Kathy Jacobs is “55 years young” and feeling herself.
The California-based model-actress has been in the game since the early 1990s, when she was a “petite” (i.e., short) poser for NYC’s iconic Ford agency. Nearly 30 years later, she says, she’s “still fighting for inclusion in the industry.”
And she’s doing it in a bikini.
But her biggest “get” yet is impressing the increasingly inclusive folks behind the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition runway show over the weekend at the W South Beach in Miami.
“As a 5’3” tall, 55-year-old woman who has been told she is too short to be a model her whole life — and is now being told that she too old as well, my heart is filled with deep gratitude,” Jacobs posted to her @ageisbeauty Instagram account.
“@si_swimsuit and [editor] @mj_day have broken the age AND height barrier by selecting me to move forward in the #siswimsearch contest!!,” Jacobs said to her 14,000-plus followers. “… So it goes to show you you are never to old, short (or whatever your obstacle is at the moment) and to never give up! Ladies don’t ever let anyone (including yourself) put you in a box!”
She was picked as a finalist last week — but didn’t know until Sunday that she made the “sweet 17.”
The industry veteran admitted to a case of the jitters before getting booked for the show.
“I just did the easiest part of the casting, which was posing in a swimsuit,” said Jacobs, giddily reclining on a backstage sofa and kicking her heels in the air. “That was the easiest part! I mean, I was, like, so nervous and I was like, oh my God, we’ve done all these interviews and all these other things and this and that, and the posing — I thought that was gonna be scary but that was, like, that’s my comfort zone. So I was totally OK when I was posing.”
The SI event was touted as showcasing a boundary-breaking “lineup of women who stand for important issues donning socially conscious swimwear looks by designers who encourage and promote sustainability, inclusivity and philanthropy.”
That tracks with Jacobs’ mantra: “Ladies, let’s show the world how fabulous we are over 50. Don’t let the world bring you down — wear your age like a crown.”