Modelmode :: my journey through fashion modeling











{April 5, 2008}   Cindy Joseph starts modeling career with gray hair at 48

Cindy JosephAt 54 Cindy Joseph is as popular as ever appearing in countless ad campaigns and even her own fitness video. This mother of 2, 50+ fashion model did not get her start in her teens like many top fashion models, rather, she started her modeling career in her late 40’s by actually being “discovered” by an agent. Yes, at 49 Cindy got discovered when a casting agent approached her about doing a ad campaign for the young, hip and trendy, D&G. What seemed like a joke to her at first became her second career and this gray haired fashion model now commands top prices for her time.

The following is from a CNN article about older fashion models and fashion icons.

The French expression “woman of a certain age” refers to middle-age, and the French — and Europeans in general — have long appreciated the beauty of older women.

Cindy Joseph from catalog sundanceBut as 53-year-old Streep said that day: “America doesn’t reward people of my age, either in day-to-day life or for their performances.”

Those words resonated with her fans back home — getting older has a bad rap in the United States, especially if you’re a woman.

“As human beings we all want to be valued,” says former makeup artist Cindy Joseph. “But the sad truth is that women are judged based on their looks, and in this age-obsessed society our value goes down as our age goes up.”

Which is why Joseph thought “it was a joke” when a casting agent approached her on an East Village street in Manhattan nearly three years ago, asking if she wanted to model for an upcoming campaign for Dolce & Gabbana, the hip couture fashion house.

For one thing, Cindy, a single mother of two, was 49 at the time and ready to retire from the fashion business. Twenty-three years of painting some of the most famous faces in L.A., New York, Paris, and beyond had been fun, but the Seattle, Washington, native was ready to swap city living for a life “in the wilderness somewhere out West.”

But in truth, the biggest roadblock to modeling was the little voice inside her head.

“Like everybody else, I suffered from all the prejudices about what a model should look like,” she laughs. “I was not 18 years old. I wasn’t 6 feet tall. And I wasn’t really, really skinny.” A perfect size 6, Cindy is 5-feet-7-inches tall and her weight ranges between 125 to 130 pounds.

But the creative team at Dolce & Gabbana saw things differently and hired a stunned Joseph for the gig.

Once the ad was published, the new “it” girl came to the attention of Patty Sicular and Janet Rohan of Ford Models in New York City — legendary home of supermodels. The two signed her to an exclusive contract just two days after their first meeting.

Looking back, Sicular, co-director of the Ford’s celebrity and classic division, recalls, “Cindy only defied convention in terms of her height ” — two inches shy of Ford’s minimum height requirement — “and her decision to begin modeling about 25 years later than the usual starting age. But knew we could get herKristen Mcenamy givenchy model booked.”

Those instincts proved correct.

“O, The Oprah Magazine” was one of the first to feature Cindy in its pages. Before long, she was hired for lucrative print and TV ads for such companies as Lincoln Navigator, Nordstrom, Banana Republic, Hush Puppies and Verizon Wireless.

Joseph’s look was seen as strong, contemporary, confident and authentic. But most important: Consumers reacted to her image positively, proving that she had what it takes to move merchandise for clients. Her career took off — and today she commands a rate of up to $25,000 for a day’s work.

you can read more of the Cindy Joseph story and other gray haired fashion models in the CNN older beauty article.

Other gray haired high fashion models are Carmen, who has been modeling for 50 years and Kristen McMenamy who recently modeled for Givenchy strutting her long natural gray hair down the catwalk.

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Cindy Fan1 says:

Cindy Joseph is one hot “graybe” (gray-haired babe) . . . sexy!



cindy says:

She Inspires me to keep at modeling.



Joachim Oster says:

Discovery by D&G is not quite true. As a CD I had hired Cindy for ANN TAYLOR LOFT already in 2002 for catalog and advertising shoots. She was already repped by FORD then and well known in the industry as an older model. D&G was her first hi-fashion client and this is certainly more news worthy. But these enduring “discovered in the East Village’ stories equals the B.S. of “once having been a shepherd in Somalia” story of Iman. The fashion industry simply sucks in trying to build its own myths. Cindy is a total pro, cool gal, affectionate and very, very smart! And she came out right at a time where older women are being allowed to be sexually desirable. You go, lady!



