New York's oldest model lands first campaign aged 82… but glamorous senior looks like she's done it her whole life
02:48 GMT, 30 July 2012
Standing 5ft9 tall with a hand on her hip, flower in her hair and head tilted back in a jaunty pose Jacquie 'Tajah' Murdock looks like a woman who’s been modelling all her life.
In reality, the New Yorker has only just landed her first major modelling gig… at the age of 82.
Picked by the French fashion label Lanvin for their fall advertising campaign, the octogenarian’s dreams of being a high-profile model have finally been realised.
Working it: Jacquie 'Tajah' Murdock's dreams of
becoming a model have finally come true. The 82-year-old has 10
grandchildren and is the breakout star of Lanvin's new campaign
Lanvin's 'crazy family': A new ad campaign from French fashion house Lanvin features characters from all walks of life, including 82-year-old Jacquie Murdock, pictured
Lanvin’s artistic creator, Alber Elbaz, cherry-picked an unlikely cast of 'real' people to be photographed in the brand’s latest campaign.
The brand's new 'crazy family', Mr Elbaz's tag for his cast, also includes an unknown waiter, milliner, and a recent U.S. immigrant.
But it is Ms Murdock, a grandmother of 10, who is generating the most hype after the shot of her sporting a tight forest green dress, dangling earrings and holding a fur shawl was released.
The beauty, who was born in the Harlem neighbourhood and is of Jamaican descent, told the New York Post that she still thinks as if she were in her twenties.
She joked: ‘The other day I was pointing at those “old people”. I forgot I’m one of them!’
Forever young: Ms Murdock is permanently glamorous and constantly forgets about her senior citizen status
Ms Murdock also appears on
the blog of street snapper Ari Seth Cohen as well as in his recent book
about stylish seniors, Advanced Style.
But the recognition was a long time coming and hard earned, says the grandmother.
lot of people look at me and think I must have had a glamorous life,’
Ms Murdock told the Post. 'But you’ve got to work for it. Nothing just
falls in your lap.'
She blames her long period of bad luck
on the difficulties faced by African-Americans in a nation being
convulsed by the civil rights debate.
'I wanted to become another Josephine Baker or a high-fashion model on
the runway,' she told the Daily Beast, 'but the opportunity was not there for women of colour.'
Evergreen style: Ms Murdock, long a fixture of the Harlem club scene, is pictured in times gone by
failing to land any high-profile modelling jobs, Ms Murdock became a
dancer and performed at Harlem's famed Apollo Theatre.
Intent on improving herself and
getting educated, she earned three degrees, including a master's from
the prestigious New York University.
Despite her academic credentials, Ms Murdock has always retained a focus on fashion, and her views on couture can be fiercely unbending.
'You will never see me in jeans,' she said. “Unless they’re white
jeans – because it’s too common. I wear mostly dresses, anyway. I like to
be different. I have the eye, and I don’t care if it’s cheap or
The city’s oldest model told Fashionista.com that she had a wonderful time on the Lanvin campaign's set.
Elbaz kept kissing me and saying “I love you, I love you, I love you!”,
she said. 'He came to say goodbye to me and said, “Imagine if I never
met you.” He said, “What's next” I said, “Paris, that's what's next!”'
As well as performing and lecturing at Harlem’s Jazz Museum, Ms Murdock, who insists she will never retire, is writing a memoir.