How to Make It as a 40+ Model

I started modeling after turning 40. It didn’t happen as one would envision in their dreams: sending a holiday picture to an agency and walking the Paris catwalks a month later. Realistically, it took awhile.

I had been taking aerobic classes for some time, trying to get in better shape after having my two lovely children, when I heard someone talking about a woman who, proud of her workout results, did a photo-shoot for herself.

Model: Maria

It interested me, and I wanted to try that for myself, so after a few months (and many, many workouts) I booked myself a photo session with a photographer. Well, the result was amazing, and I was so proud that I sent the pictures all around—even to casting calls and model agencies. I thought, why not? Some responded positively, but most of them did not; my pictures were glitter and glamour and that was not exactly how agencies want to see you.

I decided to learn about the industry and learned a lot on the Internet. I created profiles on forums, and contacted people in the photography/modeling world. In the next few years I did a lot of TFP and free work for photographers, while always focusing on creating a good portfolio. I worked hard, drove many miles, and had both good and bad experiences.

But, the doors finally began to open and agencies began hiring me for paid jobs.

So, to all the women over 40, do you want to model? If so, create a Model Mayhem profile and start registering with some modeling forums. Work with photographers and have a great time. Use the pictures for your Facebook and family albums, or try to get some workshops, casting-photo shoots or real jobs from agencies. Enjoy it and, with a little luck, maybe you’ll get more than that out of it.

Model: Maria; Photographer: Stanislav Istratov; Retoucher: Big Bad Red

It is not a shame to be over 40, and it is certainly not a shame to have your photographs out there. Be realistic about your ambition though— just do it when you want too.

As for being realistic, no agency or client wants a 40 year old for a high fashion or lingerie shoot, unless you are really famous or a brand-face model. (Or if it is a specifically “40+” advertisement shoot). Try to learn about the various types of work available. For example, commercial is something completely different from fashion. Doing free work or work for artists is also a completely different world as lifestyle or photo shoots for business brochures.

Go to castings for commercials, join acting-classes and, importantly, don’t take it personally when you’re rejected for a job. Be yourself when it comes to age. A 40+ model is being booked because she’s 40+, so don’t try to look like your daughter. They wanted a lady or mother for the job and that is why they casted you.

Work hard, stay in shape, drink water and, most of all, have fun!



Maria started modeling at 43 and now works all over Europe. She also trained as a makeup artist. Maria is the mother of two children and lives in the Netherlands countryside, close to the German border, where she owns a small horse breeding-farm.

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