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Amelia Backman, 63: The Beauty of Change

Being a model at 63, Amelia Backman has seen how it has changed in regards to age, slowly, but it is happening. We reconnect with Amelia after last speaking to her 4 years ago when the world was innocently pre-COVID.  She reflects on how the pandemic changed what is important to her, the fashion industry's relationship to age, how she implements the Japanese "wabi-sabi" aesthetic into her life, and her non-negotiables.

Amelia Backman has had a front-row view of society’s perception of age. Working since she was 17 as a model, she has been in the most age-sensitive of industries for decades.  That she is continuing to work at 63 would have been a fantasy just 20 years ago; evidence that the culture is changing, albeit perhaps not with the velocity we would prefer.

Her life is radically different now from when she was younger. As we wrote when we first profiled Amelia 4 years ago: “Working in fashion has a way of skewing your perspective. When you’re young, it’s hard to imagine that any of the fun times will end, that life won’t always be an endless stream of barely made flights, fabulous friends, glittering capitals, and stellar after-parties.” Life is slower now, more purposeful, and more in tune with nature. She took a few years off in there to study at university, and to have a family. Now she is involved in modeling, a mark of the changed perceptions in our world around fashion brands’ tricky relationship with beauty and age.

We would love to see a major global beauty brand pick up Amelia as its featured face. She would be an amazing champion. 

Beauty may no longer be age-dependent. 

How old are you?
I am 63 years old. 

How has the pandemic affected you?
The pandemic sort of put everything on hold. You simply had to adjust to the massive change. Not being able to travel, canceled work, etc. During it all, I had an accident and was hospitalized. It was such a humbling experience to see the heroes working here. 

What are you up to now?
Now I am getting back to normal. I have found a stillness in my approach to life, a calmness. I am working around Europe and enjoying it.

Have there been any changes in the last 5 years in your industry regarding how older women are perceived?
I think there have been changes in the fashion industry regarding how older women are perceived. The industry is more inclusive overall and is more of a reflection of what society is really like: diverse. 

What are your feelings about the upsides of working with younger people?
I love working with younger people. I always learn something from our conversations, especially technical things. 

Tell us about your gardening and life in the country.
I feel blessed to be able to live in the country. The calming silence and the closeness to nature is a comforting contrast to a busy city work trip. 

We understand you enjoy cold water swimming. Tell us about that.
I find cold water exposure energizing and therapeutic. 

There is a Japanese phrase wabi-sabi, which means the appreciation of the imperfect and transitory. How do you relate to this?
My whole life is wabi-sabi, I guess. I’m never looking for perfection. For me, the wabi-sabi philosophy and aesthetic come naturally. The simplicity, the connection with nature, and to see the beauty in imperfection.

How do you stay in touch with current culture and fashion?
I’m curious and I keep my eyes open. 

What is your view of the biggest challenges we are facing in the world today?
To not lose hope. We have to find a way to have a more sustainable lifestyle. 

What is most exciting to you about the future?
I think life itself is exciting. To live longer, that is exciting. 

What is your ambition for the next 5 years?
My ambition for the next 5 years can be summed up in four words: Harmony, Family, Creativity, and Nature. 

What music have you been listening to?
I have been listening to a lot of Karim Kamar lately and always Rachmaninoff. 

What are your 3 non-negotiables in life?
I always listen to my gut feeling. Daily exercise. Moisturize! 

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AUTHOR

David Stewart
David is the founder and face of AGEIST. He is an expert on, and a passionate champion of the emerging global over-50 lifestyle. A dynamic speaker, he is available for panels, keynotes and informational talks at david@agei.st.

 

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