Roberto Aguilar, SLINK
Nicola Griffin has some pretty simple advice for people who anguish over their body’s size, shape or imperfections: “This is how you look, so embrace it.”
The silver-maned 56-year-old British model is certainly embracing her unexpected moment in the spotlight after she was invited to pose for this classic lingerie photo editorial for Slink Magazine.
It’s the second time this year Nicola has confounded conventions with an eye-popping photo shoot. In February, she became the oldest model to ever appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition as part of a bikini ad for Swimsuits4All.
And she’s not shy about using her sudden fame to send a timeless message to women, young and old, who look up to her.
“Young girls open magazines and it influences them so much about body image,” she tells Slink. “I think it’s very good for them to see different-sized women because otherwise they can feel bad about themselves if they don’t look like the models.
The stately old-world hotel setting of photographer Roberto Aguilar‘s shoot is a perfect complement for his model’s well-preserved-but-relatable beauty.
And Nicola appears serious and contemplative throughout the photo series — an attitude that not only defies the flirty, seductive stereotype of most lingerie editorials but also reflects Nicola’s purposeful embrace of her status as a body-positive role model.
“When you get to 56 you don’t know how long you have got left in the world and this is how you look, so embrace it,” she says. “Life is short so I just think, like it or lump it.
“I’ve been young, I’ve been worried, I’ve been under pressure. I’ve felt all those things and I don’t want to feel them anymore, so I don’t.”
Nicola’s editorial is a part of the new ‘Passion’ issue from Slink, Britain’s fashion and culture magazine for plus-sized women. (Nicola, who only began modelling three years ago, is a size 16, making her “plus-size” only in the fashion — not the real — world.)
Not all UK media handle the topic of older or plus-sized models with the same sensitivity as Slink, however.
The photoshoot is making waves in the UK press, but some editors clearly had trouble showcasing Nicola without referring to sex or making women readers feel crappy about themselves in comparison.
“Stunning new photoshoot shows older women are hotter than ever,” blared The Express, sounding surprised by that news.
But the crass headline of the year award goes to the ever-redoubtable Daily Mail, which proclaimed Nicola “The 56-year-old with a better body than you.”