Age before beauty? We’ve got both, actually

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Joan Didion: Face of Céline at 80 and subject of new exhibition

She joins other older models including Jane Fonda, 76

Older women are becoming more sought after in advertising

Editor’s Note: Leading Women connects you to extraordinary women of our time – remarkable professionals who have made it to the top in all areas of business, the arts, sport, culture, science and more.

CNN  — 

“Age before beauty” goes the old adage, but in the advertising industry the opposite has always seemed to be the case.

Young, fresh faced women were chosen as the poster girls for brands selling products to make women look and feel young again, or maintain that ever essential ‘youthful glow’.

But now it seems that fashion and cosmetics companies in particular are moving towards a somewhat older group of models.

At 80 years old, author Joan Didion was announced as the new face of Céline for SS15 and is the subject of a new photography show - and she is not the first older woman to have been chosen by big brands.

She joins other older models including Helen Mirren (69) and Jane Fonda (76) for L’Oreal, Joni Mitchell (71) for Saint Laurent and Charlotte Rampling (69) who became the face of Nars lipstick late last year.

Hiring older models has been de rigueur lately with Julia Roberts, 47, having continued success as the face of Lancôme, but that does not mean she is not feeling the pressure.

“By Hollywood standards, I guess I’ve already taken a big risk in not having had a facelift,” Roberts told the UK’s You Magazine. “I’ve told Lancôme that I want to be an ageing model – so they have to keep me for at least five more years until I’m over 50.”

Eschewing plastic surgery, Roberts has her own methods of looking young; “It’s about non-grasping, non-hoarding, cleaning out your closet, dusting out your mind and letting go of the things that weigh you down mentally and emotionally.”

Award-winning photographer Nancy Honey has her own ideas about why its important to see images of older women: “In my own lifetime I have witnessed a profound shift: from little girls imagining their future as marriage and children to the now total belief from childhood that a woman will grow up to have a career outside the home.”

“It is more important than ever to see the important women from all fields in our society and hear their voices of experience.”

Honey’s recent exhibition at Somerset house, 100 Leading Ladies, aimed to transform the perception of what is possible for women to achieve in their lives.

100 older British women were photographed Honey in settings that inspire them and interviewed by former Times journalist Hattie Garlick, the results were all compiled into a book, published by Dewi Lewis Media which was launched in tandem with the Somerset House exhibition.

“Didion by Wasser” is showing from February 12 - March 21 at Danziger Gallery, 521 West 23rd Street, New York

13 of the women featured in the book can be seen in the gallery above.

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