Often, I write the blog first, then find an image for the cover. Today is a little different. We shot the photo first – then it provoked a thought. The picture to me symbolised strength, vulnerability and several untold stories; and I felt somewhat responsible to share some of them.
So who shot this photograph and what does it convey?
This picture was shot by London based photographer Linda Blacker. Linda, who has shot for the likes of 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros and more, often hosts photo shoots celebrating women. Here, she wanted to capture and celebrate the beauty of women over 40. All the women in this shot are between the ages of 40 and 79 and she named it ‘Timeless Beauty’. The campaign was launched on Valentine’s Day this year.
Why am I in the shot?
We spoke when Linda was searching for the final girl and here’s what she said. ‘As a woman, I find there is this constant underlying message that we should fear ageing. We live in a society where beauty and youth are so tightly linked, where anti-wrinkling creams are pushed down our throats from our mid-20s; we’re sold the idea in fear that a woman’s beauty will fade as she ages. Whereas men, we are told, grow more handsome with age, like fine wine. I seldom see more mature women in campaigns, even those that strive for inclusion. It’s as if they simply don’t exist.’ Linda wanted this to change.
A self-funded campaign with a message that resonated. I was in and am the one sat on
The 40’s story comes to me at a slightly different angle. I own my decisions and challenge societal norms all the time yet I am not deaf to it. Often people suggest I get remarried because 40 means it’s high time. Looks will fade, I’m told. Though I don’t react much, I sense it deeply and sometimes I hurt.
And there are so many more such untold stories, so this time round, I gathered some for you.
First Joanna. Joanna is the grey haired model in the front.
‘… I think my 50’s have been my best decade. I have felt a self-confidence that I had never felt before and have learnt to love myself – warts and all! Yes I have wrinkles and stretch marks that tell that I have lived, loved, been blessed with children and cried many times but these mark my journey through life. Our imperfections are part of us just like our strengths they make us who we are. I believe every woman can be beautiful if she just starts believing in herself.’
I then reached out to women who may not be in the shot, yet connect deeply.
‘I can understand the connection that intertwines youth with beauty. When I see my little daughters giggling and chatting, they are simply beautiful. They reflect beauty, not with the symmetry of their facial features or their skin, but in their zest for tomorrow and their immersion in the moment. Sometimes, in keeping up with age, we leave behind the essence of beauty. No matter what our age may be, when we choose ‘living’ vs. ‘existing’, we become beautiful. Beauty is timeless, for those who choose it, and practice it.’
– Mala Wadhwani
‘People are so focused on perfect skin, perfect figure, perfect everything on the outside that they forget their inner beauty. My 40s is my best time. I’m doing things that I never thought I would do. I have massive scars on my body – and that to me is beautiful. They make me smile as they remind me of the beautiful journeys that I have been part of. That to me is my ‘perfect life’ that I LIVE TODAY and not wished that I would have lived.’
– Neetha Paul
‘I’ve always wondered what is Timeless Beauty and why such a title. I am 58 next week and I have always been one of those people that hated being put into any kind of age bracket, simply because I just want to be me… have my own sense of style and not be told things like, ‘don’t you think you’re a bit too old to dress like that, have your hair like that’. Sometimes people find out your age and even though you don’t look it, they reject you anyway. If you’ve had any kind of cosmetic surgery, you may be accepted. Why put that pressure on yourself? It’s not cheap and you’ll have to do it forever. Is it all for social media…or for the fear of losing your partner? If Timeless Beauty is going to one day represent the ones that want to stay true to themselves and be natural without all the bombardment of procedures then count me in.’
‘Beauty for me is about us loving our bodies and being comfortable with them… at every age we need to learn to like ourselves and live with what we were given, being healthy is the most important.’
– Ana Bartolo
‘.. due to hormonal imbalances, I have gained much weight, but I follow a healthy diet and an active lifestyle… I have learnt not to let physical attributes of my body impact my mental wellbeing.’
Manu Gautam Bhardwaj
‘…Beauty to me is a person speaking with kindness and gentleness. When qualifying beauty, physical attributes and shine have always been secondary…’
– Rachna Sharma Sirtaj
And here’s a final thought from me. This isn’t a piece for women. It is one for greater compassion and acceptance in totality – acceptance of yourself and of others.
There is nothing more timeless and beautiful than a genuine smile, a generous heart and the warmth of unconditional acceptance. We all have it in us to be timelessly beautiful – let’s do this together.
Thank you for reading. Please take a moment to support the campaign by sharing it.
In the picture from left to right, and their Instagram handles.
Annie Williams – @amalannie
Joanna Chamberlain – @the_grey_haired_model
Astrid Clark – @tardisclark
Vinita Ramtri @Vinitaramtri @londonmodelqueen
Joyce Grey-Carter @jaggyj1
The talented makeup artists;
Feel free to head over to their profiles to see their individual portraits from this campaign and show them some love!
Vinita is a keynote speaker and a mindset coach. She is also a full time senior employee in financial services and continues to balance a day job while pursuing her passion such as speaking and coaching.
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