Paulina Porizkova Feels "Invisible" at 56—Even Though She's a Supermodel
"I try to flirt with guys and they will just walk away from me mid-sentence..."
As her life goes on, Paulina Porizkova has been consistently outspoken about aging and about the way our society becomes even more unfair to women as they get older. And, in a new interview with The Times, the supermodel shared more of her thoughts and personal experience, including how aging has affected the way people interact with her. At 56, Porizkova says she feels "invisible" when interacting with men in particular, even though she herself feels confident and sexier than ever. Her confidence is evidenced by the provocative photos she posts on her Instagram account, which, to her, are making a clear point about how our culture views older women in comparison to younger women.
In the interview, Porizkova also says she wishes women could come together to fight against ageism, but at the same time she understands why some women undergo procedures to make themselves appear younger, because we aren't at that point yet. Read on to see what else the model had to say.
She feels "invisible" around men.
In the Times interview, Porizkova explained that when she goes to parties, she's ignored by men, even though she's interested in flirting and putting herself out there as a single woman. "Nobody believes me unless they see it," she told the publication. "My girlfriends thought I was joking at first. Now they've all witnessed it."
She continued (via Today), "I am now completely invisible. I walk into a party, I try to flirt with guys and they will just walk away from me mid-sentence to pursue someone 20 years younger. I'm very single, I'm dressed up, I've made an effort—nothing."
Realizing this was happening made her feel bad about herself. "Like the boiled frog, you don't know until (you're gone)," she explained. "It was around the same time my marriage fell apart: my husband was no longer interested in me and, as I started looking around, I realized I was invisible to the population at large. It made me feel really terrible about myself." Porizkova married late the Cars singer Ric Ocasek in 1989 and they separated in 2017. She has since made headlines for a brief relationship with writer-director Aaron Sorkin.
She wants women to fight ageism as a united front.
Porizkova understands why some women pursue treatments or procedures to make themselves appear younger, but she wishes they didn't feel pressured to do so.
"We need to stand up and insist on not being invisible," Porizkova told The Times. "I wish there were more women who left their marionette lines (which run down from the corners of the mouth) and forehead lines and crows' feet. I wish there were more women who dared to age." She continued, "We are in a society set up for women who look like little girls. That shouldn't be OK with us. We need a collective movement to fight ageism, but it requires a bending of the sisterhood, which just hasn't happened."
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She also addresses ageism on her Instagram.
Porizkova talks about ageism and unrealistic beauty standards on her Instagram account often. She also posts all sorts of photos of herself, from nude pictures to ones in which she's wearing no makeup to ones that show off the gray roots of her hair.
"I started posting the same kind of pictures that have been taken of me since I was 15," the long-time model told The Times. "I look good. I didn't realize it would be shocking for a fifty-something woman to pose in the same bikinis from 30 years ago that still fit. It's OK to ogle somebody who could be your daughter but not mature women who know themselves and are most likely way better at sex?"
She says she doesn't share these photos to collect compliments.
In November, next to a nude, but censored, photo, Porizkova wrote in part, "I post bikini and nude photos because I finally feel good in my skin. I don't do this for compliments or likes. (Although they are very nice indeed). I'm doing it because you see thousands of images of younger women in the same situations. That's what you're used to seeing. No one tells them to put their clothes on. By what standard is it ok to ogle a nude teen, but not a mature woman? I have done the same sort of photos since I was fifteen. Back then, I couldn't be proud of who I was because I didn't yet know who I was. I did what others asked of me. I posed for others."
There was backlash to her comments about feeling unseen.
After the interview with The Times was published, Porizkova received critical comments from Twitter users. Some argued that receiving less attention now is just the result of being in a different stage of life, and that she needs to accept it. Others said that she probably made other people feel invisible when she was younger. She responded to many comments directly, but also tweeted, "I'd like to thank all the men who are now on my feed telling me I should be invisible at my age. You're proving my point."
On Instagram she wrote that she was "not proud" of being part of a "Twitter fight," and added, "The fight started with a man mansplaining to me that it's not that I'm invisible, but [no] longer viable to most men. The first part is not true, the second is."
She continued, "This guy was totally missing my point of invisibility. But worse were the many men and some women who backed him up with: yeah, you're an old hag, why should you be visible? It was hilarious that they were accidentally proving half of my point. I have absolutely lost the desire to be visible to unevolved men. I much prefer being seen by the sisterhood."