A 56-year-old model who made history by becoming a Sports Illustrated model has described how her career took off thanks to her grey hair after she was scouted while queuing in her bank.
Nicola Griffin, from Nottingham, became the oldest woman ever to appear as a swimsuit model in a groundbreaking issue of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, which had size 16 model Ashley Graham on the cover.
She made waves appearing in a gold bikini for the Swimsuits for All campaign and Griffin is now signed to two major modelling agencies.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Griffin said she had tried to break into modelling as a teenager but failed to land a major campaign. After becoming a single mother to two twin girls aged 43, she worked as an agent for a French language school and left her modelling ambitions behind.
But her career suddenly took off when she was scouted by a company which creates beauty products for grey hair while queuing at her local bank. This led to more work until she was signed by Milk Model Management, the same agency that represents plus-size supermodel Tess Holliday, and was chosen to appear in Sports Illustrated.
Her distinctive grey hair came after she decided against paying for expensive hair treatments to cover her natural colour.
She said: “I was spending wads of money on it – £70 for a colour and cut – which was a lot for a struggling mother of two and it didn’t even look that great. It was dyed dark and it looked dull and heavy.
“I think women who are dyeing their hair constantly are doing themselves a disservice because underneath some of those heads is beautiful silver hair. As we get older, we make the mistake of trying to keep our hair looking young and it ages us too soon.”
Griffin has now signed with the Wilhelmina modelling agency in New York and has been cast as the new face of the Hope clothing range.
“I think 80 or 90 is old,“ she said. “Once I got to 50, past the menopause, I just thought: ‘I’m going to go for it now and grab everything that comes my way.”