‘Greynaissance’ model rocks digital age

Deborah Chambers
Deborah Chambers
Image: Leon Hugo

Grey-haired model, vlogger and social media influencer Deborah Chambers – a special guest at the Jason Kieck fashion charity gala in Port Elizabeth on Saturday night – is leading a South African “greynaissance” showing older women that life can begin at 50.

Chambers, who goes by the Instagram handle of @DeborahDarling, only started modelling four years ago at the age of 53.

The glamorous grandmother from Johannesburg turns 58 later in 2019, but before that she will head to Cape Town for the summer “season” as an indemand older model.

“My mission is to inspire women of all ages to live a full, active and stylish life,” Chambers said.

“Jane Fonda said, ‘women aren’t forgiven for ageing’ – I think this is so wrong, I am happy to be 57.”

The former tech writer also debunks the idea that only the young can rock the digital domain and has learnt new skills such as video blogging (vlogging) and curating a lively Instagram feed.

Selfies aren’t only for Generation Z and millennials, with Chambers snapping a quick pic or two showing her 32,000plus Instagram followers the fluid lines of the little black dress Kieck designed for her.

More than a dozen models showcased more than 40 of the Bay designer’s garments created around the theme of Desert Nights for the charity gala in aid of blood cancer charity the Igazi Foundation.

Many women in the audience of several hundred guests also wore classic Kieck numbers, with the best-dressed winner, Courtney Hall, cracking the nod for her all-white Jason Kieck Designs evening dress.

Chambers knows her vlog, blog and social media posts strike a chord with older women, who regularly approach her for advice on how they can embrace ageing with a shot of glamour.

She said some of her most common queries were wardrobe-related, with women asking how to find stylish clothes in a market geared towards younger consumers.

“I can spend up to two hours a day answering mails and messages from women who are desperate, who think it’s over for them but it isn’t.”

And the “ageless style protagonist, model and show-off” is horrified to hear that women in their teens and 20s consider using anti-ageing beauty treatments.

“I am a firm believer in pro-aging, why should we be anti-ageing? We should celebrate life and be grateful that we have it.”

MCs Buli G and television celebrity dentist Dr Zak anchored the evening, with musician Naomi Tagg setting the stage with a transparent electric LED violin performance.

Although the final total is still to be determined, the charity auction at Desert Nights raised hundreds of thousands of rands.

Kieck also will take the fashion show – including the Port Elizabeth model team – to Pretoria in October for the Capital City Business Chamber gala night.


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