In the second of a new series of interviews – ‘Girls on Film’, The Prowlster caught up with mature model Karina Mendez who is out to dispel the belief that age is a factor in the beauty business.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Karina Mendez, and I am of Uruguayan descent and Australian raised. I’m a 43-year-old mum. I have a wonderfully life changing five-year-old beautiful girl, and now I’ve started working as a model!
Have you not always modelled?
No. I have just begun in the industry. Twenty four years ago I was prompted by the same agent who handled Elle Macpherson at the time, to get some shots done. He saw some potential in me. I was only 19 at the time and scared. But I am no longer frightened. Age brings fearlessness.
Tell us about your current modelling?
I’ve just started really and in the process of breaking down barriers in the industry. Its all about getting my name and look out there. There’s a lot of interest in confident and sexy maturity for TV and lifestyle. But I believe there could be more. I’m out to dispel the belief that age is a factor!
What has the reaction been – from agencies and clients to friends and family?
Most are very supportive. Especially the female friends who very much value and need to see other women empowering themselves. My mum did worry, as all mums do, that I would appear in Playboy or something! There’s definitely a need to break some ground in this area with clients and fellow agencies, but the agency I belong to (Wink Models) are so forward thinking and encouraging that I know I am being supported in this area. I am ready for the challenges ahead..
It’s an inspirational story, but who inspires you?
Firstly thank you for saying so. It’s such a flattering notion to be found to be “inspiring”! To answer your question though, I find pioneers and fearless people totally inspiring and up-lifting. People that have overcome adversity to triumph over hardships. People like Malala Yousafzai who has used her experience to inspire others. People are inspiring in so many ways. In the modelling world, I would have to say that Elle Macpherson is a definite form of inspiration!
Do you keep any special routines?
Easy, I have a little secret! Red wine! Full of Resveratrol, a form of a potent antioxidant. Especially in organic Cabernet Sauvignon! But seriously, on the whole I am adamant about researching and learning the best foods and supplements that encourage the body to continue to age well and age slowly. I have a green smoothie everyday with lots of wonderful greens, green powders and natural proteins, as well as lots and lots of lovely fish oils! I don’t stress my body with intense workouts, I prefer to go for long walks every day instead, that clear the mind and open the muscles. It teaches you how to breathe. I think that’s good for ageing well.
My ambition is to use the modelling as a platform to break down preconceived stereotypes on women of a certain age! There is huge market for women how have tried to look after themselves, had children and still wish to be relevant and valued in the public arena. Mum’s and women over 35/40 are major contributors to the economic retail marketplace and they should be catered to as such. I want to be part of that movement as well as a pioneer (if I can call myself that) in effecting change. I do love that I am 43, but I also love that I don’t look like I am 43! I have a lot of secrets to share, that are not so out of reach..
How would you describe your style?
I am very Boho/Australian surfie type and very relaxed. I don’t follow trends. I like comfort but sexiness is must! It’s a Latina thing!!