Paulina Porizkova is tired of dealing with men who think she should simply fade into the background just because she’s in her 50s.
The supermodel has been outspoken with her criticism of her industry in recent years, and has suggested that women over a certain age are treated like they’re “invisible.” And it’s a topic she elaborates on in great detail in a new interview with The Times.
“I am now completely invisible,” Porizkova told the publication. “I walk into a party, I try to flirt with guys and they will just walk away from me mid-sentence to pursue someone 20 years younger. I’m very single, I’m dressed up, I’ve made an effort — nothing.”
The 56-year-old described how she first began to feel invisible when she reached middle age, and called it a “slow fade.”
“Like the boiled frog, you don’t know until (you’re gone). It was around the same time my marriage fell apart: my husband was no longer interested in me and, as I started looking around, I realised I was invisible to the population at large. It made me feel really terrible about myself,” she said.
This week, she also shared a message for those who had taken to social media to say she “should be invisible” at her age.
“I’d like to thank all the men who are now on my feed telling me I should be invisible at my age. You’re proving my point,” she wrote.
In a form of rebellion, Porizkova has been posting sexy photos of herself in bikinis, nude and without makeup, and some of the comments — often from men — aren’t very kind.
“I started posting the same kind of pictures that have been taken of me since I was 15,” she told The Times. “I look good. I didn’t realise it would be shocking for a fiftysomething woman to pose in the same bikinis from 30 years ago that still fit. It’s OK to ogle somebody who could be your daughter but not mature women who know themselves and are most likely way better at sex?”
In her interview, Porizkova said she feels “sexier” than she did when she was younger and that often intimidates men.
“I am not a fluttery, vulnerable creature. I am an active participant, an instigator. I know what I like and how I work. I like to have fun. I know what I’m doing,” she said. “That really makes them run away.”
Porizkova, who “is on record as never having had filled, jabbed or Botoxed” her face, according to The Times, said while she can see why so many women turn to plastic surgery, that when a woman gets one of those cosmetic procedures, she’s “actually servicing exactly what you’re trying to oppose.”
“We need to stand up and insist on not being invisible,” she said. “I wish there were more women who left their marionette lines (which run down from the corners of the mouth) and forehead lines and crows’ feet. I wish there were more women who dared to age.”
And recently, the ladies of the “Sex and the City” reboot, “And Just Like That…,” have highlighted the topic of women aging in the public eye.
“If I was from a regular life, I would feel fine; I would feel great! I’m healthy, I’m strong, I’ve got this little 3-year-old son, and I carry him around and it’s all good—but, no, I’m on television, where every bit of my physical being is analyzed,” Kristin Davis, who plays Charlotte York, recently told New Beauty magazine.
“That part was always very stressful and difficult for me, because, as much as I can look back on my life and think, ‘Oh, I looked great then,’ you never think that at the time. I guess no one does,” she added.
Her co-star Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays the famed Carrie Bradshaw, also responded to “misogynist chatter” about her and her fellow castmates in an interview with Vogue last year.
“There’s so much misogynist chatter in response to us that would never. Happen. About. A. Man,” she said.
“It almost feels as if people don’t want us to be perfectly okay with where we are, as if they almost enjoy us being pained by who we are today, whether we choose to age naturally and not look perfect, or whether you do something if that makes you feel better,” she added.
Porizkova said in her interview with The Times that the public still has a ways to go when it comes to perceptions of beauty.
“We are in a society set up for women who look like little girls,” she explained. “That shouldn’t be OK with us. We need a collective movement to fight ageism, but it requires a bending of the sisterhood, which just hasn’t happened.”