Bethany Nagy says she was considered a “retirement age” model when she hit the catwalks at 25.

Bethany Nagy says she was considered a ‘retirement age’ model when she hit the catwalks at 25

Bethany Nagy says she was considered a ‘retirement age’ model when she hit the catwalks at 25

The now 53-year-old modelling veteran spoke out against ageism in the industry after being named one of the models leading a trend of mature women being employed to pose for high-end fashion houses.

She told British Vogue: “I started modelling in 1995 when I was 25 – I was already at retirement age when I started.

“I was attending graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, in the School of Architecture, at that point in time, and this crazy opportunity came up in Dallas, because that was the connection that I had.

“Four months in, I was doing Neiman Marcus’s ‘The Book’, and other work. I went to Paris and lived in Europe for a year, and it just took off from there.

“I did my first big showroom for Christian Dior, and it was the last season of (Gianfranco) Ferré.

“I had just landed in Paris, I think there were five of us doing it, and I was green and new. I had no idea who he was.”

She added about being told now to say she was in her mid-20s when her career took off: “I was told I had to lie about my age when I started, especially when I went to Europe, so from 25 I turned 19.

“It was a Benjamin Button-type of rewind. At that point they said I had two good years, that I was already too old. But it just kept going. I grew into an industry where most women retired at around 25. It was very rare. If you went into an agency at that point in time, you didn’t see a lot of boards that had older models or anyone over 30 unless you were a supermodel. I just kind of rode this wave until all of a sudden people were like I don’t know, maybe we’re okay with women in their thirties. And now it’s turned into, I don’t know, I think we’re okay with… women.”

Bethany went on about how she feared her days of modelling were over before Covid hit: “I thought I was retired prior to Covid-19. It was around 2017 when I told myself I just didn’t want to fight for scraps.

“There’s too much physical maintenance that goes with this job to be fighting to do a commercial with me and my fake husband taking a blue pill. I don’t want to do Botox commercials. That’s just not who I am.”

But she said after Covid she landed a Maybelline commercial, which she said was the start of a “wave” of work for her and other older models.

Bethany added about the trend: “We’ve been at this for a long time, so there’s been an embrace, a very welcome embrace… I did Balmain this season with Olivier Rousteing.”

She also said about enjoying this stage of her career: “From the conversations I’ve had with my fellow ‘wise’ models, it’s that when you have a led a longer life it’s different than when you’re just building a career as opposed to having already built one.

“You get to enjoy it a little bit more, and have a different perspective on it.”

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