Home Aging in Society 8 Older Women in Bikinis and How They Do It

8 Older Women in Bikinis and How They Do It

by Leona Small

Last Updated October 6th, 2023

older women in bikinis
Photo by Gareth Williams, Flickr.

Aging, particularly for women, is often viewed negatively. As we get older our bodies change, they more readily show the years now behind us. Our society is so worshipful of youth and beauty that it often makes older, more mature women feel ashamed of this change. There exists an all-too-common rhetoric that beauty deteriorates with age – unless, of course, you are famous and can afford to alter your body.

Our world would be a better place if we could put an end to this narrative, and if we stopped seeing (or treating) aging as something unfortunate. It is a natural, important, and beautiful part of life. Plus, the belief that beauty decreases as your years increase is simply false. Mature women are beautiful and can still feel sexy and confident in their bodies. They can even rock bikinis.

Body Confidence

Susanna Somogyi

Body confidence is not exclusively for young women. Look at Susanna Somogyi, for instance. She isn’t famous. But she is a 61-year-old mature woman with enough body confidence to rock a bikini at the beach, or anywhere else for that matter. She has not undergone plastic surgery or any other body modifications. Susanna has simply maintained confidence in her body through eating healthy and exercising.

Unconcerned with hiding her age, Somogyi believes that her years add to her confidence, “Every year that passes, I simply become more confident about my body. With age comes the power to stride out onto a beach with your head held high and not give a damn about how you look.” She is the embodiment of the belief that age is just a number, nothing more.

More and more people are beginning to accept this as truth, especially as they grow weary of unrealistic beauty standards constantly being flaunted. Even mature models and celebrities are proudly showing their naturally aging bodies and defying arbitrary age limits. The following are celebrities who are defiantly not covering up.

1 – Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren, a mature woman on vacation in a swimsuit at the beach

Helen Mirren rocked this accentuating swimsuit back in 2015 when she was sixty-nine years old. She looked stunning and was obviously unashamed to flaunt her age in a skintight two-piece.

While Dame Helen Mirren does use makeup, she claims that believing in herself is the best confidence boost at her age. She doesn’t fight age, she simply tries to look her best. However, she is wearing less makeup as she ages.

According to the ageless actress, “I look back at some photos of myself and think, ‘Oh my god, I look awful.’ Ninety-nine percent of the time, it’s because I’ve been wearing too much makeup. I’m finding that as I get older, I wear less because makeup is so advanced now that you can do more with less, can’t you?”

2 – Christie Brinkley

Christie Brinkley - an older woman that has been an icon since her twenties

Everyone’s favorite Uptown Girl and 70s model is sixty-four in this photo. That does not keep her from posing for amazing bikini shots and taking videos that 20-year-olds would envy.

Even today, former supermodel Christie Brinkley looks ageless at 69. Brinkley credits her remarkable figure to exercise and a vegetarian diet. When preparing a meal, she thinks in terms of colors, focusing on healthy greens, reds, and yellows, instead of calories.

Christie Brinkley knows that looking great can take a little effort. She is a believer in sunshine and fresh air. Christie spends as much time as possible outdoors to get sufficient vitamin D. When out in the sun, though, she is religious about using sunscreen.

3 – Nicola Griffin

Nicola Griffin in a bikini at the beach

Fifty-nine-year-old model Nicola Griffin has made it her goal to redefine beauty. Mature models, especially bikini models, are still rare in the modeling world. Nicola aims to change that as she advocates for body positivity and aging in a graceful way.

She knows that beauty editors are invariably looking for a new young face. Few see true beauty in a face and body over 50. Nicola is anything but new and young. She is a mother who began her career as a model when her daughters left for college. At an age when many women swap recipes, Nicola was donning a swimsuit and starting her search for a new career.

The mother-of-two is the oldest model to grace the pages of Sports Illustrated. She has also modeled lingerie for the British publication, SLiNK.

Nicola is at the forefront of a new trend – proving that a woman can be older, with a more normal-looking body than the average model putting out content, and still be self-confident and beautiful.  

“This seems to be my moment and I’m really happy,” she told SLiNK. “Life definitely begins over 50 … Nowadays I just think to hell with it. I am going to wear what I like; I am going to wear my hair long. The key is not listening to what other people tell you.”

4 – Elle Macpherson

Elle Macpherson on a beach in one of her many swimsuits

The supermodel known as “The Body” celebrates fifty-nine years of living by proudly donning a skimpy bikini.

