I wish she wouldn’t have done it. In her glory days, Polina Porizkova defined the look of the 80’s: the leggy gal with chiseled faces that only a rock star could date. Rock stars didn’t just date that type but put them on album covers and dedicated songs to them--which is why all Gen X’ers boys wanted to be rock stars and all Gen X girls wanted to be models. Well, maybe not all boys and girls, but the ones who had any sense did.
Polina, of course, married Ric Ocasek of the Cars, and she stayed married to him until his death in 2019, although at that time they were going through a divorce. Now widowed, the 56-year-old former supermodel can’t find a date.
At least that’s what she complained about to The Times in an article accompanied by risqué photographs that take full advantage of the zoom out dial, and studio lighting.
“I am now completely invisible,” Porizkova explains. “I walk into a party, I try to flirt with guys and they just walk away from me to pursue someone 20 years younger. I’m very single, I’m dressed up, I’ve made an effort – nothing”. Having had enough of this indignity, the former supermodel is calling for change.
Long committed to aging naturally, Polina rejected fillers and plastic surgeries. In the world where high profile women opt for these procedures, her choice to age naturally is refreshing and brave. From my plebeian point of view, the upper class subculture of women who prefer a botched plastic surgery to crow’s feet is grotesque. Feminist Nancy Pelosi, for instance, looks like Ida Lowry in Terry Gillian’s dystopia Brazil who had her skin stretched out by a surgeon one time too many.
Polina, who is undoubtably smart, always wanted to be more than just a pretty face, trying filmmaking in her youth, and penning a New York Times OpEd on feminism a few years ago. With The Times's heavily promoted fashion spread, she now looks to have found her second act, that of an aged supermodel fighting on behalf of senior women who still want to be seen as sexual beings.
In some ways she is perfectly positioned for it: she is, after all, Polina, an aged Polina, but Polina all the same — despite baring two babies and going through menopause, she didn’t gain a pound, and her eyes are still bright and cheekbones are as high as ever.
The 80’s glamour girl is now a part of the movement that seeks to democratize beauty, to represent women of all ages, colors and sizes, together with men trying to pass as women, in the media. The underlying belief here is that men will be attracted to any prominently displayed picture, even if it is of another man.
In essence, the woke mind concocted a conspiracy theory that blames advertising companies for instilling unrealistic standards of beauty by promoting an elite group of women.
Polina, who was in the 80’s and 90’s offered multimillion dollar advertising contracts, has been a big beneficiary of the exclusive beauty standard. She is not shy about her pretty privilege. Not so long ago, she was telling journalists that before digitisation of photography only rare beauties could work in her profession:
“Adobe Photoshop killed the model. Before Adobe, you had to look perfect on the photo in order to be able to be in a magazine. You couldn’t have wrinkles. You couldn’t have pimples. You couldn’t have cellulite. […] Now it totally doesn’t matter. Anybody can be a model. Literally a 65-year-old with retouching will now look like a 25-year-old. A weird 25-year-old, but still. That perfection that was once looked for is no longer required.”
Yet she signed on to a party that wants to move us from the place where perfection can be faked to the one where jealous souls erase it completely. In recent years advertisers made a concerted effort to promote images of obese people, and various types of crossdressers.
Fashion trends today are organized not around celebrating a feminine ideal, but erasing that ideal to please the envious. Dresses made of too much cloth hide problem areas, but on a pretty girl they look like potato sacks. Puffy sleeves hide broad shoulders and contouring makeup helps to smooth masculine features, both are here to stay for that very reason, even if they do little for women.
Polina, too, can’t do much for us mortals. If the rationale behind doing The Times spread was to show that even as a granny she is on the hot side, she certainly accomplished that. Maybe she can even carve out a niche for gently aged former supermodels returning to work in their sunset years.
However, it hardly changes the fact that an average female sexagenarian has sex appeal of a crockpot. It’s not that our society made mature women “invisible,” but a sad reality with which women have to contend across cultures.
Aging naturally, Polina’s example seems to suggest, is different from aging gracefully. She’s right to keep her wrinkles not because they are sexy but because they are interesting. She is interesting. The supermodel has a crazy life story of the daughter of Czechoslovak opposition figures who had to flee following the Prague Spring, but weren’t able to bring her alone. She later became the focus of intense international pressure, with the Swedish hockey team refusing to play the Czechoslovaks until the child is reunited with her parents. She did her first magazine cover at 16, and at 18 met her future husband who at the time was more than twice her age.
Aging gracefully means accepting that life comes in stages, and that later years are most suited for reflection. There is a lot to be experienced in friendship and conversation even if romance fades into the background. Expecting to do as well romantically is just as silly as pulling one’s eyebrows halfway into the hairline. Once gone, youth can’t be recaptured, but a woman of substance can command a different kind of attention.
We live in a geriatric society that treats youth horribly. We isolated children for more than a year, allegedly to save the near-death seniors from a novel virus. We put masks on toddlers, and made sure that young women internalized face coverings. And while we hide youth and beauty, a movement emerged demanding that we celebrate the old and the ugly.
If Polina is looking for a hookup, it shouldn’t be hard to arrange. Senior dating sites are hopping, I hear, but something tells me she would have to adjust her expectations. She didn’t really think that a man would prefer a 56-year-old to a woman under 40, even if that 56-year-old once did two consecutive issues of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, did she?
Photo Credit- plrjumbo.com