There is a new generation of model, out with 16 and in with 60! If you’re over the age of 29 and think your chances of becoming a model are behind you, ask Maye Musk, Lyn Slater, Daphnene Selfie and New Zealand’s own Amanda Bansgrove what they have been up to over past few years. Increasingly marketing professionals are recognising campaigns need to feature models that reflect both reality and the products target audience. As an aging population the target may well be affluent baby boomers meaning models of all ages have found themselves busier than ever. Welcome to the ‘greynaissance’.
This year, Silverfox Management Group have extended beyond from its origins in Australia to New Zealand with Managing Director Rebecca Swaney at the helm. With over 20 years of experience in the talent industry, Rebecca is a champion for the #agepositive movement. We spoke with Rebecca on her thoughts on redefining what a model represents in New Zealand.
GRANDPARENTS: Can you tell us a bit about the background of Silverfox Management? Why the extension to New Zealand?
REBECCA: Georgia and Brigitte started Silverfox MGMT Group, the first mature age modelling agency in Australia, after realising there was this incredible talent source that wasn’t being tapped into, even though this source came with such great buying power. Silverfox MGMT Group having had great success in Australia (Melbourne – Sydney – Brisbane), naturally they looked across to New Zealand. What they found was that New Zealand was ahead of the times, big brands were already championing diversity, and many had moved towards an age positive message. But there was no agency tailored just for the mature 30+ model and market, as was the case 3 years ago in Australia. So, to launch Silverfox MGMT New Zealand was an opportunity for Silverfox, but also for the industry to have a dedicated boutique agency exclusively representing these influential consumers. Not to mention, an opportunity for mature age people (30+) who may have thought about modelling but had put the “I am past it” stamp on themselves, to dip their toe in the pool.
GRANDPARENTS: Why are 30+ models and talent so important to you and your company?
REBECCA: For me buying the New Zealand licence was a thoughtful process, as Georgia and Brigitte will tell you I pushed it away a few times, but it just kept nudging me. I realised that I enjoy the connections and energy with people and wanted to be a part of something positive. Silverfox MGMT New Zealand ticked those boxes for me championing the #agepositive message. Plus having done talent work for over 20 years myself and being the face of Harrisons for over 12 years has given me a good understanding of the industry – the urgency and professionalism that is required from the talent. In New Zealand I really want to see the lens of ageism to be pushed in this and other industries, by not putting limitations on people, to not box people in with your own prejudices. As a business we will be encouraging brands to realise that by using age related talent, it increases the chances for their biggest group of consumers, the baby boomers, to buy. They are more style and beauty aware than ever before, they are relatable, aspirational, professional and have real life experiences – what better ambassadors for your product could you get? Plus, and this is the important part, this tribe is growing! We are an ageing population – and it is so true – 80 is the new 60!
GRANDPARENTS: How many models have you signed up at your recent open casting call? How did that go?
REBECCA: 14 models so far and counting. Everyone at the casting were so positive – and wanting to be a part of the #agepositive movement. For the women especially, they are wanting to have fun, often they realise this is “their time” to do something for them. I have met with many people, not just at the casting, I have become very good at spotting people on the street and in the supermarket and what I often find is these wonderful people don’t realise the magic, beauty, energy and radiance that they have. They are so surprised I am wanting to talk with them about modelling. I think so many men and women have a real distorted image of what beauty is, they filter themselves through this beauty sieve as well. Other than being over 30, Silverfox has no size, height or look guidelines. What I am looking for most in our models is that real spark, that connection and energy for life – that is what I find so attractive in people.
GRANDPARENTS: What is the market in New Zealand for 30+ models like? How many bookings or enquiries do you get?
REBECCA: We are constantly getting enquiries and putting our models out there as much as possible. The demand for mature models is being embraced here and in Australia, but it is still a growing market that is underrepresented in advertising. With now having me on the ground in New Zealand, obviously I will be pushing our brand and our message to the industry and knocking on the doors. The support I have had already, and it is real support and encouragement, has me very excited about how far we can move and push our message. Plus growing our portfolio of mature age models and showing the diversity within that group of people, will start to encourage the industry to look differently and with a more creative eye to embrace #agepositive.
GRANDPARENTS: What are your thoughts on ‘senior’ models and talent both locally and worldwide? Do you think they are currently under-exposed or utilised?
REBECCA: Obviously we see mature people on the TV and in magazines, but they tend to be in the role of the ‘senior’ person, or if they are used in a creative way it is often as a quirk, comedic, a fun twist to catch your eye. Which is all well and good, but we are asking that the mature model is to also be seen as real talent in their own right. We are so aware now of the wonderful differences in people, diversity is the word de jour, but there is still the scarcity of embracing older women in advertising. The fashion industry, especially fashion magazines continue to focus on the youthful population, seldom including images of women over forty, regardless the age of who is buying their magazines. There was a recent UK Study showing women over 40 feel in the prime of their life. But not only that, and this is what is so important for the industry to sit up and take notice of, the purchase intent doubles when women over 35 see people in advertising that are their age. We are hitting our stride, we know who we are, and we know what we like, so start taking us seriously. When we watch movies where there is a storyline that redefines age and beauty, we champion it, we love it, we can’t get enough of it. We need to look and feel this way about advertising too. A beautiful person is a beautiful person – a confident person is a confident person – that’s it!
GRANDPARENTS: Can you let us know about models on your books that been booked on campaigns?
REBECCA: Amanda Bransgrove is really a legend in the industry, and we are very proud to have her with Silverfox MGMT New Zealand. Amanda has represented – Repertoire, Simply You, Women’s Weekly, Farmers Trading Company and so many more brands, plus many years at the top of her game on the catwalk. She has had a successful modelling career for over 30 years. Amanda is an icon and has such a wealth of experience in this and other creative industries. She is a true master of reinvention and is a real inspiration because of this.
GRANDPARENTS: Do you have any more information or anything else you’d like to add about Silverfox Management?
REBECCA: More a message for the industry to rethink what beauty is and to appreciate the life and the spark, that our mature age models can bring, plus of course the professionalism as well counts for a lot. To keep a good eye on Silverfox MGMT New Zealand, as our slow burn finding these fantastic older models is going to get very hot. And to the mature age men and women who look at themselves and think “why not me?” to seriously take a step forward and think let’s give it a go!
Starting to realise you may have what it takes? If you’re interested in getting in touch with Silverfox Management by clicking here. Go on! What have you got to lose?