Model Anya Longwell, 54: ‘I have a level of confidence I didn’t have when I was younger’

-Jun 5, Hannah Hargrave , Living -

Anya Longwell was only in her 20s when she quit modelling to open a yoga studio she tells us why she feels confident at midlife than she ever has before

Gorgeous yogi Anya Longwell was only in her 20s when she quit a successful modelling career to open a yoga studio. Thirty-years-later she took the bold move to dip her toe back into the modelling world to discover she felt way more confident at midlife than she ever has before.

Here Anya, pictured below, talks to Lumity about being 54, feeling fabulous and reveals her all-natural secrets to looking and feeling so good. 

1. How old were you when you decided to reignite your modelling career?

“I was 49.  I had just moved back to Pennsylvania from Los Angeles and had left my yoga studio and all my private clients there. So when I got back to the East Coast, I bartended and painted houses to pay my bills.”

2. What made you decide to do it?

“I noticed a trend on social media. The ageist movement, the I’m 50 and fabulous folks, the I’m grey and gorgeous ladies and the plus 40 and fit. You get the picture.

“So I reached out to my old agency Wilhelmina, with whom I was represented by when I was in my 20’s. Coincidentally, the agent there who is currently in charge of the “Icons” board was my agent when I was with them, 30 years ago! Of course, I didn’t know they would sign me again, and it was a pleasant surprise that they did.”

3. There has definitely been a shift in the modelling industry where there’s more of a market for women midlife and beyond which is amazing. But was it a completely different experience getting back into it at almost 50?

“I won’t lie I was always good in front of the camera.  I know my good side and I know where the good light is.  But now, I have a level of confidence that I didn’t have when I was younger.  I don’t let stupid thoughts consume me, like, ‘Oh gosh, I hope they don’t hate these shots.’  If they like me, they’ll book me again, if not, no biggie.  I have fun when I’m working.  There’s a giant energy of gratitude inside me that makes me feel like I need to pinch myself.  I feel super lucky and blessed to be able to do this again.”

Related: Model Lou Kenny on confidence and cartwheeling at the age of 59

4. What’s the best thing about your job?

“I’m a bit nomadic. I’ve lived in Paris, Australia, NYC, LA and Pennsylvania. I worked for months at a time in London, Milan and Hamburg. I’m not a 9-5’er and I’ve always been interested in travel and learning about different foods, cultures and lifestyles.

“I love art and architecture, even though I seem to prefer animals, I do love to get to know people and I think this business attracts like minded souls.”

5. How important do you think it is to keep a positive outlook no matter your age?

“I’m always reminding myself that in other cultures, elders are revered and taken care of.  Here, it’s like a bad nasty habit to put people down because they’re old.  It is unbelievable to me that that mentality exists.  You’re basically putting down yourself in the future and setting yourself up to be disappointed and unhappy with yourself after a certain age. That is disrespecting life!”

Related: Oprah Winfrey: I’m grateful for every age I’m blessed to become

6. You’re also a yoga fanatic which you’ve been doing for years. Do you think that’s helped you maintain your youth? Because you don’t look like you’ve aged.

“There’s certainly a nurturing of your life force that happens with the practice of yoga. Keeping yourself supple, fluid and flexible.  Using the breath to create energy and to let go of the blockages and stress that everyday life throws at us.  If you don’t release it, it holds you back and creates stagnation and disease.”

7. In what other ways do you look after yourself?

“I’m a skin care fanatic.  I’m ALL about hydration.  I drink electrolyte water (I make my own with celtic salt and lemon) and apply massive amounts of natural moisturisers!  Shea butter, argan oil, jojoba oil.”

8. Are there any beauty tips you swear by?

“Hydration and sunscreen.”

9. What do you hope your future holds?

“Well, I hope lots more adventure and fun!  I love photography, and food.  So if anyone wants to give me a gig, traveling the world and eating and taking pictures, I’m your gal!”

Anya can be booked through Wilhelmina Models in NYC.

If you enjoyed reading about Anya’s adventures as a 50+ model you might also be interested in Beate Howitt‘s story of becoming a cover star at 80 and test out these makeup tips for women over 50 too.

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