I started posing for figure studies when I was 18, so turning 48 marked 30 years of doing silly things in front of cameras. If you had asked me when I was 18 if I thought I would still be modeling 30 years later, my response would likely have been something like “bwaaahahahahafffffffffffftlolnope” because, when you’re 18, you think 25 is old.
Then you’re 25. And you think okay, well, 35 is definitely old.
Until you’re 35. Then 40 is absolutely old, no question.
When you’re 40, there is still no question. 40 is actually not old.
Now I’m 48, with a long list of things I still want to do in front of cameras. Already planning my 49th and 50th birthday shoots. Not only not feeling like I’m going to stop this silliness anytime soon, but feeling in a lot of ways like I’m even better at it now than I was when I was 18. Or 25. Or 35. Or yesterday. Which I guess is kind of the point.
For this shoot, I decided to wear one of the first wardrobe pieces I ever fell in love with, the Frederick’s of Hollywood Illusion Gown. They made this thing for decades, and I remember seeing it in the catalog back in the 80s and really wanting to wear it, but also thinking it was the sort of thing you had to be tall and thin to wear well. I had “thin” covered back then, but “tall” has never been my reality. A few years ago, the gown was on sale at a low enough price that I was willing to chance ordering it, even though I was no longer thin and still not tall, on the off chance that I might be able to carry it. When it got here, I tried it on, and very quickly realized that no, I did not look like the models in the catalog had always looked when wearing this gown. And that was okay. They never looked like me, either.
So, in a gown I’d coveted for years, with minimal makeup and my hair completely natural, grown out considerably since I’d stopped dyeing it at 46 and had all the previously-dyed parts chopped off at 47, this is how I began my 49th year.
(Unretouched photos by Jerry Seeger. Original artwork by Liz Markus.)