Age is just a number — and supermodel Jacky O’Shaughnessy is living proof.
At age 60, she was scouted on the off-chance by American Apparel while in New York and without any professional experience, she made her modeling debut for their 2012 Fall/Winter campaign. Since then, the award-winning actress has appeared in major campaigns for Diesel and TOME, as well as walking in multiple New York Fashion Week shows — no mean feat when you consider the overarching trend towards fresh-faced models with large Instagram followings.
And now, she’s taking her body positive message up a notch, fronting Cotton On Body’s Everyday Heroes campaign, celebrating all women — no matter what shape, size, age or race.
We sat down with the 66-year-old to get the low down on how exactly she defied the conventional standard of beauty.
When did you first get scouted for creative shoots?
Two weeks after I moved to New York, I was staying with friends in the Village and looking for a place. A woman came out of a restaurant and she was waiting for a cab. She kept turning around and looking at me while I was having a cigarette. She came over and said “you look so regal sitting there, you look so beautiful” and she walked away. A few weeks later I saw this woman in a local restaurant; we started chatting and ended up talking for about two hours. It turned out that she was the Creative Director of American Apparel.
What was the reaction after that first shoot?
People were shocked and people loved it all at the same time. They went wild because I was a 60 year old in lace underwear and yes, my nipples were showing. There was a lot of reaction and it was so positive because older women want to see themselves and younger women want to feel that they’re not looking at a limit ahead of them.
What does positive body image mean to you?
That you like what you see. We have so many different aspects to our bodies, to say that women need a thigh gap, to have a bigger butt…and then once that’s all done, you can put on a bathing suit – no, I don’t agree. The best positive body image is to never compare yourself to anyone ever; it drains you, limits you and robs you.
How has the acting industry changed from when you started to now?
The one that strikes me the most is that back in the late 80s and early 90s, big movie stars didn’t touch guest roles or commercials… that’s where your everyday actress would make money. But now, you have big stars doing commercials too, which to me, is a sad thing. Back in my day, if you didn’t get an agent, you didn’t get anything. You had to have an agent and that was the hardest thing. But now you can create your own website, create videos, you can do more to get somewhere than you used to be able to.
How do you practice self-love?
I talk to myself a lot. I do some meditation work and I listen to certain healers on YouTube that I believe in.
We think your incredible style makes you pretty unique. Would you agree?
I got this from my mother who said “don’t follow anyone else’s stuff,” she always said, “have a career because you may not ever get married.” She was a feminist without even knowing what it was. I don’t get up in the morning and check my age, I don’t say “I’m 66 and this is what I should be doing because I’m 66” – I’ve never done that and I never will.
When did you decide to stop coloring and cutting your hair?
It was in my early 50s and I still had bright red hair, I then asked my stylist how can I go back to natural? Literally a little voice in my head told me to stop cutting my hair and I did.
Best lesson your mother taught you?
She always told me “there’s always room at the top.”
What women in your life now empower and support you?
My friends, always.
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