We often comment on Fab after Fifty about the fact that so many brands ignore women over 50 in their marketing campaigns, or use 20 something models to convince us that we want to buy something- why do they not use real women?
Olga Nicole Taylor, our latest ‘Fabwoman’ who is not a professional model, has found herself at 62 , being cast in the TK Maxx advertising campaign representing ‘real women’. Olga shares her story with Fab after Fifty of how she went from shopping at her local high street store- to modelling for them in a national advertising campaign.
Olga lives in Twickenham but is originally from Russia. She has a grown up son who still lives there.
What were your main activities before turning 50?
I grew up in Moscow and stayed there to study Food Management at the Academy of Economics. It was during my studies I met my first husband and we married when I was just 22 years old. My husband was a Military Officer and Helicopter Pilot and, due to his job, we used to move a lot depending on which city or country he was posted in, so I have been lucky to have travelled the world over the years and have always worked wherever we lived. However, when I was 40 years old my first husband sadly passed away. I was a widower with one child, the Soviet Union collapsed and suddenly I had no job or work prospects either. I had to start my life again from scratch, which was a struggle and it took me 5 years to rebuild. It was then that I met my future husband on a trip to London – we were inseparable from that day onwards and moved countries to be with each other, eventually settling in the UK until he passed away two years ago. Whilst living in the UK I studied English at the Richmond Adult & Community College and went on to work in that same college, in the catering department where I been since 2004.
Have you ever modelled before?
No, I have never modelled before taking part in the TK Maxx Campaign.
What challenges did you initially face?
There were no challenges really and I enjoyed it all as I just had to be myself; the shoot was such a joy and I felt so relaxed, I loved what I wore and I am really happy with how I looked. I think it is so important to feel confident with your own style and I hope this shows through in the final shots.
What has been the best aspect of being part of the TKMaxx campaign?
The whole experience has been nothing short of fantastic, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the whole production team and cast were so caring, I would never have dreamed in a million years at my age this experience could happen.
What difference has it made to your life?
When I got the call saying I had been selected for the campaign and they wanted me to join them in Cape Town I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe at 62 I would become a model, I can really say that you never know what good things life still has in store – just be yourself and be open to new experiences. You can still have a lot more fun and excitement to look forward to, even at an older age!
I felt completely confident in how I looked
How did the opportunity with TK Maxx come about? How easy or difficult a decision was it to get involved?
I was approached whilst shopping in TK Maxx Twickenham and told that they were searching for real people to take part in a new advertising campaign.. I did a piece to camera but didn’t expect anything from it, so couldn’t believe it when I had the call to say I had made it through, but I didn’t even question it – I jumped at the opportunity. Before I knew it I was being flown out to Cape Town, it was surreal. Usually I don’t like having my photograph taken but the shoot was such a joy as I was so relaxed, I loved what I wore and I am really happy with how I looked. I was asked to choose my own outfits and find pieces that I would feel happy wearing, so I was completely confident with how I look in front of the camera.
What other opportunities have happened as a result?
This campaign has made me realise that, after some sadness of losing loved ones over the years, there is lots to look forward to and doors will always open. I feel confident in what the future holds – I hope I have shown that style really doesn’t have an age limit and I feel there are so many more exciting opportunities open to me now.
How have friends and family reacted?
My friends here in the UK and my family in Russia are so excited and proud of me. I am now really looking forward to fully retiring later this year and enjoying my life and the opportunities that may yet come my way,
Have you always had an interest in fashion?
I have always had an interest in fashion, even from a young age. The choices of clothes weren’t great where I grew up, so my mother trained as a tailor and started making my clothes for me. I used to read magazines and watch films for inspiration and then tell my mother what I liked and she would make pieces for me that were unique and really ignited love of fashion.
How daunting was it to model the swimwear?
I didn’t find it daunting – everyone from the production team was so lovely and encouraging which was a great confidence boost it was all very relaxed. I know my body isn’t the same as it was 10 years ago but I. always choose to wear outfits that I make me feel my best no matter what I’m doing, it can make a real difference.
What do you do to keep fit?
I try and avoid eating meals after 6pm and I would say my beauty essentials are fruit and berries; I am always snacking on them and they provide so much natural goodness for your skin and body.
What 3 tips would you give other women over 50 looking to do the same?
To always be proud of who you are and your individual style, no matter what age you are. I would say don’t focus on trends and brands too much but dress to suit you, I don’t pay attention to labels but look for quality clothes that make me feel confident and stylish. It’s important to me people notice me for my personality not for what brands I am wearing.
I would never have dreamed in a million years at my age this experience could happen. Even though I am retired this campaign has made me realise that I have lots to look forward to regardless of my age. I have always had a positive outlook on life and I will continue to do so.
I have no regrets in life. However, when we were in Cape Town we were booked in for skydiving and swimming with sharks but bad weather called it off. This is something that is still a must do for me!
All time favourite book or film?
My favourite film is a Russian film called Irony of Fate set in the Soviet War; it’s a tale of romance and comedy that I just absolutely love.
I have read Tolstoy’s War and Peace several times now, first when I was just 16 then in my 20s and again recently. Each time I do I have a different view on the story.
How would you describe your own style?
I don’t try to hide my age and what I am wearing really depends on what I am doing. My style over the years has changed and adapted with where I am living. My late husband worked as a Military Helicopter officer in Russia and we were always moving to places with his job, so for instance, when I was living in Russia I dressed very smart and elegant and it was important for me to keep up appearances with the other ladies. However, when I moved to the UK my style became much more simple, relaxed and informal day to day, but then I love to glam up in the evening.
Three words that sum up your life over 50
Exciting, confident and fun.