They say that 40 is the new 20 and that age is just a number.
There is perhaps no singular industry that is more fixated on age, than modeling. In an industry that has upwards of over 300,000 aspiring participants, perhaps 10 percent fit that mold of being that new face, the season’s freshest look or the “it” girl of that moment.
Yes, it is unfair to bring up the obvious, but most agencies are cutthroat, to the point and openly blunt about what they are looking for.
During the 80’s “supermodel” heyday of Cindy Crawford, Elle MacPherson, Linda Evangelista and even during the Kate Moss waif-thin era of the early 90’s, most wouldn’t even look at a prospective model if they were not at least 5’8, near paper-rail thin.
With some starting out as young as 14, models have a relatively short shelf life, unless they are in the perfect spot, of their early to mid 30’s.
Thanks to times a changing, and a more ethnically and culturally diverse society that favors all body shapes and sizes from slender, petite, plus-sized and athletic, expectations of height, weight and most importantly, age are no longer an issue.
One such example of a model beating the ageist status quo of the past is Kileen Ivy.
Ivy, a forty-something stunner from Albuquerque, New Mexico, is reason enough to want to continue one’s modeling dreams well into their forties, as she has a stunning well-toned nearly 5’10 figure that easily rivals those of the Insta-modeling twenty-year olds of today.
Thanks to repping brands such as Queen of Crystal and Saccharine Romance Lingerie, Ivy is a living inspiration of the saying, wine getting better with age.
As I said, before, age is just a number, and Ivy has simply blown that out of the water. Below is my Q and A with the bike-riding Lobo as we talk ageism, forty being the new twenty, riding her Harley-Davidson and video game levels
Name: Kileen Ivy
Birthplace: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Social Media Links: Instagram: @kileenivy | Facebook: Kileen Ivy
In an industry that discriminates against age, how do you feel that you’ve overcome ageism? I don’t think that ageism can be overcome in this industry; it will always remain because youth is considered the “ideal.” I’ve certainly missed out on opportunities due to my age. I just haven’t let that stop me from seeking out new work and accepting the opportunities I’m given.
Being over 40, what do you feel that you’ve done and accomplished that has helped stand out over others? I think my fitness training, overall health and experience has set me apart from other models. I have better eating and exercise habits than many younger models and I think my attention to detail and appreciation for the opportunity come through in my work.
Do you feel that 40 is the new 20, both figuratively and literally in the modeling world? Haha, I wish! No, I don’t think so. However, there has definitely been a drastic swing in the perception of a woman’s age from when I started modeling in my teens. In the 80’s I was told at 19 by a few agencies that I was too old. I think that society in general has starting to be more accepting of age.
Is age overrated and a number? if so, why? It’s underrated actually. Age is really a level. Like a video game…do you want to be at Level 22 or Level 46? Obviously the higher level because it means you have more experience and accomplishments – you’re better than you were at the lower levels.
What older model, or model from the past inspired you to continue modeling into your forties? Honestly, I didn’t have an inspiration but rather returned to modeling by lucky chance! I was 44 when the phenomenal photographer who shot my college graduation photos introduced me back into modeling. I was shocked at the invitation but sure as hell wasn’t going to pass up the experience. I never dreamed it would continue and grow like it has – I’m extremely grateful and loving it!
What brands have you modeled for? Queen of Crystal, Saccharine Romance Lingerie, Templar Guitarworks, and businesses locally as well.
Which one do you enjoy modeling for the most? That’s difficult to say… I’ve enjoyed all of them. Templar Guitarworks was a fun change because the props – custom guitars – were the product instead of clothing.
Where has been your favorite place to shoot? I lived and modeled in Maui as a teen and had the awesome experience of shooting at Wailea Beach. At the time, it wasn’t well known by tourists –the kama ‘aina (locals) went there. We had the beach and ocean to ourselves all morning. Now there are resorts all up and down that same beachline.
What is the most exciting aspect of modeling? For me, it’s when I see our concepts come to life in the final images, and we killed it!
With summer now here, what fashion and style tips and trends do you have for looking good when the temperature rises? I love the romper – it’s super cute, cool/comfortable and can be dressed up or down (for women…NOT into the man-romper).
Athleisure? Fashion or fitness fad? I’m hoping a fad. If you smell good enough after a work-out to run errands in your gym clothes; you’re doing it wrong.
What swimwear trends do you see being big this summer? Strappy everything, tassels, cut-outs, halter bikinis and I hate to say it but rash guards….just why?
What is your go-to swimwear style that you MUST have. Bitsy bikinis with ruched back bottoms – LOVE! So flattering on the booty!
Within the industry, who is your modeling inspiration? The 80s Supermodels – they brought back curves and introduced healthy figures: Cindy Crawford, Carol Alt, Jill Goodacre, Ell MacPherson, etc.
What is your workout and fitness secret to staying in shape? It’s not a secret… just the honest cliché everyone hates to hear: diet and exercise. I work out 1.5-2 hours 5 days a week; mostly weight training. I eat six or seven times a day which includes snacks like Greek yogurt. My diet is very clean – I try to keep it organic, gluten and sugar free.
As someone who has is very curvy, what do you think best exudes sexiness and confidence? I think regardless of a woman’s body type it’s her presence and how she carries herself that exudes confidence. Confidence itself is sexy.
What is your opinion of the whole “shaming” issue that seems to permeate across social media and how have you handled it, if any haters tried to call you out? Personally, I haven’t experienced this; I’ve either been lucky or oblivious. Judgmental big-mouths have always been around. It’s just that this generation of them has technology, like social media, giving them inflated virtual confidence and a larger audience. I love the old saying: “To avoid all criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” In the end, we have to be ourselves and answer to our own expectations.
What would you say is your best feature? Hmmm, either my lips or abs
Any beaches you plan on hitting up this summer? No beach plans yet…need to get some!!!
Any future projects coming down the pipeline? ALWAYS projects in the pipeline – love that about modeling! A lot of swimwear, water and outdoor shoots booked with the weather warming up.
Outside of modeling, what are your hobbies? Other than the gym and I enjoy taking my Harley on long road trips! I rode a Fatboy for over ten years, but now I’ve had my Springer Softtail for four years and love it. Attending the Sturgis motorcycle rally is a given for me every summer.
Sports question: Who are your favorite teams and clubs? Since I graduated from UNM I’m obviously a Lobo!! New Mexico doesn’t have an NFL team so I’ve adopted the Broncos by proximity.
What are your favorite cities to travel to? I love San Francisco, Nashville and anywhere on Maui. Bucket List cities are Rome, Athens, and Sydney.
What advice would you give to women aspiring to get into modeling? Work hard on your body, posing and exposure. Remember you won’t have the right look for every job – so don’t take it personally. Capitalize on and market your uniqueness.
Special thanks to Kileen for her time and assistance during the Q and A interview process. All Images are used with permission and are the rightful property of their owners.