By Liana Jacob
THIS GLAM woman in her SIXTIES puts her STUNNING physique down to ‘GOOD GENES’ and admits she EATS WHAT SHE WANTS and doesn’t follow fashion.
Business owner and part-time model, Nikki Redcliffe (62) who lives in Brighton, UK, has always been fashion-forward and even as a child she would spend all her pocket money on her wardrobe.
Her interest in fashion followed her throughout the years, even into her career when she left university and became a marketing executive in the fashion cosmetics industry. Although she was attractive in her twenties and thirties, she didn’t have as much confidence and even considered having cosmetic surgery.
It wasn’t until she was in her fifties that she began developing her own unique style after drifting away from fashion trends and finding that no shops accommodated her individual taste. She is now firmly against the idea of cosmetic surgery and decided that instead of trying to turn back the clock, she would embrace the journey of ageing.
She began posting photos of her vintage style wardrobe on Instagram and discovered a whole community dedicated to bringing back the fashion styles of the 1940s and 1950s.
Her glamorous vintage look attracted an impressive following of 29,000. A few years ago, she was approached by a modelling agency who she signed with and has since done part-time modelling. She is using her platform to prove that just because you have surpassed the age of 50, it doesn’t make you ‘irrelevant’ or ‘invisible’.
“I was always obsessed with clothes and fashion, even as a small child. In my teens I spent every penny on my wardrobe and I still consider my Saturday job at Biba to be the best job I ever had,” Nikki said.
“I was a dedicated follower of fashion and with a special interest in designs of the past. I hankered after a career in design but gained a History degree before going on to work in PR and then in marketing and new product development in the fashion cosmetics industry.
“I took a bit of a fashion holiday during the ‘mummy years’ when time and money were in short supply, but I never lost my love of clothes.
“I was averagely nice looking and usually well-dressed, but I only really developed a strong personal style after the age of fifty, when I gave up following fashion and just wore what made me happy. Now I regard the fashion world with interest but no desire to participate.
“As a young woman I was less confident and there were more pressures in life which I couldn’t control – work, children, family, husband, finances etc.
“I have found ageing to be very liberating and I love the freedom and independence I now have to do what I want, wear what I want, be the person I want to be.
“When I was younger, I thought I might resort to cosmetic surgery at some point but now I’ve reached that point where I’m completely against surgery.
“In this world of Instagram beauty and with so many young women having cosmetic procedures I think there will be a backlash and the untouched face of ageing will have a certain cachet.
“A sensible approach to food and exercise, scrupulous skincare and a realistic view about what is achievable over the age of sixty will produce a happy and harmonious result.
“That said, I am not against a spot of baby Botox and there are some excellent injectable skin care treatments. I personally think that fillers make women’s faces look weird and enormous lips are unnerving.
“I also hate the way everyone uses filters and image tuning apps on their photos. I play with light and colour on photos if necessary, but I’ve never learned how to get rid of my bumps, lines and wrinkles. What’s the point? In the real world I can’t hide them.
“I’m happier now than at any point in life. My twenties and thirties had many high points, particularly becoming a mother, but I wouldn’t want to change places and go through it all again. I have no regrets and am filled with excitement about what lies ahead.”
Nikki says that her physique and complexion is a result of ‘fortunate genes’ rather than dieting or exercise and insists that she has never been a ‘great foodie’, therefore intermittently fasts unintentionally.
She also encourages that women should stop trying to control their appearance to remain looking ‘youthful’ and to instead embrace the process of ageing.
“I’ve never tried to fight the ageing process or turn back the clock, I don’t want to look younger; I just want to look as good as I can, regardless of age,” she said.
“I didn’t decide to maintain a youthful appearance. If that is the result, then it is almost accidental. I just refused to accept stereotypical views about how women ‘of a certain age’ should look and dress.
“A lot of women lose their confidence and give up trying. Bombarded by unrealistic images of beautiful young women; they feel hopeless and seem to embrace the beige cardigan and comfy shoes as their lot in life.
“I managed to age gracefully by having a positive attitude and refusing to believe that life was over just because I was over fifty. I never consider my age to be an obstacle.
“In fact, now I have more time, money and freedom to look and dress as I wish. I don’t follow any diet or exercise regimes, but I’m fit, healthy and active; both mentally and physically.
“I put in a fair amount of effort on personal care and good grooming is essential to looking great at any age. I think that people have a ’best age’ and I hope mine is my sixties.
“I was never a model, but I was approached by an agency a couple of years ago and signed with them. It has not exactly resulted in a modelling career, but I’ve enjoyed the few jobs I’ve done.
“I never diet and rarely exercise. I eat and drink what I want but I’ve never been a great ‘foodie’, so I don’t think about food very much.
“I don’t do any regular exercise, but I’d say I’m fit, supple and strong, which must be due to fortunate genes rather than a fitness regime.
“There are many downsides to getting older – thinner hair, saggy skin, lines and wrinkles, loss of muscle tone etc.
“Maintenance for me means making the best of the situation rather than relentlessly trying to turn back the tide of time.
“I’m definitely not trying to look younger than my age, but I do get mainly positive comments. Some people say ‘you don’t look sixty-two’ as if that’s the best compliment they could give. I don’t mind looking sixty-two as long as it’s the best sixty-two I can be.
“Health is the biggest factor and a lot of women have health issues which affect their weight, their looks, their mobility and their mental wellbeing.
“Finding the right medical help to cope with menopause is crucial. Eat less, move more is often repeated but it really works.
“I’m doing a dry January, which isn’t much fun but at least proves I’m not a raging alcoholic and drinking less throughout the year is a good idea.
“A person’s genetic inheritance will have a bearing on what shape they might end up in later life and I realise I’m very lucky that my mother stayed slim all her life.
“Above all, don’t feel pressure to ‘keep young and beautiful’. I find the way I look affects my outlook on life and if I look good, I feel good. For some people it doesn’t matter at all. The important thing is to be happy in your own skin.”
For more information visit: www.instagram.com/nikkiredcliffe