The rise and rise of boomer models: As 50-year-olds spend $47 billion on fashion, agencies cash in on a lucrative market
19:01 GMT, 17 April 2012
While controversy surrounding the world of underage modelling continues to make magazine headlines, another trend in modelling is also enjoying renewed interest.
Research showing that the baby boom generation are spending more than ever on fashion every year, has modelling and talent agencies jumping on the band wagon and recruiting older models onto their books.
Because boomers make up such a large consumer market, some say, the faces and figures that advertise the brands they wear need to portray an image to which they can relate themselves.
Still beautiful: 55-year-old Juliette Branker has enjoyed recent success as a model as agencies cash in on the billion dollar boomer market
Market research firm, NPD Group released statistics that show that women born in the Fifties and Sixties are spending almost $47billion a year on fashion, a fact that agencies like Wilhelmina and Ford are happy to exploit.
Gina Barone from New York-based modelling agency Wilhelmina Models told ABC News: 'This market is not disappearing. It's not hiding, it's not going anywhere.
'And if anything, it's going to increase.'
In recognition that the elder generation is still a consumer force to be reckoned with, Wilhelmina has just began its two month search for the winner of a modelling contest that it has opened only to women over 30.
Juliette Branker, 55, from Garden City, NY, who was signed by Ford agency four years ago, recalls trying to model as a 25 year old. She told ABC: 'They said I didn't have the look that they wanted, so I gave up thoughts of it.
A customer service agent for a home improvement store by day, she believes that what women her age want to see in ad campaigns for brands they buy, are women who are actually the same age.
Boom! Cindy Joseph, the 61-year-old model is a well-recognised spokesman for the generation of models that appeal to female consumers her age
'I can relate to someone my age selling a product,' she said. 'It’s just more genuine. That person is using it, so it's right for me.'
And she isn't the only woman who feels this way.
61-year-old Cindy Joseph whose modelling career took off when she stopped dying her greying hair, aged 50, confirmed that boomers who see older women in ads are encouraged by the idea that ageing isn't so bad after all.
'I've had 40-year-old women come up to me and say, “You know, you really made turning 40 easier for me,”' she said.
And besides, she added, it is isn't in the boomers' nature to just sit back and wither away the 'golden years' in a rocking chair.
'Boomers have been reinventing their lives since their 20s. We have never accepted the status quo,' she said.
Wilhelmina is working in conjunction with sponsors Miraclesuit and Macy's and will gift the winner with a contract, thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from the two brands, and a photo shoot with O Magazine.