Knowledge, security, liberation: with age comes an abundance of qualities. Beauty, however, has not historically been considered one of them. Not least by the fashion industry anyway. Scratch that, and meet Caroline Labouchere: the 53-year-old British model dispelling age and beauty stereotypes one photoshoot (and marathon mile) at a time. Kick-starting her career just a few years ago, it wasn’t until she made the conscience decision to stop colouring her naturally greying hair that interest in her as a high-fashion model began to grow. Since then, she’s become the first grey model to be signed in the Middle East, quickly followed by international attention, posing as ‘Rosemary’ in a campaign for Rosemary Water. It seems fitting that this model-athlete would get her big break posing as a woman with age-defying ‘super powers’, gracing the pages of British Vogue in the meantime.
Caroline wears: Top by Christoper Kane. Hat; stylist’s own.
With brands and publications today like The MOD, Allure and Gentlewomen (to name just a few) championing diversity, the industry is definitely of redefining what beauty means now. “Why put an age limit on something?” Caroline shares when we discuss more mature models being not being represented on the catwalks. “Looking at the designer collections, I know that I would look amazing in some of those designs.” As The MOD magazine’s June issue cover star, Caroline does just that, encompassing and embracing her natural beauty effortlessly. Her cascading silver hair, glistening bright eyes and impeccably-fit physique defy her years, but her sense of strength, professionalism and heart-warming anecdotes are unmistakably those of a woman with experience and maturity. Despite the 40 degree desert heat, Caroline embraces her surroundings to model The Modist’s collection of summer tailoring and statement dresses, taking it in her stride, she says, “I’ve learnt not to take myself too seriously, to go with the flow, and to believe in myself. I think it’s good as you get older to do something that scares you. You only live once!”
Caroline believes that the likes of Maye Musk and Yazemeenah Rossi are leading the way when it comes to grey hair, proving that actually, age does come before beauty. “I really believe older people have so much to offer. So much wisdom and experience, in every single field.” She continues, “age is just a number. It’s a total non-factor – that is the best phrase for it.” But it’s not just her physical beauty that makes a case for embracing the aging process in an era that is largely fighting it, it’s her sense of freedom.
“My granny would never go out the house without her face on, I would say to her ‘come on granny, are we going?’ and she’d say ‘I just have to put my face on darling!’ So, I always said to myself I would never be that person who can’t just get up, get out of bed and get out. I didn’t want that pressure. I didn’t want to not be able to go out without all the pretend, because I do believe you can be beautiful without it.”
And it’s true. It’s the wonderfully-nonchalant attitude that women such as Caroline possess that really shines, maybe even more so than their silver locks. It’s especially clear to see that in Caroline, her beauty runs deep when she lovingly talks about motherhood, her husband and her achievements in the past few years. “If you’re happy inside, that just gives you a glisten in your eye, a sparkle. I do think the camera can catch that.”
Aside from her free-spirit, there’s a confidence and sense of empowerment that Caroline carries around with her, one which she says hasn’t always been there, but developed with time and her choice to embrace her natural grey. “I believe I’ve become better looking as I’ve got older. I feel complete now. To be grey… For some reason it just does empower you. It’s my crowning glory!” She says with a gentle smile and calm shrug, “It’s never too late to reinvent yourself. Your life is up and down in terms of time. So, don’t stress if you feel you can’t do everything now, you can do it all later. There is always time to do things.”