Supermodel Paulina Porizkova has been in front of the camera for years – modelling for Chanel, Versace and Dior, and appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated and Vogue – but she’s still battling critics.
The 56-year-old is known for being frank and honest on Instagram, and has talked about everything from the realities of going grey to how grief feels. She’s also a fierce advocate for older women, often using the hashtag #sexyhasnoexpirationdate and posting pictures of herself in swimsuits – which are not always well received.
After receiving a comment saying she’s too caught up in her looks and should focus on her family, Ms Porizkova replied by posting a glamorous nude photo.
Alongside the image, Ms Porizkova wrote that the negative comment “is only important insofar as to highlight the still common belief that women are essentially chattel. That once we have stopped breeding, we should be retired to provide nourishment for others.
“I’m 56, and living my best life. After a lifetime spent taking care of others, I finally get to do me. Sure, I can also knit and bake and bask in the warm glow of my family on the rare occasion they need me, but I can also bask in the glow of a tropical sun, a lover’s arms, and here the fabulous light of @luigiandIango.
“I post bikini and nude photos because I finally feel good in my skin.”
She goes on to skewer double standards around how younger and older women’s bodies are perceived. “By what standard is it okay to ogle a nude teen, but not a mature woman?” she asks.
Ms Porizkova adds: “An older woman is allowed wisdom, humour, patience – but not sensuality. Not sexiness. This is a major societal taboo, which is precisely why I post what I post. I may be 56, but I’m as fully a woman as I was 30 years ago, in fact, I’d argue: more so. I’m finally fully inhabiting this body of mine, I fully appreciate it, and I am fully celebrating it.”
Ageism is still an issue in the fashion industry – while there are a few notable examples, such as Naomi Campbell (51) and Kate Moss (47), the pages of magazines are predominantly populated with models under the age of 30. It’s an industry that has always valued youth, seeming to suggest once you pass a certain age, you’re no longer sexy or deemed beautiful.
Seeing Ms Porizkova take a stand against ageism is truly powerful, and she has a huge audience, with more than 600k followers on Instagram.
The comments section reveals an older woman loving her body is still pretty divisive and can provoke extreme reactions. Ms Porizkova has received love from her peers, including Helena Christensen (who commented: “And I love you.”) and Lisa Rinna (“You. Go. Girl.”).
Ultimately, comments such as: “I love the photo but I love your words more. Continue to inspire us all,” show how necessary Ms Porizkova’s message is.
It should be noted that Ms Porizkova still fits into much of society’s standards of beauty – she’s slim, white and gorgeous – but hopefully she’s paving the way for all types of older women to celebrate their bodies.
What do you think of models and industries that embrace ageing? Does it bring you joy, or do you think modelling should be left to young people? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
– With PA
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