‘I re­ally don’t mind what num­ber I am in years’

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - ART & MUSIC - Li­adan Hynes

MODEL Olivia Tracey, 58, works in an in­dus­try con­sid­ered ter­mi­nally ageist, but she kept mod­el­ling long past the norm. “The fact that I am still mod­el­ling has been a nice sur­prise,” she re­flects. “Be­cause when I was in my twen­ties it never oc­curred to me that I would be mod­el­ling at over 30, let alone over 50.”

She at­tributes her long ca­reer to the fact that she moved to Amer­ica. “When I was in my twen­ties the model agent Eileen Ford came to Dublin and she wouldn’t take me on be­cause I was too old; I was 26 at the time. And then fast for­ward years later, Ford sought me out in Amer­ica. They rep­re­sented me in Los An­ge­les for over 10 years.”

Olivia stopped colour­ing her hair, let­ting it to turn its nat­u­ral shade of grey. It be­came her trade­mark look and one that still wins her ma­jor hair cam­paigns.

“I was in my for­ties af­ter I let my hair turn sil­ver,” she ex­plains on the phone from Amer­ica, where she has added ac­tress and pro­ducer to her port­fo­lio. “That put me into a whole new ‘ma­ture woman’ cat­e­gory and there’s a big mar­ket for that out here. In Ire­land as well; I’ve been home re­cently shoot­ing a cou­ple of cam­paigns, in­clud­ing the new cam­paign with Kil­dare Vil­lage, which I loved. They em­braced women of all dif­fer­ent ages. I love the di­ver­sity that the in­dus­try has wel­comed.”

Her take on age­ing is one of equa­nim­ity. “I don’t con­sider age­ing a prob­lem. It’s a nat­u­ral flow of life and as long as I am healthy and happy I re­ally don’t mind what num­ber I’m at in years.”

It’s an at­ti­tude that has with­stood the pres­sure of liv­ing in a city which would seem to wor­ship at the al­tar of eter­nal youth. “I would say that LA is a very young town. And yes, be­ing youth­ful here is def­i­nitely a plus. But per­son­ally I have never felt like, ‘Oh God, I wish I could turn back the clock 20 or 30 years.’ I’ve never felt that way. I am quite happy with where I’m at.”

In fact, if any­thing, LA seems to help her to be up­beat. “LA is gen­er­ally a very pos­i­tive place to live and they’re very tuned in to think­ing pos­i­tively about things. Like re­mem­ber­ing that even when things are not good, al­ways be­lieve that they will get bet­ter. And that you can’t just sit and wait for it to get bet­ter. You have to help your­self.”

Cer­tain habits and rou­tines are in place that help to keep her men­tally fit.

“I have my lit­tle ex­er­cise rou­tine, yoga stretches re­ally. I do it as a phys­i­cal thing but it also ben­e­fits me men­tally. Even if I’m in a hurry I will try to squeeze in a 20-minute work­out if I can’t do the full half hour. Just to do that lit­tle bit of stretch­ing — switch­ing off men­tally and breath­ing into the ex­er­cise — is, I find, very re­lax­ing.”

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