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The over models you may not know about

Elizabeth Dessy, JoAni Johnson and the others exemplify that ageing gracefully is possible and beauty has no expiration date

The over models you may not know about Elizabeth Dessy, JoAni Johnson and the others exemplify that ageing gracefully is possible and beauty has no expiration date

They are beautiful, charismatic, fascinating, with an elegant demeanor, white hair, proudly displaying the signs of a life well-lived on their faces. Their names are Elisabetta, JoAni, Daphne, Roxanne, Stephanie, Mino, Rosa, but in the industry, they are called grey models or over models. They are 50 years old and above, yet they work tirelessly, starring in advertising campaigns, photo shoots, and fashion shows. The fashion world seems to have suddenly realized that aging gracefully is possible and that there is not a single concept of beauty coinciding with youth.

Everyone remembers when Maison Lancôme fired Isabella Rossellini, its historic face, at the age of 40, telling her she was "too old to make women dream." Models had an expiration date, like yogurt that is thrown away before it turns sour, and by the age of 30, they had to bid farewell to the catwalks. However, in recent times, more and more brands are choosing mature faces for their fashion shows and campaigns. Just think of Maggie Smith for Loewe or Lauren Hutton for Saint Laurent. But it's not just icons of cinema and fashion. Even figures like the influencer Lyn Slater, who has millions of followers with her style, and Elisabetta Dessy, recently becoming the first angel of Victoria's Secret over 60, are having their moment, offering an example of age diversity that we needed. If the iconic Carmen Dell'Orefice with her stern gaze, shiny white hair, elegant demeanor, and great self-irony has never stopped working at over 90, there are many women who have entered this business after the age of 60 or resumed modeling after being away from the spotlight for decades, finding more and more space. Here are the mature models you may not know.

Elisabetta Dessy

If you've followed the latest fashion shows, the beautiful face framed by long white hair of Elisabetta Dessy will be familiar to you. The athletic physique and elegant demeanor hide a past in sports and then in fashion. Born in 1957 in Rome, she was a swimming champion to the point of participating in the 1976 Montreal Olympics before embarking on a modeling career and wearing creations from the most important Italian designers, from Gucci to Missoni, from Valentino to Giorgio Armani, from Salvatore Ferragamo to Versace. In the '70s and '80s, Dessy was one of the most famous Italian top models, but like many of her colleagues, she was forced to interrupt her career due to age limits until Pierpaolo Piccioli called her back to the runway for the Valentino Haute Couture 2022 collection. Since then, she has walked for the SS23 of Puppets and Puppets, the FW23 of Roksanda, the SS24 of Antonio Marras, and other brands during recent fashion weeks. Her latest work? The What Is Love campaign for Victoria's Secret. The Roman model has become the first angel of Victoria's Secret over 60, confirming the brand's new inclusive approach that now embraces age diversity.

Daphne Selfe

Daphne Selfe, 95 years old, is the oldest model in the world. Born in July 1928 in London, she was 21 when, after winning a contest to find the new face for the cover of a local magazine, she began her modeling career at 21, interrupted at the time of marriage. In 1998, at the age of 70, after her husband's death, she got back into the game by returning to the catwalk at London Fashion Week and working for Vogue and Dolce & Gabbana. Since then, she has participated in hundreds of photo shoots, editorials, and campaigns, proving that beauty and charisma have no age limits. Her secrets of longevity? She revealed them to The Telegraph: skincare routine with Nivea products, occasional glass of champagne, eating lots of vegetables like broccoli, getting vitamin D with long walks outdoors, surrounding herself with animals, and never giving up on social life. Have you taken note?

JoAni Johnson

A cascade of gray hair, a beautiful face marked by time, but above all, charisma that pierces the lens. JoAni Johnson grew up in Harlem in the '60s, at the height of the civil rights movement. Juggling activism, a job in the clothing industry, family, and a passion for tea. It was an afternoon in 2016 when, while walking as usual with her husband through the streets of New York, a street style photographer asked her for a shot. In no time, she was on Allure, lending her face to Fenty Beauty and walking the runways of Ozwald Boateng, Eileen Fisher, and posing for the campaigns of Pyer Moss and Redken. She started her modeling career at the age of 60, encouraged by her husband, and hasn't stopped since, becoming an influencer thanks to her eclectic style and strong personality.

Roxanne Gould

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The over <a href=models you may not know about Elizabeth Dessy, JoAni Johnson and the others exemplify that ageing gracefully is possible and beauty has no expiration date | Image 484931" class="lazyload" />
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The over <a href=models you may not know about Elizabeth Dessy, JoAni Johnson and the others exemplify that ageing gracefully is possible and beauty has no expiration date | Image 484933" class="lazyload" />
The over <a href=models you may not know about Elizabeth Dessy, JoAni Johnson and the others exemplify that ageing gracefully is possible and beauty has no expiration date | Image 484934" class="lazyload" />

Roxanne Gould started posing for photographers when she was only three years old and never stopped. She was one of the first to proudly flaunt white hair, making it a distinctive feature that caught the attention of Lady Gaga for the campaign of her Haus Labs, where she showcased extreme graphic makeup. Juggling activities as a writer, Chopra Coaching teacher, and mother, Roxanne has appeared on the covers of numerous magazines and lent her face to brands like L'Oreal, Bobbi Brown, Athleta, and Eileen Fisher. Her icon? Audrey Hepburn for her natural, radiant, and graceful beauty.

Rosa Saito 

Rosa Saito was 68 years old when she was walking along Avenida Paulista, one of the main arteries in São Paulo, Brazil, and someone stopped her and suggested that she would be perfect as a model. It took some convincing, as the thought had never occurred to her and she didn't think she was beautiful enough, but eventually she decided to attend casting calls and enter the fray. She was soon cast by a Brazilian natural cosmetics brand, began posing for photo shoots and walked the catwalk at São Paulo Fashion Week. For her, the word ageing is meaningless; the passage of time only goes hand in hand with learning.

Mino Sassy

French, born 1963, Mino Sassy, born Dominique Sassy, has always alternated between modeling and painting. Although she now lives in the Ville Lumiere again, she left Paris in 1986 and moved to New York, where, inspired by the city's architecture, she found the trademark of her art in the lines. Her works are a kind of visual transcription of the computer language used by electronic music creators. Minimalism and effortless chic are also part of her style, which has endeared her to brands such as The Row, Vivienne Westwood and Y/Project.

Stephanie Grainger

She was just a teenager from Yorkshire doing a boring job at the Ministry of Agriculture when a friend took her to an audition at the prestigious Askew Model Agency in Berkeley Square and signed her up on the spot. At my first catwalk show for Schiaparelli, she wore a million-dollar diamond-encrusted wedding dress, and she continued to walk the catwalks until she was 50. By then she had turned her life around, worked in a bank to pay the bills and thought she would never walk the catwalk again. In 2016, at the age of 63, after recovering from breast cancer and a mastectomy, Charlotte Tilbury convinced her to go back to work, and now Stephanie Grainger is working harder than ever.