A Supermodel at 94, How Daphne Selfe Makes Waves in the Fashion Industry and Tears Age and Beauty Standards Apart
When it comes to the very term, “the modeling business,” we can imagine young nymphs gracing the catwalk and popular magazine covers. And it’s no wonder, as the typical age limit for models, in most modeling agencies, is 16-21 years old, and the more youthful image the model can create, the better it is for the agency. Supermodel Daphne Selfe, 94, who is the longest-lasting supermodel in the world, can argue with all age standards imposed by the beauty industry, proving that age means only more elegance and charm.
Daphne Selfe’s career started a long time ago and was inspired by British royalty.
The world’s oldest professional model, Daphne Selfe, who turned 94 this year, says she “doesn’t do retiring.” British by origin, this lady has clocked up over 70 years of modeling experience. She has worked for many famous brands, among the likes of Dolce & Gabbana, posed for various artists, appeared on TV, and even wrote a memoir. One of the most darling events in her life was being included in the Queen’s New Year Honors list, and she even possesses a British Empire Medal.
Her style icon is the Queen, and in one of her interviews, she said, “I suppose in a way we always looked up to royalty, the young Queen, of course, was gorgeous. They all lived such glamorous lives, or so we thought. Whereas now, people don’t want to dress up anymore, which I think is such a pity because I love dressing up!”
The model has been into fashion and beauty for as long as she can remember.
The fashion world discovered Selfe in 1949 when she was just 21. She recalls this moment: “I was working at a store in Reading, west of London, and they had a competition, a fashion show. All the girls were going for it, and the prize was to be on the cover of the Reading & Berkshire Review. I won.”
The modeling world itself was so different back then. Today, many models represent personal brands worth millions and have agents who negotiate what kind of work they will or won’t do.
However, Selfe started her career in a totally different world, and as she depicted in her interview, “Modeling then was nothing like it is now. Color photography was just coming in. We didn’t have a London Fashion Week; that’s only been in the last 25 years. Our main catwalks were in the big stores in London, Northampton, and Bournemouth. Only 1 or 2 girls ever went to Paris. People wouldn’t ever have heard of anybody who was a model.”
At 94, the model is still full of vigor and has a fire-like temperament.
Being an active person throughout her life, the woman is still full of energy. She no longer drives, but happily travels to different places on the train from her home in Baldock, Hertfordshire. She has 3 children, who are all in their fifties and sixties, and also is blessed with 4 grandchildren who are in their twenties. She is widowed but goes on dates occasionally and meets new people in the theater or other places.
She has good health, though the vasculitis in her feet doesn’t allow her to wear heels anymore. And she’s undeniably, obviously beautiful, which is the reason why, at the age of 70, she became the grandmother of all fashion comebacks and showed herself to the world as a stereotype-breaking supermodel for the new millennium.
Selfe has become a symbol of a new epoch in modeling.
Daphne keeps rocking the fashion world, and her appearance is a symbol of the power of older women in fashion, the start of a special epoch, which the media now calls the “greynaissance.” She has some powerful advice for all models starting out, but it turns out to be universal for all women on Earth.
She says, “Taking care of your health is the most important thing because modeling is hard work if you do it properly. It’s long hours, lots of hanging about, lots of physical activity, and also you need a good work ethic. In other words, that means be on time, don’t mess about once you’re there, and stay off your phone.”
She adds some details about her current lifestyle, explaining, “I do a series of exercises most days, something along the lines of yoga, ballet, a little bit of weights, but also static bicycle. Of course, I can’t do everything every day, but I do always do some stretching.”
What about Daphne Selfe impressed and inspired you the most? Do you have a role model whose energy and vigor for life makes you follow them?