Yazemeenah Rossi may be 63 years old and a grandmother, but she hasn’t let it stop her from being the modern, elegant and poised model that she is. And she doesn’t look like she’s going to be slowing down as she told The Daily Mail, “I will model until the end of my life,” and added “But it’s not about modeling, it’s about witnessing, witnessing beauty, energy makes us alive…”
With such words of wisdom, it can make one curious as to who this mysterious beauty is and how she manages to embrace her age so gracefully. There is no shortcut to her fit physique and glowing skin. She follows a healthy diet and exercise routine, which serves as an inspiration to all those who want to stay healthy and beautiful at all ages.
The model and photographer from Malibu, California was 30 years old when she first stepped in front of the camera. “I started my modeling career in France at age 30, which is normally age of retirement for modeling,” Yazemeenah said in the introduction on her website. And now she’s a force to reckon with.
So let’s start at the beginning of her story
Born in 1955 and raised by her grandparents, she got her first camera when she was 11, around the time she started spending more time with her parents, according to The Guardian. “We didn’t have money for film. Even without it I’d click,” she said to the outlet. However, her photography began out of tragedy — they were an escape from a fraught relationship with her parents which was characterized by constant fights.
And it was worse when at age 16, she became pregnant. Terrified of her father forcing her to abort, she hid it for five months. She then married her child’s father before the birth and moved to Paris with them. By age 20, she had had a second child as well. “For me [it felt like] I was in jail. My life was finished. Sometimes I’d say, ‘I would love to not have my kids.’”
But it was at 28 that she knew she had to take the reins of her own life. “I couldn’t stay with a man I didn’t love just to pay my bills. So I divorced. Work came. When you make the right choice, the universe brings.”
And thus began her modeling career…
Yet, that was a fight too. A lot of it because of her naturally silver hair which she refused to dye. Being absolutely proud and accepting of herself, there was no way she was going to bow down to the pressure. “I’ve had fights with agents, I didn’t want to dye my hair, it went white quite young. It started the first one around ten to 12 and at 20 I was pepper and salt, it was very beautiful…” the mother-of-two told The Daily Mail. “I always thought it was a gift, I thought why dye this, I’m always someone who likes to be simple.”
Despite that, she was more frustrated by all the retouching that was being done to her photos, so much so that she couldn’t even recognize herself. “I don’t like to retouch my pictures,” she added. “With iPhone it’s very easy but it amazes me to see how many apps there are on the iPhone to retouch, it blows my mind, this is not in my world.”
But the grandmother did get her big break when she was 45 and all she looked forward to was the future, according to Daily Star Online. Over her career, she’s been coveted by brands such as Bloomingdale’s, Barneys, J. Crew and Bobbi Brown. When speaking to The Guardian, all she could share was her gratitude for her life — “Every day is a blessing. I divorced twice, I’m single, I couldn’t imagine 10 years ago I’d be so fulfilled.”
Soon enough, she was being praised for accepting and embracing her appearance just the way it was. However, modeling wasn’t just a job for her. It truly did bring her alive. “Every morning I wake up, I have no agenda, I’m happy, even shooting, it’s a game for me, it’s playing for me. It’s not about me, my ego was satisfied a long long time ago. It’s [about] enjoying every day, more and more. It’s like my heart is going to explode every morning.
How does she stay so fit and beautiful?
The secret to her radiant skin, as she put it, is “in the kitchen cabinet… I come from a very simple background where we used olive oil to cook with. Olive oil was used on our hair and skin – nothing else.” “If we put things on the surface of the skin, it becomes ‘lazy’ in a way and doesn’t work to protect itself anymore,” she added. As for the rest of her diet, it consists of one avocado every day and she consumes only fresh, organic food, comprised of “mostly vegetables, fruits, nuts and some good-quality fish and meats.” Anything processed, frozen or made in a microwave is a big no. In addition to that is a good dose of yoga to leave her feeling energized.
And how is she still able to model?
Subverting the “rules” of the profession, Rossi said, “It’s not all about being 20 and 5’10”. We’re bored of that. We are all different ages and sizes and that’s the beauty of it. We’re real women.” And she hopes that whenever she faces a camera, she can say, “…I’ve never wanted to compromise me, who I am, and now I have clients who are happy with that.”
And one such happy client is the new swimsuit line the soon to be 64-year-old is modeling for. Dreslyn founder Brooke Taylor Corcia told Huff Post, “This is a woman who radiates health and vitality. She’s confident, she’s a visual artist, she takes care of herself. [This line is] all about being a person who’s well-lived and well-traveled and has intelligence and confidence, and letting that shine through.”
What an inspiration!