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H&M Makes Waves With Its New Swim Editorial Starring 60-Year-Old Gilliean McLeod

Swedish fashion chain H&M’s new online swim editorial furthers the brand’s inclusive agenda. On the heels of its Fall 2016 runway, which featured transgender, nonwhite, plus-size and aged models alike, and its For Every Victory campaign, which starred Caitlyn Jenner, Cuban boxer Namibia Flores and Chelsea Werner, a gymnast living with Down syndrome, comes yet another grouping we can get behind.

Entitled Cool Girls in Cute Swimwear, the campaign is just that. The spread features plus-size blogger Nadia Aboulhosn, Chinese-French fitness guru Adrienne Ho, raw-food entrepreneur Natasha James and 60-year-old stylist-turned-model Gillean McLeod, among others.

“It feels natural to have a diverse range of women wearing our swimwear since it reflects our values, our colleagues, and our customers,” an H&M rep told Refinery29. “This is our reality: H&M is all about inclusiveness.”

In an interview accompanying the imagery, McLeod offered insight on everything from late-in-life career switches to wearing a swimsuit with confidence. As it turns out, much like Kate Moss before her, McLeod’s entry into the modeling world was a happy accident. The model at the shoot the then 53-year-old was styling wasn’t up to snuff, so the client suggested McLeod take her place.

“I think modeling has been a different path for me, starting so late in life. The best decade I had was actually my fifties. I went through all these changes – I got divorced, went through some terrible things, but I got out on the other side. Those changes made everything better,” she shared. Here’s hoping our midlife crises are equally fruitful.

H&M's latest swim spread features a diverse set of faces including Nadia Aboulhosn, Adrienne Ho, Natasha James and Gillean McLeod, among others.

Image: H&M

In the editorial, McLeod slays in a now sold-out bandeau one-piece (here’s an alternative). The key to owning your bikini bod — whether you’re posing poolside or kicking back in your monokini and baggy jeans post-dip, as McLeod did in the shoot — is a suit that feels like a second skin. “If you’re comfortable in it, it doesn’t really matter what it looks like,” affirmed McLeod. When she’s feeling glam, sunglasses and a 50s-style cut are in order, but her go-to is a workout bikini that can withstand a few laps.

 

Real wisdom is knowing what’s right for you. How do you #AgeWisely?

A photo posted by Living Proof (@livingproofinc) on

“Modeling was nerve-racking at first,” McLeod reflected. “I had terrible acne growing up, and I was always really shy. But I gained more and more confidence, and the last year I’ve had a couple of really great campaigns.” (She starred in a Super Bowl commercial back in 2014, as well as Living Proof’s Timeless campaign.)

“60 is the new 20,” McLeod proclaimed in an Instagram post touting the campaign. As more and more brands put forth anti-ageist campaigns and opt for realism over Photoshop, we look forward to a day when we, too, can honestly say, “Diversity (a.k.a. realism) is the new standard.”

[ via H&M Magazine ]