Bo Gilbert is a British model who recently appeared in the UK issue of Vogue. What sets her apart from her colleagues doing the same thing? She is 100 years old.
Posing in the centenary issue, she looks happy, spunky and lovely. “I always liked keeping myself looking quite decent, even if I wasn’t going out. I try to keep the standards up.” Watching the film about her photoshoot, I can’t help blinking back a tear, removing myself for a second from the uplifting, positive message and serious thoughts the video provokes.
In my mind’s eye I see my Granny, dilligently applying her pearly red lipstick with a slightly trembling hand, even during the years when her eyesight had almost completely disappeared. I remember how happy she was about the fabulously cut flower-patterned summer dress my mother had given her as a present from a family trip we had taken, when she could still see. I remember posing with her and my siblings at my grandparents’ home shortly after, on a summer afternoon, all of us with happy lipstick smiles and wearing flower-print dresses to match.
So besides saying kudos to (a hopefully ongoing) diversity in the ages represented among fashion models, kudos as well to not making it an issue and simply showing women, people living their lives and having interesting experiences. We have friends our own age, we have siblings, cousins, maybe nephews and nieces. We have aquaintances, colleagues. We also have mothers, aunts, grandmothers and women in our lives who have been at this longer than we have, and who have a history and a whole land of memory to share. I would love to see more of those women in the media throwing on a bright coat or a funky scarf of their choosing and smiling at what they see in the mirror, or on a screen.