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H&M Taps 60-Year-Old Model Gillean McLeod for Magazine Swimsuit Shoot

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Modeling is typically considered to be a young person’s game, which makes sense considering the average age of the ladies you see parading down the runway every fashion week tends to hover around a median age of 16, maxing out at about 19. But lately, the tide has slowly been turning towards the inclusion of a much wider range of models in an attempt to reflect the diversity of the product’s actual consumers. And model Gillean McLeod and H&M are here to help further the anti-ageist agenda.

Gillean McLeod may have started out her career as a stylist, but at the age of 53 she suddenly found herself posing in front of the camera instead. She said in an interview with H&M’s magazine, that it all started when the model for a shoot she was working on stepped off set and the photographer suggested she jump in front of the lens. “”odeling was nerve-racking at first,” McLeod confesses, “I had terrible acne growing up, and I was always really shy. But I gained more and more confidence, and the last year I’ve had a couple of really great campaigns.”

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And the affects of her late-in-life career switch have been profound. She says, “I can’t tell you how much modeling changed my life — I am just so much more confident in myself. I’ve always been in pretty good shape, but I make more of an effort now. I sort of take pride in not doing Botox or any of that face stuff. That look just seems so forced and strange to me. I am happy with the way I am. And I am here, you know? Doing a swimwear shoot today!”

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Now at the age of 60, McLeod is on top of her game, starring in national print campaigns for Charles Schwab, Tempur-Pedic, and Bank of America. Hopefully, with the increased use of older women like Gillean, or Nicola Griffin for swimsuitsforall, the industry will slowly start to realize that beauty comes in a wide variety of packages and it’s high time to make the shift  towards the inclusion of women of all sizes, ages and backgrounds.

What do you think of Gillean’s modeling shots? Would you like to see a greater diversity amongst models?

–Emily Kirkpatrick