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Age diversity in swimsuit models – courtesy of H&M?

by on June 22, 2016

The relative lack of older women (certainly, their lack of visibility) in the media has been a recurrent theme in this blog. Every so often an item will pop up that bucks this trend. The latest is this piece on the Refinery29 website about H&M’s new swimwear model. She is Gillean McLeod, described as ‘a 60-year-old stylist and model who only started posing for the camera a few years ago’.

The article makes the point that H&M have a track record in featuring a range of women and non-models in its shows and campaigns, suggesting that age is just the latest aspect of diversity for the company to address.

Two points to note. As we’ve observed before, the diversity on show here doesn’t extend to an appearance which challenges the basic tenets of modeling. In fact the model herself is quoted as saying that she has “always been tall and slim, but due to shyness and poor body image as a young woman, [she] slouched“. Which leads to the second point, namely that this is also an example of career change as McLeod is said to have started to model in her 50s. Admittedly, she is said to have worked in the industry as a stylist so was presumably not without useful connections. But still, H&M’s stated inclusiveness is good to see.

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