On August 19, 1988, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed every August 21st to be National Senior Citizens Day. He said, “For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute.”
But at what age do we all get magically promoted to the esteemed senior set? According to the Wall Street Journal, “Once you hit 65, of course, you’re officially a senior citizen…” On the other hand, members of AARP can score “senior” discounts as early as 50.
That 15 year swing leaves some major grey area. Maybe that’s why they always picture folks 55-ish (a.k.a. senior citizens) with grey hair, a la this image…
So, on this national day of reverence for older Americans, we’d like to give marketers and holiday image designers another perspective on what senior citizens, more often than not, look like. After all, age IS just a number.
This Is What 60 Looks Like
By Robin Bobbé – I was a late bloomer and didn’t marry until I was 47. In 1999, I married a photographer, and we built a successful commercial photography business together for print advertising, I produced and he shot. Around 2008 my husband got more involved with personal projects and although I was involved in these projects, they were his vision, not mine.
Needing a creative outlet but not having one at that time, I began to question what I was going to do with my life. One of the things I enjoyed when I was producing was casting, so I started a print casting business for advertising. In 2011, I was contacted by a very successful New York Photographer’s Agent, who wanted to talk to me about finding new faces for the 50+ market. He said that the advertising agency people were tired of seeing the same old faces and he was interested in a collaborative effort.
I thought it was a great idea but in the end he decided to retire and I decided to become one of the new faces. I thought, why not me? I am in great shape. I workout, I do yoga, I run. That decision changed my life and a new me emerged. I felt confident and alive. On my third audition I booked my first print job for a pharmaceutical company. At 60, I am what is known as a real people model. My type is attractive, relatable and real.
I am here to tell women, you are never too old to pursue your dreams. In the 70’s I had a career in fashion. I was a stylist for a big catalogue house in New York City called Warsaw. I worked with some of the biggest names in modeling. One of the models I worked with in those days was Kim Bassinger, who was a top model before she became an actress.
Feeling the need for more of a challenge, I left New York moved to San Francisco and took a job in the special events department of I. Magnin & Co. We were responsible for the fashion shows and getting press for the visiting designers. I worked with every top designer in the business and had an instant rapport with all the designers from New York. I understood their vision and they were comfortable working with me. I. Magnin was very conservative and instead of recreating the designer’s vision they wanted to recreate the designers clothes to reflect I. Magnin’s vision. My boss and I had many disagreements over this and guess who lost. I always took a hard stand and for that reason I lost my job.
I took off for Paris and lived like a Parisian for that summer before returning to New York. I currently feel as if I have more in common with that part of me today than all the years in-between. I was a rebel, a non-conformist an adventurer. Where did I go for all those years? I have reconnected with that exciting part of myself.
I now consider myself the modern 60. I would like to get the word out to the advertising world that we are strong, vital and confident. Ten years ago I thought I had to have short hair when I turned 50 but that’s not who I am. Where did I get that from? That is what I was being told subliminally in countless advertisements and read in many magazine articles. I see too many don’ts associated with women of a certain age; there are too many restraints, too many rules. It is very important to maintain one’s sense of freedom and fun, which isn’t easy in an age of conformity.
Be an individual. Have the courage to be who you are no matter what your age. If you know yourself and what suits you, then you can pull anything off. Express yourself.
I am here to tell women, you are never too old to pursue your dreams. I never felt better in my life. I am 60 hear me roar. Go ahead… paint your toenails purple. Nobody has to know but you.
More About Robin:
In addition to her new found and blossoming, post age 60 career that includes acting, commercial print modeling, and blogging for Huff Post 50, Robin was also just accepted to be an Advisor for PivotPlanet, a global site that connects people looking to “pivot” from their existing career to a new career, start a company, or want to enhance their current job skills. Based on her expertise, Robin will be working with anyone looking to get into real people modeling.
If you would like to reach Robin, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Women You Should Know team would like to thank Robin for sharing her story, which we think is incredibly inspiring for women of any age. Let’s all hope we look and feel as fabulous as this “senior citizen” does.
Lead Image Photo Credit: Leland Bobbé