Call it a gray wave — models of a certain age are making a splash in the fashion world, bringing their timeless, mature beauty to magazine spreads, cosmetics ads and runways. This past month, global fast-fashion giant H&M cast no fewer than three women over the age of 60 in its holiday campaign, featuring them — including 68-year-old street-style star Tziporah Salamon — on the brand’s blocklong Times Square billboards.
Here, meet five of New York’s most stunning over-50 models. Some are industry veterans; others are new to the camera, still pleasantly surprised by their new, glamorous careers. They all share their best-kept beauty secrets with The Post, along with their deepest-held thoughts on aging.
Juliette Branker, 62
“I am a budget girl,” says Branker, confessing that all of her go-to beauty products can be found at the drugstore. “I use Nivea, the one in the white pump bottle,” she says. “I put Vaseline on my lips. I love Chapstick, and sometimes if my eyebrows are unruly, I put it on my eyebrows.” When she splurges, the Barbados native, who lives in Queens, picks up Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Powder ($42). “I use it all over my face, even on my eyelids,” she says. “I feel pretty when I’m tan.”
Branker — who models for the likes of Miu Miu and Man Repeller — keeps unusual hours, getting up at 3 every morning to drive the forklift and haul plants for her day job at Lowe’s Garden Center in Commack, LI. Because of her 8:30 p.m. bedtime, she eats an early dinner around 5:30; forgoing late-night snacks, she says, works wonders for her waistline.
Otherwise, she hops on the treadmill whenever her jeans start feeling snug. But Branker — who started a career in front of the camera at the age of 51, after meeting a model at a salsa dance class who convinced her to give it a shot — credits her mom and dad for good genes, as well as her no-nonsense perspective on growing old in style. “If you don’t age, you’re dead,” she says. “So just be healthy, and accept yourself.”
Lauren Ezersky, 64
When Ezersky sprouted her first gray hairs in her late 30s, she was actually pretty excited about it.
“I always thought gray hair was so chic,” says the fashion fanatic, who hosted a Style Network show, “Behind the Velvet Ropes,” in the 1990s. “People told me, ‘Don’t let your hair go gray, you’ll look older.’ I was like, ‘I don’t care. That’s somebody else’s problem!’ ”
Years later, Ezersky’s shiny, silver mane — which she washes and tones with Clairol Shimmer Lights ($8.39 on Amazon) — is one of her style signatures, along with her go-to smoky eye. Ezersky, who splits her time between Manhattan and the Catskills, is faithful to her favorite cosmetics brand, MAC: “Sometimes I feel like glitter, sometimes I want it matte, but I’ve been using their dark shadows forever.” She finishes it all off with a creamy nude lip; she likes MAC’s Lustre in “Fresh Brew” ($18.50) best, but recommends trying a bunch to find your perfect shade.
Ezersky — who has modeled for L’Oréal and jeweler Kimberly McDonald — contends that women who fight too hard against aging need to “chill.” She’s not opposed to some small interventions, admitting that she’s tried Botox and would do it again, but in general, she doesn’t really mind looking older. “I’m not ever going to look 20, or 30, or 40, so let’s get real,” she says. “I want to look the best version of my age that I can.”
Danusia Garrison, 56
Garrison’s mission is to show younger women that “time isn’t up at 50 o’clock.”
Sure enough, the Williamsburg resident and mother of three is enjoying the spotlight more now than ever before. The combination of her mom-next-door looks, spunky personality and youthful energy — a onetime professional skier, she loves to run and jump on set — have won her jobs with cutting-edge brands such as Opening Ceremony and Hypebeast. She even posed in a glossy Pop magazine spread alongside then-21-year-old superstar Bella Hadid.
She knows she isn’t the typical over-50 model — “like [87-year-old model] Carmen Dell’Orefice, with the gray hair and the kind of sharp, Brooke Shields features” — but that hasn’t affected her confidence: “I’m smarter, wiser and more beautiful than I’ve ever been,” she says.
Garrison says she’s pretty low-maintenance when it comes to makeup, and has started avoiding eye shadow now that there’s more “texture” in her face. But over the past two years, she’s developed a daily skin care regimen to encourage a youthful glow. She tones with SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion ($76), and then lets some DHC Olive Virgin Oil ($42) soak in. “I’ve turned a lot of women onto it,” she says of the oil. “It just gives you this really dewy, moisturized skin.”
Orlanda Olsen, 83
“I don’t really like the idea of aging,” admits Olsen, “so I try to stay ahead of the game.” A former beauty queen and bicoastal fashion model — she once did commercial spots for Johnny Carson and posed in the original midi skirt for Anne Klein in the 1970s —now she’s a successful jewelry designer who models her own creations.
A healthy lifestyle is paramount for the statuesque Southern California native. “I started going to health food stores . . . back when nobody was doing that,” she remembers. (She frequented the same West Hollywood spot as Cary Grant, whom she says “was gorgeous and always with a smile.”) Living in Murray Hill, she does yoga and pilates multiple times a week to stay limber and toned. “I’m usually the oldest in the class,” she says, “but I keep up!”
Olsen had a face-lift in her 50s, but hasn’t gone under the knife since. “I don’t like injections for me,” she says. “I think it takes away bone structure.” The occasional Botox treatment is fine for forehead wrinkles, she says, but otherwise she prefers to combat aging with vitamin supplements — such as CoQ10 and neurochondria — and rich, fortifying skin creams. She uses Darphin’s Fibrogene serum ($104) for her daily moisturizer, and she’s thrilled with her latest discovery, Alastin Restorative Eye Treatment ($85), recommended to her by her dermatologist. “It’s fantastic — I had this little bag of fluid under my eye, and it took it away,” she raves.
JoAni Johnson, 66
The boldly barefaced Johnson says she stopped wearing makeup right around menopause. A former marketing maven, she recalls an especially embarrassing meeting that made her rethink painting her features with anything beyond a touch of lipstick: “I was at a client’s one day, and it was unusually hot, like 95 in the shade,” she recalls, laughing. “My makeup was melting on the contract!”
Now, the mother of two opts for a clean and simple skin care routine, washing her face with Milk Makeup’s Matcha Cleanser ($25), which she discovered at Sephora. A longtime tea blender, she’s wild about tea-based products, but she branches out too: to smooth fine lines, she reaches for L’Occitane’s Immortelle Divine Youth Oil ($99).
Johnson — who has modeled for brands such as Eileen Fisher, Tome and Deveaux New York, and has appeared in O magazine and Allure — was discovered two years ago by a street-style photographer. She says her mile-long silver mane commands attention, which is funny, because there was a time in her life when she “panicked” about going gray. She bleached her locks regularly, until she met her late husband. “He said, ‘Can you please just let your hair go?’ I got married 22 years ago, and I’ve not really touched it since.”