Supermodel Paulina Porizkova reveals how aging helped her body image

Following the release of her candid book, supermodel Paulina Porizkova opens up about the benefits of aging and her changing perspective throughout the years

Paulina Porizkova
(Image credit: Franziska Krug / Contributor)

Given their job description, it's always refreshing to hear models speak up about body image-related issues. 

Now 57 years old, supermodel Paulina Porizkova, who is behind the 'old and ugly' photos shared by women trend, recently got candid about aging, her newfound fame (and criticism) on Instagram and her newly released book of essays titled No Filter: The Good, The Bad and the Beautiful.

"From the perspective of an older woman, I look back at myself as young and I think what was there to celebrate?," the model said in an interview with Yahoo Life (opens in new tab). "I didn't have half my intelligence, I didn't have half my understanding, I didn't have my patience, I didn't have the character. Truly when they say that I was in my prime, the only thing about me that was prime was that my face did not have any wrinkles, I didn't have any on my body, that I was a smooth canvas."

She went on to argue that with age comes true, long-lasting, meaningful happiness. 

"All the good stuff comes as you grow up," she noted. "So why do we celebrate youth to the extent that we do? I'm still looking for that answer. Like why do we worship youth? Why do women my age want to look 20 years younger?"

Paulina Porizkova has proudly been sharing 'old and ugly' photos

(Image credit: Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Those are the exact sorts of themes that the model has been exploring on her Instagram account, where she's been praised for her honest portrayal of aging and the modeling industry. Her success on the social media platform is actually what convinced Paulina to start working on her book.

"As a young woman, I thought I was the most interesting person in the room. And because of my celebrity and the way I look, people would let me get away with it," said the mother-of-two. "There's shame attached to aging, so when you post a picture of you looking your age, you are already ashamed. … There's a fair amount of trepidation, you feel really vulnerable posting yourself to where people can shame you, and you get shamed on social media. There will always be a few that throw in, you know, like, 'Oh, you should retire, old hag. Why are you posting ugly pictures?' Like, 'Who wants to see this s***?'"

Given her years in the spotlight and the self-reflection that the social media commentary has prompted, Paulina sees herself entirely differently now - a concept that she addresses in her essays.

"I've come to a point of at least internal self-acceptance, I don't know about the external because it keeps changing on me. But the internal, I've come to accept that I'm a person who is anxious, I'm a person who will have bouts of depression, I'm a person who can be really kind and empathetic and also really judgmental, and b****y. I've kind of come to accept that I'm all of those things and that makes me able to have a better relationship to my body," she said. "I know who I am [and] I also think, wow, my body has gotten me this far and it still works, mostly. If it wasn't for arthritis, my body would be doing great and I'm grateful to it."

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Even more candidly, the celebrity reflected on the shift in perspective that happens as one gets older and begins focusing on different aspects of life.

"When you're younger, your priority's kind of to do everything and yes, you do think that, 'Oh my God, if only my nose was shorter, I would be loved and I would get all the dates I wanted,'" she noted. "When you're in your fifties, you know that that's not true. Your nose has brought you here and making it different is not really going to do anything. That's the way it is. So that's the beauty of being older."

Talking to WWD (opens in new tab), Paulina did reveal that she indulges in treatments like oxygen facials and face yoga every so often. 

"I just want a little subtle help," she said to the outlet. "I don't want any drastic stuff. I don't want to eliminate my age. I just want to look as good as I can give the limitations." 

Asked whether she'd ever consider going a step further and using injectables, Paulina didn't put down the practice, claiming it affords some women the chance to look "wonderful," but revealed she'd likely never try them on her own skin. 

"I really like the fact that I can have a conversation with you and I can react to what you saw and you'll know exactly what I think," she said, mentioning that injectables may prevent one's full range of facial expressions. "It's clearly visible on my face and I feel like isn’t that what are faces are for? To communicate? The communication thing is more important than looking beautiful at this point so I don’t want to take that away."

Although a role model for women in general and someone that people within the modeling industry certainly look up, Paulina was also quick to note that the business has drastically changed throughout the years and her advice might not be as on-point as it once used to be.

She did, however, share a tip that she hopes everyone will keep in mind. "If you're making money, make sure you put it away," she said matter-of-factly. "Make sure it's in your own bank account and don't give it to anybody else."

Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers culture, entertainment, food, fashion and travel news. Anna’s words have appeared on Time Out New York, the Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Us Weekly, Bon Appetit and Brooklyn Magazine, among other outlets.