The most interesting people are often the most interested, and model Colleen Heidemann is the embodiment of such sentiment. Joy and warmth radiate through her voice. Every photo featuring her emanates glamour and creativity and invites the viewer to participate in the fun. Heidemann loves life and wants you to love it too. Her motto, after all, is, “If not now, when?”
This adage became especially pertinent for her after Ari Seth Cohen, founder of Advanced Style, met Heidemann at her clothing store in California and began documenting her for his blog. One of those photos inspired Antonia Hemgesberg to reach out to Heidemann from Germany. Wanting to combine her interest in social media with her interest in fashion from an older woman’s viewpoint, Hemgesberg asked Heidemann to collaborate on an Instagram as part of her college thesis.
Since then, Heidemann's account has achieved a large following, but more importantly, it has become an avenue to fight the media’s pervasive ageism, the idea that “women over 50 can no longer expect to find themselves,” says Heidemann. She continues, “I could see it was more and more important to women that they could still claim to seeing some semblance of themselves.” She notes that there are more roles for older women in life than mother and grandmotheHer style and imagination elicit excitement and encourage one to embrace their own individuality, as opposed to wishing they were someone else. Heidemann herself recalls feeling at one point that if she bought “that which Audrey Hepburn was wearing and Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor were selling, then I was going to see that face, that figure, that form in the mirror.”
Despite her continued appreciation for these style icons, Heideman knew “what I had to be confident and pleased about was based only upon me. I was the only one to whom I could look for confidence.” She wants people to “be respectful and appreciative of the person you are and are trying to be.” Instagram has been a useful tool for her to challenge ageism, and clothing has been a wonderful path for her creative expression. Style looks like it’s embedded in Heidemann’s DNA, and she has loved “the variance of clothing and the fun of beautiful design" for as long as she can remember. She would often accompany her mother to a dressmaker during her early childhood in Bangkok, Thailand, and was captivated by the production and “how a block of fabric could be a fully formed garment.”
Heidemann’s keen interest in design and culture has literally taken her far places. She worked as a flight attendant back when flying was fun; think designer uniforms, 5-star hotels, and the introduction to the "jumbo jet" 747. Her adventurous spirit, coupled with a hands-on approach to learning, not only made for a successful career, but proved to be fundamental in shaping her appreciation for learning about other cultures and languages, and humanity as a whole.
While her striking look and enthusiasm for beautiful visuals are what captivates one’s attention, Heidemann’s optimism, generosity, and sense of fun are what keep people inspired. Whether she’s modeling in a fashion editorial or discussing the importance of seeing older people in starring roles, Colleen Heidemann serves as a powerful reminder that fun and adventure do not end at 50.
Top image fashion credits: silk jumpsuit LAND OF DISTRACTION, shoes CHRISTIAN DIOR, earrings LOOKY LOO & neck cuff FORMINA @DaysLA, geometric bangle BURBERRY and lucite bangle ALEXIS BITTAR, geode ring STYLIST’s OWN
Model: Colleen Heidemann | @Colleen_Heidemann
Photographer: Markas Plato | @MarkasPlato
Art Director: Nancy Hermann | @_NancyHerrmann
Stylist: JenniLee | @JenniLeeStylist
Make-up: Lavonne | @LavonneBeauty for @TheRexAgency using MAC Cosmetics
Hair: Stephanie Craig | @StephanieCraig_Hair
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Hi there! I’m a comedian, writer and actress living in New York City. I’m the only person to have a subscription to Nickelodeon Magazine without access to the Nickelodeon channel. My favorite movie is George Of The Jungle. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @stonecoldvolpe and check out my website francescavolpe.com for more of my writing and silly videos!