Today I Learned...

  • Celebrating older women in media and fashion paves the way for evolving real-life attitudes and expectations, promoting inclusivity and breaking ageist stereotypes.
  • The representation of vibrant and accomplished older women serves as inspiring role models for younger generations, encouraging them to pursue their dreams and challenging the notion of an expiration date on a woman's worth.
  • Embracing older women in the workforce provides employers with access to valuable experience, knowledge, and skills, contributing to the success and growth of organizations.

n recent years, the remarkable performances of Michelle Yeoh and Jennifer Coolidge break barriers with nuanced, compelling performances that have captivated audiences, earning well-deserved accolades for their incredible acting skills. Closer to home, influential figures like Sharmila Tagore have boldly spoken out about how seniors should be treated. They have served as a reminder that experience and wisdom only grow more profound with time. Even fashion magazines today, like Vogue India and the UK have started taking a step forward, a small but significant step in acknowledging that beauty comes in all forms by featuring stars like Miriam Margolyes and Zeenat Aman on their covers. When magazines profile women who continue defying expectations through their accomplishments well into later life, it encourages us to rethink what's possible at every stage.

Another rising inspiration in the last few years has been the body of work Neena Gupta has been creating through embracing acting on OTT platforms and mainstream cinema, along with embracing social media trends by showcasing all her work and achievements on Instagram. Through candid snapshots of her life, she tells women like me that our value isn't tied to any number. Her joy and confidence create hope for women of any age to follow on the part of lifelong learning and to continue following their passions. 

These remarkable women are paving the way for new perspectives. As more active agers represent themselves fully, it will help all of us feel empowered in our skin at every stage of life. With open and honest dialogue, we can continue pushing for inclusive changes across industries. Our shared goal should be celebrating the depth and richness of experience that comes with age.

Poonam Lulla (left) Mukta Singh (right)

It's also been great to see pro-aging influencers in the Indian space, like Poonam Lulla and Mukta Singh, who are redefining beauty and embracing age gracefully. When we met Mukta earlier last year, we were inspired by her journey into modeling, "In 2019, I embraced my gray hair, a decision that initially worried my daughter. To assure her, I promised to prioritize my health, fitness, and style. Then came a family wedding, and I wanted to shine in my silver-gray saree. A designer, Akaaro, helped me find the perfect attire. The saree was a hit, and I posted a tribute on Instagram. This led to a photoshoot offer from Akaaro, and the journey began. More designers like Shweta Kapur and Amit Aggarwal noticed, and I became a symbol of style and age. Then, Harper's Bazaar reached out, planning a shoot featuring gray-haired women. Embracing age is vital, and this journey has been incredible. Age is something to look forward to, not avoid.”

For far too long, narrow stereotypes have constrained how older adults are portrayed, and an ageist attitude prevents them from accessing meaningful opportunities. In everything from films to stock images, so many fail to capture the vibrancy, wisdom, and passion that only grows richer with age. With this thought, mainstream representation becomes key because it subtly shapes our perceptions on a mass scale. If crowds regularly see our active agers depicted as dynamic, multi-faceted individuals across screen and page, it fosters acceptance that beauty, talent, and charm truly know no age. The rewards of increasing awareness and creating more opportunities are endless -

  • Inspiring Role Models: Our active agers will become motivations for younger generations everywhere as they shatter outdated beliefs about age limitations. We'll all gain wisdom from their journeys.
  • Redefining Beauty: Diversity in media and fashion uplifts the reality that beauty knows no number. Every stage of life deserves admiration and respect.
  • Realigning Societal Norms: Employers will discover senior talent, and communities will celebrate experience instead of ignoring it. When ability reigns over age, all people can achieve their potential.

As standards shift to highlight dynamic women at every age, it cultivates a world with room for us all to grow on our terms. A world where abilities overshadow any metric is one where we support each other unconditionally. Women in their 50s, 60s, and beyond remain creative, engaged with life, and have so much left to offer. Hence, leaving us with the very learning that every age deserves to be depicted with authenticity and reverence, for therein lies the true essence of a society that values and uplifts all its members. 

September 14, 2023
Fashion & Beauty