World’s oldest supermodel recognised in honours still has ‘plenty of energy’
Daphne Selfe was ‘totally surprised’ to have been awarded a British Empire Medal for her services to women and fashion.
The world’s oldest supermodel has been recognised in the New Year Honours list as she continues to model professionally into her 90s.
Daphne Selfe, who began her career in 1949 after being discovered aged 21, has been photographed by David Bailey and modelled for Dolce and Gabbana.
The grandmother, from Baldock, Hertfordshire, said she was “totally surprised” to have been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for her services to women and fashion.
She said: “You don’t have to be that young, you can be whatever age now. I’m still managing to go at 90, so why not?
“If you’ve got the experience and the know-how you can do anything.
“I’ve got plenty of energy. I was working for a photographer the other day and he said I had more energy than any of his younger models!”
Ms Selfe said she did not expect to work professionally again following the birth of her three children, now aged 62, 59 and 58, but she restarted her career aged 70 when she was approached by the brand Red or Dead for London Fashion Week in 1998.
After she walked the catwalk, Vogue magazine invited her to be part of an article on ageing shot by Nick Knight, where a scout from Models 1 said they wanted Ms Selfe on their books.
I’ve always loved dressing up and that’s the key to being a good model Daphne Selfe
She said: “It timed itself rather well, it was just after my husband died that I got the shoot and I could never have done it when he was alive, so it was fortuitous.
“I was looking after him as he’d had various strokes and things and I had to do things for him.
“I couldn’t have gone abroad before, which obviously modelling takes, and that was very exciting because I hadn’t really been abroad.
“I’d been to the Isle of Wight and that was about it. Now I’ve been to America, Australia, Japan, China and all over Europe.”
Ms Selfe, who has almost 60,000 followers on Instagram, was named the world’s oldest professional fashion model in the Guinness Book of Records in 2014, when she was 85.
She said her grandchildren, all in their 20s, found the news of the honours “very funny” but added the recognition was good for the profession.
She added: “I do get some very strange clothes these days, it is ever such fun because I’ve always loved dressing up and that’s the key to being a good model.
“You want to enjoy the clothes.”