Aging boomers fuel demand for older fashion models
Leanne Delap, Toronto Star
Andrea Bolley is a dancing machine. And it was that exuberance that led to her unexpected discovery story and the beginning of a glamorous and thrilling second career, at 62.
“It was at the after-party for the Bustle show last Fashion Week at Colborne Lane” in downtown Toronto, Bolley says over a latte at Starbucks near her studio at Claremont St. and Queen St. W. “I had met up with André, who was in the show. She was standing alone at the back of the room, and I went over and got her up dancing. This guy comes up to me and says, ‘I love the way you move, you have fabulous energy, you should model,’ and he hands me his card! I broke out into laughter.”
Modelling agents prowl the Canadian National Exhibition, the Calgary Stampede, even the preteen throngs at Great Wolf Lodge every summer in the hope of finding the next big thing. But in this brave new Zoomer world, all of Toronto is now a Schwab’s drugstore; and if Lana Turner were starting out today she might just have gotten her big break at 60 instead of 16.
The aging baby-boomer generation is behind the surge toward the upper-age spectrum in the modelling world, says Alan Thomas Smith of Toronto-based PUSH modelling agency.
“On the one hand, you have a new lifestyle market,” says Smith: “a big boom in pharmacy and banking and health care, the sectors that deliver directly to a mature market,” he says. And “designers are starting to pay attention to the very relevant market (of customers) in their fifties and sixties.
“We seek health and vitality. And models who exude that are making the money these days.”