Jacqueline Depaul – Model, Visionary & Career Woman

Jacqueline Depaul defines "age is not a number"

Jacqueline Depaul

Need some inspiration to get you through the work week? The amazing story of Jacqueline Depaul, an extraordinary woman who found her life’s passion at the ripe age of 38…modeling. Juggling a full–time career and modeling is no easy task, so she has taken the time to interview with us and spill some of her tips and tricks. You are never too old to find a new hobby or interest in life and Depaul’s story will confirm this progressive way of thinking.  

Tell us your story on entering the industry.

I did not start modeling when I was young. In fact, my father was an engineer for the United Nations and I grew up in third world countries (Jamaica and Haiti), so I was very isolated and had no idea what fashion was. We didn’t have magazines at all, we barely had TV, and we had one TV station with the Dukes of Hazard and old episodes of All My Children as our 2 hours of prime–time TV in the evening. There was no other exposure. I moved back to the US when I was 16, proceeded to college and majored in physics, then graduated and got a job as a technical sales person in the telecommunications industry in California. I was 26 in Los Angeles and people would randomly ask if I was a model, I assumed because I was 5’11” and didn’t think much of it. I was working and my side hobby was Salsa and Latin Ballroom dancing (the kind you see on Dancing with the Stars). At 38, I injured myself and even though loved my job, I needed a creative outlet and I, oddly, came up with the idea of modeling. I wrote a blog post on that thinking process, you can read about it here.

2.  How does it feel to be a 40–something woman in a field of 20–somethings?

Well, it’s interesting. There is modeling available for women of my age, albeit not much, because we technically don’t do “fashion” anymore unless it’s one of the rare brands that caters to older women. We model commercial products, like SUVs, appliances, and medication. The industry is changing, however, as more big brands are taking on 40–something actresses in their campaigns and very old celebrities and socialites are now all the rage in fashion campaigns. So the market is moving towards catering to the older consumer, but these opportunities are mainly reserved for celebrities, which doesn’t open the market for models like me. The older model trend will never replace the younger models in the industry. So my solution is mainly not to worry about it too much. I do the jobs I can get through my agency (which I am very grateful for) and I take the high–fashion pictures I like to take and put them on my blog and Instagram and people seem to like them. Modeling is not my main career so I can afford to just have fun with it and see where it takes me. I don’t need anyone’s approval but my own.

3.  How do you motivate yourself?

Modeling is my creative outlet. It is a challenge to figure out how to create fashion images and stories that make sense for an older, stronger woman, but we do it. It is really the thrill of the creativity that drives me. Its like acting—they say you shouldn’t bother acting unless you love acting, because otherwise it is way too much work. In this case, it is the same for modeling. It is a lot of work but I love the expression of it.

4.  What are your beauty secrets that keep you looking young and flawless?

For women my age, take the focus off the creams and look to your hormones and overall diet and lifestyle. The hormones are really the youth drivers—when they are in perfect balance you revert back in age. I have had a lot of trouble with mine and inadvertently discovered that if you correct them you really look so much better. Thyroid is a big one—when that one drops your skin sags (it’s called skin laxity) which can cause your eyelids, cheeks and forehead to droop, and also the skin on your body starts to loosen, and you lose the outer half of your eyebrows. A lot of women my age have low thyroid (guys, too). There are a bunch of other hormones too, try to balance them back out in a natural approach or natural replacement. I also like the skin regeneration sound wave machines like Endymed and Aspect. They heat up your skin and tell your body to replace the collagen from underneath. It’s a pretty nifty trick.  I also eat as organic and high plant as possible, with healthy meats and fats. 

5.  Do you have any advice for individuals pursuing a modeling career?

If you would like to model, you have multiple options:

1) Be a genetic lottery winner and get picked up out of a mall and sent to Paris (aka Karlie Kloss). These are the girls in the top campaigns, fashion magazines, and runway shows. This didn’t happen to me, so I’ll focus on other options.

2) Figure out what type of model you are, and start modeling for trade on websites like ModelMayhem.com where models, photographers, and creative talent network to build their portfolios. Get some experience. Then visit agencies at open calls and see if they like you (you don’t need pro pictures). Enter modeling contests, keep going back to the agencies, and keep working on your book. Eventually you will hit something. That’s what happened to me when I won the 2011 Wilhelmina 40+ model search, it was when I finally hit the mainstream.

3) If you are not a standard model size or look, but you are interesting and unique, be an Instagram model. Show your life events, outfits, and fun personality (like Blonde Salad). Eventually, after you build your following, you will be asked to model for small–large brands because you are considered an “influencer” with a large audience. Brands will collaborate with you and ask you to take pictures in their items in exchange for gifts or cash. Many of the top fashion bloggers make way more money than most models. Even the agencies are opening “instamodel” divisions to represent Instagram girls. You can transition into other modeling.

6.  What is your favorite trend of the moment?


7.  Who is your favorite designer?

Honestly, I can’t give one designer that credit, but for the large ones I do love Herve Leger, Helmut Lang, and Gucci. But there are so many smaller, up–and–coming designers that I work with who are amazing, they are going to hit it big soon.

8.  How do you juggle your telecommunications and modeling career?

That’s hard. I have to make time for both. I am guilty of spending too much time on the fun modeling stuff and not enough time on the telecommunications stuff. It’s self–discipline and I get distracted. But I am working on improving that every day.

9.  What is your next project going to be?

I have been doing a lot of high vibrancy color projects lately. I would like to do something more muted, even black and white, maybe in the style of David Yurman’s jewelry ads with Kate Moss. Something with a lot of expression and connection with the camera, with strong lighting. I am currently toying with that and will let you know! I’m also working with a TV producer on something, still in the early stages...

10.  How do you define success?

On a small day–to–day scale, being better than I was yesterday. That is the simple approach. Anything else makes me crazy.

On a large scale, for modeling, I would have to say being on the cover of Vogue. That almost happened to me once. Vogue Italia wanted to do a classic issue and wanted someone who looked like Wilhelmina, the founder of the Wilhelmina Agency, on the cover. I was put on reserve for this. The issue got canceled but boy I would have been very pleased to do that and I would have felt like I “made it." Maybe one day another opportunity like that will come along.

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