Anna says:

The CNN article is dated March 2003, the images used are 2001, the quotes are said to be from Cindy (CNN), since they are using 2001 images, I imagine they are talking BEFORE 2002, the Ann Taylor catalog. Cindy is the person who gives that account of how she got started. CNN is not the National Enquirer, I doubt they would intentionally publish false statements.

You have have mistook the Cindy Joseph article for a new article, it is not. The article does not give an exact date of when she started modeling, only prior to 2001. She was in the fashion industry as a make-up artist already.

The article says she was approached about doing some modeling work, nobody says it was in the street or mall. She was asked to do it by people she already knew and worked with.

http://www.cnn.com/2003/SHOWBIZ/03/07/older.beauty.models/



Anna says:

I do admire her, she stays true to her own age in a time when most people try to hide it. I see her everywhere now. I can’t walk through the mall without running into her ad at least three times.



Joachim Oster says:

Anna, I have been interviewed a few times in my career by all kinds of magazines and newspapers. Many times when I read the quotes I thought “I didn’t say this!” or “That’s only part of the sentence – this reads wrong now!”. What is one to do- it’s already published. O well… A paper has to make their stories juicy to attract readers and advertisers. And you too have to make your story, comments interesting, to get your name published. That doesn’t always make the story 100% correct. Call it ‘journalistic freedom’, even CNN does it. I have no reason to make up stories or (God forbid) making Cindy’s life difficult. I write this only to aspiring models/photographers to be wary and careful to not believe the ‘hype’ of the industry. Be wary at all times. Cindy was constantly on jobs with agents, models, photographers she didn’t need to be ‘discovered’ on the street by a casting agent (as the CNN article states). Her greatest advantage is that she knew everything and then some about the ‘industry’. The part about her not coloring her great gray hair she told me too- that’s the essence of why she got in front of the camera for a change.

Compliments to your site, btw. If I would still be working in fashion I would check it out more often – very informative!



Barbara says:

Hi, I’m a very good looking 49-year old woman who recently stopped coloring my hair and I’m looking for a modeling job for hair/cosmetics in Los Angeles.

Please let me know if you’re looking for anyone right now.

Thank you!

Barbara



Michelle Del Guercio says:

Hi Cindy,
Watching T.V. last night brought me back in time to the early 90’s with Kevin Marshall, Derek Danton, Michael Carey Gallery and the Halloween Parade. I see you all over the place, congratulations on your success.
I am a people/lifestyle photographer looking for subjects for portfolio shots. I’ve always loved your look (especially as Marie Antionette)…. beautiful from the inside out. Would you ever be interested in doing a test with me? Is there anything you would need in terms of photography? Unfortunately, I don’t have my site up, it’s getting an overhaul but I could send you samples. I look forward to hearing from you regardless if you are willing or not.
All the Best,
Michelle Del Guercio
212 781 5174



Cindy Joseph says:

Hello everyone,

I am Cindy Joseph, the Classic Ford model.

I accidentally discovered this blog after a friend suggest I google myself. It was quite fun to see this article you posted. I am not sure how this whole thing works, however I will post this letter in hopes it is read by those who posted their comments here.
Firstly, thank you for your lovely comments about me. I remember working with Joachime. He is a talented Creative Director and I enjoyed relating with him very much.He is forward thinking with great vision. It was a pleasure working with him for Ann Taylor. I can understand the points he made. It is often very much like what he explained.
However, I am compelled to set the record straight on this little controversy. The original article was accurate.
It’s very simple. In 1999 I was standing on a street corner in the east village of Manhattan. I was approached by a casting agent looking for someone to model for a D&G campaign photographed by Steven Meisel. I thought it was a joke, having been in the business for 25 yrs. I had worked with top models and celebrities around the world. . I could not imagine someone was asking ME to model. Long story short, I did the shoot for D&G. It came out about 5 months later. I was approached again within a month for another advertising shoot and then a producer suggested I go to Ford. I have now been modeling for 10 years. That’s my story in a nutshell!
Thanks for your attention and thank you again for being interested. I believe that women my age, being represented in todays fashion, beauty advertising, clearly indicates that e western societies prejudices about aging are changing! So far, I have experienced life gets better as time goes by!! the old paradigm does not work for the Baby Boomers. We have never accepted the status quo and we are continuing to reinvent every decade of our lives. Lets continue the revolution!