Elle credits her diet with helping her stay in shape. She takes advantage of the citrus and mango trees and vegetables from her own garden, as she is a firm adherent to a plant-based diet. She largely avoids meat, poultry, and grain in favor of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes. She also exercises regularly.

Ellen is the founder of her own wellness line, WelleCo. Her beauty tips include beginning the day with meditation, which relaxes the mind and body. Stress can add years to a woman’s appearance. She prepares a green smoothie made from her own line, Super Elixir Greens, which she claims helps improve her and her customers immune systems and fill her body with vitality.

5 – Heidi Klum

Heidi Klum

Supermodel Heidi Klum doesn’t let fifty years of age keep her from wearing very skimpy bikinis. The fact is, she probably looks better than she ever has. Her body is sculpted to perfection.

Keeping in bikini shape takes work. Her toned legs are the result of years of running outdoors. She eats healthy meals and skips the pasta.

Heidi is another huge advocate of vegetables and believes in eating a salad each evening for dinner. Yogurt and almonds are her go-to snacks. However, she isn’t rigid about her routine. If on a rare occasion, a Big Mac calls, she will answer.

6 – Leslie Carleton

Leslie Carleton

Sixty-two-year-old Leslie Carleton is a professional bikini model. She has shown the world that age is a number and not a lifestyle. In 2021, she competed for the coveted Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover. Most of her rivals were 40 years younger than her.

She has redefined the norm by avoiding exercise for most of her life. Only in the last decade has she started to lift weights. She eats small meals throughout the day. Leslie has no problem with an occasional cheat burger, although she does keep flour and sugar to a minimum.

Leslie states, “I want to inspire women and show that we can be beautiful at any age. I am fitter now at 62 than I was at 40. I never thought that was possible. I never imagined I’d be rocking a bikini after the age of 50.”

7 – Yazemeenah Rossi

Yazemeenah Rossi

The competition in the modeling industry is fierce enough for tall, gorgeous twenty-year-olds. The great majority of them can’t make it. But Yazemeenah Rossi is sixty-seven years old and a successful bikini and lingerie model.

Rossi is certainly beautiful with long white hair that she refuses to color, no matter what Google says about older women’s hairstyles. Not only is her natural white hair not a hindrance, but it has become her trademark and one of the reasons people search for her and choose to book her. She has been in the modeling business for 30 years. Her images are rarely retouched, and she merely pays attention to proper lighting when it comes to editing her content. She dislikes having clients retouch her images. She considers her wrinkles honest and sees no reason to hide them.

By her own admission, the model isn’t much into beauty products. She prefers olive oil as a cleanser, and salt or sugar as an exfoliate. Instead of expensive creams, she opts for essential oils. It is a routine that has certainly worked for her.

8 – Kathy Jacobs

Kathy Jacobs, an amazing example of older women in the modeling world

Fifty-nine-year-old Sports Illustrated bikini model Kathy Jacobs leads the line of senior women confidently sporting a bikini. Her motto: “Old is the new hot.”

She was the oldest finalist in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit competition at the age of fifty-six. As she states, “I can keep up with girls half my age!”

Kathy Jacobs not only defies the normal age requirement. She is a mere 5 feet 3 inches tall, thus truly proving that numbers are meaningless. She believes she has the power to encourage older, more petite women to see themselves as beautiful and model material. “I think it would show that you are never too old or short to be relevant, deserving, current, sexy, and, most of all, to be included!” She has plenty of encouraging words to offer. “Old is gold,” “And short is sexy.” Instead of letting her differences discourage her, she has embraced them. “Heck, I’m so out, I’m in.”

Jacobs is on a strict regime of seafood, fruits, and vegetables. She does cardio and weight training several days a week. However, her regime isn’t about being a model – and a senior model at that. She eats and exercises to remain the best version of herself. Being her best self is more important to her than outrivaling her 20 and 30-year-old competitors.

Is Wearing a Bikini Only for Models?

So, we have looked at several mature models who are keeping it natural, defying typical standards of beauty, and still rocking bikinis. But how does this relate to the average older woman? Can she wear a bikini, or should she toss the two-piece and consider those days behind her? How much does attitude affect that decision?

Strutting in a bikini is nerve-wracking at any age. It’s basically wearing your underwear in public. Unrealistic beauty standards do not help the issue. Most photos and videos we see of people in swimwear are airbrushed to remove any conceivable flaws. A woman must have a perfectly slim, youthful body, otherwise, she is shamed into covering it up.

