After a supermodel career spent posing according to what others demanded, Paulina Porizkova is celebrating her new "unfiltered" approach to life at age 57. In a new interview with the Mail+, the Czech-born beauty opens up about finally getting to own her image and decide for herself how much she shares — even if some critics tell her she's too old to be posing nude or in a bikini.
‘The problem, I have realized, is that menopausal women who are sexy are seen as advertising false wares," says Porizkova. "We cannot be sensual because we are no longer fertile. And we are more empowered, more intimidating and more sexy, because we know what we want — and that intimidates the s*** out of men."
But Porizkova — whose response to a troll's remark about growing "old and ugly" with age recently inspired other mature women to share their own bikini photos — is relishing her newfound sense of "power."
‘If I choose to show my body and if I control the way my body is seen, does that mean that I then have the power? Yes. This is my body. And I will do with it as I please," she adds.
It's a far cry from her modeling days, when she felt like an object with no agency. Signing a contract with Estée Lauder "erased my voice altogether," she adds, noting the "lady who shops at Saks" image was "very far from who I actually was."
"I was an apple in a still life," she says of her life as a young supermodel. "I came in to work, freshly showered with clean hair, and then somebody polished me and put me in a basket. Who you are or what you think is of absolutely no consequence."
While Porizkova certainly doesn't shy away from embracing her sensuality by sharing a provocative photo on Instagram, she's also happy to post less glamorous, often makeup-free shots that document the aging process. Resisting societal pressure to look a certain way by having cosmetic touch-ups has drummed up its own criticism, she says, citing a male photographer friend who recently balked at the expression on her face. "Stop doing that, whatever you’re doing with your face, stop," she recalls being told over dinner.
"I was like, 'I’m listening to you and frowning. You’re telling me that I should stop frowning?'" she says. "I was emoting, which was weird to him because he was not used to a woman my age actually having full possession of all her facial muscles. And I think that’s f***ing creepy."
Want lifestyle and wellness news delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo Life’s newsletter.