Regards to all,
Cindy



Dora Brogden says:

Hi Cindy,
Just came across this Blog as I was searching for a hairstylist. I am a 55 yr old Hispanic woman and have recently decided to go Gray. I have been coloring my hair for about 18 years and was Salt and Pepper when I started.I was 32 when I had my first child. My daughter was about 5 yrs old when a police officer came over to help me unload our bicycles from my vehicle and afterwords said ” Hope you enjoy your bike ride with your Grandma” I went home and dyed my hair that evening! I am a petite slim woman and have always been told what a nice complexion I have. Seeing these beautiful gray haired woman in ads lately inspired me to go Gray. I was also curious now as to just how Gray I am. Well, so far my hair has grown out about 1.5 inches and totally Silver. I think I am going to love it. I will cut it very short when it’s grown out about another inch (think Halle Berry), as people say I look great with short cuts and my husband loves my hair very short.Thanks for posting on this Blog and being a inspiration to me.

Regards,
Dora



Karen McEnaney says:

Cindy: It’s been ages but I just came across this site and I was compelled to reply, especially when I saw Kevin mentioned, Derek etc–it brought bach a ton of “stuff”. But moving forward–you look MARVELOUS and I noticed all your “work” beginning in 2004 and I say, BRAVO!!



Hi Karen,
I am so sorry, but I am drawing a blank on who you are.
Thank you so so much for the congrats. Its all started in 1999.
Still modeling, writing and I have created a new line of cosmetics.
Real, approachable, user friendly and PRO age at any age!
http://www.boombycindyjoseph.com
Please send me and email at cindyjosephis@hotmail.com
That is my public/professional email address.
Cant give away my personal one here. Sorry.
And help shake my memory please!
regards
Cindy



Anna says:

Thank you Cindy, in an industry where 30 seems to be over the hill, you are a huge inspiration and a wake up call to everyone that attaches “beauty” to an age. Real Beauty is timeless. I believe you may have started that revolution, and I also hope it is continued.



Cindy Joseph says:

Thank you Anna for having the awareness and where with all to recognize truth in this ocean of myths. Thank you for your acknowledgment. It feels great to be seen, really seen.
How did you come to create this blog? What inspired you? How long has it been going?
Were you ever in this industry?
cheers,
Cindy



Kimberly says:

Cindy,
I hope you read this because I want you to know how you have inspired me. I am 45 and have been grey since my twenties. I bought into the myth that only youth is beautiful. I agonized over it. I battled with hair dyes for years. One day several years ago I saw you in an ad. I thought “that is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen” . It inspired me to let my own hair go grey. This is turn opened a whole way of thinking for me. It literally changed my life. I embraced who I am. I feel more free and beautiful than ever. (And it all began with you in an advertisement!)
Thanks for being an inspiration.
Kimberly
North Carolina USA



Cindy Joseph says:

Kimberly,

Thank you so so much for sharing your story with me. I am thrilled that my image could inspire you to go as nature made you. Its time that all women find there own unique look right!
Yahoo!
I want to share you story with others and let the inspiration spread!!
I recently met Diana Jewell the author of Going Gray Looking Great. Check it out at http://www.goinggraylooinggreat.com
Lots of silver beauties sharing their stories and a great event this June in NY!

All the best
Cindy



mlou says:

So glad Cindy set the record straight. I was about to jump in–I was right upstairs (at her hair & make-up agency) the day Cindy was “discovered.” She was not a Ford model before the D&G shoot.



Cindy says:

To Marylou!
Thanks for jumping in!
OX
CU



Cindy Price says:

Hi Ms.Joseph!

Le me say that I really admire your honest down to earth replies. You really seem to be beautiful from the inside, and it’s so obviously reflected in your appearance!

I have been blessed with gray hair since the age of 26, and now at the age of 46 I am curious about the possibility of modeling. I would like to attend the silver sisters event in New York, but as the single mother of a 17 year old Son, I find it difficult to justify the expense of attending with college expenses looming for us next year.

Can you give me any advice regarding exploring my modeling potential?
I am 5’3″ and 106 lbs and I wear my hair long and straight. Strangers often come up and compliment my hair and if I might be able to appreciate some income ( now matter how small) I would really like to experience it.

Thank you for making gray beautiful! If anyone asks why I don’t color my hair, my reply is “gray is a color”



Cindy Joseph says:

Hello Cindy,

Thank you for writing and for your sweet acknowledgments.

