Meet Jesmond. She shows it’s never too late after becoming a model at 68
We met with Jesmond to uncover how she went from studying art and almost becoming a teacher to modelling as a classic model and appearing in an impressive list of movies, TV series and music videos.
Are you a rule follower, breaker, or maker?
Definitely a breaker!
How old are you?
Seventy five and three quarters.
What’s the best thing about being the age you are now?
I’m much more relaxed and accepting of other people.
What is your favourite app or piece of tech?
WhatsApp for free calls around the world (even our driver from India calls). I also love my Amazon Echo and my Kindle.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
My Aunt was constantly telling me to be 'kind' - only now do I understand.
Craziest thing you’ve done since you turned 50?
A Royal Tour of the Yemen, with armed guards - obviously not possible now and my family were very against it.
Also last year I flew to New York to go to a Pink Floyd concert.
What would you say to someone who wrote you off for being too old?
What are you doing now that you never thought you’d do?
I’m a Classic Model and Supporting Artist.
My mother was always saying she could see me on TV – it used to drive me mad - how thrilled she would be if she could see me now.
I love it because every shoot is totally different and I have met some amazing people, who have become good friends. Meeting and working with the 'stars' is also fun and an added bonus. There’s a big sense of achievement when I’m still standing after a 5am start and a 15 hour shoot.
"From a very young age I wanted what all girls did (in those days), which was to be an air hostess or a model. I always say I am living my life backwards."
Classic Model and Supporting Artist
Image credit: Unknown
What were you doing before?
Air stewardess with British Airways.
Tell us about your career journey and how the new opportunity came about
From a very young age I wanted what all girls did (in those days), which was to be an air hostess or a model.
I initially studied art and was on track to becoming a teacher, but I needed a car, so took a job as a sales executive selling computers and inadvertently became one of the first women in the electronics industry in sales. When I got to choose a car I asked for a Gold Capri – that stirred things up a bit!
I then totally changed career and joined British Airways when I was 40.
A friend mentioned BA were recruiting 'mature' woman, so on the spur of the moment I applied. There were 13,000 applicants for 200 positions and much to my surprise I was selected and on a course within the month.
While I was there I was one of the fighters against age discrimination, which came in the year after I left.
I only intended to fly for a year, but I was with BA for nearly 20 years!
In those days you had to retire, but it worked out well as my granddaughter was born and I was able to look after her. Then, as she was starting school, my grandson was born so I was able to look after him while also volunteering in local schools and with Mencap.
Then I met someone who was a model and she suggested I contact her modelling agency as older women were becoming popular.
They accepted me so I started modelling when I was 68. That’s when I started to do film and TV extra work as well (known as a Supporting Artist).
Since then I’ve worked on music videos, TV shows and movies including The Crown, Wonder Woman, Paddington 2, Murder on the Orient Express and BBC Drama ‘The Split’.
Last year I was thrilled to do my first international modelling job for Wallpaper magazine and have no plans to give it up.
I always say I am living my life backwards!
What caused it? Was there a catalyst?
Both my grandchildren were at school so I had plenty of spare time to fill. Plus it sounded like fun.
In the end, what made you go for it?
I think it is of the utmost importance to try new challenges and step out of your comfort zone.
It helped that change and saying yes to new opportunities has been something I’ve been used to throughout my life.
What helped make it happen?
Being computer literate, having a car, and being willing to work unsociable hours made a big difference.
What was the hardest part?
Feeling I wasn’t good enough and did not have enough experience - something called 'Imposter syndrome' that I have suffered with all my life.
What’s the one thing you wish you’d known earlier?
That I had as much right to be there as anyone else.
What’s something that is common knowledge in the TV and movie industry that would be mind-blowing to the rest of us?
I don’t think anyone really understands the long days and sheer hard work from cast and crew to create a two minute scene and then, after all the expense etc, it will probably end up on the cutting room floor.
Let’s talk about ambitions - what would you love to do next?
I would like to be one of the top Classic Models, but the way things are going it will be a while, as many of them are in their 80's and 90's and still going strong.
What tips and advice do you have for others regarding working in later life?
It is incredibly important to keep doing something in order to keep your body and mind healthy and active.
An ‘Ageless Explorer’ is someone who never lets their age get in the way of their plans. Who is an Ageless Explorer you admire and why?
I absolutely love Iris Apfel. In 2019, at the age of 97, she signed a modelling contract with global agency IMG.
Also David Attenborough is inspirational at 92.
Both are still going strong and enjoying life in their 90's.
Tell us a bit about your experience with Renegade Generation.
I am so impressed with Renegade Generation, as they recognise the experience, understanding, knowledge and insight, older people possess.
They make it possible for those people to access new ideas and possibilities to lead them to a fulfilling future.
Do you have a renegade career story to share? Let us know via our Contact form.
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