I thought I’d share one of my favourite pieces from when I was editor of Aspire magazine – a cover feature celebrating ageing by profiling three locals who refuse to conform to the idea of getting more conservative with age.
It has always bugged me the way we’re told we’re ‘supposed to’ age – quietly, invisibly, graciously, unsexually. It’s in the women’s mags telling us ‘what not to wear over 40’ and every skincare commercial promoting ‘younger looking skin’ and ‘mature’ clothes stores lined with kaftans.
Yet my experience of ageing is that it is liberating; that each decade is an unfolding of richer, deeper experiences and sense of self. Wisdom is gained. Life is lived more fully. The shape of our thighs ceases to be a reason not to participate.
The older we grow, the less the need to conform. That is true for the women I am surrounded by, and for me, as well.
So I was thrilled to commission this feature – written by Rebecca Dettman and photographed by Jacqui Way (themselves two amazing women) and inspired by the Advanced Style blog.
We profiled retired art teacher Elizabeth ‘Lizzy’ Smith, costume designer Jeff Trahair and vintage-inspired clothes designer Joy Taylor. The theme for the issue was ‘Home’ so we shot them in their homes, looking at how their homes echoed their personal style.
When the photos came in, it was clear that Lizzy had to be our cover star. I mean, just look at her. Beauty, grace, power and intelligence shine from her. When the mag came out, it got a great response from readers and really struck a chord with younger women. That was in 2015 and people still mention it.
Take that shallow marketers who can’t think beyond youth culture! There’s a hunger out there for real women, real beauty and images that reflect and celebrate the reality of our lives. Let’s face it, if you’re not ageing, you’re dead.