Manifesting Beauty – Yazemeenah Rossi Defies Ageism in Fashion
By: Erik Kristman
For Yazemeenah – modeling has escaped the boundary of age. Notoriety struck Yazemeenah’s career at the youthful age of 60 where a swimwear campaign gained widespread attention and soon led to being featured in a variety of publications from The Telegraph to Vice.
Unorthodox and boundless – two obvious underlying words that define Yazemeenah’s career in every moment both past and present. Her humble roots in fashion sprouted at the age of 28 over a ten year course as a fit model. She wore the fabrics of Yves Saint Laurent, Jill Sanders, Hermès, Jean-Louis Scherrer, Fendi, Thierry Mugler, and by the nineties progressed into commercial modeling over in Japan as well as NYC. Yet the common age- twenty-something-or-bust ethos of the modeling world reigned over the hustling Yazemeenah. The pivotal moment as she described to us was turning away from the modeling scene and opting for self-portraits.
Yazemeenah Rossi: I started fifteen years ago to do my self portraits as I did not see myself in modeling jobs like I saw myself in real. [There was] too much retouching to the point sometimes I could not recognize ME...My agents did
not like them very much as they were not “beauty” enough, meaning retouched...but I stayed on the same idea since. I am very happy now to have clients who contact me, wanting this and appreciate this.
“People message me telling me how it is freeing for them to see truth.”
I initially connected with Yazemeenah through a photographer by the name of Alexo Wandael, a prominent italian photographer based in New York. They had done a photoshoot before Yazemeenah returned to France. When we got the photos – we asked him what he had hoped to capture in the photoshoot to which he responded:
Alexo Wandael: I wanted to capture Yazemeenah as model and as woman, glamorous and as a spiritual being. I love working with Yazemeenah, because there is already an understanding – an energy established through the years...
Generally as a twenty-something writer in LA it’s pushed on you to stay objective – remove oneself and tap into a previous script from, say, a related Daily Mail article that got 4.7k shares. Once you’re dialed in you can generate a similar candid piece with a new ark and new photography from someone such as Wandael, whose photography is exceptional and has been featured in publications like Vogue Italia, Uomo Vogue, and Vanity Fair.
However, I too began to feel that “energy established” – where age was left behind and where Yazemeenah’s inner youth began. In-between the cracks of writing the article, getting the photos and quotes, Yazemeenah and I shared a brief back and forth on spring in Corsica – a place I too had disappeared in a sun-soaked summer before.
Hi Erik, I well received the questions I Was away today, I am in Corsica right now so 9 hours difference... I will send you my answers tomorrow. Kindest regards, Yazemeenah
I’m jealous! I spent my past summer in Corscia in Santa Lucia Di Moriani. Hope you’re taking in the beautiful scenery.
Yes it is Wonderfull at Spring! Wild flowers everywhere! Did some great pics today Check my instagram I posted some yesterday but today Bonifacio for shooting - amazing location! -Yazemeenah
The “energy established” is something that streams from Yazemeenah’s being and out onto Alexo’s photography. Her shoot with Alexo as well as instagram shots that traverse from Porto Vecchio to Bonifaccio Corsica- they share a through-line in youth sentiment, an aesthetic that fashion thrives on but still struggles to disconnect from an ageist regime. With the strides of women such as Yazemeenah – a new era from a previous generation, perhaps?