Grey is the new black for models

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Not so long ago, grey-haired models were confined to appearances in adverts for life insurance and stairlifts.

That was before the founding of a new agency which has set out “to make grey the new cool”, with a roster of models ranging from their 40s to their 80s.

They include Sara Stockbridge, the former face of Vivienne Westwood who turns 50 this year, and Nicola Griffin, 55, who boasts a striking head of long, grey hair.

Rebecca Valentine, founder of the Grey Model Agency, said: “I used to have an extras agency and noticed that the older people were more in demand and making more money than the others put together.

“This age group has been completely overlooked by the industry – not just fashion and beauty, but more so in advertising. The older generations of women are represented either as blue-rinse old ladies or completely eccentric characters.

“In the last couple of years this has started changing. It’s not only the use of vintage models and older celebrities – think M&S or L’Oreal – but older regular models, used for companies that never would have used them before.”

The agency has a mother and daughter on its books – Frances Dunscombe, 82, and her daughter Tineka Fox, 56.

Valentine said: “Brands are now waking up to the fact that they have to be pro-ageing rather than anti-ageing. The market is moving against this idea of perfection more towards a true representation of older people. It’s not only showing wrinkles and grey hair, but about being true to this age group.

“Our 50-something models are not just getting genteel insurance ads. Brands are pitching to this market and having to adjust as well to accommodate the diverse range of people over 50. They are no longer as they were 20 years ago – they are often professional people, they are dancers, they can have tattoos or pink hair. It’s very different to our perception of ageing even 20 years ago.”

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