some creativity to a shoot. Make-up artists and photographers can alter your look to suit their needs. Of course, your particular look will only work for certain clients, depending upon their requirements. Your initial interview with an agency will give you the information you need regarding your viability as a model.
Be prepared to do some runway work for free initially, in order to build experience. I began my foray into mature modelling when I was shopping at a store just before it was about to hold a fashion show. They liked how I looked in their clothes and invited me to model at future events. I opened and closed their next show, finishing in a full-length ball gown. Not bad for a 46-year-old mother of four.
The next time you see a print or television commercial targetted to your age group, take a closer look. You may just see possibilities for yourself worth exploring.