Credit: Veronica Tay

What does your age mean to you? Is it a mere numeral, a yearly reminder of the passage of time, or a guide to how well you ought⁠ to live your life? In our ‘Age Is Just A Number’ feature, Her World speaks to Singapore women from their⁠ 20s to 80s, and delves into how they feel about age and ageing.⁠

These are their stories.⁠

The first of its kind in Singapore to represent models over the age of 50, Platinum Angels Management (PAM) has a range of elegant older faces that include half-English model Elaine Tan, 61, and former Her World cover girl Gladys Phua, When they are not modelling, both of them are homemakers.

Elaine Tan, Model & Homemaker, 61

Stretch cotton lame dress, Norma Kamali at Net-a-Porter

“To me age is just a number. I know it’s sad when I look at myself and I say ‘Oh my god, your face is falling off!’ but I’m ageing gracefully. I won’t think of getting work done. No Botox, nothing. Just be yourself, be natural, and not try to compete with anything.

Crepe blazer, Theory at Net-a-Porter. Lycra sports bra and knit skirt, Moncler. Leather strappy sandals, Fendi

Once every six months, I’ll go for a swim. You need to accept yourself [where you’re at in life] and think positive. When you’re younger, in your 20s, you don’t really think very far ahead. Looking back, I wish I had concentrated more on my education and pursued more career options. I wasn’t as decisive, and I was just living from day to day. But these are learning lessons that you’ve got to go through. I’m happy with where I’m at in life. I try to take care of myself. Both of my kids are married. I’m just taking it one day at a time.”

Gladys Phua, Model & Homemaker, 57

Lace and fur jacket, silk satin shorts, nylon stockings, and leather and fur sandals, Fendi. Silk bustier (worn underneath), Bottega Veneta

“You can’t fight ageing. It’s more important to stay healthy than to stay young. Age is a state of mind. You can be 60 and still have a 30-year-old boyfriend. When you’re younger, you have so many years ahead of
you and you don’t actively think about ageing. It’s when you start to get older, and you want to live longer for your children and your family (that you start to think about it). You might not look forward
to ageing, but it’s a process you can’t avoid. Maturity is an upside of getting older. As you get older, your mentality changes. You have less expectations (compared to when you were younger), and you are less hard on yourself.

Ruched draped silk dress and stretch jersey sandals, Bottega Veneta

The bottom line is: Don’t let age stop you from doing what you want or shape how you think. I find myself still looking for opportunities. Anything I’m passionate about, I’ll still give it a go. Joining PAM gave me an opportunity to do something different, and it’s always nice to reconnect with old friends.”

PHOTOGRAPHY Veronica Tay
CREATIVE DIRECTION Windy Aulia & Elizabeth Lee
ART DIRECTION Ray Ticsay & Adeline Eng
HAIR Fadli using Keune & Aung using Revlon Professional Singapore & Gama Professional Singapore
MAKEUP Nikki Fu using Dior Beauty & Lolent Lee using Chanel Beauty