In an interview with Luisa Dunn, long-time model atBrave+True, she gave us an introduction to her unique and personal experience in the modelling industry, and her take on what it’s like to challenge the widely held views on ageism and traditional ‘beauty standards’, particularly within the fashion-modelling landscape.
Clip: Luisa models in the Jungle Coat, at the Brave+True AW22 Collection Shoot
Through years of experience both in front of and behind the camera, Luisa shared with us what she’s learned over the years and gave an interesting and valuable insight in what its like in the industry today fighting for the age-positive movement.
When did you first start modelling, and what were your aspirations entering the industry?
I started modelling when I was 31 and worked for about ten years in print and TV campaigns. I retired at 41 when I started my own newborn photography business and with two young children time didn’t allow for both. Fast forward to 2020 and I had taken a step back from my business along with growing out my grey hair. A few months after starting my Instagram account @thesilverlining_1970 documenting my grow out I was approached by SilverFox an agency specialising in mature models. I was really inspired by their age positive mission and felt drawn to be part of the pro-age movement. I believe age diversity, visibility and inclusion are paramount to helping disrupt the negative ageing narrative we have in our society and to help shine a light on the importance of fighting against ageism.
What makes you feel confident? And what keeps you youthful? I truly believe confidence is an inside job. I think it also comes with maturity and realising that other people’s opinions should never impact how you feel about yourself or the choices you make. I have been told countless times over the past two years that grey hair would make me look older. I don’t personally believe that, but what’s wrong with looking older anyway? I’m 51 and love that I’ve enjoyed this many trips around the sun. I’ve earned these maps on my body. I don’t want to waste time or energy wanting to look like any another age.
What changes have you noticed within yourself since you first started modelling? I am a lot more confident now than I was at 31. I think life experience helps and knowing that you won’t be right for every client or every job. Processing those feelings of rejection and failure was harder when I was younger but I don’t give it too much of my energy now. I also try to focus on the underlying age positive message of the work I do and what representation means to many women my age. Women want to see themselves being included and celebrated at all stages of life.
What are you enjoying most about your modelling career right now? I’m love that I have the opportunity to travel around Australia and work with a broad range of clients. As an ex pro photographer I also love being a part of a collaborative creative process and seeing things come to life. I also feel very passionate about the importance of age diversity and inclusion. So being a part of that message means a lot.
We love your approach to natural beauty and dye-free hair. How does it feel to challenge the beauty standards in an age of social media and what is your advice for younger generations? I gave up dye because colouring was simply no longer a source of joy in my life. It was a fortnightly process I felt chained to and I wanted to see if there was an alternative to fixing something that wasn’t really broken. It has been one of the best decisions I’ve made and I honestly wish I’d embraced it earlier. I feel empowered and liberated not having to worry about roots showing or trying to cover up something that is part of me.
What was your favourite piece from your shoot with our latest collection? How did it make you feel? In all honesty it would be impossible for me to pick a favourite. So many of the designs really appealed to me because they are all such classic, timeless styles. These are the kinds of pieces that can be worn for many years.
You can find the latest from the Autumn Winter Collection here
In your opinion, what was the greatest decade for fashion? I’m really loving now. Why? Because I feel that individual style is celebrated more now and clothing is seen as just another layer of our personalities. We can dress for our moods or to simply have fun. There is less focus on rules and more emphasis on being yourself and having fun with fashion.