At 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.
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 her 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.