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KateHeussler model on ageism in the modelling industry mrs v

Advice on Ageing Gracefully

Kate Heussler (Insta: @KateHeussler) has been a professional model for most of her life. She’s also a successful businesswoman, the founder of The Model Masterclass where Kate educates and trains the next generation of Models entering the fashion industry, equipping them with the business and social skills they need to have a thriving career.

Kate shares her experience of ageism in the modelling industry, and her observations of the shift in attitude towards mature age models, with beauty now being embraced at every age, as well as the appreciation she’s noticed the industry has for experience over inexperience.

Kate: At the age of 23 I did my first professional photoshoot, with zero experience and later that year signed with my first model agency. At 24 I entered and won my first bikini competition and was published in lingerie on the front page of my hometown newspaper as the Ambassador for breast cancer awareness. At 25 I was published in my first magazine editorial. At 27 I started to work as a Model full time and booked numerous television commercials, bridal and lifestyle model campaigns. At 30 I booked Bras NThings, Rebel Sport and David Jones as regular client bookings for campaigns. At 35 I had my daughter. At 38 I started my 4th business. For me, approaching 40, I feel like I‘m just getting started.

As You Get Older, It Only It Gets Better

I noticed in my mid-late 20s going to castings with Models from top tier fashion agencies there was some agist sentiments from young clients and fellow models in their late teens and early 20s. There was a general undertone and side-eye of ‘what are you doing here?’ I just had to keep reminding myself that I deserved to be in the room, clients were requesting me, and like we all know ‘you just have to be in it to win it.’

It’s still competitive though in my experience it’s more lucrative. When you’re a model in your 30s, 40s and over, clients understand that you’re paying for experience. What would take an 8-10 hour day with a much younger, inexperienced model, will take 2-3 hours with a more mature model. Clients are happy to pay a higher rate to take less time shooting as it’s less stress, and more time for them to focus on their bottom line. The model industry is a business after all.

There is also an unwritten rule that older models, especially those with many years of experience, are far less high maintenance, more agile operators, can easily take direction and are more charismatic to engage with. We know that working as a model goes a lot deeper than your skin; it’s your personality and empathy that’s also developed over time and experience

How to Age Gracefully: Look After Yourself 

The only golden rule to follow is self-care. I was raised to believe that putting yourself first or prioritising your own self-care was selfish, self-absorbed and a big no-no if you ever want to be accepted or liked. I’ve since healed and rewired my way of thinking and gone to great lengths to look after myself. If you’re a recovering people-pleaser, I see you. Welcome to the selfish years haha! I run a business, have ongoing face to face time with my model and brand clients, and am a full-time parent to a little human. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

Quality, nutrient dense meals. Vitamins to supplement my nutrition. 10,000 steps per day. 2-3L water/day. Wearing 50+ UVA/UVB broad spectrum sunscreen. Bath with magnesium salts. Prioritising my mental health and seeking the help of a counsellor when needed. Removing toxic people and situations from my life, reducing unnecessary stress and drama. All over body moisturiser twice per day. Investments in quality, natural skincare products and beauty treatments when my budget permits.

It’s always a boring thing to say though I’m proud of it because of how this 1983 chassis has aged naturally… I don’t drink, I don’t smoke and I have next to zero sugar in my diet. I come from a long line of unhealthy people who have battles or lost their life to preventable diseases. By choosing the lifestyle I have, I know I am actively breaking those generational conditions as well, physically and mentally.

What I’ve Learnt With Age: Don’t Be Intimidated by Others

I’ve spent decades working on myself to the point now, where I can honestly say as I’ve gotten older, I can walk into a room and am not at all intimidated or phased by anyone else in the room. You look gorgeous, I’ll compliment you. You run a successful business, I’ll ask you questions and happily learn from you.

When you can get to a state where jealousy, envy and critical small-talk about other people are practically at zero, you’re onto a good thing.

Older Women are Valued for their Beauty Now, More than Ever Before 

Older women are more beautiful, more driven, more powerful and more prominent than ever before. There is a new breed of sexy 50 and 60-somethings for whom age is little more than a number.

Models Christie Brinkley, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid, Naomi Campbell are proving this.

Along with Actors/Actresses such as Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn, Jamie Lee-Curtis, Halle Berry, Denzel Washington,BD Wong, George Clooney, Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez, Lucy Liu, Queen Latifah… the list goes on!

The Qualities That Will Help You Go the Distance

Humility. Empathy. Work on developing your personality. Team work.

If you want to learn more about Kate, you can visit her here: