Inspired by strong, powerful women who embrace their power and femininity, Fleur du Mal’s latest campaign features 71-year old former model, cabaret singer, and author Shailah Edmonds. Edmonds was recently featured in The New York Times where the model recounted her time spent in Paris modeling for major fashion houses and designers from Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent, to Issey Miyake and Gianni Versace.
In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Paris was leading fashion campaigns by utilizing a group of ten other Black American models stealing the spotlight on the runways, including Edmonds. Today, the entertainer is considered one of the top Diana Ross and Tina Turner impersonators in the New York area, and a cabaret star performing an autobiographical show called “A Star Alone,”, where she reminisces on her days on the catwalk.
ESSENCE got a chance to chat with Edmonds about her latest campaign shoot with Fleur du Mal.
ESSENCE: How was working with the Fleur du Mal team? How did it feel to be chosen for this project?
Edmonds: Working with the Fleur du Mal team was an absolute joy. They treated my with the utmost respect, from sharing the makeup and hair team before the shoot, allowing me to approve my outfits, getting me all of the pertinent information for the shoot in a timely manner, and loving my natural hair. I felt so special being chosen for this shoot. When they first approached me and mentioned lingerie, I froze and thought about how I was going to hide my imperfections. I immediately told them my bikini days were over. When I realized they understood that, I began to beam and strut around like a peacock, thinking me, at 70, modeling lingerie. THIS IS FABULOUS.
ESSENCE: What would you say is the key to feeling confident as you began to get older?
Edmonds: The key to feeling confident for me is first and foremost, exercise and diet. As one begins to get older, one automatically gives into time and age, and begins to slow down…DONT. Go out as much as possible, keep music around you, dance and sing alone, do things that bring you happiness, no matter how bizarre it may seem. Worry and sadness brings wrinkles, and although birthdays are important, after a certain age, don’t make a big deal out of them. Have a variety of projects to constantly feed your mind and spirit.
ESSENCE: Advice for anyone who wants to step into modeling but feels like thier “time” is over?
Edmonds: One never knows if your time for modeling is over, unless you take the risk and try it. You must be serious about your body maintenance, skin care, moisturizers, hair care, serums along with good eating habits and exercise. Be prepared to invest in yourself and do it as a business, not for fun. As long as you take care of yourself, it will come across on camera or on stage. Need inspiration? Just look at my legs!