Things change

23 years after she was fired for being ‘too old,’ legendary model makes a triumphant return

Isabella Rossellini. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

More than two decades after Lancôme told then 42-year-old Isabella Rossellini she was too old to be the face of the beauty brand, the legendary model got a callback from one of the company’s new executives — a woman. Rossellini, 65, who was the highest-paid model in the world at the time of her firing, is set to feature in upcoming campaigns for Lancôme’s Rénergie Multi-Glow, a version of the same product she once represented decades ago.

“While the marketing research people told me that women were responding to me, the client didn’t seem to be happy that they had a woman in their 40s representing their product,” Rossellini recalled in an interview with New York magazine’s The Cut. “The executive at the time told me that advertising is about dreams. And the dream allegedly was that women dream to be young.”

During her callback 23 years later, Rossellini added, she asked how she was supposed to represent the product if “the dream is to be young.” A new woman executive for the beauty brands — whose presence alone Rossellini described as “a big change” — responded that the Lancôme was moving with the times.

“I want to do a campaign that is very inclusive,” the executive said. “Things change.”

Speaking with reporter Kathleen Hou, Rossellini expanded on how her modeling career abruptly hit a roadblock when she turned 40, and how she and other models and actresses are increasingly pushing for the right to direct from behind the camera — as opposed to solely in front of it. She also touched on issues such as the pervasiveness of street harassment in Italy, and an evolution of beauty standards that she characterized as being long overdue.

Below, Rossellini talks candidly about being rehired by Lancome after 23 years.

 

Read the full story at The Cut.

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