How many women, especially older women, will meet such standards? If we are comparing those standards to what is depicted in media, the answer is none. Photos are easily manipulated, but our bodies are real, tangible, and, alive. They cannot be quickly airbrushed before we walk out onto the beach.

Thus, it is often reinforced that the socially acceptable thing for older women to do is cover up. But the whole purpose of this article has been about defying those outdated, harmful ideas. So, back to the original question – Can the average older woman still wear bikinis? She sure as hell can. If she wants to, that is. However, is there swimwear that is more age-appropriate for older women?

Age-Appropriate Swimwear

What exactly constitutes age-appropriate swimwear? Well, it has more to do with what you are comfortable in than what society deems appropriate.

By the time women reach the age of fifty, they have acquired a certain amount of self-confidence about themselves – but not necessarily about their bodies. As women age and their bodies change, it can begin to show outwardly, perhaps through wrinkles or stretch marks. They seriously question if they can still wear a bikini.

One of the major reasons for hesitation is the concern about what others will think. This attitude is fully rejected by former British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman, who has posted bikini pictures of herself on Instagram. “I happen to love bikinis and have never felt that it mattered to anyone how I looked wearing them. I fully intend to continue wearing them to my grave.” More and more women are protesting the idea that beauty belongs solely to the under-thirties crowd.

An older woman in a bikini outdoors

Older Women Wearing Bikinis

Looking to models, or anyone else for that matter, to define what is acceptable for you is not always ideal. However, the women listed above seem to be genuinely trying to change the narrative for all women. They want to be real, and they want real women to be seen for who they are – strong, graceful, beautiful, and still sexy. 

If you feel sexy in a bikini at sixty-five or eighty-five, wear it. Be proud of your body. She has carried you through each passing year. Your wrinkles, your gray hair, your curves are all a part of you and nothing to be ashamed of. It’s easier said than believed, I know. But trust me on this one. Make “old is the new hot” your mantra as well.

There may also be changes you would like to make to increase your body confidence before donning that bikini. You can do that, too. Often making simple changes in your diet and exercising regularly can make a huge difference in how you feel. Doing something relaxing is good for body, mind, and spirit. We have a few more ideas of ways to stay healthy as you age to check out if you’re interested!

When you are ready, find the right bikini for you, then get out there and rock it because you deserve it. After all, feeling sexy isn’t for the onlookers, it’s for you.

Attitude is Everything

If we can come to the point in our lives where we recognize that beauty is fluid and ageless, despite what the rest of the world may want us to believe, we can begin to flip the narrative. It starts with changing our attitude toward our own bodies.

Let go of boxy, exclusive beauty standards that drive all women to look the same and begin to embrace your own body for who she is. The confidence to rock a bikini – or to simply move through life with the ease and grace of someone no longer stumbling through their youth – will follow.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are some ways to feel more comfortable with my body before wearing a bikini?

While it’s important to be mindful of the meals you’re eating, it’s also important to pay attention to the small snacks you may be eating throughout the day. We’ve published an article full of healthy snacks for aging adults – feel free to check it out!

2. Do you have suggestions for cover-ups that could be worn with a swimsuit to make me feel more comfortable in my older age?

We do!

Bsubseach Women Swimsuit Coverup Blouse Button Down Shirt Dresses Swiss Dot Tops

This one comes in 16 colors and is a one-size-fits-all option. It has functional buttons, elbow-length sleeves, and is long enough to cover the average woman to just above the knees.

3. How can I get more comfortable wearing a bikini, or swimsuit, in public?

As a female myself, one of the best ways I’ve found to become more comfortable wearing anything I’m initially uncomfortable with is to first wear it around the house, just for me. As I spend more time in the outfit, I typically become more comfortable with the way it fits, feels, and moves while on my body. Modeling your new look for your friends could also be a good idea to get you feeling more comfortable!

a woman looking out at the sea, seeming to enjoy her life in a bikini on vacation

Leona Small, Author

Leona Small is a freelance writer and former caregiver. She has experience working with people with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias and has spent years working alongside both patients and caregivers in Hospice. Additionally, she’s worked as a Professional Organizer helping people and families to purge, organize, manage, and prepare for various life transitions such as moving, downsizing, and the passing of loved ones. Her passions include writing about healthy aging, innovative resources to help older adults and caregivers, and traveling.

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