Over the years we have come across many instances where people have defied their age and done amazing things. We all remember China’s hottest grandpa, Wang Deshun, who walked the ramp, bare-chested at the age of 80. Similarly, we recently met Mandy Priestley, a 53-year-old lady who has only lately begun her career in the model and glamour sector, after spending years as an office worker typing up patents and trademarks.
Let’s get to know more about Mandy straight from her in this edition of WORLD MODEL HUNT magazine. Hey!
We realise it’s not polite to ask a woman her age, but just to make sure we’ve mentioned the correct one, would you like our readers to know your age?
Sure-53. Born March 1966
Tell us about yourself what’s the story behind you modeling at this age? Is this a career rest or just a hobby?
I did a little bit of modeling (photographic and runway) in my spare time when in my late 20’s/early 30’s. Modeling was struck on the head once I left my home country until this summer, when my girlfriend discovered photography as a new hobby thanks to a workshop taught by a professional photographer stationed in the UK. During the session, I served as the model, and we both had a fantastic time, learned a lot, and were both encouraged to pursue it more seriously.
From that point on I have been Alan’s guinea pig and I guess his inspiration (and muse) as he’s been developing his skills and mine. We practice often and our experience comes in useful as we have quite a few clients that are unsure how to pose. However, my main role in the business we have set up is as a makeup artist, and this is something I trained in last year. We are finding that the in-house combination of makeup and photography works well.
Tell as shout your education. Have you had fashion modeling courses? What red courses or studies have you taken?
While living in South Africa 20+ years ago a friend of mine suggested I try out with a local modeling school. There I was schooled in the model “walk” and how to pose. Since then I haven’t had any other formal training. Just lots of practice in the last year, and figuring out what works and what doesn’t.
You have a very well-maintained body (Thank you!). What’s your routine to keep that up and how long have you been working for it!
I’ve always been a bit of a “gym rat,” and after two years of classes, I became an aerobics instructor at the age of 18. I would push myself to perform circuit training after running aerobics classes, and finally got into weight training, and haven’t looked back since. It’s more challenging as you get older, with more aches and pains, but it’s also important to have a positive attitude. If I can motivate younger women to exercise (or even some older ones), it will be worthwhile.
What are your goals as a model? How do you see yourself progressing in this field?
My main goal is to use my experience to help models that come for a photoshoot whether that’s doing makeup or helping Alan during a photoshoot itself. Quite a few of our clients are doing a photo shoot for the first time, and so have little to no experience. This is where I can help put them at their ease and be an example to them. In terms of progressing, I am sure that being in a magazine like WMH will open doors for me. And although modeling might be considered a younger person’s game, clothes and fashion for example aren’t just for the young so why not have older ladies on the catwalk?
You are also a makeup artist. What are the new techniques that you play around with or experiment with?
Although I’m a relatively new MUA, I am rapidly gaining experience and love helping women to feel great about themselves. Alan and I were talking the other day about how we frequently see Chinese people snapping selfies with their cosmetics or a laptop screen during photoshoots. We were both frustrated at first, until we understood that we are all beautiful in our own way, and they just wanted to let the world know how much they appreciated their look and the outcomes we were obtaining during the session. I guess the immediacy of social media is driving this too
I am continuously inspired by well-known MUAs on various social media platforms, but I also enjoy experimenting with make-up and looks, and it helps when I can find a willing participant. We’ve also just begun to push the boundaries by employing latex paint, UV paint, body paint, and other materials.
What’s your preferred diet?
Because of a new workout regimen, I’m eating mostly chicken or fish with lots of salad and vegetables. Life gets in the way every now and then, but the goal is to get back on track as soon as possible.
You are an English woman, why move to Dubai?
I am South African but moved to England in 2001. That’s where I met my other half a few years ago. He got a transfer with work and I followed. I had spent many years in an office job typing up patents and trademarks. When the opportunity came to move abroad, I grasped it. Let’s face it, Dubai weather is generally warmer than English weather! Though to be fair I still love the weather in SA, and it will always be home.
If given a chance to change one thing in this world, what would you change?
For people to learn that we are all different. These differences are what makes the world what it is. If we can accept that, then we are on a better path to living in harmony, no matter one’s culture, religion, ethnicity, whatever. We are all human after all, and mistakes do happen. Accept it and move on.
How do you spend your free time?
Alan and I have just started our make-up and photography business, so we’re spending a lot of time editing and networking to get it off the ground. When we get free time, I love to read and we both enjoy the cinema for some escapism. And of course, being outdoors… as we enter the next six months in Dubai the weather will be perfect for desert trips (and photoshoots) and the like. I also like being active and socializing with friends and family. I don’t want to become stagnant but to constantly inspire and keep looking forward.
Mandy, we just wanted to say that you are an inspiration to many people. Things get harder with age and harder every day. The core premise of living your life with people you care about, doing what you enjoy, and influencing others along the way is the most fantastic thing anyone can accomplish. We wish you the best for all your future endeavors.