I am sorry to say that no model agency I know will take someone at your height. They usually only take women 5’8″ and over. No matter what the age.
Its too bad. The industry is very closed to the view point that everyone wants to be represented in advertising.
It opened up some over that last decade, allowing plus size and silver hair women over 50, however, there is a long way to go.
So sorry to have to tell you this. I came in under the wire at 5’7″ and it has restricted some of the work I do.

Enjoy your beauty. Enjoy your life.
Good luck with all you do.

All the best
Cindy



[…] fashion modeling {April 26, 2009}   Cindy Joseph – A huge Inspiration We all know who Cindy Joseph is… right? Cindy is the model you see all the time in commercials, ads, etc. Cindy is middle- […]



Ellis says:

Hi Cindy my name is Ellis (actually Fiona Ellis- but known by my lsat name ‘Ellis). If you google ‘Ellis’ model agent you will see articles in Grazia Mag, Harpers Bizarre to the Telegraph Newspaper & Independent Newspaper and I have just finished a TV series in Ireland called ‘The Model Agent’ commissioned by RTE. This is not to blow my own trumpet but just to inform you that I am not some weirdo.

Anyway I am no longer a Director at Independent Models I have left for a freelance life …………. lots of ideas but too long to go into. Anyway today I was at a friends house and she asked me if i knew of any great grey haired models as she was casting for a french beauty brand…I have been intouch with lots of agencies and friends I know but I came across yourself on the Internet. Are you still with Ford Models? I tried to check there site but I think there site was down….. Well Ford TV is and i think that is there classic Division…. Just wondering how I can get intouch with you? Many thanks Fiona Ellis



Cindy Joseph says:

Hello Ellis,

I am with Ford Models in NY. Classic division.
Thank you for the inquiry.
Looking forward to hearing from you.

Cindy



Anna says:

Hey Cindy and Ellis

I edited the comment from Cindy and removed the email address. I did not want Cindy to get a bunch of spam from spiders that crawl all websites pulling emails. Ellis, I emailed you her reply to the email I have for you from your original post.



Cindy Joseph says:

Anna,

Thank you for watching out for me. Very sweet of you.
I used my public email address that is published in
many of the interviews and article done with me.
I like hearing from the public and decided to use that one exclusively
for that.
If Ellis wants to reach me she could contact me through Ford.

Thanks
CJ



Cydney Neil says:

Cindy,

Not sure you remember me or not. It has been so long. I trained with you in San Fransisco as a make-up artist working for Gerry Bybee who was working in Salt Lake City at the time. You were living with Stephen, a photographer. Anyway, I am also very good friends with Briggs MacDonald, who evidentally knows you as well.

I have wanted to catch up for some time, but I was always so busy and knew you were too. I didn’t realize just how busy though!! Congratulations on all your well deserved and hard earned success!! Anyway, I have an idea that I would like to ask your advice on. If you have any spare time to talk with me I would love it. Let me know.

Best, Cydney Neil



Cydney,

I am sorry, I do not remember you. If we get in touch and I keep thinking about it and see a photo of you I’m sure that will jog my memory.
Write to me on Facebook or contact me through Ford Models NY.
I also write a blog for Experience Life Magazine http://blogs.experiencelifemag.com/just-cindy/
and you can correspond with me there.
I would love to chat!

thanks
Cindy



Heads up!!
I have just launched the first pro age aspirational line of cosmetics!!!
Shop NBC April 28th 9pm EST.
It’s about women.
It’s about beauty.
It’s about time.
Cindy



GUIRLENE DOLCE says:

HI, I AM A BEAUTIFUL BLACK LADY WHO WAS GREYED AT THE AGE OF 11. I WOULD LIKE TO MDEL MY HAIR LET ME KNOW.



Go for it.
Go to your nearest modeling agency and see what they say.
Good luck!



As a former Wilhelmina model in the 70’s and 80’sAn I salute you Cindy for your honesty and intelligence. The pressure to look young in America is against all woman and if you look to old native cultures you will find older woman are revered for their knowledge and experience. It is such a gift for our young woman to be honest with themselves and grow into our gifts as we age with joy! Thank you Cindy for being you. Marilyn Grano Harra Kaye President MLBKaye International Realty



You could not have said it better. I cannot thank you enough for writing this post. Hearing from women with the same point of view is very gratifying. And I agree that it is so important that young women understand this perspective. I invite you to visit my website http://www.boombycindyjoseph.com
and read my “Thoughts” page for more on this subject.
All the best to you. Love knowing your out there standing for what you believe in!



