Meet Daphne Selfe, the World’s Oldest (and Most Awesome) Supermodel
Bettys, meet Daphne Selfe. She’s a model. She’s also 83 years old. And we’re TOTALLY in love with her now!
Bettys, we’d like to take a moment to introduce you to someone awesome. Her name is Daphne Selfe, and she’s a supermodel. She’s also 83 years old. Fantastic? Just a bit.
The UK Daily Mail recently profiled Daphne, who was brought to their attention in connection with Oxfam’s Big Bra Hunt. What’s the Big Bra Hunt? It’s a campaign being run by the Oxfam charity use donated bras (the ones that don’t fit you properly, the ones that looked better in the shop, the forgotten ones you haven’t worn in ages, etc.) to raise money towards busting poverty in Senegal and around the globe. Even Helen Mirren has donated to the Big Bra Hunt. Awesome, right?
But most awesome of all is that Daphne Selfe has agreed to pose as Madonna in her prime to benefit the campaign. That’s right: This fabulous 83-year-old donned the Material Girl’s iconic conical bra and corset by Jean Paul Gaulthier—an outfit the singer wore in 1990 for her Blonde Ambition tour when she was in her early 30s. Now THAT’s refreshing!
Daphne gets her Madonna on.
What’s her story? Daphne grew up in Berkshire, UK before being sent to boarding school at the age of eight. When she was 20, she worked as a shop girl in a department store; at that time, she also entered a local newspaper’s modeling competition and won, thus beginning her modeling career. Later on, she had a family, ended up taking care of an ill husband, and fell out of modeling, but she makes a point not to dwell on the negative. Her husband passed away in 1997; then, in 1998, she was asked to appear on the catwalk for Red or Dead, which led to her being signed up by Models 1, and suddenly she was back in the game despite her age and time away from it. What’s more, she says that these days, she’s doing more high fashion than she did as a young woman. She has long silver hair, high cheekbones, and bright intelligent eyes—and lots of amazing things to say. We thought we’d share some of our favorite sound bytes from the article with you, Bettys, because they’re just that great and we think you’ll appreciate them. Here we go!
Daphne in her youth.
On whether she was considered beautiful growing up: “I’d been told I was nice looking a couple of times, but no, not really. I then started working steadily, [and] it was wonderful.”
On cosmetic surgery: “I’ve never had anything done to my face. Not that poison, not a face lift. I think it’s a waste of money.” Here, here!
On the modeling industry today: “I would never have made it starting out today. I was too short, just 5’ 7”, with wide shoulders from all the riding I did as a young girl. But no one ever asked me to lose weight. Rationing was in place until 1954, so you were always grateful to get food.” This is why we don’t understand why the industry today is so dead set on having girls starve themselves to fit an unrealistic standard of beauty. Daphne also notes that “In those days, all models had training, we were shown how to walk and stand elegantly.” Key word: “Elegant”—not “sexy.” Love it!
On bikini waxing: “There was nothing like that [then]. I do feel sorry for young girls today, all the things they do to themselves.” Us too.
On getting older: “It’s going to happen, so why worry? My generation got on with it. I do find people are always complaining these days. I try to remain cheerful, not grumpy. I’ve developed glaucoma, but the drops I have to put in my eyes have made my lashes grow! So there is always a plus side.”
On her biggest fear: “Falling ill. I want to just keel over one day and, if not, I want someone to knock me over the head. I don’t ever want to be a nuisance.”
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s associate editor.