[…] The makeup artist was a stunning and quirky woman with a shock of long gray hair. Her name was Cindy Joseph, and not long after she would become a very famous model (one of the more inspiring stories in our […]



Issabella, Is this you? Do you remember working with me. I came to ABC carpet during Eve Ensler’s play, The Good Body, and heard you speak about your stint with Lancome and how it ended. As you may already know, I have created the first cosmetics line in history that is Pro-Age. Please let me know if you would like to try it. Its about women. It’s about beauty. It’s about time. Its a pro-age revolution. Now!
Best wishes,
Cindy Joseph



Missy says:

Hi Cindy, I am a Latin Woman at the age of 56……….soon to be 57 :) I consider myself fit, trim and beautiful. I’m ready to let my hair go gray and short and just embrace my mature woman hood. I love your beauty! Your story is inspiring….continued success to you. Do you think Ford Model Agency is still looking for women of color……………..beginning with Gray. ;) I’m not tall at all, barely 5′ ft…..What’s your advice to me?



Hello gorgeous woman! Love that you feel righteous about your self. That is beautiful. I am sorry to say I am a model, not a model agent.
I do know that although the physical standard for fashion and beauty models has changed over the year to include larger and older women, there is still a long way to go. Your height will be huge restriction. Those designers like long lean bodys to hang there clothes on.
If you feel you could do commercial work, with your image selling other products, send photos to the nearest model agency and see what they say.
Best of luck,
Cindy Joseph



Erica says:

Hello Cindy; Saw your story via video but I did not watch the video because I am deaf. I just typed your name to read what the news was about. Came across this blog and you know something funny… I was born with white hair but I color my hair to my other natural color as I am in my early 30’s I wonder why no one gave any thoughts about me in that stance. Maybe they thought I am faking my white hair? I plan to let my hair go completely white but I don’t know when! I am pretty much tired of coloring my hair haha but I have to do it due to being a new mom.

I’d love to be a model for a product that I like — but no idea what to do. It is tough to find a job that will accept a deaf person (yes I can talk from years of speech therapy but still..) Please let me know if anyone would be interested in me at all?



Erica says:

PS: that model logo is how I view myself :D



Mariea says:

I have to say that at the age of 43 I kind of had a fear about my looks and aging. However, Cindy, after I have seen your ads, my perspective is changing. I like the idea of our “true” grace and inner beauty showing through. I do find myself feeling more sexy as I have gotten older as well as appreciating my curves rather than comparing myself to others as when I was younger. I am a young-looking 43 year old teacher who attributes her youthful appearance to liking what I do and simply being happy. Hats off to Cindy and those just like her :)



Mark says:

What a cutie pie, and curvy too.



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Pia says:

Hi Cindy:

I was so inspired by your story and I salute you, but it seems no matter what the age the height and weight restrictions are still the stigma. I dont think it has really come that far in allowing women to express themselves as we are all not 5’8 and size6-8 and that is not the majority of women in the world, so as far as I am concerned we have a way too go. Also Wilhemina runs contest every year for women over 30 and 40 and they say no restrictions and allow all women to think they actually have a chance and in fact there are restrictions you will never see a short model size 12 get picked EVER. And I feel it is false advertising and they have women pay a processing fee when you dont even come close to a selection.



Larry Lionetti says:

full size Models is a very big retail income producer. All large department stores have ads and fashion shows in addition to independent retail stores that focus on the full figure women. More size 12 is sold than any other size. Where have you been,what planet do you live on.



Emerson Truxon says:

The appearance of gray hair can be delayed by living a stress free live and also taking high amounts of antioxidants. ”

Newest posting on our personal web-site
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Cindy says:

Hello anyone and everyone who is interested. I am Cindy Joseph, the model who started my career at 49. I am 61 and a half years old now, still modeling and going strong. I have created a line of
organic skin care and paraben and phthalate free cosmetics. I have also started the Pro-Age Revolution! Come visit http://www.boombycindyjoseph.com and find out what its all about and visit the Facebook Page too! Join in on the conversation! It’s about women. It’s about beauty. It’s about time.



Brigette says:

I almost never comment, however i did some searching and wound up
here Cindy Joseph starts modeling career with gray hair at 48 | Modelmode ::
my journey through fashion modeling. And I actually do have a couple
of questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be simply me or does it look like a few of these comments come across like coming from brain dead folks? :-P And, if you are posting at additional social sites, I would like to keep up with everything new you have to post. Could you make a list of every one of your public sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?



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